Splyce had a 2-0 week to finish cross-group play in the European League of Legends Championship Series. After a 2-1 win over Misfits, Martin “Wunder” Hansen spoke with Slingshot’s Kelsey Moser about his willingness to play Camille on the new patch, Splyce’s ability to trade sides, and his assessment of the top teams in Group B.
Kelsey Moser: Regarding picks like the Camille and Jax, it seems like you guys are willing to forego some top tanks and play more 4-1s. Do you think this is much more difficult to execute or does it work well with tank jungle meta at all?
Martin “Wunder” Hansen: It’s for sure difficult to execute compared to — let’s say if you play Jarvan and you just play the lane out and look to force around an objective and just wombo combo five-man team fight. But I think that first I looked to Korea to see what they’re really good at because I was kind of confused after two or three patches ago, but I was like — what really worked for people, so I saw that a lot of people were ban-picking either Camille or blind picking Kled and just blind picking all these champs. I thought blind picking them was really strange, and I would have never done that, so I tried to play around a bit with it, and I found that it was actually OK.
I should probably have Jarvan in my champ pool though since I played it the first week or the second week of EU LCS — actually the first week, I think. It was like we had decent success with it, but then there was like this one off game, and then I just stopped playing it.
It’s definitely for sure harder to execute the Camille and the Kled. It requires a lot more team coordination and a lot more patience for me too, as well. I think that’s the difference, but I the payout for it is pretty good too. Like I look to Cuvee on Samsung, for example, and he does pretty well with these picks.
KM: How does the tank jungle meta affect how you are playing the early game? First game, for example, it started out with a lot of war over the control wards on the flanks of mid lane. It seems like there may be a lot more emphasis on getting this kind of vision, but how does that impact your laning phase?
MH: Honestly, in this series, we played against Maokai, and there’s been a lot on Reddit and stuff like that where Maokai like cheese ganks Level 3 and stuff like that. So we were playing really scared, extra careful, because we were afraid he would get some super leash of some sort and then like Level 3 gank really early.
I think with the picks I play, the vision matters a lot because you want to play the lane as best as possible, and with these picks it’s more unforgiving if you fall behind compared to if you play a tank or a Jarvan or stuff like that where you can still come back into the game. For example, the infamous Phaxi one where he goes 1-13 and still wins the game, so I think for sure it changes a lot of how we play the game. That’s something we’ve practiced a lot, too, so we should be good at it or good enough to execute it at least.
KM: In Game 1, there was an interesting moment where, even though you had a lot of control on the top side, they ended up just walking their bot across the map and taking Rift Herald. How would you normally react to this kind of situation?
MH: I think we reacted poorly, but it was also kind of the draft we had. Rift Herald gives them mid tower if they have pressure, and in the matchup Syndra vs. Orianna, we would most likely not want to give up mid tower for a bot trade. Usually it’s not good either, but especially in this matchup, so I think it was pretty inefficient. We should have just matched, but that was just an in-the-moment call.
For that game in general, I had a lot of pressure top side, and we could have won the game, but we fell into their strengths, and we forced a play where I think we went on Trundle when they had Kalista ult, and I think we got like really hard wombo’d. I think if we just played out the game when Nash just spawned, and I am so far ahead of my counterpart, I can most likely solo carry the game because they cannot really use their leads on the other side to rotate into me when Nash is up. It gets increasingly hard for them, so it was just an issue of us being too impatient and forcing a play where they — that’s the only play they would want to make at that point.
KM: Right now in LCS, there is this blind pick Braum. People seem to like this even though there are a lot of other supports you can kind of play into it. Why is the blind pick Braum valued a lot?
MH: I think Braum fits good in the meta of all these engages and just in general it’s probably one of the most annoying champs to play against when it comes to team fighting and just the skirmishes that people have nowadays with their teams. It’s also good when I play stuff like Camille and other split-push champs, and especially paired with Sejuani, when you can like CC a guy because first you proc the stun, then Sejuani stuns, and stuff like that. So it’s a pretty disgusting combo honestly, and it does well into pretty much anything bot. You can pretty much pair any AD Carry with it where you can at least survive lane most of the time.
I still think champs like Thresh and champs like Gragas are almost the same priority. It just depends on what you want to accomplish with your draft and if you want to play hard for snowball bot, or if you want to farm it out a bit. With Braum you can do both, honestly.
KM: You seem to be prioritizing the hyper carry ADs. You even picked Kog’Maw in first rotation in Game 3. What makes it safe to pick Kog’Maw early on?
MH: Well, in general I think our bot lane is — they are really good mechanically. I would say they are probably the best bot lane in laning phase in EU right now, so they can play a lot of these matchups where I think they can get through the lane phase no matter almost what they play. That’s not, of course, the basis of our draft because we know it will mess us up later if we play against actual really good bot lanes, especially internationally or something like that.
