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Inspired positively on EG’s chances in LCS Lower Bracket: “Liquid Match gave me hope”

Evil Geniuses jungler Kacper ‘Inspired’ Słoma spoke to Dexerto about defeating FlyQuest in the LCS Lower Bracket and the team’s chances of finally claiming the scalps of the ‘Big Three’.

If FlyQuest is the wholesome protagonist, surely Evil Geniuses are the unhinged villain tormenting them relentlessly, and this story was no different in their 2022 LCS playoff match on April 10th. With a 3-1 win, Evil Geniuses added another week to their spring split and brought Jungler Inspired one step closer to their first-ever playoff win.

Despite their previous loss to Team Liquid in an enthralling five-game back-and-forth streak, Evil Geniuses persisted in their goal of making it to Houston and winning the split. With FlyQuest set to welcome Inspired and his team on the bottom row, they were set for a series win in their second match.

Chris Bet/Riot Games via ESPAT

Inspired joined EG in November after leaving Rogue

Evil Geniuses held a 3-0 record against the eco-conscious organization, winning both a regular season game and a tiebreak against them in the final week of the LCS. With that in mind, and a near-win against the heavily favored first seed, EG moved into the lower tier with confidence.

“I was kind of happy,” Inspired said of their loss to Team Liquid. “I expected Jojopyun to play poorly in the playoffs because it’s his first playoffs, but he actually played very well.

“Obviously it would be a lot better if we won, but it gave me a lot of hope that we could make the lower bracket run. If you want to win the LCS you have to beat everyone anyway so it’s just more stage practice.”

With her improved performance in the playoffs and her recent history with Flyquest, Inspired showed herself confident and eager to show off on stage. “Before the series, I was like, ‘Guys, we’re going to do the G2 run,’ and then we lost Game 2 and I was like, ‘F**k, guys! We can’t do the G2 run!’” (laughs)

EG wasn’t able to pull off a clean win, but their win still sends them forward to face Cloud9 on April 17th. If we flip the story and make Evil Geniuses the protagonist, then Cloud9 is the first big boss fight after their anime training arc where they used FlyQuest as target dummy.

“I think Jojopyun is gaining a lot of stage experience, so he’s playing better now than when the breakup started,” Inspired said of his mid laner’s recent improvement. EG has played nine stage games with spectators so far, far more than the rest of the competition.

The Big Three

Evil Geniuses have to hope the training session was enough, however, because unlike their history with FlyQuest this year, their combined regular season record against Team Liquid, 100 Thieves and Cloud9 is 0-6. Evil geniuses have a strong track record as gatekeepers between the good guys and the great.

Chris Bet/Riot Games via ESPAT

EG’s games against C9, 100Thieves, and Liquid all ended the same

However, they took two games from Liquid in their opening series, so it’s possible that the playoff format will strengthen them more than their opponents. Inspired thinks so for himself at least.

“I felt a lot more stressed during best-of-ones throughout the season because I knew if I made a mistake the game was just lost,” explained Inspired. “But in best-of-five I actually feel so relaxed. It feels a lot better because I can actually focus more on the game.”

Regardless, Cloud9 is their first test. A win sends them to Houston for the finals weekend with two more series to come, but a loss will leave them stranded in Los Angeles for the next few months even without champions queue to keep them company.

“Blaber is a lot more aggressive than other junglers,” Inspired said of his immediate competition. “The biggest point about C9 is they’re going to make some plays that might not be good, but they’re forcing them and playing you off and that gives them an edge.

“You have to be willing to punish mistakes,” he said. “Very often they play too aggressively and that can be punished.”

He acknowledged that Cloud9 are a strong team, but that their playstyle can sometimes make them their own worst enemy. “I can see us stomp them or they stomp us.”

Given that weakness and Cloud9’s 3-0 loss to 100 Thieves, Inspired approached the subject of his duel against them with optimistic caution. “I wouldn’t necessarily say that [100 Thieves] are a much better team [than Cloud9]. The result shows it was 3-0, but I think C9 are a good team too.”

After sweeping 100 Thieves above C9, people quickly jumped on the hype bandwagon that camping the first LCS team’s All Pro top laner, Park “Summit” Woo-tae, for any team that successfully did so did, would lead to victory, but Inspired isn’t ‘ I don’t think it’s a foolproof strategy.

“I think it’s a bit difficult [to reproduce what 100 Thieves did],” he said. “I think Summit was very disrespectful to 100 Thieves. Closer likes to gank a lot and he knew Summit would die for them and they punished him severely.”

It was a strategy Golden Guardians tried but failed, and it’s one that Inspired hopes not to use as a crutch if possible. “If [Summit] intet, then we kill him too, but maybe this time he just refuses to let int.”

While Inspired believes defeating Cloud9 isn’t a mystery yet, he’s still confident they’ll be a match. “I think we’re good enough to beat them,” he said. “We just have to play well on the match day.”

Likewise, he’s not too worried about their possible Team Liquid rematch either. “I would be confident to play against TL again. I think they’re more relaxing to play against than 100 Thieves or Cloud9.”

“I was really confident going into the series against TL because their style of play is ‘don’t really do much and win the game,'” he explained. “It’s really good at best-of-ones, but I think once the best-of-fives come it’s a little harder to do.”

Despite Evil Geniuses losing to Liquid in their first round, if they met them again they would have a lot more crowd-pleasing stage games under their belt in a best-of-five environment, and Inspired thinks that’s just enough to make the difference to reverse the score.

Spring in retrospect

Overall, Evil Geniuses had a rocky split. They lost every game to the teams above them and too many to those at the end to really inspire confidence in the playoffs. They had glaring issues early in the split after their near-perfect lock-in run, and those issues bored out for weeks before they were fixed.

Issues that are beginning to fade now that EG has matured and become a real threat to the teams above them.

“I feel like at the beginning of the split we really weren’t clear about what we wanted to design,” Inspired said, “but when [assistant coach] Rigby came, I feel like it was a lot easier to draw. He had a better understanding of what we wanted to play and how we were going to play. It was a big turning point for us when Rigby came along.”

Luckily, their younger players gained significant experience during the breakup and quickly adapted to the busy environment that brought fans back to the studio. Inspired is confident in their matchups against all three teams remaining to face them in the playoffs. Now it’s just up to them to prove it.

https://www.dexerto.com/league-of-legends/inspired-positive-about-egs-chances-in-lcs-lower-bracket-liquid-match-gave-me-hope-1804375/ Inspired positively on EG’s chances in LCS Lower Bracket: “Liquid Match gave me hope”

Emma Bowman

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