G2 Esports qualified for its fourth European League of Legends Championship Series final in a row after defeating H2K Gaming 3-0 in last week’s semifinal. Following the series, mid laner Luka “Perkz” Perkovic spoke with Slingshot’s Kelsey Moser about Cassiopeia matchups, his mental state during the difficult quarterfinal against Splyce, and looking forward to playing Misfits and attending the League of Legends World Championship.
Kelsey Moser: The mid lane matchup – Cassiopeia vs. Orianna – it feels now this is a matchup that can go either way. Would you talk more about this matchup?
Luka “Perkz” Perkovic: Yeah, I think Cassiopeia/Orianna matchups (Cassiopeia/Orianna, Cassiopeia/Syndra) are really 50-50 because Cassiopeia can always win the 1-v-1 matchup, but sometimes she might be weaker in 2-v-2s if she gets CC’d. Also, Cassiopeia, in order to win the 1-v-1 matchup, she has to play really aggressive: always walk up and hit every Q and E, E, E, and dodge spells. So it’s kind of like a skill, but it’s really easy to do it anyway, like anyone can do it nowadays. Everyone can dodge spells and play aggressive with Cassio. But if you have a losing bot lane matchup, that means the enemy support can always walk mid, and you can’t play as aggressive.
For example, in Game 3 against H2K, my bot lane had a losing bot matchup, so I was not playing aggressive early, and I was getting chunked by Syndra. And Syndra didn’t use one potion, and I used three. So he was winning lane pretty hard. I had to play like that in order to not die to ganks. After that, he just made a misplay, and he died 1-v-1, but he was still 10 CS up.
Deaths – if these kinds of misplays don’t happen, I will not be winning that lane because bot lane can always move, but I would be scaling really fine. Cassiopeia scales pretty well. Just has like a weak mid game hole against Syndra, Orianna matchups. Syndra, Orianna in mid game, however, are stronger in team fights. It depends on comps, but most of the time Syndra, Orianna have an edge in team fights on two items, you know? They will one shot your whole team. They will never one shot Cassio because Cassio has Abyssal Mask, but they will do more damage to other champions than Cassio can.
But then Cassio – in later stages outscales them really hard, and she can win lane really hard, so it’s like a trade off, you know? I felt pretty confident playing these matchups, and we practice a lot in scrims, so we just picked it, and it went good today.
KM: Was the jungle matchup a consideration at all?
LP: The jungle matchup is also a consideration. If you have Zac or something, it’s kind of hard to play. Like, for example, in Fnatic series yesterday, they played Cassio-Gragas against Zac-Syndra, and Fnatic mid-jungle – they’re just really horrible, honestly. Zac didn’t lose one camp, I think, so Gragas didn’t do anything with pushing, mid, bot, and top, I think, and Caps was not even winning lane early with so much pressure. And after that, he died to a gank, which is like really hard to avoid because his jungler didn’t do anything also, and he just got stunned into one shot, so that was one mistake.
And he still was fine in lane again after he got Catalyst. On Tear with Cassio on first base, you’re actually strong (in terms of damage), but you’re also weak because they have one shot potential. When you get a Tear and Catalyst, you’re really really strong because it’s hard to die to ganks. Cassio is a really strong champ, but it’s also punishable.
Last week, when I played Cassio, I got really hard attention on my lane, and I was not playing so well. I was playing too aggro or too careless, and I was dying to ganks. So just a weird champ to play. It’s really hard. You have to have good draft and play good and communicate a lot with your team.
KM: It’s interesting that you brought up the game yesterday with Cassiopeia – Gragas against the Zac. I heard some of the commentators say that the Zac should be strong into Cassiopeia.
LP: I disagree. Every time I played against Zac as Cassiopeia, I was 1-v-2 killing enemy jungler. If Cassio misplays, she can die really easy to ganks, but it’s also like – if she has a weaker a team around her, then she can also not pressure. So it just depends on so many factors also.
KM: A difference between this week and last week was that this week we’ve seen a lot more attention paid to Jarvan in particular. Last week, you played Cassiopeia into Galio-Jarvan, and this week you paid more attention the Cassio-Jarvan dynamic. Do you think Jarvan is an important factor for Cassio?
