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Hjarnan: “I like this meta more, I think. It’s more fun for AD carry, at least. Sitting as Varus waveclearing mid is so boring.”

Hjarnan says he likes the current League of Legends meta and thinks it's more fun.
Team ROCCAT's Hjarnan says he likes the current League of Legends meta and thinks it's more fun. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

Team ROCCAT’s difficult first half of the European League of Legends Championship Series summer split disappointed fans after their strong close to the spring. The new Patch 7.14 meta has provided a glimmer of hope ROCCAT can turn things around, especially after the team defeated Unicorns of Love in Week 7. At the end of the match, AD carry Petter “Hjärnan” Freyschuss spoke with Slingshot’s Kelsey Moser about bottom lane matchups, the new patch, and Sivir.

Kelsey Moser: I think we are seeing a lot of the Kalista-Tristana matchup, but people are still really prioritizing Kalista and may even pick it first. What appeals to teams about Kalista even if the enemy team can immediately just follow up with Tristana?

Petter “Hjärnan” Freyschuss: I think it’s because of the trade with Thresh and Braum, right? So if you play Thresh-Kalista, you win the lane automatically I think by default because you are two ranged vs. melee, and they cannot really contest early game. Level fi5ve, it’s kind of — pre-six of the Kalista, you can look for some all-in with Braum, right? I think at level six, Thresh just goes up, blocks on Braum Q, ulty, and wins the fight all-in. So if you look for Level 5-6, it’s like your spike. If you manage to go equal in the Tristana-Braum matchup, for example, you can win the matchup, then I think, so that’s why people prefer it.

But I think if you have a matchup like Tristana-Braum vs. Kalista-Thresh it’s 50-50, I think. It depends because Kalista-Thresh can play a bit around the jungler. So let’s say enemy jungler gets Elise, right? Because you trade for Thresh and Kalista. You will almost have to kind of respect that as Thresh-Kalista lane against Elise or you’re going to have a Kass or something that’s not as strong pre-six, right? And then you almost have to take that into consideration as well if you can play aggressive or not in the lane and pull the lane. I think that’s the main thing as well.

Tristana is just — it’s just good with the build right now, I think. The Lethality is not really a thing right now for AD carries. I tried Jhin and stuff, but you need to really get kills early. Get pinks in your lane, right? Or in river. So that’s your vision. Pull the lane, and then look for — then it’s extremely strong because you do like 400 damage per auto, right? But what people will do then, they will swap, and then you are useless, right? You have no push power or damage with it on turrets. Your team fight ability is also in general a bit lower. It’s like if you face a Kassadin maybe that has to go melee on the wave to waveclear, and you have a Rapid Firecannon, Youmuu, and Duskblade, then you can maybe look for the brush into Youmuu into one trap. But if they are like ranged Orianna (this kind of champ that has safe waveclear from afar) and Syndra, you can never really utilize this Duskblade on AD carry (I feel like at least) in competitive play. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone use it competitive yet. Only solo queue.

But yeah, Tristana-Kalista, the matchup is just support dependent, I think. I think it is quite equal 1-on-1, and when Tristana gets some crit items, it’s — she wins quite hard, I think, if they were equal. Kalista, if she snowballs, she wins, so it’s a bit 50-50. In that lane.

KM: You mentioned swapping, mostly in relation to Duskblade AD carries, but also in this matchup, the Kalista ended up swapping into top.

PF: They only did this because we backed before them because we had full pressure, right, and we got a freeze off. We automatically know when we freeze this huge wave, we can deny maybe like five-six creeps, and it’s really bad if you fall behind as Kalista to Tristana in CS or XP and stuff, right? So they just went for a fast play on top instead. I think we got a lot ahead on that because we got a lot extra there. We got bot tower before them. They lost a lot of tempo top side. But then we were a bit — we knew fire dragon was up, so we made a decision of, they had no camps on top side, and we had no bot side camps. So if Syndra was top, he has nothing to farm, and we push out, right? So we just went for bot.

And yeah in our head (or my head, it was my boosted call, actually), I thought that Hylissang is the kind of guy who never really runs down to lane, instantly, right? And they were top side for two-three minutes, so I thought they would have zero vision on bot side. So I thought we could just like force. Just skip top. Syndra pushes out top or Phaxi. And we go into enemy jungle, get full vision, look for trap, kill enemy jungler because he will go for vision, but Hyli went straight in lane for the first time. I’d never seen him do that, you know? I never see Hylissang running straight through lane like, that he always goes for vision. So the pick — I don’t know if he has ward or I thought he didn’t have it, that’s why I did it.

So we got stalled like one minute here in the second game, I think it was. Instead of just doing dragon, go top or Rift, and then getting tempo, push out bot, get tempo again. So it was a big mistake from us that game. We lost a lot on it actually. We tried to fight them at dragon again later, and then we got caught (me and Wadid, I think), and they got bot tower, and then they just snowballed the game. So it was like small misplays that went into really really big tempo and wrong lane assignments for our side.

KM: I think a lot of time Unicorns of Love like to have strong bot play and send support mid. Is this something you guys considered going into this match at all?

PF: Yeah, the only matchup that was hard today, I think 2-v-2 is like the Xayah-Rakan matchup as Kalista-Thresh because if you misposition once, you get jumped on, and you have to use your flash. Next time, they jump on you, you are dead, right? So you play really cautious and safe, and then you get six. We made a mistake of going straight to bot instead of just going to top with the Kalista-Thresh vs. them. Because when they get six, they can basically just oneshot me (because I freeze the lane, right? So I cannot walk up to it anymore). So we couldn’t really farm, so we just made a call there to push in, rotate top at level six, just go for tempo. I don’t know if it was a Fire Drake that game or not. I think it was a Cloud — no, Ocean Drake it was the first game.

