A quick conversation with NRG Contractz after their loss against Immortals during the LCS Summer Split opening week.
Not the return to the LCS NRG imagined during the Week 1 of the LCS as the org lost to Evil Geniuses in their opening in a perfect game, which is a game where the losing side takes no kills and objectives, and then fell against Immortals after they found themselves in a 10k gold lead. After the Immortals game, we had the opportunity to catch up with the NRG jungler, Juan “Contractz” Garcia to talk about the offseason and the start to the Summer Split.
NRG had a cold start to the LCS Summer Split
It has been a bit of a rough start for you to the Summer so far, how are you doing?
“The first two games were definitely rough for us. I mean the first game we got perfect gamed, and the second game we had like a 10k lead and we weren’t able to close it out. So, definitely not the season that any of us wanted or expected, but you just have to take these losses as it is and do what you can to come back stronger the next games. I think we all are pretty down, but we understand it’s a long season. So we are just trying to do what it takes.”
About the Immortals game, your team has been pretty good in the past when it comes to closing out games. Why do you think you had trouble doing that today?
“I think we just didn’t have clean ideas, we weren’t patient enough around big objectives and we didn’t use our wave states as well as we could’ve. We gave them a lot of good windows to get favorable fights or we just didn’t play those fights mechanically clean. And they slowly were able to get back. We just gave them certain timers, they shouldn’t be allowed to take a 5v5 when we have three inhibs. Just things we have to improve on before our next game.”
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) June 16, 2023
Was the communication a part of it since you have a completely new bot lane after a long time playing with Luger and Poome? How has the adjustment been so far?
“I think FBI and IgNar bring a lot to the team in terms of communication and a different style of bot lane play. We are still getting used to each other, we all have different ideas. We are all open-minded so it’s just about really learning each other's habits and incorporating that into the game. I think that’s why we are struggling a little bit now, but I’m confident that as time goes on we will still be able to connect and get on the same page.”
A new beginning under a different org
Of course, bot lane wasn’t the only change for you this year, maybe not even the biggest one. We know the LCS part of the org is relatively the same after the transition from CLG to NRG, but what kind of impact did the change have on the team?
“CLG will always hold a dear place in my heart, getting the bounce back into the LCS that I had and all the success we had. But the transition to NRG was pretty easy. Everyone is very easy to work together, very open-minded, very hungry to win. And it shows in their competitive nature and their other teams as well. It definitely feels like we are in a win-first organization. Obviously, we haven’t had the strongest start, but we are hoping to drive into that and do our best. I’m grateful to both CLG and NRG for giving me an opportunity.”
Talking about success, this CLG core had a really good trajectory in the LCS, starting from the bottom and rising up the standings each split. But the runs in playoffs have been rather short. What is the team’s goal for the Summer?
“Yes, the goal is definitely to level up our playoff performance. I think one of the reasons why we had roster changes in the first place was to just try to go further than we ever gone before. That includes myself too. I need to keep myself to certain expectations and standards that fit me and be the best player that I want to be. I think the goal is always to do better in playoffs, go to Finals, go to Worlds. I’m just really hungry for Worlds this year.”
When it comes to individual goals, I know the last split was rather disappointing when no CLG players were chosen for the All-Pro teams. Is that something you think about, individual awards?
“I’m always trying to be the best jungler I can be. What other people have to say about me doesn’t matter too much. But I’m hungry, I play aggressive, I’m playing my own style. I’m just trying to be the best I can be in that specific way.”
State of the pro play meta
Talking about your playstyle, you were on Sejuani duty today which we know is not your favorite. How do you see the jungle meta shifting going forward with the item changes?
“The jungle meta is still pretty stale, not going to lie. You got your Vi, Wukong, Sejuani, Maokai. All pretty similar but they spiced it up a little with Kha’Zix, the new items help him a lot. We’ve been seeing some Sion and a bit more Viego as well recently. Definitely seems like jungle is more diverse compared to last split, which is nice to see. Sometimes you just have to take one for the team and pull out the Sejuani, but I think overall the jungle meta is decent for the most part. But I really think they have to do something with Vi and Wukong, they have to keep those champs out of here.”
Do you think Vi still be the best jungler after 13.12 if Zeri is out of the meta?
“I hope not, but she probably will be.”
Week 2 of the LCS Summer Split starts at 2 p.m. PST on Wednesday, June 21. NRG will go up against Team Liquid, TSM and Golden Guardians on their way back up to the standings. Fans can watch Contractz and NRG on the official LoL Esports website or the LCS Twitch and Youtube channels.
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