Chazz: ''We’re Isolated In OCE - Won Our Finals And Had To Solo Queue For Weeks''
Pentanet.GG’s mid-laner, Jesse “Chazz” Mahoney, and the rest of his team got the chance to represent the Oceania region at the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) after winning the League of Legends Circuit Oceania (LCO) finals.
The team had a rough 0-2 start to the tournament on Day 1 but were able to bounce back on Day 3 with a much-needed win over the League of Legends Continental League’s (LCL) Unicorns Of Love.
We had a chance to speak to the mid-laner after their win.
Congrats on your win, Chazz! How does it feel to get your first win of the tournament and your first international win as well?
Yeah, personally, this is my first win at MSI and international; this is my first event, so it was really hype. I was a little bit sad with our last team fight win, I didn’t get to do as much as I wanted to. I was saving up my Flash kick; I had it in my mind, I had everything ready. It’s whatever; we won, so I’m super hyped about that, and my teammates played really well, so that’s amazing. Seeing them pop off and do crazy things is really good for morale. I’ve already been feeling like a champion, so I’m glad they’re feeling like a champion too. It was perfect, honestly — perfect for everybody.
You ended up in a similar situation to UOL, where they played you guys on Day 1 after you just finished a match versus RNG. How was the prep this time around, knowing that they were coming from another match themselves?
I think we just have a better read on the meta and what’s working for us. Well, the draft has been better; I think we were just more confident with how this draft played out, and we knew what we wanted to do. We had good lanes for everybody, good champions for everybody; it was just a lot easier. We didn’t have to focus so much on our champions and our matchups because we knew how they were going to play out. We could focus more on what we wanted to do in the game. It gives us a lot of confidence when we know how things are going to go out in the lanes. The early game is probably our biggest problem right now, we fall behind, and they just run away with it. The international teams are something we’re not that used to on OCE. Having a good early game is really important, have an easy early game with our champions.
We’re isolated here in Oceania, so we have no one to scrim, really. After we won our finals we just had to play solo queue for weeks. And then when we came here we were behind on everything, it took us a while to start adapting to everybody; what they’re playing, what we should be playing.
You mentioned playing teams internationally; how has the experience been playing outside your region? We even saw you wanting to trade jerseys with other players on Social Media.
A lot of these people I’ve been watching for years, so getting a chance to come over and play and communicate with them, and I guess be seen as equal in a way, has been awesome. We’re all just competitors here — it’s been really amazing. It’s really surreal, and I’m loving it so much. It was really hard at first, the scrims weren’t going amazingly, and we were struggling to get a read on the meta. Because we’re isolated here in Oceania, so we have no one to scrim, really. After we won our finals, we just had to play solo queue for weeks. And then when we came here, we were behind on everything; it took us a while to start adapting to everybody; what they’re playing, what we should be playing. And then obviously these teams are very good, so the quality of player is something we had to adapt to, too.
We were just trying to get our foot in the door or understand how we need to play the games [and] how we need to draft. We definitely have some, I guess, hiccups in the beginning, but I’m hoping now we understand what we need to do, so the rest of our games should be a lot better. At the very least, we’re hoping to win them all. We can hope.
I can’t even explain it. It’s so amazing to be here, it’s something I’m going to remember forever. And I can’t wait to do the same thing this year at Worlds when we win split two. A little sneak peek for LCO fans.
Has there been anything you’ve learned from playing the first three days of MSI?
The main thing that sticks in my mind when you ask that question is the constant aggression that is needed. There’s not much downtime here. When I say aggression I don’t mean aggression as in running in and fight them. You always need to be doing something; in OCE, there’s a lot of downtime, like if you just want to farm your items, you’re all good. Here, if you just want to farm for your item, they’re taking Rift Herald and dropping it on the top tower. You know, top lane’s crying for the next five minutes, which happened in the first two games. We took the foot off the gas, and they just went [...] Took Herald, killed top, got the tower and then we traded for nothing — that was instantly game over.
That was one thing we need to improve on a lot. I think we did a much better job in this game which is what I’m hoping [it’s] a chunk of why we won. That’s the first thing that pops in my mind. That’s one thing we’ve all had to learn. We’ve spoken about it multiple times after the games. We can’t muck around; we need to be permanently doing things. We need to have an idea and a mind of what we’re trying to do at the time. We can’t just sit around and farm [and] clear waves. We need to be trading at the very, very minimum.
As your first international tournament, how does the atmosphere compare outside of the game?
Well, outside of the game, everyone’s super nice. No one’s rude or looks down just because we’re from OCE and we’re small. The place is massive, absolutely massive. Our studio that we were playing in last year — obviously, we haven’t been playing in a studio this year because of COVID. Last year was relatively small so coming here, this place has got to be 100 times bigger than our studio; it’s absolutely crazy. It was really surreal coming in and looking at how big the place was. All the people running around, all the stuff set up. It’s crazy; it’s absolutely crazy, I can’t even explain it. It’s so amazing to be here, and it’s something I’m going to remember forever. And I can’t wait to do the same thing this year at Worlds when we win split two. A little sneak peek for LCO fans.
I want to push us to a place where OCE has never been and say: 'Hey, we’re not just the randoms that got left behind. We’re actually here and we’re just as good if not better than the people that are left.'
Do you have any goals for MSI?
Well, we want to make it out of groups. OCE has never made it out of groups, so that would be our first step. A lot of people are underestimating us, thinking that we are just the leftovers of the OPL (Oceanic Pro League) after it disappeared or was shut down. People underestimate us a lot, saying we’re just the leftovers, like we aren’t that good. I want to push us to a place where OCE has never been and say: “Hey, we’re not just the randoms that got left behind. We’re actually here, and we’re just as good or if not better than the people that are left.” That’s what we all want, really. I guess it’s to show that we’re deserving to be here, we’re deserving of OCE’s place in the tournament. We want to prove that we’re just as good as these other players.
On Sunday (May 9), you have a bunch of matches to end the group stage. Without going into too much detail, how are you and the team prepping for this?
We’ve been just doing the same. Realistically we’re just going to have to prep for the first two games against both teams and decide what we want to do after that. But we’re just going to prepare for match one, match two; if things go well, maybe we’ll just do the same thing. Maybe we need to switch things up if things go bad — we’ll fix our drafts or something. It’ll be the same thing; nothing will change.
Have you played that many matches in one day before?
Our semifinals, I don’t know if it was called the semifinals; maybe it was the quarters. We played one match and then went straight to the finals for our gauntlet run; we had to do a best of five then. Which took all five games; it was a very, very gruelling experience, it was really hard. We played five that day, so this will be a walk in the park compared to that [...] It’ll be fine. We’re all experienced.
Your team seems to be more lighthearted than the rest of the teams at the tournament, especially on Twitter. Is there a reason for that, or is that how you are as a team?
I think it’s just how we are as a team and how we interact with each other personally. We’re always having a good time, whether losing or winning, stomping or getting smashed. Team environment is really important; we’re best friends on and off the rift. We just try to have fun no matter what we’re doing, and we try to have fun with other players. Sometimes they don’t like it, sometimes they like it — it’s whatever. At the end of the day, as long as we’re just doing what we do and we’re having fun, then we’re going to show up, and we’re going to play our best. That’s pretty much it.
Sunday's matches will determine if Chazz and his team can get past the group stage after a full day of matches consisting of Group A. Pentanet.GG’s first match of the day comes after the Unicorns Of Love play the League of Legends Pro League’s (LPL) Royal Never Give Up.
Image via Riot Games