Pabu on MSI: “I was sending it. We all sent it”
With the Rumble stage of MSI officially coming to a close, the international hopes of both NA and OCE have come to a tragic halt. Pentanet.gg were this event’s breakout fan favorites, as evidenced by opening any social media thread relating to the region’s representatives. Expectations were exceedingly low for the scrappy OCE team after the region’s already small competitive budget was slashed to nothing, and so any victory became a cause for great celebration– and although their underdog run comes to an end with the conclusion of the Rumble stage, OCE’s sole representative will surely bring home unforgettable experiences and invaluable lessons for the next international event.
We sat down with Pentanet.gg’s jungler Pabu after their last game to reflect on their time in Reykjavik, and what’s next for the scrappy young team.
Hotspawn: Thanks for joining me, Pabu! Unfortunately, that game against RNG does mark the end of PGG’s MSI run. How’re you feeling, now that it’s all over?
Pabu: There’s a lot of conflicting emotions. It does kind of suck to end the journey here, and as a competitor it’s always going to feel bad when you don’t win it all. Even when you win it all, if you don’t win it all again— you still lose in the end. It’s always going to be rough. There are so many great memories that I’ve made here, and so many highlight moments. So many new people and fans that support us that I’ve met, so it’s been a pretty enjoyable experience.
Hotspawn: It’s nice to hear that you’re maintaining a positive attitude. It’s really easy to be down in yourself in moments like these, but it’s a huge accomplishment to have made it this far. What were some of your favorite moments from the tournament?
Pabu: Probably the most fun that I’ve had the entire time was the RNG game where we played the Qiyana. We were really far behind, but I was feeling myself that game. Every fight was a bloodbath and I felt like I was playing well. I piloted my champion well and they were just throwing hands, you know? It was a real dirty kinda scrap. Those are always so much fun, honestly. We kinda lean into it, you know? It’s good for us if the game is not being played properly. I just remember having a lot of fun that game, and even though we lost it was whatever. I was sending it. We all sent it— it was good fun.
Hotspawn: What about outside of game? Did you do anything exciting in Reykjavik?
Pabu: I went to the volcano the other day, and that was insane. I can’t remember the name of it, but it’s the local volcano. The rocks— every five to seven minutes, it just shoots out lava, and you can feel the warmth and smell it. You can go up and touch hardened magma. It’s crazy, it’s pretty surreal. You’re three hundred meters away from literal lava. There was a part of it that was this magma that was cooling down, but it was close enough to us that it was still red, some of it, and it was turning black and occasionally parts of it would just light on fire, and it was like— “what is this? why am I thirty centimeters away from this rock that is literally igniting?” It was kinda insane.
Hotspawn: I’ve seen the videos, but I’m sure seeing it in person is an entirely different thing.
Pabu: It was surreal.
Hotspawn: Pentanet has quickly become the breakout fan favorites of the tournament, as I’m sure you know, with a huge outpouring of support from all over the world. Have you been able to feel that support, even though it’s coming remotely? You’re still playing in an empty studio.
Pabu: Yeah. It’s hard to think about it on stage when it’s not there. But after we made it through, and after we made it through the Rumble stage, the expectations were pretty low. When we lose it’s whatever, but when we win, it’s crazy. The amount of crazy memes I’ve seen from people on the timeline— I dunno. It’s been really fun.
After every game I’m keen to see what people come up with, even when we lose. I’ve seen so many friendly things sent my way, and so much positive support, it’s been kinda crazy honestly. No one’s deluded about us, they don’t think “oh man these guys suck,” it’s a bit of a miracle we made it here so everyone’s being pretty cool about it. It’s been so much fun to interact with people who enjoy making stuff up about us.
Hotspawn: You won’t be in the public eye as much without MSI going on— how do you feel this tournament will shape the future of you and the rest of Pentanet?
Pabu: I think more people seeing our stuff is always going to be good, because we can still put out a similar tier of content, but it’s hard to be as involved with it when it’s not including your favorite [domestic] teams as well. I’ll understand if people aren’t following PGG as closely, but I plan to make it back to Worlds, so hopefully we can smash out some more banger content in half a year.
Hotspawn: A lot of players and coaches highly value international competitions as a tool to improve at a much faster rate. What are some of the things you’ve learned from playing this tournament?
Pabu: We get punished a lot for our terrible drafts, and the game becomes unplayable really quickly. A lot of teams are much more involved level one than anyone is in OCE. And general aggression, people will take any man advantage and dive on us. You can’t be making these mistakes versus elite teams, because if they stack a wave and you lose two waves and your AD dies, the game is almost over.
These kinds of mistakes need to be shored up, and also we need to be making those plays on teams. Learning to play the game fast, and learning to play the game properly and aggressively, is most of what I’ve learned. The macro at the moment is somewhat unsophisticated because dragon meta means you just butt heads over soul and whoever sets those fights better wins. Super complex lane assignments aren’t super relevant.
I’ve learned so much about the early game over this tournament, how to deal with situations, especially because I’m relatively inexperienced as a jungle. I’m only a year in. A lot of these situations I’m new to, and I have to adapt on the fly, like “oh they late invaded me, how do I get a crab now?” Well, we’ll find out, and then we all die. And it’s like “alright, whatever, I’ll fix it for the next game.” It’s good to have this opportunity to be punished so heavily, and to be able to figure things out so quickly.
Hotspawn: Trial by fire, and all that.
Hotspawn: Who were some of your favorite junglers to play against this tournament?
Pabu: Most of them were pretty fun— honestly they all put up a fairly decent fight for the most part. AHaHaCiK clapped me for a few games in a row, and then I clapped him for a few games in a row, but he did clap me! I felt giga outclassed in one of the games, and I was like “what is going on.” But I think for the most part, probably the most fun— I like playing against Mad LIons and PSG. Their junglers will just fight you if they think they win. They will never concede something they don’t think they shouldn’t concede, and so you will die or they will die. You kinda see what ends up happening.
They don’t make that many mistakes— sometimes they do, but most of those fights they take they win. It feels very challenging. Both Canyon and Wei are very good, but especially Canyon tends to play the game a bit more reserved, and he’ll punish your pathing mistakes a lot more than punishing what you have specifically done in the moment. It’s still extremely hard to play against everyone, yeah.
Hotspawn: I think that’s all I have time for. Do you have any final parting words for the Pentanet fans you gained over the last couple of weeks?
Pabu: Not too much. Thank you for supporting us, and getting behind us even though there were some rough times. I hope we can make it back to worlds, and give you some more games to drop some fat memes for.
Hotspawn: I hope to see you there! Thank you again, Pabu. Take it easy.