Zanzarah talks about his move from Astralis to the LFL, promotion to the Misfits LEC roster, ambitions for the summer split and last split as a Misifts player.
Misfits Gaming ended day one of the last week of the LEC regular summer split with a win against BDS to extend their win streak to five games. The team are unbeaten since promoting their academy jungler, Nikolay "Zanzarah" Akatov and have locked in playoffs with two games left. Esports.gg spoke to Zanzarah after their win today in the LEC.
Q: It's good to have you back in the LEC, you've played five games now how does it feel to be back on the LEC stage?
Misfits Zanzarah: Yeah, I mean, it feels awesome. Of course. I mean, I had like a tough time with Astralis in the LEC back then. So I kinda didn't really think i'm gonna have a chance to come back. But Misfits give me this opportunity. So I just like had to do everything that is possible for me to just like show good results and show what I'm capable off and just hope to go to Worlds.
Q: You brought out your Skarner pick which the LEC crowd loved by the way, were you thinking you would have to bring it out any time soon?
Misfits Zanzarah: Yeah, Skarner is the like the pick, what we don''t really practice that much. But sometimes it is just good scenario to pick him and my team trust me. So overall, this was one of these situations, but we're not like kind of stuck on it. And I hope I can show like more champions overall. But right now, I mean, usually teams are just giving us what we want really early in the draft
So we just take them, you know, so I mean, Skarner is good champion for fans, for viewers, I think. But there is much more stronger champions currently in the meta.
Q: You have G2 and Fnatic left to play Fnatic, how are you feeling about the challenge?
Misfits Zanzarah: I think it's more than possible. I think, Misfits already beat both of them in the first half. So I think that's the fun, everything is possible, especially right now we're on a win streak, five games. So for us, it's it's gonna be tough. Of course, I think they're not gonna, like underestimate us or anything. But we're prepared and we played like, a lot of practices. We know what we want to play. We know how we want to play. And we're ready
Q: Speaking of the LFL how would you rate the junglers and jungle style of the players you faced compared to the LEC?
Misfits Zanzarah: I think actually, right now, it's kind of the same level. I think the top of the top LFL junglers they're on the same level as like LEC junglers I don't think there is like insanely good or like stable LEC junglers right now, everyone has ups and downs. And for example, Yike and Skeanz, they're playing really good in LFL right now.
And I think they can easily just go to LEC and just perform the same way. So I think overall, the jungle position is kind of equal. But of course I think it just it's hard to like judge because level of competition different.
Q: Still on the LFL and the level of competition, what was the first difference you notice with regards to competition?
Misfits Zanzarah: For me, the first thing it was I kinda expected like lower level than the LEC for sure but it was kind of surprising for me what like the level of like even practice; and overall the organization and stuff are really equal to the LEC, I would say.
And I didn't really feel like this is like you're playing ERL, I was feeling like you're playing against really good teams, you know who can just beat LEC teams, and with scrims. When I was in [Misfits] academy we scrimmed some of the the LEC teams and we had like decent results. So I think overall, the gap between leagues just keeps getting like smaller and smaller every year.
Q: Your move to Misfits Academy and to the LFL was quite unexpected, how did that happen and how was it for you going from the LEC to the LFL?
Misfits Zanzarah: I didn't have a chance to play in the LEC after Astralis. Of course, I was looking into LFL because it's like second best league and in terms of power and in terms of like fan base. So for me, it was obvious and Misfits just reached out to me and gave me this opportunity. And of course, I just took it, I didn't really think that much about that. Because, yeah, if I go to the ERL, I want to go in their strongest league. I want to show up in the EU Masters, of course.
Q: So you came into the Misfits LEC roster at a point where the team was trying to find balance. What was your mindset like when you were told you’ll be in the starting LEC roster three weeks ago?
Misfits Zanzarah: I was happy with promotion, what Misfits give me with this option. And overall, I think moral in the team was not that great. I think people kind of didn't they they can go to playoffs. So I was just kinda motivating them, you know, just talking to them. Yeah, of course, you have like, tough start, you know, you change jungler right now, but everything is possible.
Especially right now, I think LEC is not in the strongest shape at this point. And yeah, I mean, we just try to do stuff and I think like day by day, with every scrim game it was getting better and better and as soon as we pick up like the first wins especially versus Rogue, everyone was so happy and I think we just like keep this momentum and we won already five game since that.
Q: You’ve fit in quite well with the roster and the synergy is there for all to see, how has it been working with Vetheo and Irrelevant?
Misfits Zanzarah: I think I'm kind of surprised with Vetheo. I kind of thought he's this kind of guy you know who's just like pressing buttons and not really speaking. But I think he's really mindful about what he's doing. And he's like, able to tell what he needs to do in order to succeed. So this is what i like in him.
Irrelevant, he's still young and I mean as a rookie, he's just changing his opinion on some like situations like 20 times a day so it's kind of hard to like build a proper system with him. But he's a nice guy so we just get along together pretty easy. I'm just trying to like give him some tips on how he should play fights and stuff and just trying to cover him in game in terms of like communication.
I think like the whole Misfits roster they're like really good especially from last split. We know like Vetheo and Neon, they were really good carries but they were like usually losing early game. So for me when I came to the Misifts, it was [my] main goal to just try to stabilize our early game. We just try to ask people what they want to do, how we they want to play and if we're able to build the fundamentals then we can just win every game.
Q: You've not been away from that long. Are you surprised to see any particular champion in the meta now?
Misfits Zanzarah: Yeah, I didn't really expect like Skarner to be back to be honest. I didn't expect like people in LCK and LPL just picking it that high. For me this was the biggest surprise but other than that like Poppy should have come back earlier.
I think people were like sleeping on her and other than that I think there is no surprises. Riot kinda directly pushed the meta into this state with like just making towers stronger , games overall slower so you just kind of fall into farming junglers and the game is just like slower than before.
Q: This is Misfits last year as an organization in the LEC and your team may not be together next year. How's it been for you balancing this fact and having to power through the super week?
Yeah, I mean for me as a player It doesn't really change that much. Like I need to show up, otherwise even if they stay they just going to like find better options anyway. So for me it's just a good situation to show up. But of course for probably for the rest of team, they had like long contracts; it was kind of crucial, the news.
I think everyone was able to stabilize pretty easily from that and realize that it's a sad situation for us, we're not going to have a team for next split but right now we have a team right now, we have everything we need to win, you know, so why don't we right?
It kind of hurt our mental a little bit. [However], I think everyone was able to stabilize pretty easily from that and realize that it's a sad situation for us, we're not going to have a team for next split but right now we have a team right now, we have everything we need to win, you know, so why don't we right? So just do our best and then we're gonna see. If we do good right now it's gonna help us a lot later on.
Q: So last question, what are you looking to show in the last two LEC games?
Misfits Zanzarah: Yeah, I mean for us, we're aiming to top one so we want to win both games. And it's more than possible, we [them ]won before already. So yeah, for us it just like top one is the goal. I think we are like already in playoffs. So right now we just of course going maybe try some stuff you know, but these game are important. And if we can get first spot in regular season; we can go to Worlds and it's like insane advantage for us especially. So this is what we're aiming for. And I hope we can do it and everyone on the team just feels good about it.