Fnatic finished the final week of the European League of Legends Championship Series (EU LCS) summer split with a 2-0 against the reigning kings of Europe, G2 Esports. The victory was a welcome respite for the team after a loss to Ninjas in Pyjamas earlier in the split. Following the set, support Jesse “Jesiz” Le sat down with Slingshot’s Kelsey Moser to discuss bottom lane picks, the change in draft priority from the NiP to the G2 series, and his predictions for their semifinal opponent.
Kelsey Moser: There was some interesting support priority in draft. G2 went from Alistar to Janna. Do you feel like you can blind Janna?
Jesse “Jesiz” Le: I think you can blind Janna if your AD carry is Tristana or Sivir and the opponent doesn’t have Thresh. That’s it.
Tristana and Sivir are good against Blitzcrank, for example, and the only one that’s really a threat to Janna is Blitzcrank and Thresh, I guess. I think if you have Tristana with Janna and Thresh is out, there’s no threat at all.
KM: You went for the Karma, which we haven’t really seen for a while. I’ve heard a lot of Karma shit talk.
JL: Yeah, I’m one of the bigger Karma shit-talkers, but I think specifically, against Janna, and with two tanks, I think it’s a good pick. You have push against Janna always, and you match Ardent Censer. You can give Ardent Censer to five people. And it’s good in a team comp where you have two tanks that want to run in. Karma is a good match to Janna if Karma has a good team comp and is good vs. the opposing team comp.
KM: We saw what I feel was an adaptation around the kinds of things you were prioritizing in draft between your series vs. NiP and today. You went for much more engage, for example. Was that something you were actively talking about?
JL: Yeah, I think the NiP series was an example of what we had been practicing the entire week. I think the practice the entire week was not that great. There was this general frustration here and there. Certain people wanted to play certain things, and everyone wasn’t really happy with that. Our team comps were just messy and didn’t really make sense at all. They were just random champions with random champions, really. After our NiP loss, we just quickly sat down and said “Well, look at our pick/ban, this is the worst thing I’ve ever seen, you know?”
So we just said “Well, what did we play last week?” We just sort of copied that and did it again and played it in scrims the day before G2.
KM: You said something after your first series against NiP on broadcast, I think — NicoThePico knowing your draft priority. Was there anything like that going on?
JL: No, not this time, around, no. It was just ourselves. We were trolling.
KM: There was a little bit of speculation — obviously, we had the ROCCAT/Misfits series beforehand where they were trolling. This series obviously meant something to you guys. Could you talk a little bit about what that was?
JL: I think, in my eyes, especially for a team that’s going to play quarters, I think trolling the week before — onstage, where you could get fantastic practice (stage games are way better practice than scrims), I just don’t see a reason to waste that practice. I just thought that was incredibly stupid my Misfits. They just didn’t use an opportunity. I don’t know if they disrespected who they are going to face in quarters, or they just didn’t think about it, but personally I thought that was stupid, and that’s why we didn’t do it. We just tried to get the best out of it because we were facing an amazing opponent in G2 and tried our best to get something out of it learning-wise.
KM: The Rumble pick is interesting because you guys played it against NiP, and G2 played, and some would argue that, on this patch, it’s a bit overrated. Do you have a feeling on Rumble?
JL: I think Rumble is not that great. I’m not sure why we picked it. I guess there weren’t really other top laners, and we just kind of first timed it. I don’t know why G2 picked it. I haven’t really looked at the team comps or looked at the draft since playing it. Personally, I don’t think Rumble is that great — especially against long range ADs with Ardent Censer who are just gonna literally three shot Rumble or two shot Rumble, and he’s just not going to do anything because there’s just too much tankiness and shields and shit.
KM: All the top teams, except for maybe H2K, had some trouble this week against teams they weren’t expected to drop games against. Do you have any idea as to what was going wrong?
JL: I think, also especially against NiP, we just saw G2 lose before our game against NiP, so we knew we were going to be first place, and the match literally didn’t mean anything. And that was like in our heads like 10 minutes before we go on stage. I think that might have affected us as well.
I have no excuses for G2 losing to ROCCAT, but I think that was also a factor to why we lost to NiP.
KM: Going into playoffs, obviously you have secured your bye. You’ll face Splyce or winner of Misfits vs UoL. What kind of opponent are you expecting to face?
JL: I think we’re going to face Misfits because Misfits is a team that’s very reactive, and Unicorns is a team that’s very proactive, but Unicorns are currently very bad, so — from my eyes — Misfits’ style is going to beat Unicorns because their style is good against theirs. And they’re better, at the moment, so I expect to face — and I imagine, I expect G2 to win against Splyce, so I expect (I know I said expect many times) to face Misfits.
And we will stomp Misfits because they’re terrible.
KM: You said that Unicorns are very bad right now. Do you feel like this is something that happened to them post-Rift Rivals? Is it patch related? What do you think is causing UoL to struggle?
JL: I think it’s meta-related and mid lane-related. That’s all I can say.
KM: I wanted to ask a little bit more about Ardent Censer. What impact is it having, not just on bottom lane, but the rest of the map?
JL: I think as soon as you get the Ardent Censer, if the opposing bottom lane doesn’t have Ardent Censer, you just cannot lose a skirmish. The enemy team, if they don’t have fantastic wave clear, they can’t hold sieges. They can’t contest any objectives. They can’t do anything. The Ardent Censer power spike is just too huge.
I think the counter play is that you delay the Ardent Censer buy by some minutes or whatever by either punishing the lane or whatever it takes. But, currently, there are a lot of lanes where Ardent Censer champions just get free lane, and there’s just little to no counter play.
KM: Your team likes Ashe, but until recently, most EU teams have said Varus is better or Ashe is not that good in EU. What about Ashe is good for you guys?
JL: I think that the difference between Ashe and Varus, in my eyes, is that Varus is building Blade, and Ashe is not. And I think Blade champions, unless it’s Twitch or Kog’Maw (sometimes), building Blade is just terrible, I think. I think you need to have a champion that builds a strong flat AD item like Essence Reaver or IE so that item can match with Ardent Censer.
I think that Varus going Blade is — like imagine his opponent is Ashe, and Ashe gets Essence Reaver at the same time as Blade, Ashe with an Ardent Censer compared to Varus with an Ardent Censer is just going to do 20 times more, that’s why I think Ashe is better than Varus.
KM: Your series against NiP wasn’t the only series where you have had some difficulty recently. What’s a major focus for your team that you’re working on going into playoffs?
JL: There’s the new patch, and on the new patch, there’s a lot of mid lane changes, so I think that’s going to be a big focus of ours. I’m not sure any specifics that we’re going to focus on, but definitely mid lane changes.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games