Counter Logic Gaming’s struggles in the 2021 LCS Summer Split continued by having another 0-3 week right as the regular season reaches its halfway point. Heading into Week 6, CLG is tied with FlyQuest for the eighth and final spot of the postseason on a 9-24 record (4-11 in summer). Not only that, they are just one game ahead of last-placed Golden Guardians, pitting their margin of error for the rest of the schedule at the slightest bit imaginable.
Every player in CLG understands the urgency behind the team’s predicament. In a three-pronged race for one playoff spot, it’s kill or be killed, and for the two-time LCS champions, they would rather do the former. Unsurprisingly, that sentiment easily resonated with veteran mid-laner Eugene “Pobelter” Park, who’s currently in his second stint with CLG after a five-year absence.
Following the loss to 100T that closed out Week 5, Pobelter spoke to Gamezo for an exclusive one-on-one interview to discuss CLG’s struggles thus far in the summer split.
I’d like to know your overall thoughts on this week since you also faced Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses.
Pobelter: We’re not doing well right now. It’s pretty frustrating for sure. A lot of the stuff in the games went wrong. We just have to stay calm and try to fix them one by one. Just take the lessons we can get from each game and each failure and try to fix them before it’s too late.
In that last game against 100T, you were close in terms of kill score and gold deficit until that ace during the cloud drake fight. What went wrong there?
Pobelter: Overall, they were playing as a unit a lot better than us. Just the way they were spaced out with each champion and I think we got sucked in too deep, pretty much. They were playing with access to our backline instead of us keeping our information, so it was just a play that completely flipped the game. They got the drake and the baron. We were sacrificing waves to contest that third dragon, so it was really an outcome for the game.
Since going 3-0 in Week 3, CLG has made unorthodox picks specifically for yourself and your teammate Mads “Broxah” Pedersen (Choosing Lissandra, Trundle, and Rek’Sai). Were those decisions made at that moment on stage or planned from the team house?
Pobelter: I think it has definitely been a pre-planned thing. I do think that we need to change the way we’re drafting, of course. I don’t think we’re doing it in a way that sets us up for success. It’s part draft and part us playing poorly and I think the difficulties we’re having in the draft also comes down to playing champion pools and things like that as well, but I think they’re stuff we need to fix moving forward.
When you have that really successful week where we went 3-0, it was a band-aid to our problems, but once that was solved out, there wasn’t really much substance and strength that we could use to win keep winning our games, so I think we need to build up that stability.
After playing against GG, Smoothie said that the team wasn’t prepared for the lane matchups in top lane and jungle which resulted in the loss. Considering the current state of the team, does this lack of preparation happen often or are there other issues that impede your play?
Pobelter: If we’re talking about the GG match, rather than it being something extreme, I think they were able to set up a really good play that set us far behind early with the top dive that we weren’t prepared for and that ended up having really big repercussions throughout the game. It’s a mistake that shouldn’t have happened though, for sure.
During the 2021 spring split, you were moved to the Academy team for a bit before returning to the main roster. Although your time there was short, what form of lesson did you learn that helped you conduct yourself now in summer?
Pobelter: Wow, it feels so long ago, but I think I was able to learn some more leadership skills. I think a lot of the guys in the Academy team were pretty new to competitive play, so I felt I was able to understand a bit better how to lead the game. I was able to teach a lot to the Academy guys. I think that was the main thing.
You’ve had a lengthy, eventful, and illustrious career in the LCS. One might even write a book about it. Within that facet, highlights such as you finally winning the LCS title with CLG in summer 2015 and those back-to-back wins with TL in 2018 will be marked as your major highlight. If there was a book made about your career, how would you title your second stint with CLG?
Pobelter: I’m not sure because it’s not finished yet, so I think we still have a lot of time left–well, not that much time, I suppose, but there’s time left in this season to fix our mistakes. The most important thing is making sure we can secure playoffs for now.
The last few weeks have definitely been pretty disappointing and frustrating, but I’m not the type to just give up and I don’t think anyone else in the team is either so we’re just continuing to fight, work on our mistakes, and get better day-by-day. Even though it’s a tough process, even though it’s really difficult to be in this situation, we want to give it our all, and maybe when the season is done, I can let you know what the title of that book would be.
As it stands, you’re in the seventh-eighth area of the league table which means you’ll start the summer playoffs in the lower bracket if the season ends right now. Back in the scrum interview, you did, you said the team’s main goal was to reach Worlds, be it by hook or by crook. As the fight for making the playoffs gets tighter, is the team’s goal changing to just reaching playoffs no matter what?
Pobelter: Yeah, I think we need to take it one step at a time, for sure. I think it’s important to have short-term goals and long-term goals. We can say the long-term goal is making it to Worlds, but the short-term goal, for now, is we have to get some wins on the table. We have to approach each game as a life or death situation and try our best to win each and every game because every single one of those games is going to count on whether or not we can make those goals.