Evil Geniuses’ jungler Inspired talked to Gamelevate after qualifying for the Rumble Stage about facing off against Jankos and G2, the international format and competition of the Mid Season Invitational, and traveling the world as a professional player.
EG made a Cinderella run during the North American LCS Playoffs going 12-0 and becoming the sixth team to hoist the trophy. Now, the young guns are up against some of the best talents in the world and are looking to take home the trophy for NA. One player familiar with the face of international competition is Kacper “Inspired” Słoma who is looking to lead the charge against the world.
The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Inspired, thanks for talking to us, and congrats on qualifying for the Rumble Stage. You’ve been on the international stage before but this is your first MSI. Can you talk about the differences between the two events?
I think that teams are stronger. I mean, the thing about Worlds is that you always have like two strong teams in the group because we have Chinese and Korean teams in each. Here, there are not many of them right is only one from each region. So it’s like, I guess it’s easier to win some games because at Worlds if you get a hard group, it’s really hard to win any game. For this tournament, you’re playing as at least one wildcard region so you get some wins there and you can get the confident booster on that. And other than that, I don’t really see any difference. Just the best teams from each region.
Today, you had the opportunity to face off against a former rival in Jankos. When you were in the EU, the two of you were often competing for best Jungler. What was it like facing him again?
He didn’t really impress me. I would say that I played better in almost every game. I think the first game when he played Graves against Karthus, he played really well. that game I didn’t perform well. But every other game, I think the games were in the state that I can easily carry if we just take a deep breath and chill out because I think they were making some mistakes. Yeah, he didn’t really impress me.
I know Game Seven was a little bit of a disappointment because I know you guys had the lead for a majority of the game and they were able to come back and take it. You’ve been in those games plenty of times before both on EG and on Rogue. What do you do as a player to make sure that you keep your head in the game, especially when you have those more difficult losses and when you have to play multiple games in a row?
It’s pretty easy to be honest because MSI’s format is very strange. So I knew that today when we played the first game against G2, I was a bit upset because it was a free win and we lost. ANd then in the other game, I also think it was a free win but we lost. At the end of the day, who cares? Like they can be confident now. If we played them in the Rumble Stage, I think I will never lose my confidence. Because I know I’m good. So I don’t really care
I think those games don’t matter at all. So it was just about making it to the Rumble Stage. And then it’s time to show up. So I’m hopeful that we will play better than we did during this first phase. And if we win then, I think everyone will forget about this for games. And I don’t really worry about it either. I just started to have the same mindset for my teammates. I tried to tell them that the game that we just played didn’t really matter, it was just to learn from them and not make the same mistakes again.
In that last game versus ORDER, You did pull up the Evelynn. I think this is the first one that was pulled out in this particular tournament. But I know a lot of teams have been looking at this champion or these AP junglers. Can you talk to me about why you think Evelyn is good in this particular meta? Or was this a pic that you’re like “it’s where it’s the last game for us, we can just play what we want?”
I mean, it touched us as a counter pick to Karthus, I expected them to put it in the jungle and then they flipped it to bot lane. I thought I could pick against Karthus and win the game.
We thought we’d be seeing the Fiddlesticks today. We’ll have to wait for that one.
It will come if there will be an angle, I can always pull it off.
So last time I talked to you, it was in Houston after you guys took home the title. And I know I know you know that North America has had a little bit of a faltered history at MSI, especially last year with Cloud9. That you guys have made it to the Rumble Stage, without giving anything away, what will you do to make sure that eg does not repeat the same mistakes that North America has fallen into to make it out into the Knockout Stage?
I will do the same as I was doing at this stage. I can just play the best game I can and hopefully, it will be enough to win.
After your games, RNG and the rest of Group A will be facing off to determine who qualifies for the Rumble Stage. Who are you anticipating makes it out? And who are you looking forward to facing off against?
So it’ll be us, G2, T1, Saigon Buffalo, PSG, and RNG, right. So I think winning games against RNG and T1, you have to prepare something very special to beat them because I think they are just so strong and very hard to win otherwise. And against every other team, if we will play at a decent level, we can win. Maybe they will have the worst day, we can win and they will just pop off and we can win. So I think the other three teams are truly winnable for us.
I know you have played against some of the top jungle talents in the world. But there are still obviously players that you look up to yourself for inspiration and ideas. Has there been a particular jungler at this tournament that you’ve really looked up to and studied how they played?
I study a lot of players and just watch how they play because a lot of players have different play styles. So it’s good to know what they like to do in certain spots. You can maybe take some useful stuff out of it or learn from their mistakes. So I like to watch a lot of games but I don’t think there is a jungler at MSI that I would like to look up to.
I know you’ve left the EU this year, and now you’re representing North America. But you’re still a very high-caliber player with the LEC MVP in your back pocket. For you, what does it mean to represent North America at this tournament?
I’m not sure. I think if I represent Europe or I’m representing now North America, I would play the same, I don’t really care who I represent. I just like that my fans are enjoying watching me play. And hopefully, I give them the best show and win. So I guess now, I’m playing for North America, and it doesn’t really change much for me compared to what I was doing in Europe.
As we’ve said earlier, you have played on the biggest stages. Two of your teammates have not made been on the international stage in Jojopyun and Danny. They’re still younger players, even though we all know how good they are. As someone who has been on international stages, what have you been doing to make sure that you help them out to adjust and be on their best level to win these important games?
I don’t really need to do much, to be honest. I feel like Danny is always adapting to everything on his own. He had a kind of rough time against Hans Sama since the beginning of the season and I think he learned a lot from playing against him. I think he’s just learning from the Korean ADCs to see what they do in the games and he’s trying his best.
And for Jojopyun, I think this guy really doesn’t care who he fights. He just got a bit surprised that the enemy mid laner can actually play the game because I think in NA, he didn’t really have a mid laner to face off. I think everyone was just bad and here every mid laner is pretty good. So he has to actually do stuff to win his lane and push his lane. So that’s a bit new for him.
I believe, if I’m correct, this is one of your first times in South Korea. Have you been getting a chance to really enjoy Busan and get to experience life outside of League of Legends?
I mean, I went out a couple of times. We have Impact on our team. it’s good that we have a Korean player on the team, otherwise, we’ll probably be just stuck in the hotel. But yeah, I went out a bit. The city looks very different. I mean, it’s very fun, I guess for me, to travel around the world. Like when I went to China then now I traveled to LA and now again traveled to Korea. So I see all of those different places and all of them are very different. So every time I come to a place I’ve never been before, it’s pretty fun to just see how the outside looks there and how overall everything is so I like it here so far.
Finally, is there anything you’d like to say to the fans of EG who are reading Gamelevate’s articles?
I hope you don’t give up on us going 0-4 to G2 because I think we didn’t play as terribly as you might think. So I hope you will still cheer for us and I’m so confident that we can make it to the Semifinals.