Splyce’s decision to let go of head coach Fayan “Gevous” Pertijs just two weeks before the end of European League of Legends Championship Series summer split surprised the League of Legends community. To an extent, the team assuaged fans’ concerns by decisively defeating the Mysterious Monkeys 2-0 in its first match with manager and head of esports Hans Christian “Liq” Dürr on stage. Following the set, mid laner Chres “Sencux” Laursen spoke with Slingshot’s Kelsey Moser about the team’s decisions in the games, the departure of Gevous, and his continued faith in the five-man group.
Kelsey Moser: This series was a little bit interesting because of the mid lane matchup in Game 1. Would you have picked Katarina into your comp like CozQ did?
Chres “Sencux” Laursen: I think, yeah, it would be one of the few scenarios where it would be good in this meta because we actually didn’t have that much CC, and it’s kind of easy to dodge Jarvan combo as Katarina. But I think in general the pick in a tank meta is not the strongest because there’s so much CC in general, and there’s CC junglers like Sejuani, Gragas, Maokai, where you can’t do anything.
It’s a fine matchup into Taliyah in general because it’s really impossible to hit your W if it’s a good Katarina, but I just don’t think the pick is that good in general.
KM: There was actually an interesting adaptation when your junglers traded sides, and yours went top, and then your bottom lane went to the mid. I’ve seen this rotation in a couple of games before. What situations do you think that this kind of rotation is good?
CL: In general, if we go top side, and we go for top lane dive, bot lane could stand at their second tower and watch their tower fall, or they could do something else, so instead of just looking there — they know they will get dived on — they will just go into mid, and we can gain some pressure that way around. And so we actually use every single member instead of just having to — not doing anything in our base.
KM: Is it a timing thing that makes you decide to do this compared to going top or backing?
CL: If you have to base, then sure, you can go base and get tempo advantage. But if you don’t have to, and you pretty much just came out of whatever, and you have time, and you don’t want to base, then you can look for that play instead.
KM: I’ve also been asking players about how Rift Herald and dragon priority has changed. Some teams think it’s changed a bit since 7.14. Do you have any thoughts on that?
CL: It’s hard to say because dragons are so different from every game. It depends on what dragon is there. I think before it was really easy for the Kha’Zix to solo the drake at Level 6 or whatever because of his ult. His ult buff on the Q. But it’s a bit harder now with these tank junglers, and you need a bit of help. I don’t know, I think Rift Herald is still really strong. There’s all these mid mages who are really strong when mid tower’s up, so they have a short lane to play on. But as soon as it falls for an Orianna or something, she feels way more pressured, and she can’t really play safe with her ball. She has to respect a lot more because she’s low mobility and easy to catch out, so I think it kind of depends on the game what champions there is in the game. I think most of the time there are a lot of mages mid (control mages), so I think Herald is still pretty strong in general.
KM: Has the dragon priority changed at all in terms of which dragons you think are best?
CL: Nah, I think it’s always more contested when there’s an Infernal Drake. I think Ocean Drake is really strong early, and I think Mountain Drake is good for teams who want to bait Nash, especially I don’t think that structure damage on Towers and stuff doesn’t really matter too much, but it’s mainly that you can bait Nash way faster, and the enemy team panics a bit more if you have two or three Mountain Drakes. It still matters — obviously, Wind Drake is good if you want to rotate, but I think one Wind Drake is pretty useless.
KM: You guys had a pretty high priority on the Xayah. After Caitlyn and Kalista were off the board, you went for the Xayah both games. What about Xayah right now is really appealing?
CL: It’s just a strong pick in general. It scales pretty well. It partners with Rakan. I mean I don’t know, I don’t know bot lane, but it’s pretty much just what we’re more comfortable with at the moment, and that’s pretty much why we played it. I can’t really go into more detail than that. I don’t want to give too much away either. It’s mainly just that it’s a strong pick overall, and you can see that in other regions as well.
KM: There was a bit of a moment in the second game where you guys got really far ahead, and there weren’t really any objectives to contest until the Baron spawned, and then you rushed. In those types of scenarios, what are team comms or general plans like?
CL: In those scenarios, it’s pretty hard to break the second line of towers without Nash. The first tower line was pretty easy, especially since we were stomping mid and bot. I think with our team, it’s really easy for us to bait them in Morgana binds, and we have a lot of CC, but we don’t want to run into an Orianna ult or Jarvan and stuff like this, so in general, we just kind of took it slow, and we don’t really get out-scaled before four items, and we can still play it slow on Nash and still win the game from there. That’s pretty much the plan. No one panics, usually in that situation. Just pretty much stay calm and play for the plan.
