LDLC OL continue to terrorise the EU Masters Spring 2022 and stretch their unbeaten run to 9-0, besting NLC champions X7 Esports in a stunning 3-0 sweep during the first round of Knockouts. They now await the winner of the AGO ROGUE vs Bifrost match.
Head coach Quentin "Zeph" Viguié spoke to BLIX.GG after their quarterfinals match against X7. He talks about the series, who he thinks poses the biggest threat against LDLC this EU Masters, and his time with the LFL champions so far.
Congratulations on winning 3-0 against X7! I've gotta say that was a quick sweep from you guys. Did the match versus X7 meet your expectations and were you worried at all about X7’s potentially weird drafts?
Zeph: Thank you, yeah it was. Throughout Spring, we played against X7 a lot. We probably played something like 40 or 50 games against them. We scrimmed them maybe once a week every week, so yeah, we were really comfortable about facing them and their style because we know that generally, we’ll be better than them. We just had to be careful about not picking the wrong champions in jungle/mid because that’s their strength, right?
Apart from their cheese drafts, in Game 1 we knew that if they left up Aphelios, it was so they can play Nocturne. We were kind of okay to play against it as long as we had our champions as well. We were really surprised they put early priority on Vex that much because we have many counters to Vex and we’re happy to play against it. Nocturne’s maybe just a bit harder to pick a specific counter champion, which I won't reveal. I think the Yuumi pick was good and it probably saved their draft, honestly.
For Game 2. We expected that they could maybe go Veigar, because it’s a good hard counter, but Kang "Tempt" Myung-gu’s never really played it much, maybe once or twice in solo queue. He didn't pick it in competitive and he never played it in scrims as well. It was never their answer and X7 tried Vladimir, LeBlanc, and stuff like that.
Overall, we were not too surprised or too worried. However, we were a bit scared of Soraka because of the Xin Zhao/Soraka combo. We tried many things into it in scrims and every time we ended up losing against it. In scrims, you're frustrated because you can't kill them and then they survive at one HP…so we decided
In Game 2, were you slightly worried with the way it was going? Because X7 held the lead for a while before you guys found a pick on Kang "Haru" Min-seung and took over from there.
Zeph: Honestly, when I looked at this game, I spoke to Kilian "KiKi" Audroin, my assistant coach, in between the game and we were saying, “Yeah, okay. I think beating this Veigar is gonna be really hard. I think we can win if we clutch a moment and we find the backline and get a good trap in the jungle. Because if we front-to-back there's no way we win, it's literally unplayable.”
When I looked at our draft, I was thinking we can't win this game. And I'm also speaking to our manager about this in the game, and we agreed X7 were not really hard pressuring us. It's more like us engaging on them and we fail there, but at some point, we managed to not fail our engages and stuff. So we did find good plays.
I felt like their draft was really strong against ours, but the problem was that they rely a lot on Sion being really fed and being able to solo engage, because they don't have any way of creating fights. They just hope we kill ourselves by running into the cage…which we almost did.
Overall, it was for sure not the best draft we had, arguably the worst one we had in this EU Masters. But we knew we were taking a risk when we pulled it out and we all agreed on it beforehand, so it wasn't like we got surprised. I'm pretty sure if we locked in X7’s draft against ours, we would win the game without question. We wouldn't even need to worry about anything and the game would last 20 minutes, I think.
You guys won with a terrible draft according to your standards, and you mentioned that you didn't think you're a very bad team. A fun question then: Do you think LDLC can go completely undefeated this EU Masters?
Zeph: It's possible. I think it will depend a lot on who we play against, right? Because there are a few teams like, for example, let's say AGO ROGUE wins against Bifrost. AGO ROGUE is a team that will find counterpicks. They will play Zac or Kindred or just play very weird stuff in the jungle and you cannot always expect what they're going to do, this makes it pretty hard to draft against them.
Other teams that can make the finals are Fnatic TQ or Vitality.Bee, and I think that's basically it. If it's Vitality or Karmine Corp in the final, I'm not afraid of them and we will probably win it 3-0. If it's Fnatic, it will be a bit different because they have their own playstyle, which is often very aggressive, so we could drop a game against them. We scrimmed a lot against them and sometimes, if it's a bad day, we lose against Fnatic. But overall, I'm always really confident to face them.
The worst team to face will actually be AGO ROGUE, because they're just playing things like Rengar/Ivern and Soraka bot lane, they will just play anything! [laughs] So yeah, we could go undefeated this EU Masters, but honestly I don't really care about that. I just want us to have fun, play good League of Legends and just win.
Since you mentioned scrims against them, tell me more about Fnatic TQ. Are they the team you guys really want to face in the finals?
Zeph: Looking at all the scrims generally, we've scrimmed all these teams that are in the EU Masters right now and the only team that gave us problems was Fnatic. Because they play Ryze or Twisted Fate and they roam around the map, they play with mid lane pressure a lot and they play fast. They are the only ones that succeeded playing this style against us, and compared to when Karmine Corp does it, we just win. It’s either KCorp stomp us because maybe we misplayed, but if they fuck up once, they lose the game in 25 minutes.