LP: Personally, I just don’t want to go by too much because we play Misfits next week, but I think Jarvan is just a strong champion right now. It’s a flex pick, and it’s pretty strong jungler itself. It’s AD, and now there’s all APs. That just makes him a strong champion right now. I don’t want to go into Jarvan-Galio comps because some people disagree, you know. Some people think Jarvan-Galio is OP, some people think it’s not OP. It just depends.
KM: The Cho’Gath priority changed for H2K. You played Cho’Gath the first game, and in the second and third game, H2K really prioritized it. There was the first pick Cho’Gath in the third game. What do you think about blind Cho’Gath?
LP: Cho’Gath has some counterpicks, like playing early game stuff. Like we saw Khan playing Jayce, but you can’t really compare anyone to Khan. This guy is just so insane. No one will have as much success with Jayce against Cho’Gath as Khan had, so I don’t think we will see a counterpick in EU or even NA.
Cho’Gath makes like – it’s safe lane, pretty much. It scales really well, and also makes split-pushers a lot less annoying because you can just go to Nash. At 20 minutes, you can just focus Nash and get vision or force a fight. Or force a Nash. You just – it’s pretty straightforward gameplay. And it’s pretty straightforward how to play against it. It just depends who has better team fights in the end and who wins the fight. It’s a really stupid meta right now.
KM: One of the last times we talked, we talked about Sejuani and Gragas. Were you picking Sejuani in part because H2K were prioritizing the Gragas, or is just comfortable for Trick?
LP: I think it’s a comfort pick, and it’s also just a tank. If Gragas is picked, you want to pick Sejuani. If Sejuani is picked, you want to pick Gragas most of the time. There’s not much more to it. You just want to have two tanks in your comp almost always unless you are really confident in snowballing early game with with the likes of Leblanc, Elise and stuff.
KM: First game, H2K was doing a lot better than the other two games, and then there was the Baron steal by Trick (Perkz starts laughing), which the audience found really exciting. What were comms like?
LP: Honestly, he was just really insane. First game, early game, H2K was playing pretty good in every lane. I could feel we were getting pressured, but enemy mid lane traded flashes with me. My jungler missed the ult, which was really free kill, so I had to control myself. I had to stay mindful and “Kay, it’s fine,” and next time, he missed the ult again. I had to stay mindful again. It was fine. I survived it.
Then, he stole Nash, and then I was like “Oh, he’s really insane.” Then my mindfulness was really good because he timed the Nunu Q – like he saw the animation and smited right after, so he’s just a Nunu pro. He got the Nash there. But H2K had two Mountain drakes, and I think they could have choked us out more with their champions. I’m pretty sure they had a lot of catch like Cassio and something else – they could have played it better, I think.
They just rushed it because they had two Mountain drakes and Nunu and Cassio. I would understand, you know — you would understand. You think it’s 100 percent secure Nash. After that, we got a lot of pressure back in game. We got five turrets. Then they got one Nash, and only one turret, and after that they lose in team fights no matter what, so they got out-scaled, honestly. Sejuani compared to Nunu in team fights is a huge difference.
But I don’t think their strategy was bad. Nunu is a good pick with winning lanes. They almost – they could have won. They could have gotten Nash and maybe snowballed from that. I can’t say.
KM: What do you think of a narrative that was popping up a lot on the cast or on Twitter – the idea that H2K’s compositions were too passive in the second and third games?
LP: The narrative of playing passive comps is just a meme. There’s no such thing as passive comps right now. There’s only comps that can’t engage straight up. Go Sejuani ult or something. Every comp has its purpose: either winning lane or playing around objectives (drake, Nashor) or pushing. Whatever. Every champion has its purpose, so there’s no such thing as passive comps, there is just wrong play – passive play, whatever you’re going to call it. Or just misplaying or losing lane.
I don’t know. Their bot lane got 2v2 killed almost every game, so there’s obviously misplays. Maybe in draft? I think they had a worse bot lane matchup, so they die, you know, but you should never die, even when you have a worse matchup.
KM: Between this week and last week, I noticed that it seemed like you and Trick were coordinating around mid (even if sometimes he was missing his ult) a bit more, whereas last week, especially Game 4 against Splyce, there was a lot of attention from the enemy team mid. Did you adjust this because of this series?
LP: Honestly, before the Splyce series, we had pretty successful scrims – for already a couple weeks or four weeks or something, we had a strong scrim partner. We practice a lot, but we also lose scrims. We learn a lot, and we really play well as a team playing around priority, getting vision, clearing vision, getting priorities and such, but against Splyce, it was only me. I mean, I don’t think it was only me because maybe there was some miscalls and some not taking vision together. Or something.
