On the second day of the seventh week of the European League of Legends Championship Series (EU LCS), Misfits played against its former sister team, sold and rebranded as the Mysterious Monkeys. Following Misfits’ win, AD carry Steven “Hans Sama” Liv spoke with Slingshot’s Kelsey Moser about Kalista, Misfits’ top side focus, and all-in compositions.
Kelsey Moser: You guys put a lot of priority on the Kalista in the first game, and they ended up picking Tristana. Some say this matchup is even or a bit tricky. Can you talk about some of the thought process that went into the Kalista first pick?
Steven “Hans Sama” Liv: It’s been really recently that we decided to prioritize Kalista because she has really good early pressure, especially when both teams have melee support (when they have supports like Braum). It has really good engages like Ashe/Varus, but it gives more pressure to enemy and has a good mid game, but falls off in late game.
For this game, they picked Tristana-Braum. I don’t really think it’s a good pick to punish Kalista or Rakan, but yeah. We did have a better draft than them and easy comp, so we won the game.
KM: I noticed in both games, it seemed like you guys had a really good idea in the 2-v-2 of when you could go in and get a kill. Either what mistakes did they make or what other factors allowed you guys to know you could execute?
SL: So, I think with the lead we had in bot lane 2-v-2, we could snowball the lead for the other lanes, and the objective we put — we really played good in the objective and had full vision control. Obviously on Kalista, this champion is strong at this moment, so we engage really easily, and we have Rakan, so we have easy engage. Yeah, it was easy to pull off this.
KM: You guys have been playing more and more around getting priority on bot and trying to impact mid lane. For example, last week against Unicorns, you had some trouble when they picked Vladimir. It can sometimes be hard to do this kind of play. When you have bot priority, how do you decide what kind of play you can make?
SL: Most of the case, depending on mid priority too and TP advantages, when we get the bot priority, we will use it for wards around mid — or deep wards in the jungle if we have already river vision set up. And we try to snowball the lead by getting pressure at mid, then diving bot if it’s possible. Or diving mid or killing objective like dragon, or even swapping with tempo.
KM: In first game, you put a lot of priority on keeping top pushed out. Even after you got first turret, you kept sending duo lane top and pushing to Tier 2 like this. Why did you continue prioritizing this lane over maybe going mid or bot?
SL: Our lead on 2-v-2 was really huge, so we push out the wave at first (not the first, first, but we push it, and we get river vision). Then we will push it again until we get the turret, then we get deeper vision. Then if there’s a play available mid, we will take it, and we take full vision, we eventually buy three pink wards to play our vision in river. So they need to face check us if we do Nashor or something. Kalista is really good for Baron control. It’s bigger than a smite, so it’s really fast, so we use that impact.
KM: You have really changed up to focus on playing these all-in engage comps this series as opposed to earlier in the split when you were trying some different things. Was it just the patch change or a combination of factors?
SL: I think it would be more like our signature. We are really good playing those comps. We are not really used to — we are used to, but it’s not like our success with other comps. So we play engage comps most of the time, and we are going to train other comps of course.
KM: Sometimes it still feels like your jungle is prioritizing top a lot, and you guys are relied upon to handle bot side. Do you feel there is sometimes an issue with translating leads from top to bot or vice versa, or is this just how you have decided to play?
SL: We prioritize top because maybe if we try a gank at bot, we would risk a lot on top side. Like they would invade our jungle and take our camp — if the bot gank doesn’t work out, like they live with 200 HP, it’s not really worth it for the top side and jungle. But sometimes if we have a really snowbally comp at bot and a really good lane top, really depends. Our play style is mostly playing around top.
KM: You had two tank picks for top and jungle, so for them it might be difficult to get a kill. Do you think it’s still worth it for jungle to exert pressure top then?
SL: When we have tank, we will play the game more slowly. I think with jungle Sejuani, Gragas would play the game more slowly. We wouldn’t really path to top. He would clear out his jungle, not really force too much things. Yeah, that’s how we play, not put a lot of pressure at top, just deny them from making plays early.
KM: Monkeys especially like to play Jayce or Renekton. Do you think that those types of picks are not as good because of some of the tank item changes, or did it just not work out for them this series?
SL: I think it’s good enough, but I am not sure if they are used to playing with this comp, and we are really used to playing with engage comps, so we always pull the trigger when they come to us. And we had a really good lead bot, so it’s really difficult for them to snowball their lead with Jayce.
KM: Your team on Twitter was building up a bit of a rivalry with Mysterious Monkeys, talking back against Amazing a little bit. Do you have anything you’d want to say to them after this series?
SL: Not particularly. I don’t really know Amazing or Kikis. I really know a lot their bot lane. When we were in Challenger Series two splits ago, we were friendly really much. It feels good to play against them, and I hope they do their best in LCS.
KM: If Monkeys end up having to play Promotion, do you think they will be safe in LCS?
SL: I think they have a good level. I think they will perform well if they keep working hard as they do.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games