by Darius Matuschak / @DariusExMachina
Photograph by: Michal Konkol / Riot Games
After a decisive win against Fnatic, the Unicorns of Love are back on track for their fight for first within Group B. We talked to their coach Sheepy about Xerxe, team morale and ways to train your team in the best way imaginable.
Congratulations on your win against Fnatic! How do you feel right now?
I’m feeling pretty good. Due to the fact that we won against Fnatic, we’re now going to go to the cinema and watch Logan, so I’m pretty excited about that!
That’s a pretty nice reward for the win?
Absolutely! That is something worth fighting for. The win against Fnatic is nice, but I’m really pumped about watching this movie now. I heard it’s really good.
Was this promise one of the reasons as to why Xerxe picked up Rengar during the series?
Most definitely, we probably managed to influence his subconscious decision making somehow.
It was a pretty important match that showcased some of the strengths but also some of the weaknesses of the Unicorns. How strong do you think you guys are as a team right now?
I think we were the better team in pretty much all three games. Just not in terms of our macro play but when it comes to individual skill as well. We were only struggling against Varus pick in the first game, Fnatic’s poke was just too strong for us to handle. And even though we lost the first game, we knew that we could outdraft Fnatic in the following games and get the win. After we banned Varus it was pretty much over for Fnatic. Overall, I’d say we’re one of the top 3 teams in the league right now.
At one point in the first game, you were ahead by 13.3k gold and still managed to throw that game. What do you do as a coach in that situation? What do you tell your players?
It’s a pretty difficult situation because you can’t really do that match when it actually happens on stage. So it depends a lot on what you did in the days, weeks and months before, how well you trained your players. Given that I’m pretty strict in the way I coach my players, I was certain that they’d be able to withstand the mental pressure of losing that won game. Basically you try to train so much that the result doesn’t matter to them and they always perform no matter the circumstances.
Is that a mindset you try to teach your players a lot?
Yes, we don’t try to be results-oriented but care about the learning experience. It’s kind of like painting a picture: Rather than being worried about every little detail and changing it constantly, you should just paint over and over again. In order to improve you don’t paint one perfect picture but rather 1000 normal pictures and then gain the experience in order to improve in general. The same applies to League of Legends. You train so much so that you eventually ignore everything else and base your plays on the knowledge that you gained in training.
Let’s talk a bit about Xerxe: He performed really well throughout the series, managed to steal a decisive baron, on Ivern of all champions. Are you happy with his and Samux’ performance so far?
Yes, definitely. Even when ignoring what happens on stage and just by looking at the way everyone behaves around each other in the gaming house. Everyone’s trying to improve all the time, the team morale is really strong as well. Given that they’re both rather inexperienced, I’m really impressed by them. I’m very proud of their work.
Some argue that Xerxe is arguably the best Rookie in the EU LCS right now. Would you agree with that statement?
Yes. I think Xerxe has shown so much promise already and brought in new picks like Warwick and Ivern to the point he even gets target banned. He’s exercising every day and is a really well-rounded player, especially given his age.
Right now there’s a tight battle going on for first place within group B. Are you excited about the rematch against H2K?
The current placing on the league table doesn’t matter too much to us, since it’s nothing that can actually benefit us in-game. The only thing that wins you games is understanding the game, so that’s the thing that we’re predominantly focusing on right now. We want to learn as much as possible from each game we play and concentrate on becoming one of the strongest teams in the league, rather than look at where we stand on the table. I expect our rematch to be a lot of fun, especially since H2K is a team that contests a lot of objectives and are just a strong team in general.
You guys lost two games in a row, if you would’ve lost for the third time people would’ve argued that the Unicorns are on a losing streak. What went wrong in the last weeks?
I think we just need to train more. We simply lacked a lot of game knowledge, so in certain situations we didn’t make the right decisions. Even though we lost at IEM, it was still a fantastic experience though: We scrimmed so many games against Flash Wolves and that team plays both super aggressive and just straight up good! It was so much fun playing against them. But it was also really informative and these scrims have helped us a lot in the way we play our game. The more we train the better we’ll get, so eventually the correct decisions will come naturally to us as well.
Anything you’d like to say to the Unicorns fans?
I’m just so happy to have them! Every game they cheer on us and it’s such a positive thing to see. I think our fans are one-of-a-kind! We get a lot of help and support via social media, that’s also really helpful. They’re truly unique.
Thank you for your time!
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