Honestly, it's mostly Fnatic that I think are the strongest opponents. We just beat X7, which were strong opponents as well, but we are just better today. Overall, I would say we have a 70% winrate in scrims, and it's only 70% is because of Fnatic. Otherwise, it would be 80% or something, probably.
I'm also really curious to play them in a competitive match, because I feel like we have a specific style of lowkey giving people what they want and playing into it, and we plan well around it. I think a lot of their drafts rely on snowballing really hard and we are not the easiest team to snowball against. I really hope we can play against them.
When I spoke to your mid laner Jérémy “Eika” Valdenaire, he mentioned you did a great job with then head coach Paul “sOAZ” Boyer, so for this year they moved you up to head coach. How has the experience been so taking up the challenge as head coach with LDLC, winning the LFL and now making the top four of EU Masters?
Zeph: Honestly, since I joined LDLC, my life kinda changed because I wasn't doing much before then. I was in Team MCES and I was looking for a team in the off-season. Joining LDLC the first time was really nice, because I got to play with and coach with sOAZ, which is insane, you know? Coaching with sOAZ is not something that happens in everyone's life so I was just really hyped to go there. On being appointed head coach, it was mostly sOAZ wanting to play again and LDLC were happy with the work I did when I joined the team mid-season, so they asked me if I wanted to be head coach.
I didn't change anything in terms of how I work with my players though. I think I improved a bit because it's been almost a year with Eika, Thomas "Exakick" Foucou and Mads "Doss" Schwartz. It's new for Onurcan "Ragner" Aslan and Martin "Yike" Sundelin, but I know how to work and talk with them.
I'm happy because our team has a lot of champions we can play in every role and they give me the liberty of adding a lot of choices in the drafts. I think a lot of teams in EU Masters don't have this luck of being able to pick a Kha’Zix jungle or a random Yuumi, which some players might not want and would rather have a tank support. I feel like I have this freedom and I'm really grateful that my players can play most of the crazy things I want them to play [laughs].
“We've scrimmed all these teams that are in the EU Masters right now and the only team that gave us problems was Fnatic. Because they play Ryze or Twisted Fate and they roam around the map, they play with mid lane pressure a lot and they play fast. They are the only ones that succeeded playing this style against us.”
I know it looks easy from the outside because LDLC OL more or less dominated the LFL, except the finals where it looked quite close. And now you guys are 9-0 in EU Masters. Based on what Eika mentioned, the team just seems to function very easily with little problems. Have there been any big challenges for you so far with this team?
Zeph: On that, I think our toughest opponents we played so far was Team BDS Academy. I'm actually really surprised that they didn't make it further because they could have been really scary if they made the EU Masters finals. If we had to face them instead of Bifrost since they were in the same group, it would have been really annoying. Their bot lane is really good and Juš "Crownshot" Marušič in particular is very good. They actually counter us pretty well in terms of players, they are all strong individually, they don't play bad as a team and they play scaling as well. We kind of have the same philosophy in terms of drafting.
I think though for EU Masters, we made the changes that they didn't, in terms of drafts, and that's also why they didn’t do so well. Overall, BDS.A was probably the strongest opponent we played so far and I'm just surprised that they didn't make it far, honestly.
What about personal challenges? Has there been any personal challenges for yourself with this team?
Zeph: Oh, yeah. Essentially, managing expectations. When we started the season, we didn't expect it to go as well as this. Not because we were not confident in ourselves, it was mostly we had no clue if our opponents were good or not. You can't really know out of scrims.
When you win a lot of scrims, you often can't tell if you're good or if everyone was having a bad day or trolling, and sometimes it makes it hard for us to believe 100% that we are the best or that we are playing well. But I think the results confirm this pretty well, so I’m quite happy.
Before we end, generally speaking, while most people I’ve spoken to have said that the LFL is justified to get four seeds, many are also saying —somewhat jokingly— it's all the ERLs against the LFL for this EU Masters. Do you think we will see an all LFL finals and do you want to see an all LFL finals?
Zeph: I could see it. It will really depend if Vitality.Bee make it against Fnatic TQ. It might be hard to play against Vitality.Bee because they are not bad opponents, but I think we have good success against them. I would love to play against them in the finals and it would be a lot less stressful to play against them than Fnatic.
We have never played against Fnatic in official matches, so we don't really know what to expect from them if they make the finals. But we know Vitality.Bee. We’ve played against them and we’ve beaten them before. There is a possibility for an all LFL finals and if it is, assuming we make it, Vitality.Bee are probably the ones that will be there.
However, in the EU Masters, everything can happen, right? You can have a bad two week of scrims and false information about your draft and every single thing goes wrong. Luckily for us, we haven’t had that.
For sure, and I wish you luck in the semifinals. We’ve come to the end of this interview. Do you have any final thoughts or any shoutouts you'd like to give?
Zeph: My parents make me really happy because they message me after every game, they see the results and they congratulate me and stuff. I'm really grateful that they support me, even though it's been a long time since I’ve seen them.
I think my team honestly deserves a lot of attention because as I said, I'm lucky to have this team that allows me to do crazy drafts and I'm lucky that we’re doing so well so far. Shoutout to them, they're really good!
Thank you Zeph and best of luck in the top four. The EU Masters Knockouts resumes tomorrow and you can catch it on the EU Masters Twitch channel.