Through constantly performing beyond expectations, Counter Logic Gaming’s Jake “Xmithie” Puchero has finally started to earn proper acclaim and admiration from the crowd. He brings a highly controlled and deliberate play style which has formed as the fundamental base for his team’s success.
We spoke with Xmithie after his 3rd place match against Immortals, where CLG put up a valiant effort before succumbing 2-3.
After a disheartening series against TSM, what was your mindset going into the match against Immortals?
For me it was just doing my best, and hopefully proving that we’re at least the third best team in this region.
What was the effect of [coach] Zikz’ absence on your team as a whole, especially against TSM?
It was a pretty big deal for us, since before that, he was absent for most of the scrims in addition to the late regular season games against NRG and Apex. Tony was not there for the whole time. We had to draft with our analyst, who acted as our head coach. We started from the bottom again to teach him how the draft moves, and more importantly, how to analyze the post-game – so it wasn’t really productive at the end of it since we had little direction.
Going into this series, a lot of people thought Reignover would be the dominant jungler, but you did a fantastic job of keeping him under wraps. How did you counteract his movements?.
Every LCS game I try to have a single purpose – neutralizing a single person or playstyle. It’s about identifying the “x”-centric team that they are. So if it’s top lane for example, I try to gank him, and as long as [that player] doesn’t do well, my team will be in a good position. This match, I decided if I don’t let Reignover make any early plays, we’ll be good.
Recently Reginald described their difficulties adapting to patches, but alluded to CLG having an even tougher time (given the complications). How difficult has it been for you personally?
Our adaptation has been really weird… For instance, no one invades anymore, if only to get a ward on Gromp or Golems. It neutralized that area of the game where we were creative; we used to be able to get a cheese in any game. More obviously, 2v1’s were completely destroyed, which is something we researched and practiced a lot.
Why is it exactly that you can’t 2v1 anymore? Is initiating a fast-push no longer viable?
Top turret and mid turret were just too heavily fortified. We still tried it in custom games early on, sending our top lane up for a 4v0, and ended up being late [taking first turret] something like 20-30 seconds in an even situation. We also tried the 4:20 swap and it was really effective in the beginning against Team Liquid. But then when people learned about it, the strategy became really easy to stop.
Looking ahead at the gauntlet for the final North American Worlds spot, what are your predictions for a victor?
I think Immortals is better than C9, as the series goes on. Unless there’s some implosion going on in the team that I don’t know about right now, they will show up much better. Just think back to last split where they picked Lucian and Graves top, whereas now Huni is picking Ekko and Gnar. They’re just slower (or more resistant) at adapting to the patches.