I think when we play Braum and they play Cho’Gath, for example, like they did in the third game, and then we responded with the Kog’Maw, Braum-Kog’Maw can generally survive the lane even though it was rough for them in that game. Kog’Maw is a really strong counter go Cho’Gath when it comes later in the game because he will run in, and he will instantly regret that he runs in because he will lose like 50% of his HP. In general, I think it was just in the other games really sack the AD carry pick until the second phase, so we got to ban a lot of AD, and then we have to resort to like Tristana when they play Kalista because that’s a decent matchup, and it was available to us. I guess that’s like the main reason.
KM: The third game was kind of crazy because they really committed to the play on the top side early, but what do you think were some of the main mistakes they made initially that really helped your comp get off the ground?
MH: Actually, I think it was a good idea they had to run top. I just think they should just be happy with standing in between my tower, and Taliyah should walk mid again because she was losing a lot of pressure in a matchup where she should be able to push out and roam to other lanes. So the roam she did was kind of a one time thing because, after that, she should not be able to pressure mid ever again, and that kind of hurts Taliyah a lot because she wants to play her early levels, she wants to be able to impact lanes and get wards and get deep vision, but she will not want to make herself go out of the game so she can’t do anything after that.
I think they had the correct idea. It’s actually kind of a misplay from us too because we should have been more clear of how we wanted to play with our jungle path and our waves in general because I should be able to make the wave in such a position that they can’t all commit, and I lose like two waves on it.
They ended up kind of failing the play, and it was probably a bit risky by me too. They kind lost the game on that or lost a lot of early pressure at least. That kind of sucks for them against our comp because we should have the scaling advantage for sure.
KM: Even though they ended up taking the first bot tower first, you guys managed to get advantage in a lot of the side lane trades. Was there something in particular you were doing or just noticing they were out of position and you could react?
MH: I think what we started to look a lot on — what we improved a lot on recently is that we will always look to cross map at least. If we know they will get bot tower, and we communicate it well, we know that we have to make a plan for what we do in response. Our plan was to swap around and maybe like get Rift Herald or top tower if we could set up the wave, and even before that, we managed to use the mid pressure. I managed to stack a wave. We kind of repeated what they did, just later in the game, and he didn’t respond properly, so he died to it, and I got like a really big lead.
I think we just knew what was going to happen. We were all aware of it, and we just responded in the best possible way. We knew that if we just traded somewhat evenly, we would be in a good position in the early game as well.
KM: I think it was last split where there was a common criticism that your team wasn’t maybe as good at doing side lane trades — like if jungler goes bot, you get caught over-extending or similar. Was that something that you guys ended up talking about internally?
MH: We’ve just in the past not had the best communication when it comes to feeding information on how exactly our lane is going to be played out and making plans and making solutions for things we know are going to hurt us maybe two or three minutes in the future. I think just being aware of that and focusing on it and talking about it has made us at least not get fucked in the early game as hard as we usually do or we did in the past. I think that’s the main reason at least. We speak up a lot more about how the lane is going to go, and we try to make plans together.
KM: Do you think this week, because you guys went 2-0, that it’s going to be really important momentum building, or do you think you already turned it around anyway, and this is just confirmation?
MH: I think we already know we can contest for first in our own group, and we can probably improve a lot more. We have been steadily improving from maybe two weeks ago or a week ago. I definitely think that it’s a momentum boost, but it’s not like — I don’t think we needed a momentum boost or we will just continue playing our game and focusing on what’s important because right now I believe that a lot should go wrong if we don’t get into playoffs at least. I think it’s just important how we keep improving until playoffs, and if we get placed in a bad playoffs seed, and we meet a really hard team, we still have a lot to focus on. I don’t think we needed a momentum boost, but it’s always nice after we lose to G2 — even though they have definitely improved.
KM: H2K and UoL may have had a somewhat questionable week, so do you think that your group may a be a little bit weaker?
MH: Well, I definitely think that if you take like the average of the group, like all the five teams, I think that Group B is actually stronger. If you take Vitality, Mysterious Monkeys, and all the other three teams, the group is really competitive, and I believe that a lot of upsets can happen with the overall strength of the group.
But I still think that Fnatic and G2 — they are looking on the upswing right now, so they are still dominant, but they can always be beaten of course. If you look at the top teams, I could agree with you that Group A might be slightly stronger.
KM: Of UoL and H2K — or maybe a different team in your group — which team are you most worried about?
MH: Well, I think, in the past, just like how I look at the game and how I see other teams play, I definitely respect H2K the most when they play. I think they understand the game way more than Unicorns, for example. I think they have good players: players that play in a way where they wouldn’t get punished internationally against really good teams. They will not get — they know how to play the lane and play the game in a general way where they will not just get rolled over.
I think Unicorns is kind of this team where, maybe they can catch you off guard one time, but with their play style, they really have to change a lot of things in order to beat the best teams and improve and be a threat internationally if they make it somewhere.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games