Zven: “We started to treat our opponents with respect. We go “Would we play this against SKT?” and if the answer is no, we don’t pick it”

After a hard fought series against H2K, G2 came out on top and are looking sharp for the remainder of the split. We got to talk to their ADC Zven about the match, Caitlyn’s strengths and the things that G2 learned from Rift Rivals. 

Congratulations on the win against H2K! How do you feel after the game?

Good, winning is always nice. Especially wins against top-tier teams, given they’re harder to win against. There’s a higher chance that other teams won’t beat them, so it can be important to get these points when you look at the standings.

H2K looked really, really good before this series. They also showed their strengths in the second game, what went wrong for you guys in that game?

We fell too far behind too fast. We didn’t just lose a couple of kills but a tower, a drake and we also had a failed Midlane gank. They played a good tower dive down botlane, we lost a fight in the river. We just took too many fights despite being behind and just lost from there.

Your Caitlyn performance has been amazing, especially in the last game of the series. It already was a signature champion of yours, don’t you think that teams should ban Caitlyn away from you?

I think Caitlyn is an overpowered champion already and additionally, I have a lot of practice on her. So I don’t get why people aren’t banning it against me. H2K banned in on Blue Side and probably thought we wouldn’t pick it the next game, but she’s so overpowered: Even when you lane with a champion that is supposed to lose lane, you can still win the lane anyway. She has good scaling, good siege, good baron and drake control. Almost everything in her kit is overpowered.

The only problem she has is her mid game, but she has really good early and late game. So when you’re falling off it’s usually not a problem because you’re ahead due to her strong early game anyway. She can win any lane with Tahm Kench and once she gets the first tower, it’s game over.

Do you think she’s the best ADC by far at the moment?

I think Kalista is also good because of Supports like Braum, Thresh, Rakan, and Alistar being meta, at least in EU. Varus is also pretty good. Overall I think that Caitlyn is a tier above every other ADC, but Kalista, Varus, and Ashe are all fine too.

Let’s talk a bit about Rift Rivals and what you guys did after the event. The result was a bit disappointing of course but Perkz has already announced that G2 won’t lose a game for the remainder of the split. What did you guys learn from Rift Rivals and what needed changing?

The first thing we did was have a meeting. We talked about our scrim ethics, how we are going to do things in the future. We changed a lot in our way of scrimming: We started to not pause the game until it’s actually over and try not to throw games as well. If we fall behind, we slowly give up objectives, give up gold and wait for baron to spawn, since we can then play the back-and-forth baron game against them. Rather than engaging in unnecessary fights, we try to lose slowly and catch them off guard.

We also changed the way we play when we’re ahead. We try not to troll around but rather play it slow and methodical. When we’re ahead we take it slow, when we’re behind we’re making it hard for our opponents to actually finish the game.

Do you think that it’s a problem that scrims are not played in their entirety, that they’re almost not really taken seriously?

I think everyone takes scrims seriously, but some teams play differently in scrims than when they play on stage. That can be bad. And EU also has a history of pausing and surrendering games when teams lose a teamfight or a baron. You don’t get to practice baron setups or how to end after taking a baron a lot because of these early surrenders. I feel like this has improved though, a lot of teams are now trying to actually learn from the scrim practice.

We also asked other teams to improve their scrim ethic. We ask that teams don’t pause the game randomly or go for a cheesy invade and then surrender if it fails. It’s bad scrim practice and we’re trying to improve that. If our opponents are late or pausing games randomly, we ask them to not do it again or we’ll find someone else to scrim with.

What does G2 need right now in order to do another undefeated run, win EU LCS and make it to Worlds?

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But we do need to sharpen ourselves, I think we’re starting to see the light a bit. We are starting to see our mistakes, we realize what went wrong in the past and prepare a lot more for drafts. Therefore we don’t get caught off guard so easily as before, where we went full AD or AP for example. We play a lot more methodical as well, play it safe and slow rather than over-aggressive. We just need to sharpen this now. Of course you make mistakes in every game, so that means you can improve something every time. Just try to perfect it a bit more every time.

Do you think that complacency is an issue amongst players in EU, especially when looking at how confident players and teams felt going into Rift Rivals?

It’s always bad to be laid back and thinking that you’re the best, even when you’re winning. For example, we won the series against the Mysterious Monkeys, but we fell behind early and only won because they were too bad to finish the game. That’s not a good win for us and we weren’t happy with it. Or taking the match against NiP as an example, everyone remembers the Pentakill I got on Twitch but that game should’ve been a loss as well.

We weren’t drafting like we are playing against a bad team but we always need to draft like we’re up against the best team in the world. We go “Would we play this against SKT?” and when the answer is no, we don’t pick it. Even against teams that are much worse than SKT. Treat every opponent with respect and don’t be happy with a win just because it’s a win. Be happy if you played well.

Anything you’d like to say to your and the G2 fans?

(laughs) Well, I’m happy that I have fans in the first place. I want to thank everyone for cheering for us, even when we disappoint. I feel like there was a lot less hate for us after Rift Rivals compared to what happened after Worlds or MSI 2016. Even when we lose people cheer for us and I’m very grateful for that. Thank you to everyone who is supporting us.

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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