KM: With the new patch and everything, there have been a few small tweaks to a lot of mid lane champions in the new patch like Lux, Ziggs, things like this. Is there anything in this patch that really stands out to you? Or are you saving something?
CL: There’s one pick that really stands out, and I’m probably not going to say it, but in terms of the Lux and Ziggs, I don’t think Lux is a strong mid champ at all. I think that the Q is so easy to dodge. It’s kind of like the Nidalee meme. If you have a mouse, then it should be too hard to run around it. I used to play Lux in the past against Leblanc, but that was a bit different because she actually was forced to hit her W on Leblanc, so you will have a free bind, but now she is kind of all like a Q bot. I’m not a big fan of Lux.
Ziggs (laughs), ee was played bot lane last, so maybe you have to ask Kobbe about that. I’m not sure.
KM: Of course, recently the news came out that you guys parted ways with Gevous. First of all, from your perspective as a player, how did the team come to this decision or realize it wasn’t working out?
CL: We didn’t feel like we had the best environment in terms of how we synergize with the coach and how it was in the house. I’m not going to go into details of what has happened and stuff like this, but in general there was just a lack of proper communication between us and the coach, and it wasn’t a good fit. Let’s just say it like that. That’s why we decided that it’s probably better at this time that we parted ways and do it like this.
KM: When you say “coach synergy,” it’s a bit broad, and you don’t have to go into specifics on Gevous or Yamato, but what kind of stuff do you look for that makes you think “OK, this is going to work out,” or what, in your mind, makes a good coach?
CL: Like, it’s different from team to team, right? Some teams need a guy who can take over and be kind of the military guy who says whatever you want to do and set people up for success and not be the kind of analyst type instead. That’s like — we kind of needed something in that order in a way. That’s what we — Yamato is a bit more strict in that way. There’s just a lot of different types of coaches where I just don’t think that we fit too much with Fayan (or Gevous).
KM: So you think Splyce is a team that wants more of a coach that kind of organizes the plans a bit more or in game tells you what to do? What type of authority are you looking for?
CL: It’s really hard to say, I think. I think it really depends on the person because you cannot make it perfect of both. It’s really hard, especially in esports right now, because there is not too many coaches, and most of them are ex-players, and there’s not too many coaches that have experience with being a — so to say — leader because you kind of are as a coach. You kind of need to be the guy with the last voice, in a way, I feel. So for our team, I think some structure in the way we can use our players, probably. That could probably help us. It’s hard to say for me, I really don’t know.
KM: Maybe it’s kind of a you’ll know it when you find it sort of thing.
CL: Yeah, exactly.
KM: Trashy said something interesting when I talked to him. All five of you said how great your environment is, and he said to an extent this can almost have its negatives. When you’re looking for ways to improve, and you don’t criticize each other as much. Do you kind of agree with that sentiment?
CL: Sometimes, maybe. I think it can happen from time to time because people don’t want to — so to say — trigger each other, but I still feel like all the time, if there’s something really important, that people will bring it up and talk about it, and not just be the — I think that environment would make a bad environment in a way because then we would all be mad at each other at something. It doesn’t have to be in-game related, it can be out-game related in the house if someone doesn’t do the dishes properly, and some guy gets triggered, but he doesn’t say anything.
I think it’s really important to criticize each other, to have a proper relationship between the team. We still do that. I can agree with him to some extent that maybe sometimes people don’t want to put too much salt into the wound.
KM: It seems like a lot of you have a lot faith in this roster because you’re young, and you see a high ceiling. Do you have a rough timeline in your head of when everything should click, and you become the best team in Europe?
CL: I don’t know. I think our ceiling is very high, and I think everybody proved to be really strong in our respective roles in general. I know I’ve had a lot of criticism, especially last year, but I feel like I’ve kind of reversed that to some extent at least. But in general, Kobbe and Miky are a really strong bot lane mechanically, Wunder is a really good top laner, Trashy is a really smart jungler, so I think we have the tools. I just think we — we’ve had so many ups and downs this year that it kind of got into our — so to say — discipline of our game play, and sometimes we disrespect a bit. It doesn’t matter, actually, what opponent we play against, it’s just kind of stupid mistakes sometimes that all of us could possibly do, and that’s where we kind of throw the ball, and there’s been some negativity in the past that lead to other stuff. That’s why I still believe in the players, and we still enjoy each other’s’ company. If there was someone on the team who didn’t fit in the group, obviously it would be different, but I feel like everybody has a say, and we’re all good friends — even Miky, who is Slovenian.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games