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Philippe “Akabane” Le: “I am more confident and it shows”

You come out of your first week of the French Championship (LFL) summer segment 0-2 (following defeats against BDS Academy and Vitality Bee), as the play-offs and European Masters. How to get back to the strongest for your last three games of the regular season?
We knew the week was going to be complicated, against BDS and Vitality. Inevitably, we are disappointed with the 0-2, but I think there has been fatigue on the part of coaches and players, because we have really given ourselves since the start of the season. But we managed to recover. We know that the upcoming matches will be the most important, and on paper, they are manageable. We try to play for the Top 2, especially since Vitality has a difficult schedule (almost tied with GameWard in second place, it will face two of the best teams at the end of the season: LDLC OL and Karmine Corp).

Why were you considering difficulties against these teams?
They were in a good dynamic before the match week, unlike us. We especially saw that in training: we had trouble against Vitality, and on the other hand, BDS was on a winning streak. It was complicated to perform a miracle when our week of training hadn’t gone very well…

Your coach is remained optimistic in defeat. Did you also learn from it?
Yes, completely. In recent weeks, we have the impression that we no longer play our game too much during our matches. At the start of the Split, GameWard, it was 20 kills by game, it was just fight – fight well. While in recent weeks, we have fallen asleep a bit. There weren’t many more kills in our matches, maybe three or five to 15 minutes of play. I don’t know if it was due to the drafts (strategy chosen before the game) or to us. Maybe a bit of both. But in our last game against BDS, we fought, we tried to be more proactive and I think it’s going in the right direction. Thursday, we will fight.

“We will give everything in this game to win. »

It is against this explosiveness that LDLC OL sometimes has trouble reacting, as Thomas “Exakick” Foucou (botlaner of LDLC OL) admitted last week…
Yes. In the early game, they are strong, but not unbeatable. In fact, often they get off to a bad start, but gain the advantage by midgame. I think there are a few small weaknesses to exploit. But in any case, I can’t wait to play on stage against them and obliterate them!

There are important issues for you in this match, unlike LDLC OL, qualified for the EUM last week…
We are not qualified yet, since only the Top 2 will go to the European Masters, not counting the play-offs (there are three matches left for each team), so a win against LDLC would be massive. She could make sure we go to the EUM, and we will give everything in this game to win. It’s also a match that will be played on stage, so they will give it their all even if they are already qualified… but it doesn’t matter. We must focus on our game. Me, I have no pressure since I will play in front of the French.

Exactly, is it a bonus for you to play on stage?
Yes ! In my opinion, I am supported. And on the contrary, rather than putting pressure on me, it gives me more confidence. In Nice (for LFL Days last February), it was the first time I played on stage. And during the two days of the event, the public was against us. But it was great to perform on stage and feel all the excitement. This time, we are going to play at home, because the stage is ten minutes from our gaming house and the city is a GameWard partner. There are also still fans of the Karmine Corp who follow me (referring to his 2020 season spent with the first iteration of the club)and there will be GameWard supporters who will be there unlike Nice.

“I’m more vocal, a lot more confident, and it shows in-game.

Last year, you said at the microphone of Martin “Krok” Berthelot that communicating better with your team was a major point of improvement for you. Where are you today?
I think I have improved a lot on communication. When I was in Germany (in 2021 at BIG), I was still learning. My mid laner Steven “Reeker” Chen guided me in play. But there, I have a lot more experience. I’m more vocal, much more confident in my shotcalling (strategic in-game communications) and it shows in-game.

Did you also learn from your GameWard teammates?
Yes, Nihat “Innaxe” Aliev and Pawel “Czekolad” Szczepanik taught us tricks they saw in LEC (Europe championship) for the macro aspect (general strategy). They help us to review our matches. Then I learn more about the shotcalling with Czeko and Kamil “Kamilius” Košál. The tasks are well distributed between the players, everyone knows what to do and when. We are well organized now.

Did this organization contribute to your surge in the summer segment after a lackluster spring?
Exactly, and we have a strict schedule to adhere to. In the spring, we used to arrive just for training before the matches, but now, in the summer, we get up earlier to get to the gaming house before and study the matches. It’s much more structured, and tiring too, but you have to make sacrifices to win.

“It’s important to be together, especially in defeat. After each game, even if we lose, we will do an activity together to relax the atmosphere, and that changes everything. »

It can also allow you to develop better team synergy.
Yes, we have a much better synergy, it’s an advantage. And in the spring, there were only four of us in the gaming house, without Dawid “Melonik” lczka, and that had an impact. It’s important to be together, especially in defeat. After each game, even if we lose, we will do an activity together to relax the atmosphere, and that changes everything. There was also a lot of work from the coaching staff on the subject, and we all got into sport, more than in the spring. For me, it helps me feel better physically and mentally.

This change is felt even in your performance?
Yes, it changed me a lot! Sport has also helped me with confidence. When I feel good, I’m in a better mood and I have more energy. I also speak more when we study matches. These are details that mean that, overall, I am doing much better at the moment. »

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