Evil Geniuses have had a tough break in the Group Stage at Worlds 2022, but Impact was still in good spirits when he gave his opinion on what EG needs to improve upon, as well as what makes NA worse than other regions.
North America hasn’t had the best go of things at Worlds 2022. Blaber didn’t paint a particularly optimistic picture for us when we chatted with him, but Worlds isn’t over just yet.
Though EG had a strong showing against MAD Lions in the Play-Ins, they haven’t been able to translate that into wins against some of the world’s best teams.
That said, their matches against JDG and Damwon KIA were very competitive. These games aren’t unwinnable, a fact that Impact was very sure of when we talked to him.
He was so focused on what went wrong for EG so far in the group that we had less of an interview and more of a conversation with a few questions sprinkled in. We’re incredibly grateful that Impact was willing to share so much with us, particularly when it came to his thoughts on the year.
When a player like Jeong ‘Impact’ Eon-young is willing to talk for 10 straight minutes about his thoughts on what’s going wrong with EG, it’s best to just let the man talk.
And Impact had a lot to say.
Winning the battle, losing the war
For Worlds 2022, players have a lot to go through before they get to talk with us. Depending on the circumstances, it can take upwards of an hour to talk to players.
Even an hour after their game against Damwon, it was the only thing on Impact’s mind. His mind was racing, running through what he could have done better in that match.
We asked him one question about what it was like playing in a meta where focusing top was more viable for a jungler like Kacper ‘Inspired’ Słoma, and it was off to the races.
“The meta is different. Jungle can carry more than before, so I just helped Inspired carry that. That’s how it worked this game. I saw Jayce, and I said I’ll just pick Sejuani, play whatever you want. He played Hecarim, thought it looked good. When I saw the enemy champ, Hecarim looked really good. Jayce shouldn’t breathe in lane.”
And EG certainly didn’t let Jang ‘Nuguri’ Ha-gwon have an easy win. They punished his Jayce pick incredibly hard.
“I thought Damwon’s pick/ban was bad too, but I understand it. I think their weakness that game, Nuguri got picked too much. He’d flank, he’d try to do something, and he’d die too much, right? I understand they play Jayce for strong poke.”
We asked if he felt their composition countered Damwon’s well with engage, and he agreed. EG did their best to play to their strengths. “I still think they made a huge mistake that game, but… Sucks. I hope they pick and ban the same thing next game, then we’ll win. (laughs) But I don’t think they’ll do that.”
Painting a bigger picture
Impact’s biggest talking point through our conversation is that EG shouldn’t be scared to force fights and play to their win conditions.
“We are…I wouldn’t say lazy, but we get scared to make plays. I mean, I’m not scared, I don’t care if I fight and get solokilled. But, if we are losing, I guess we’re just scared a little bit. Kacper (Inspired) said that he played bad too because he was getting scared randomly. I think the next three games are important. We have to just not get scared and do what we want to do, and we can win games.”
From here, our conversation went well beyond EG’s run so far. Instead, we looked ahead. While Impact was realistic about EG’s odds of escaping their group, he didn’t seem too discouraged by them.
“I mean…I don’t care about the other NA teams. It’s funny to me, hearing the 0-18 at this point. I want to break this tradition. We can win one or two games to break the tradition with my teammates, that’s my goal. I mean… Now it sucks, there’s a low chance we can escape the group. That’s really bad. But we understand our situation, and we’re going to do what we can do better, you know? Also, we can learn for next year.”
While Cloud9 have managed to grab NA’s first win, things still aren’t looking great for North America. And, according to Impact, EG wasn’t even that great in Spring.
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Building a team takes time
Impact is the elder when it comes to Evil Geniuses. Joseph ‘Jojopyun’ Pyun, Muhammed ‘Kaori’ Şentürk, and Inspired are all pretty new competitors in comparison to Impact. And, while Philippe ‘Vulcan’ Laflamme has been playing for a while now, Impact is one of the most tenured LoL players in the entire competitive scene.
That longevity may come from his focus on self improvement.
“I’m always thinking about what I can do better. Not like, ‘oh, my roster is like this, it could be better’, I don’t care that much. I care about just me. What I can do with my teammates.”
That said, he’s been building up relationships with his new team, and he seemed happy with his level of communication between him and his teammates. Or, at the very least, thought they were headed in the right direction.
“I’m talking more with Kacper about the game, and Jojo— Jojo has grown up a lot and understands the game more, so I can talk about the game more.”
“But still… Not close to top team. We have to keep going until next year, I think. That’s my goal. If I can stay with EG, I want them to be— I mean, Inspired is good, but I think Jojo and the other players need to be really good at that level, too, you know? To understand. So we don’t have to talk about the teamfights so much. People need to understand their jobs in teamfights.”
Impact felt like the team has a long ways to go in this aspect, and it’s been that way for the whole year.
“In Spring, I thought we were bad, too. But the meta was different.”
Danny could carry teamfights, and this aspect of unspoken communication wasn’t an issue when Danny could 1v5 teamfights. Having the sole objective be keep Danny alive is much, much easier than trying to coordinate engagements and have every member on the team contribute equally and in different ways.
He elaborated upon this concept when talking about the gap between NA and the best teams from other regions.
The “really big gap” between NA and the best teams
Impact doesn’t think the LPL and LCK teams are untouchable, not by a longshot. Hell, EG beat T1 at MSI. He still thinks EG has a chance to turn things around, and he’s determined to do what he can to win.
“I think it’s not too late, but I think we respect the enemy too much. People think LCK and LPL play too good and that we cannot do much. If you respect them too much, you can’t make plays. You think too much and get confused, going, ‘Is this the right play, or the wrong play?’ And you waste time, 2 seconds, 3 seconds. And they’re gonna win, you know?”
“The enemy is gonna make mistakes, the enemy is human. They’re good, of course, but they’re gonna make mistakes. You have to keep looking for an angle, don’t hesitate. If you don’t hesitate, and you aren’t scared, and you just try, then you’re gonna win.”
Teamfighting was definitely the biggest thing that Impact pointed out about their play that he wanted to improve upon. He used their game against Damwon as an example of where the gap between most NA teams and the top LPL/LCK teams may lie.
“If we’re on the right picks, we can beat them through teamfights. Even in that game, we were like, ‘Oh, we can 1 shot Azir’, but we need to talk about what happens after that, you know? If we 1 shot Azir, what’s gonna happen?”
Impact spoke on needing a certain “sense” for these things, that there should be some level of unspoken communication where the team just knows what they need to do to win with their team composition. And that’s something NA lacks in his eyes.
“We don’t normally talk about that kind of stuff in NA, you know? Detail-wise, teamfight-wise. That’s what I think is the really big gap. Details.”
“Small details change the game.”