Everyone could have – someone could have done more calls or played better, but usually I do this kind of stuff early game together with mithy and Trick. I call when enemy has priority so we don’t put wards down for no reason, and we just talk a lot in the early game. We talk a lot about our plan, but that series, I lost my focus. I don’t know why it was. It was the first time this year – the first time ever that I actually just lost focus. I drank like two cups of coffee instead of one. I was really – I was talkative, but I was just making wrong calls. I was playing horrible, not respecting priorities, trying to 1-v-2 when I couldn’t, and dying to Tahm Kench roam. In the Corki game, I was straight up inting. I saw them in the bush, and I still died to Sejuani.
Honestly, I was just inting in the early games. I still played good in team fights afterwards, like every game, so there is that. I didn’t int the whole series. If I did that, I would never be able to forgive myself. In Game Five, when we were losing, I thought for a second “What if we actually lose this series? I will fucking kill myself,” you know? Not like that, you know, but I will be really disappointed in myself.
These thoughts came for like five seconds, and then I cleared my mind, and I said “Guys, we can win still. We still have late game,” just to reassure my whole team, but it was basically just reassuring myself. Honestly, I thought we were going to lose because they had a better comp. Honestly, they did. They just straight up had better 5v5 comp. We outplayed them. There’s always – these moments can happen, like these clutch moments. You should never give up. I reminded myself, and we won in the end, and that felt really special. I was proud of myself in that moment.
KM: This will be G2’s fourth final in a row. I don’t think anyone in a major region except LMS has won four in a row. Is this something you guys have been thinking about?
LP: Honestly – it has. I don’t want it to affect me too much. I don’t want it to be like I have to do this or die. Do or die, you know? I don’t want it to be like that because I just like to play it chill and without so much pressure. Like today, I didn’t feel so much pressure. Splyce series, I felt so much pressure. I just wanted it to be chill, and if I lose, it’s OK. I have reached my fourth finals. I thought of it as – if I win, I will be so proud of myself and the team because I feel like I am leaving a legacy behind.
Even if next split, we disband or people will leave, you know – or God knows what happens. Maybe LCS format changes, or whatever. It’s gonna be this legacy, and no one else has ever done it besides Flash Wolves right now, OK. But Flash Wolves is like a solo team in LMS, so (laughs).
It honestly feels a bit special. I’m really working my hardest. I’m trying extremely hard just to win now again. I don’t want to put so much pressure on myself, but generally I’m putting pressure on myself because I want this title of four splits in a row. It feels special, but I’m trying to work with my mind, and it’s OK if I lose, but I will not lose.
KM: Misfits, though, this was kind of the surprise of the playoffs.
LP: Honestly, it really was, yeah. It really, really was.
KM: What do you think – when you have watched their games, what do you feel has been the biggest difference for them between playoffs and regular season?
LP: Well, honestly, first thing, I think their drafts have been better. Second thing, their individual players stepped up. PowerOfEvil and Hans Sama looked honestly really good against Fnatic. I think Rekkles looked better than Hans in the Fnatic series individually, but PowerOfEvil was hard out-performing Caps in every single game.
Their teamplay was a lot better. PowerOfEvil said in the interview their calls were decisive and stuff. They just looked like a strong team, and I can’t take it away from them. I know I called them Discount G2 before, but now it’s their chance to prove they’re maybe better than G2 or they’re still Discount G2.
KM: For worlds, last time worlds was a hard time for you. Do you have any particular goal this time around?
LP: I just want to take it step by step. First, I want to prepare with my team in the boot camp. Honestly, my goal is to get out of groups, because if we get out of groups, I am really confident still that we can win against any team (even Korean teams) if we prepare hard enough. I am really confident that, in best-of-fives, we are really, really strong, and in best-of-ones, we just have to try to figure out the meta really good. Even if we don’t, we should play the champs that we play and not change our priorities one day before at worlds, which is what we did last year. Stick to our shit.
Just play it out and, if we get out of groups – usually meta shakes out after one week of group stage, and you can adapt for second week of group stage, and then you can again adapt after groups because then it’s like everything almost figured out on stage. What are the best champs and how to play – that’s what we’re going to look to do. Our goal is to get out of groups first, and then take it step by step.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games