The past two weeks have been a redemption for Schalke 04, who currently experience a 4-0 winning streak. In an interview for LoL Esports, coach Dylan Falco talks about the importance of a good draft and what contributed to their present situation.
Although the start of the Summer Split hasn’t been pleasant for Schalke, their current form is far from a last team in the standings. They have taken down teams such as G2, Origen and Fnatic, overall claiming 5 wins and starting what can eventually become “a miracle run for play offs”. Just during the past Week 7, they have doubled their chances for play offs from 4% to 8%.
Coming into Week 8 with 3 matches in perspective, Schalke have a 72% chance of locking a spot in play offs, provided they win all 3 games. That might prove difficult, considering their opponents are to be Fnatic, Team Vitality and MAD Lions. Especially the last ones will try to fight until the end for an opportunity to become the sole leaders. However, instead of making predictions for the upcoming weekend, let’s see what has allowed Schalke to even think of getting back on the ship sailing for play offs.
Their match against G2 during Week 6 has now proved to be the start of the winning streak, and for that Dylan Falco has broken down what turned out to be essential for the victory.
“We’ve been learning a lot this season about what good drafting means. Every time we win a game we can learn a bit more about what works for us on stage. The impact a draft can have, even against the top teams, is huge.”
“The main thing we’re looking for in our picks and bans is to make sure we have a comfortable mid lane matchup that can scale well. This is really important against G2. Rasmus ‘Caps’ Winther has the ability to be a playmaker everywhere around the map on a champion like Twisted Fate, it’s something they excel at.”
With Caps carrying most of the responsibility in G2 in the past few matches, it was important to make his early game as hard for him as possible. Schalke’s draft choices highlighted that:
“So in the early draft, we banned Twisted Fate and Syndra, and we picked Azir against Orianna,” explains Falco. “As soon as that’s locked in, we’re the ones with the playmaking midlane, we’re the ones with the good scaling opportunities.
“As it goes later in the draft, things branch out more and it becomes about adapting in the moment, what champions you’re good at, they’re good at, how you can win the draft strategically. I was absolutely happy with what we got, our champions were favoured against them. For example Ornn and Kha’zix against Karma top lane is extremely good for us.”
The mentioned jungle-toplane duo is the direct reason behind the match’s first blood, as both Odoamne and Gilius have teamed up to claim it on Wunder.
“The key for this game is that our lanes were stable. Even 14 or 15 minutes into the game we have all of our Flashes up everywhere,” says Dylan Falco. “Gilius was able to get a 20 CS lead in the jungle, and Karma is really squishy against an assassin like Kha’zix, so we have a lot of ability to make a play. The champion matchup we had from the draft has a lot to do from it, and from there he was fed.”
Good analysis on their opponents’ playstyle allowed Schalke to focus on specific strategies throughout the match. The scaling opportunity the draft has provided from the start later equalled easier counters decision-wise.
“Against G2 you just have to be very aware of Teleport status at all times when making plays. They like being active, responding to ganks by double Teleporting behind you.”
“Also, with Kha’zix, the champion generally wants to farm for the first or second clear, so I wanted to make sure my team knew some of the early plays G2 could make during that time, because that’s a loss condition. It’s very easy for them to get a kill on Nautilus bot lane early but they didn’t have much kill threat from the draft, so that was good for us.”
Gilius, who has already taken on the title of “God Gilius”, has greatly supported all of Schalke lanes in early game, eventually letting the team take control over the map later on.
“At a certain point, their champions can’t keep up the pace,” Falco says. “Kha’zix will outfarm you, Ornn will outscale you. Something about Azir against Orianna is you have playmaking ability. What she has in response is team-fighting ability and zone control. But I think we’re favourites in these 2v2 matchups, and once we outplay them and get the kills it sets us on course to win the game.”
Even though Schalke was quite confident in their draft and decisions, it was not a point of disregarding their opponents. Despite G2’s poor situation in the time of the match, one shall never underestimate the power of a champion – and Schalke aced that.
“Caps was kinda smurfing at times,” Falco admits, “and it was concerning to see a few fights not go our way, especially as in the super late game Orianna and Aphelios become super strong. So the fact we failed our first Baron play was quite bad.”
“Ultimately we kind of overextended when we chased onto Sett who had an Orianna ball on top of him. Starting Baron there is not that good to begin with, and if we do, we need to turn more decisively and onto a better target. Caps getting a ton of Mejai’s Soulstealer stacks was not the greatest, but I still thought we had enough of a composition and gold lead to close the game.”
Those words find confirmation in the outcome – as Schalke was able to secure a victory due to a massive difference in kills (32 to 9) and claiming both a Dragon Soul and a Baron, topped off with an Elder Buff. Their charge for Nexus was simply unstoppable for G2.
Dylan Falco is perfectly aware of his team’s position in the standings. They still have a long way to go if they want to be one of the top 6 teams in the LEC Summer Split.
“We talk about it all the time,” admits Falco, “but we understand that even if we play perfectly, win every single game, and beat two or three of the best teams in the league along the way, it’s still not guaranteed. We’re playing like it’s possible, but we’re not super set on it happening.”
We highly recommend taking a look on Schalke’s manouvers on the Summoner’s Rift during the LEC Super Week 8. If you want to know more about the European League of Legends Championships, check here.