UoL coach Sheepy: “I think that Rift Rivals will be a wake-up call to many EU teams to work harder.”

After a disappointing 3-0 loss in the Rift Rivals finals to TSM, we had the chance to talk to the Unicorns of Love head coach Sheepy about the team’s overall performance, EU weaknesses and the UoL fans.

How do you feel right now?

It sucks. It really does. We have to sit back down, practice and look at what went wrong. But first we need some time to calm down, reset and get back into things with a fresh mindset. Everyone will have a day off doing whatever they want to do so we can get back into things afterwards.

Given that you guys started the tournament with an 0-2 score but still managed to get to the finals, are you happy with the team’s overall performance?

I think we’re not too happy with our performance. We had a few games where we were able to show what we’re about, a few games that we won even though we didn’t perform as well as we wanted, but overall we need to work on our consistency. There also have been mistakes when looking at individual performances and when you have losing lanes, it’s really hard for a Jungler to make plays. That’s the technical part, but we’re not too satisfied. Luckily this tournament doesn’t mean we’re out of playoffs or something like this, which is going to be our main focus now.

You guys still performed better than Fnatic and G2, something that was pretty unexpected. That has to account for something, right?

That’s true. And after going 0-2 on the first day, we didn’t really expect to play in the finals in the first place. We just played our game and we were performance driven but that didn’t turn out to well. So I just want to get back home. I want to see everyone practicing, seeing them have the satisfaction of strong games. It’s as simple as that. I’m looking forward to getting this feeling back.

What do you think are EU’s general problems right now, given that NA showed a much more promising performance?

First up, the individual players on some of the NA teams are really amazing. Sneaky, Doublelift and Bjergsen were extremely on point when it came to positioning and wave control. Other than that, I’m not too sure. I guess their early game is stronger and they want to pressure the map from the first minute onwards, which is a very difficult task. We saw this in our games as well, where TSM got early advantages and just took it from there. Their Midlane-Jungle coordination was really strong as well. On the other hand, pretty much all of the EU Midlaners and Junglers underperformed, be it Caps and Broxah, Exileh and Xerxe or Perkz and Trick. I think that’s fixable. But the players need to kick their ass.

Some players, like Exileh, have received a lot of criticism. Do you think it’s unfair to pinpoint the failings of a team onto one certain player?

I think from an outsider’s perspective, these are the things that you can actually judge. Therefore, it’s okay to react from their point of view. But if you have inside information, you should react differently of course. From an insider’s perspective you can see what value players bring to a team other than the obvious numbers, how they perform in scrims, how they push the team to improve. But criticism given to us is justified. Because that’s how it in LCS, you miss out on Worlds and people don’t hear from you for half a year. If you drop in the playoffs, that’s it. So we won’t let this happen again and we take this very seriously.

Romain wore a black unicorn outfit today, he also wore one to the Spring Split Finals were you guys also didn’t win. Will he be allowed to wear it for a third time?

Third time’s the charm you know? We’re still contemplating whether we want to use it at playoffs or at Worlds, because you can only use it for the third time once. We need to make use of that. But that’s his call to make. I think it’s great that he’s having fun with it, that he’s bringin in entertainment for the crowd and the viewers at home. At an event that’s a bit stellar, actors and spice like this really ups the event. It’s an amazing thing.

Is there anything you’d like to say to the Unicorns fans or the EU fans?

I think that this will be a wake-up call to many EU teams to work harder. I really don’t think that NA teams are way stronger than EU teams, whatsoever. Give us another month or so and we will perform a lot better. That sounds like excuses, and the NA teams definitely performed better than us at this tournament, but I honestly believe that we can do much better. I’m also very thankful for the Unicorns fans. In our scene, there is no gratefulness for failure. When you’re losing, no one will care. The winners are the ones getting the praise. So having fans that cheer you up when you lose is something you need to be thankful for. It’s probably one of the kindest things in each of our lives. A huge thank you to all of you.

Thank you very much for your time!

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Darius Matuschak

Darius is an esports journalist trying to nurture esports culture whenever possible. He got into esports while finishing his Bachelor in Journalism, and has been a regular EU LCS attendee since January 2017.

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