Sitting at a 2-2 score in the 2022 MSI Group Stage, Evil Geniuses are in a comfortable position to advance to the Rumble Stage. While the LCS champions bit the dust twice against G2 Esports, they've consistently and comfortably been better than their other opponent in the group, LCO's ORDER. Evil Genius jungler Kacper "Inspired" Słoma doesn't worry much about the two losses and feels confident that his team can stay in second place in the group.
After the victory against ORDER on the third day of MSI, Inspired spoke to Inven Global. He spoke briefly about the game and how the performance so far has impacted Evil Genius' players. Inspired also looked back at the first months he has competed on the North American lineup, and what differences he has noticed compared to his time in the LEC with Rogue.
Welcome Inspired and congrats on the victory! You’re 2-2 now, how are you walking away from a victory against an opponent you already beat before?
I mean, I expected we're gonna win against them. I didn't expect this draft to happen, so we kind of freestyled then with the draft. [Jojopyun] played very well and from that, I could roam around the map with him. The game went very, very easy.
Can you elaborate a bit more on the freestyle in the draft?
Well, I kind of expected them to play some AP junglers, because I checked their season and the jungler was playing a lot of AP stuff like Evelynn, and I thought he was gonna pick it today. He didn't. So I was a bit surprised. So yeah, we were not exactly prepared for what they did.
"I know how to motivate my teammates in stressful situations to make sure they perform at their best level. I guess that's the biggest lesson I got since last year."
The start of MSI was a bit rough, but it seems like the confidence is growing within the team. How is it with the confidence levels in the team?
Throughout the whole year, I was always telling my teammates that even in the regular season, when we were not doing too well, those games don't really matter. I'm trying to say the same right now. Because I don't think the games that we're playing against G2 right now have that big of an impact. If you win those games, you are just more confident going into the next ones. But even though we lost the last two, I'm still very confident and I don't think there is any way that I will lose the confidence. [Laughs]
I think my teammates feel the same. I don't feel like anyone is worried because we lost two games or something like that. So I don't know. We'll see. We'll see. Hopefully, we'll make it to the Rumble Stage and then the games will start being meaningful. Then we need to show our best performance.
You talked about him before, but especially Jojopyun seemed more confident today. Have you noticed him blossoming a bit more compared to the previous days?
Hm, I think he just played against a worse player today. I think playing against caPs and playing against the Oceania mid, I don't remember his name, but it's a big difference. It's a big difference for Jojo because in the back of his mind, he sees the name caPs and he knows he needs to respect him a bit. caPs is a very good player and Jojo is the type of player that disrespects opponents that are not really known. So going to the other games like today, he was very confident he's gonna just win his lane and snowball the game from that. That's why it looks like he just plays differently.
Talking about your performance: you’ve obviously been to the international stage before, but with Rogue. This is also your first MSI. How do you feel so far?
I mean, feels this feels good. The tournament just started. So I don't really have that many thoughts yet. I think the hard part is still about to happen when we play against the best teams in the Rumble Stage. Then, I guess, I will have the best experience of the tournament because so far, we just played four games and nothing really happened yet. It doesn't really feel like an international tournament yet. More like Rift Rivals, I would say. I’m still waiting for the international tournament to start.
It’s the first time since you went to NA that you and I get a chance to catch up, so, what has it been like to compete with EG?
I think the biggest difference is that in Rogue, I felt like the teammates were very good, but we just didn't feel confident enough in the clutch moments. And here I feel like players like Jojo or even Danny, but also Vulcan and Impact, of course, they feel way more confident in their play when this situation is very close. I could see it in the playoffs when the games mattered everyone stepped up and played very well. So that's the difference for me compared to what happened in Rogue.
I’m glad you mentioned Rogue as a comparison. Your departure there was a surprise to many, but from Rogue’s players, we heard that the team environment played a big part in the decision. How do you reflect on that, and on leaving the team?
Hm, I got very angry after Worlds that we lost to Cloud9. Maybe my frustration was a bit too hard on my teammates because I felt like the game was really won for us if we just played at least on a decent level. That's why I was very sad and very angry after we lost. Maybe at that point, my teammates didn't really like feel well but it was at the very end of the season and the game that mattered the most and we didn't manage to perform well there. That's why I got very frustrated. After that, I just wanted to look for something new, something fresh. I already stayed on the Rogue and I played with Larssen for three straight years, so it would be a bit boring to keep playing for the fourth year in a row. I wanted something new, some new challenge.
"I think, if we play on our level, we can make it to the semi-finals at least."
Going to NA is a big step. Why did you decide to join EG?
I was not really like looking specifically for NA, but I felt like in EU there was no good thing for me to join that I would be able to win the championship with. In EG I felt that, if I perform well and I try to teach my teammates what I know about the game, then I can easily win the trophy. That’s why I came to EG.
Have you changed as a player since joining EG? Talking about that frustration from before, are you less temperamental now?
I think I'm more mature now and more confident in the clutch moments. Now I know how it felt to lose in the tiebreaker at Worlds and how it felt to lose the LEC final. Now I know how to motivate my teammates in stressful situations to make sure they perform at their best level. I guess that's the biggest lesson I got since last year.
Looking forward to the rest of MSI: you’re in a good position to make it to the Rumble Stage. If you do, do you think your team can be clutch again, like in the LCS playoffs? The teams here are of a different caliber.
Hopefully. I mean, I think RNG and T1 are the good teams. It’s not even close to the other teams. Winning against those teams will be obviously very hard but, hopefully, we can like gather at least one game out of four if we qualify for the Rumble Stage. I think, if we play on our level, we can make it to the semi-finals at least. That’s what my goal would be, I guess.
Any final words you’d like to share with EG fans, or maybe LEC fans who get to see you again?
Thanks for watching me play even though I left the LEC and now I'm in LCS. I hope you still enjoy the way I play and enjoy watching us.
Storyteller by heart. If something is competitive, I am interested in it.