So we went top, then trade. They get Ocean and bot tower, we get top. So I could have made that call for sure, but I guess we just underestimated them a bit in that sense because it was a bit disrespectful to go back bot there. I think that was the only matchup where it’s horrible, right? The other ones are quite similar, quite equal. They are pressured in those two last game, I think, because we had better drafts for bot side. I think he did not really get a chance to roam that much in these last two games, at least.

KM: Right now with all the tanks and such, side lane control is kind of dropping a bit. How do you deal with side wave management when you have a lot of team fight focused compositions?

PF: It’s about tempo, and when you have pressure, it’s your priority (that’s how we call it). We push out first our wave, then we have the priority on mid and get full vision, right? Then we get it back after like 30 seconds.

The thing with UoL is they are not the best team to understand when they have to give up the priority in certain spots, so we can punish them sometimes because they are playing a bit disrespectful when it’s not their tempo play. I think that’s one of the biggest things that they can work on is their knowledge of when they should pressure, and when they should not pressure. And I think they could be a really, really, really, really strong team. Really, really good.

But I think, you can also, in this meta, if you have Tristana/Kalista as a side lane push, right? I don’t think there is any top laner that can face Kalista and Thresh/Kalista-Braum on a side, you know? They have to come 2-v-1 if they want to kill you, actually. So you can also just take your pressure from your side to mid. Mid can go bot to pressure for your top not to lose Nashor maybe because it’s still tank vs a bruiser. Which opens up a tempo lead, you can stabilize the map again and maybe get vision or whatever you want or a fight.

That’s kind of how we look to do it right now, just like have bot to top lane if he’s behind or something if we get ahead on our side on the map. Before with Fiora and stuff, you would never really help them because it’s just like leave them on an island and let them do their thing, then just be around mid 3-v-3. Just waveclear with Varus and stuff. But that meta is kind of gone now, I think. I like this meta more, I think. It’s more fun for AD carry, at least. Sitting as Varus waveclearing mid is so boring.

KM: Speaking of more fun for AD carries, you played the Sivir, which is something that you’ve played a lot in the past. Why did you decide that this last game was a good game for the Sivir pick?

PF: I saw in the draft we picked Rakan first pick. They opened up with Xayah and their mid. I thought, if they have Xayah, and I pick Kog/Tristana, they can just go Thresh, right? If they go Thresh, I will get a bit — we will not have pressure in that lane, that’s 100 percent, you know? He can interrupt me as Tristana or can Flash-engage me with Xayah or a good all-in against Rakan early. I just thought, if he picks Thresh into Sivir, he’s not going to have that much to do in lane. He’s not going to be able to hook me. The best he can do is Flash-Lantern gank. So I just went for this pick. I don’t think he plays that much more scary stuff because Karma-Zyra is gone from the meta, so I don’t have to be that scared anymore as AD carry. When you pick Sivir and stuff like this you can scale up and be a bit stronger late game.

We just went for a bit of gamble, you could say, that he wouldn’t go for some really, really hard punishing lane. We had pressure in that lane quite easily because Rakan has so much sustain with the Q. It’s really to just walk up to somebody, Q him, 100 HP to both, congrats. You won the trade, you know? It’s really simple. Sivir it’s really easy to have perma pressure and push them in, which allows the jungler to get full vision and get all the information you need on enemy jungler.

So it gets easy for your whole team. That’s why I think I went for the Sivir because Thresh is fine, Braum is fine. Both matchups are fine because they already chose Xayah. If they had Kalista, it’s a lot harder to blind Sivir like that without knowing their support. They can just go whatever support. They can even go Morgana or some shit, you know? Because Rakan can’t really go into Morgana. Xayah is not that punishing without the increased damage you get from having Rakan with you. The matchup is fine. You can mana from his Q, E. Braum cannot really Q as well. That’s why I went for Sivir because it’s quite safe.

KM: People have been really Sejuani-Braum combination.

PF: It’s disgusting, yeah.

KM: How do you go about playing against it? Especially in the last game.

PF: It’s a disgusting combo, for sure. You get CC’d for days. But they don’t do that much damage. I feel like Milo (Pridestalker) did a good job of shutting down Corki. I think if Corki is ahead in that game, it’s really hard for us. Then he has a tank in front, with Xayah, CC, follow-up, and everything, so.

Milo did a good job of shutting him down, and (I didn’t see, but I assume) Betsy also did a good job, so he’s not that strong. It’s a key point in that game. In a combo, it’s just massive CC, tankiness. Not that hard to play against. It was one time we were screaming we can win a fight, and I stepped forward, and I Spellshield, and I didn’t see his fucking ulti, and I got killed.

Which was my fault, but…

That was the only time it was like annoying to play against, but other than that today I don’t — because we have so much mobility with Sivir, I feel like. We have so much we can do in team fights because of the mobility, I think. We can kite around his ult and all the CC they provide.

KM: I’ve also heard that you guys feel this patch is pretty good for you. Is there something particular you really like?

PF: I don’t know, actually. You should be able to learn every meta and play every meta good. I think this meta is especially good for our jungler because he likes to play these assassins. A bit more vision control, a bit of slow game, and you scale up, and you shine in late game, right? Kha’Zix is a really good pick for him, and he has a lot of good stuff that he can pick right now in this meta. Especially Milo — or Pridestalker — is really, really comfortable in this meta.

For us bot, it’s melee supports, and Wadid likes melee supports because it’s heavy engage (usually like Braum you know, all this). For me, it’s just fine. I like to play to play Sivir, so. And Kalista also is really fun.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games