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EG IgNar: “I think we’re better on stage”

Dan Smyth-Temple

The first best-of-five in the LCS 2021 Championship went as expected, with Evil Geniuses handily beating Dignitas 3-1. The series likely would’ve been a quick sweep were it not for an impressive Baron throw by EG in game two, but Dig’s fate was sealed regardless, and they now head to the lower bracket to face Immortals. EG’s botlane duo, veteran support Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun and rookie Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki continue to impress, making solid leads for themselves while also impacting the rest of the map through smart rotations.

EG IgNar

Evil Geniuses is one series away from making Worlds. (Photo by Riot Games via ESPAT.)

We sat down with IgNar after the series to talk about playoff nerves, preparing against Dignitas, and Worlds.

Hotspawn: First of all, congratulations! EG’s first best-of-five is in the bag. How are you feeling after today’s series? 

IgNar: Thank you. It’s been a long time since my last best-of-five, so it was fun. I thought I was going to be a little bit nervous. But I wasn’t nervous. It was fun because we had a good game too.

Hotspawn: That’s good to hear! You’re no stranger to the best of five, though. Apart from the higher stakes, do games like today feel any different than the regular season best-of-ones? You mentioned being a little bit nervous. 

IgNar: I think the big difference was– before we played on stage, and we were really good. And then we played in [the] office because we couldn’t go to the live studio, right? And I realized we are so much better on stage. Today I wanted to check and see, and I was right. I think we are just better on stage. 

Hotspawn: Do you have any idea why that might be? Is it just a question of competitive environment?

IgNar: In my opinion, I think the stage makes players get hyped and speak more loudly and speak more. Like, let’s say if you play in office, you can have something that you want to speak but you don’t speak because someone is speaking. That can happen, but on stage everyone is just speaking because they really want to win because it’s high motivation. It’s the stage. I think that’s why we are better, we say everything and are better about micromanaging each other on stage.

Hotspawn: I want to shift back a bit and talk about the series today. For the most part, it seemed like Evil Geniuses had Dignitas figured out. What can you can tell me about the preparation that went into today’s best-of-five? Or has your attention been more focused on the games after this?

IgNar: Against Dignitas, we prepared for Yusui– he really likes AD mids. So we prepared [to] try to block the AP junglers because they can easily match AP jungler with AD Mid. That was what we focused on, and then we prepared against the champs.

Hotspawn: Seems like it worked out for you. I spoke with Artemis a few weeks ago during Evil Genius’s regular season win streak, and he said that EG didn’t feel very strong despite the positive stage performances. Are you feeling a little bit more confident now?

IgNar: Oh, I think our team is sometimes really dicey. Sometimes we are really strong, but a few times we are really weak. So I can’t say, but I feel like if we have confidence in each other, and then we have a good draft [and] trust, then I think we are really strong. I think top three.

Hotspawn: That’s good to hear. Your win today does mean that you’ll be facing up against 100 Thieves in your next match. How are you feeling about that series?  

IgNar: Our recent match against 100 Thieves, from what I remember, we beat them. I think. So I’m confident, and we are confident. Recently we are good at fighting, and we know 100 Thieves is a fighting team. We just want to win in and are pretty confident [we can] right now.

Hotspawn: The winner of that match against 100 thieves is also guaranteed a spot at Worlds. We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here, but is returning to the international stage something you’re looking forward to?

IgNar: From what I heard, I don’t know if we’ll have a crowd or not on stage. But I really hope there is a crowd. It’ll be really fun to hear the shouts from [the] crowd when we make big plays.

EG IgNar

IgNar has improved remarkably from the start of Spring. (Photo by Riot Games via ESPAT.)

Hotspawn: Are there any teams in particular that you’d like to face at Worlds?

IgNar: Oh, yeah, I’d like to play against [NASR Turkey] because my friend is on it. I hope that they come to Worlds. The player’s name is bonO– I want to play against him, if he comes to Worlds. Yeah, that’s all I think. Not much. 

Hotspawn: Shifting gears for one last question, I know this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this, but I wanted to pick your brain about building Zhonya’s on Sett support today. What’s the reasoning behind that? 

IgNar: Oh, in my opinion, if your team is winning and you have you have a decent champion, second item Zhonya’s no matter what. It could change but nowadays I’m feeling it and I’m doing it.  If you’re winning hard second item Zhonya’s means you can face check, you can buy time, you can fight with [the] AD. I don’t know, I just think this item is really good.

Hotspawn: Thank you for that insight! I think that’s about all I have for you. Just to close us out, do you have any parting words for the Evil Geniuses fans and the IgNar fans out there? 

IgNar: Oh yeah, only one win left to make Worlds! We will try really hard to make it. I hope you cheer [for] us and I hope we can make it fun for the [audience]. Yeah.