Counter Logic Gaming have been the surprise package so far of LCS 2022 Summer. While they are coming off a 0-2 week, mid laner Cristian ‘Palafox’ Palafox is oozing confidence CLG has what it takes to not just do well by critics’ measures, but take it all.
If you had CLG near the top of your tier list for LCS 2022 Summer, that crystal ball surely has better uses. After an unassuming Spring saw the storied organization at least not finish last, there was a spark that was missing.
However, off the back of a Korean bootcamp and a meta shift, suddenly CLG is in the conversation for being one of the better teams in the LCS.
While they end the first three weeks of Summer 4-3 off the back of two consecutive losses, there’s a reason for the faithful to feel inspired. CLG have innovated their way into the LCS conversation with interesting yet successful drafts, and have wielded the curveballs of the durability patch to their advantage (like Senna-Seraphine bot lane).
The team is oozing confidence too, and a string of losses isn’t raining on their parade, as Palafox asserted to Dexerto. In fact, it’s a sign of growth in their eyes as they look to move from ‘cheesing’ wins to broadening their playstyle.
“Our identity works really well when everyone knows their role and everyone has engage tools,” he explained. “A lot of our guys just want to kill the enemies so when we’re off that it’s a bit different.
“To become a top team though we need to learn a different style though, so it’s helpful to have these games on stage.”
ICYMI: The moment we closed out last week's match against EG and secured first place in the #LCS!@budlight #CLGWIN pic.twitter.com/Alk70pxU9u
— CLG (@clgaming) July 2, 2022
There’s no sugar coating this weekend’s results for CLG really. They were handily smashed by Cloud9 and Team Liquid — even if expected, it was brutal. Palafox admitted to the team making a number of unforced errors and coordination issues that led to their downfall in both games.
“I think the last two games we played were quite uncharacteristic of us. We didn’t play on stage this week — and for whatever reason, Dhokla speaks a lot more on stage in front of a crowd. It’s a different vibe playing from the office. I think we’re two, three times better players on stage. “
But the meta shift is really working out in CLG’s favor, and they believe they’re only one puzzle piece away from rocketing up the power rankings.
“In Spring it was Aphelios-Jinx only — scaling from the bot lane, less aggression. We were generally playing at a worse level individually and a lot of people got better over the Korean bootcamp. With Dhokla in the top lane, the meta shift is also really favoring us.
“Me as a player, I’ve been able to play every single style — I can play carries, supports, a roaming style — I have a good idea of how to play the game and it’s just getting my teammates onboard with that and that’s what the next step is as a team.”
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That’s confident talk from the 22-year-old American who was once heralded as NA’s mid lane savior. He dominated Academy for years but had a rather unremarkable debut on FlyQuest in 2021 that quickly dimmed his prospects.
Palafox doesn’t believe that to be to his fault though. The expectations mean nothing, and there was nothing he could do on a floundering FlyQuest that struggled all of 2021. What he’s been able to prove this split so far is more true to how he feels he’s been playing.
“FlyQuest as a whole was a disaster, so it’s hard to live up to those expectations especially when your teammates are doing really poorly,” he explained. “After we went to Korea this year, it’s a lot easier to look like a better player when your teammates are performing at a higher level.”
“With that being said, I’ve always played at a good level — my very first game against Cloud9 back in Lock In, I almost solo killed Perkz and I had a really good laning phase but people said it wasn’t enough. What else do you want me to do outside of what I can control?
“I’ll give an example of Jojopyun. Inspired does a lot of paths around mid and Vulcan also plays really closely around mid. Jojo does play really well with the resources he’s given, but it’s a very different playstyle when you have that assistance.”
The talk has been talked, and now CLG are ready to walk the walk. Oozing confidence isn’t an overstatement — after years of underperforming this roster believes it has what it takes to finally bring home glory for its organization.
It’s not going to happen overnight, and it’s still contingent on that final puzzle piece clicking in. But once it does, Palafox truly believes the sky’s the limit.
“Remember how I said this was the next step to becoming a better team? If we can get that down in playing other styles, we’ll actually be able to go far in the LCS and at Worlds. It’s up to us to pick up that style. If we can, we will be a really good team.
“Luger is really good when he’s playing well, Poome is — everyone is great when they know what they want to do in the game. We even have potential to win the LCS which is our goal at the very least.”