Crownshot: “I think I did better than what the community consensus is”
The LEC year is over for Team Vitality. During the first round of the Summer Split Playoffs, the team was eliminated and finished in sixth place. It marked the end of a turbulent year for Vitality, who underwent drastic roster changes in order to accomplish better results. Being one of the first of those changes, bot laner Juš “Crownshot” Marušič followed the transition of his team.
After his Summer Split concluded, Crownshot joined us for an interview. He reflected on his series against Fnatic, which ended up eliminating his team from the Playoffs. Crownshot also looked at the bigger picture of the Summer Split for his team, reflected on his performance, and looked ahead at his long offseason.
Hotspawn: Welcome, Crownshot! Unfortunately, your team was eliminated from the Playoffs early on. You’ve had a while to reflect on that now: how do you look back at it?
Crownshot: Well, obviously it sucks, right? But it’s still better than Spring and there were times in the Split where we lost so much that our chances for making the Summer Playoffs weren’t that high. So, it was nice that we managed to do it and go to five games, but obviously I think we had a chance to win. We could’ve done better for sure.
Hotspawn: As you said, throughout most of the Split it didn’t look like you would make Playoffs. It seemed like the team wasn’t on the same wavelength. What made it so you picked yourselves up by the bootstraps and clutch it out in the final weekend?
Crownshot: I think the pressure, maybe, got to the other teams a bit more against us. Rogue threw their game against us and we managed to come back. So it was a combination, I guess. We just played what we were good at and comfortable with, and it worked out. That’s pretty much it.
Hotspawn: During the two weeks you had to prepare for the Playoffs, knowing that best-of-fives are a different beast than best-of-ones, how did you prepare?
Crownshot: We know how Fnatic would play. We knew that they would probably focus on the bot lane very heavily. That’s what they did, right? Our plan was sort of to win through the other side, but I guess we couldn’t get ahead enough on the other side, or could not stop their strategy well enough. Then it sort of became a hard side-trade pretty much every game that we played. [Laughs] Well not every game, but most. The longer the series went on, the more we felt that way. So we knew how they would play. They were obviously well-prepared, they did what they were very good at, and it worked out for them.
I think the fifth game was also very hard for us from draft. They had the option to trade sides and if their composition has control, it’s kind of hard to break it. With Trundle, Braum, Twisted Fate in their team, it’s hard for us to find openings. When they trades sides we tried to hard-push the bot waves but Alistar stayed a bit too long there and died. Then we died again, and then the wave was permanently frozen underneath their tower. We had no Summoner Spells… It was just hard. But I think game two and three were definitely winnable for us. I just think we kind of made it too easy for them to do what they wanted to do.
Hotspawn: When this Vitality roster was announced, hopes were high. They ranged from “definitely a Playoffs team” to some even saying it could contest for the title. How do you look back at your personal performance now?
Crownshot: For my own performance during the Split, I would say I’m satisfied. I think I played well. I mean, in the Playoffs I felt like I was invisible, but as I said it was kind of a consequence of how the games played out. To people who don’t know much about the game it obviously seems like I was completely useless. Which I was, but it was a consequence of how the games played out, right? If we’re playing a lot around top to get our Jayce ahead and we’re trading sides, Fnatic is gonna do the same in the bot lane to deny farm. So it’s natural that they would be ahead. And in the fifth game, as I said, they just drafted to get their bot lane as ahead as possible.
I’m obviously not happy about the best-of-five. I felt like I didn’t have any impact. For the Split overall, I think I did better than what the community consensus is. I actually think I played pretty well in most of the games. I think I did well in most laning phases besides maybe the top bot lanes from Rogue and Fnatic. I think against everyone else I did very well. I had like one pretty bad game that I can remember, but other than that I felt like I was pretty consistent.
Hotspawn: And what about the performance of your team?
Crownshot: The expectations were very high. For us as well. We were doing very well at the start, in May, when we were playing scrims. We were doing very well, so everyone’s expectations probably grew higher because of that, which is understandable. But I think other teams caught up, the meta shifted a bit as well… The main factor to see if a team is actually really good is longevity over multiple patches. I think we kind of failed in that regard. We were kind of one-dimensional in the champions we played and in the strategies we had.
But even if we were one-dimensional, I still think we could’ve won many more games during the Split. There are at least three more that I can think off, from the top of my head. That could’ve given us better seeding in the Playoffs, and I think we could’ve gone deeper into the Playoffs for sure. I also think Fnatic was a good team against us stylistically, with the way they play the game. Generally, I think we just won bot on our own and everyone played self-sufficiently. But Fnatic played hard into the bot lane and we didn’t really know how to respond well.
Hotspawn: So you’re pretty content, overall.
Crownshot: Yeah, it was just the same as last Summer, for example. I thought I was having a very good Split and then we just choked in the Playoffs. That was a disappointment. It’s kind of the same now, so it’s a bit annoying to have the same regrets one year later. [Laughs] But hopefully, I can break it next Split.
Hotspawn: Let’s talk more about the future. During the Split, there was a lot of focus on your mid/jungle synergy. At many times, Vitality didn’t really feel like a team. It was individuals doing their thing. Do you think that this is something you can improve if you stick together for next year?
Crownshot: Yeah. I mean, it’s true that we didn’t play that long together. It was only one Split, basically. But I think it can always be improved. It also kind of depends on what meta it is, which champions are the best, which style is the best to play. But I think it can always be improved if people are willing.
Hotspawn: Do you think the players on your team are willing to work on that synergy? Are you willing to work on that synergy?
Crownshot: Yeah, I think so. I would say so. I think the possibility to get better is definitely there. It’s just about how committed you are as the same group to stay together and improve that. I think League is becoming a lot about that. A lot of times you see rosters that you would never bet on do well, and I think it’s mainly because people know their roles and what they are supposed to do in games. You have people who are willing to give up for the team and all of that. I think that’s becoming more and more important.
Hotspawn: It’s quite a long offseason that’s ahead of you and I’m sure you don’t have your plans locked down yet. But with what feeling are you heading into it? Do you have the desire to drastically improve or something like that?
Crownshot: Well, I always say that I am gonna chill but then I end up playing anyway. [Laughs] I just get bored, you know? I think it happens to everyone, actually. But yeah, I’ll just play solo queue. Maybe I’ll go to Korea. It depends on how many personal things I want to take care of at home and stuff. Then I’ll just wait and see what happens and what the next year brings. It’s always a bit of uncertainty in the offseason, but maybe that’s part of the excitement.
The LEC Playoffs continue on Saturday, August 28, at 5 PM CEST. You can watch it live on the official LoL Esports site.