Although Team Dignitas was not expected to beat Cloud9, the larger surprise of the weekend came from Team EnVyUs‘ series against Counter Logic Gaming. Envy lost the series as expected but fought to all five games, nearly upsetting the heavily-favored CLG in the quarterfinals of the North American League of Legends Championship Series playoffs. Emily Rand sat down with Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer after the match to talk about Envy’s summer split and what’s next for Nisqy moving forward.
Emily Rand: You had to wait a bit past your scheduled time to play while the European LCS playoff match finished. How does that affect the team, if at all?
Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer: It affects us a bit, I think? For me, I was ready to play (on time), right? And I prepared mentally and stuff and then I actually didn’t know that we would have to wait for EU. Once we knew that, it was all right. I think the worst case would have been if we had to play after the fourth game. If G2 won 3-1 and we would have had to play immediately at 1 or something, but it went to five games so we had time to prepare again mentally. Right around the last few seconds (during Game 4), they told us to go onstage and if Splyce won, we could go back to our rooms, but if G2 won we had to play right away. We wouldn’t have been able to prepare as well mentally.
ER: A lot of people were calling this series an easy CLG 3-0, but you brought it to all five games. What did you expect and how did Envy prepare for this series?
YD: (laughs) I mean, I thought we were going to get smashed. CLG is a top team right now. I think their coach is quite good since their macro is actually good. Our macro is a bit worse. I think they would smash us normally, but we defended ourselves really well. We played the game at what I think our maximum level is right now actually. I don’t think we could have played better than that. Maybe the fifth game could have been better, but the first four games we played clean, or we tried our best. We just saw what they wanted to do and I’m happy it went to five games because I thought we were just going to get smashed. Everyone was thinking we were going to get smashed because it’s Envy, coming off relegations, things like that.
ER: How did it feel to defy community expectations, or your own expectations?
YD: I mean, for me, I think we’re all actually pretty happy. Our team and our organization in general, I hope they’re happy with our performance. I don’t think they would have expected us to come to playoffs at first, and then go to five games against CLG as well. I think they’re just proud of us, and I’m quite happy that we showed that we’re not that bad.
ER: You really focused on attacking CLG in the early game, either through jungle invades or strong wave clear and pushing lanes. Was this something your team specifically prepared for CLG based on their performance, or was it more something to play to your own strengths?
YD: We didn’t really know what they would prioritize, or what team comps they would run because we hadn’t seen them play in a long time. And the meta changed as well. At first I was scared of Lucian a bit because I saw that Huhi played a shit-ton of Lucian in solo queue. But they just banned it five games straight because I think that they knew it is my favorite pick right now.
After the first game, we knew that they went for more scaling comps, losing bot lane, farming mid. We just tried to take advantage of it by mid pressure and bot pressure, and invading the CLG jungle 24/7, and that worked out quite well. That’s it.
ER: You mentioned the meta shift and a lot of eyes were on mid lane as a point of focus or change. From this specific series we saw a mixture of standard picks and then a few off-meta picks like Huhi’s Vel’Koz, which is a specific pocket pick for him, and your AD Kog’Maw. Talk to me about the Kog’Maw and why you chose that pick specifically.
YD: Fifth game I had the choice between Syndra and Kog’Maw at the end because those were the two champions after bans that I felt really comfortable playing into Corki. And I decided to not ban the Corki and go for the pocket pick against CLG, so when they picked the Corki, we knew that we had to play more slow in the early game, and I don’t think we did a good job of that. CLG knew how to play against hypercarries or Kog’Maws. They did a really good job of splitting us 1-3-1 or just not fighting when they knew we would win by fighting. So, I guess I just tried to carry the team if they would trust me. I asked them if they wanted me to go Syndra and farm and go for lanes, or I could go for Kog and try to carry the game if they played good around me so they said I could take the Kog, so I went for the Kog.
ER: For you, this is the end of your first professional split. How do you think it went?
YD: I think it went pretty good because I think Envy didn’t really know whether they would go for relegations this year. I think they more expected maybe eighth place? But I don’t think they expected us to get to playoffs. For my part, I’m happy. I think I played OK against most of the mids, especially against Bjergsen and Jensen I think I played, I’m not going to say high level, but at a good level where I can learn from them. If I can play more splits against Jensen and Bjergsen I can learn a lot more and I’m excited to play more against them and just play more.
ER: So what’s next for you as a player?
YD: I’m not sure. First I will go back to my family, maybe take one or two weeks vacation because I haven’t had vacation in I guess two years? Because I tried to be a pro player, and that’s what most pros are doing, not taking vacations and focusing on League 24/7. But our team will be taking a break so I’m just going to go home, chill, stream. I’m not sure yet.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games