Loulex on jungling at Rift Rivals: “If every lane is pushing, then usually the game is pretty doomed.”

After a brief break from competing, ex-H2K and Schalke 04 jungler Jean-Victor “loulex” Burgevin recently joined Cloud9 as a positional coach. He accompanied the team to Rift Rivals, where it placed last among the three North American representatives, but still finished with three wins over the European competition. After the final day of the group stage, loulex spoke with Slingshot’s Kelsey Moser about his new position, jungling from a disadvantage in the context of Rift Rivals, and Pathing Nirvana.

Kelsey Moser: Based on your abridged intro video, you’ve come to Cloud9 to help the support staff. Could you describe in more detail what your role is on the team?

Jean-Victor “loulex” Burgevin: Okay, so, my role this split is I just watch the scrims, and I try to give my perspective on what I think we could have done better as a team. Even though my official title is positional coach, I try to give more macro advice and not focus on Contractz (Juan Artuto Garcia) or whatever. Because if I was a jungler and another jungler comes in the gaming house and tries to give me tips about anything like pathing, I would get really triggered. I try to stick to just general macro stuff. Of course from time to time, I will give him some tips here and there, but it’s not super often. I try to stick to macro stuff typically.

KM: This is more to do with how the team is moving on the map and lane assignments than where Contractz should be around lanes?

JB: It’s just everything, you know? Pretty much like Reapered (Bok Han-gyu) does his review or whatever, and I add what I think was not said or what I saw. It’s kind of like a third perspective or whatever. It’s not like it’s only like macro, it’s just that anything I see that I feel we don’t discuss, I just say it, pretty much.

KM: You said that if another jungler is giving you advice, you would be triggered. Do you think that there’s an objectively best way to jungle or correct jungle decision to make at a given moment?

JB: I think there is not one perfect way to play jungle. People have different play styles, so for example, I would be more efficiency-focused, I guess. Contractz is — he’s still efficient, but I’d say he’s a bit more gank-focused than I am, for example. We just have slightly different play styles, so I can’t really give him advice on what I would do every game because I would play every game slightly different. I don’t think that’s the right way to coach someone if you would tell him what to do in his position unless it’s like something that would be good all the time.

KM: This tournament, there have been a lot of weird drafts with three pushing lanes for one team, and the enemy team doesn’t really have a lot of options. If you’re jungler against a team with three pushing lanes in the early game, how do you play against that?

JB: It’s fucking hard to play against that. If you have certain picks, maybe you can find ways to make things happen in a lane that gets pushed, but it’s typically pretty hard. But if you’re playing like Lee Sin against Kha’Zix, maybe you can do stuff like gank and shit, but if every lane is pushing, then usually the game is pretty doomed. It’s kind of hard to get control. I don’t think there is a specific thing that you can do.

KM: As a symptom of this, the NA junglers in particular are getting a lot of praise. Do you think this is more an issue with different understandings of the game between regions, or is it just NA junglers being so good at this event?

JB: I’m not sure. I think it’s hard to judge a jungler because it’s so reliant on your laners. So — I don’t want to pick on people specifically, but for example if a mid loses lane quite a lot, it might be hard for his jungler to look good. If a laner wins his lane a lot, it’s easier for his jungler to look good. I just think NA teams played better overall, and it’s not necessarily that NA junglers are being way better than EU junglers. I think it’s more like NA teams played better as a whole, I think.

KM: So your team Cloud9 won’t be representing NA, but we have the TSM vs G2 series going on. Which team do you think will represent NA better between TSM and P1?

JB: *laughs* I don’t know, the team with the most points. That’s pretty much how it works, I mean, if you have more points, it means you are most likely better. But I think everyone got a bit surprised at P1’s performance, so I guess everyone is kind of skeptical or whatever if they are actually this good or no. So if you ask me, I guess TSM would be better to represent NA, but it’s just because we didn’t expect P1 to perform this good, so we don’t know if they are this good or got lucky because of best-of-ones. So I guess maybe TSM, but I’d like to see the team with the most points play, I guess.

KM: You said earlier that you emphasize efficiency in jungling, but Contractz emphasizes ganking a bit more. Why do you specifically prefer this style or method of jungling?

JB: First off, it’s kind of safer because it’s hard to fuck up the game if you are efficient. It’s not that I like to play for myself only or that I am super selfish, but my ideal best style is to try to fuck the enemy jungler instead of fucking the enemy laners. So I like to set up invades if my lanes are pushing and stuff like this. I mean, it’s just how I like to play the game, you know? I think on stage, ganking works. It’s just hard to pull off sometimes, whereas being efficient and trying to fuck the enemy jungler fits me better or I feel like it’s more reliable ganking. Of course, some ganks are going to work 100 percent of the time if you see a good opportunity, but I don’t like to go for 50-50 ganks or something.

KM: Do you think that this style is more draft reliant since pushing lanes are a bit of a condition?

JB: Yeah, I mean typically you should have at least one lane pushing or you really fucked up the draft, so of course it’s reliant on having pushing lanes.

KM: In your head, do you have the stages of Pathing Nirvana mapped out?

JB: No.

KM: How do you know you’ve entered the threshold of Pathing Nirvana?

JB: The threshold for Pathing Nirvana is being two levels over the enemy jungler.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Raphie Rosen

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