Few players entered the LEC with more excitement surrounding them than Zhou “Bo” Yang-Bo. The former LPL jungler was picked up by Team Vitality in 2022 following a competitive suspension that halted his meteoric rise to the top of the Chinese competition. Vitality made clear that Bo was a long-term investment: before he joined the LEC, they needed to work on his communication skills.

In 2023, Bo was ready. His mechanical prowess stole the show instantly. But despite performing well in best-of-ones, Vitality found hurdles along the way and ended their first split in a disappointing fifth place.

Though Vitality performed well in the Spring Split’s best-of-one stage as well, Bo remains critical. He explained that the current jungle meta prevents him from being in the consistent carry position he desires to fulfill in an interview with Em Dash conducted after his game against Team BDS. Bo also discussed his goals and how the team is performing with Elias “Upset” Lipp.

Vitality is back on track

Thank you for joining today, Bo. You played a chaotic game against BDS, which unfortunately resulted in a loss for you. What are your first thoughts on the game?

Overall, the game went pretty well for us. We executed it well. Then, we all tried to farm the waves to get more items, just before BDS got the Baron. BDS took this opportunity, they chunked out [Perkz], got Baron, and that’s when we lost our pace.

“You have to gank a lot in this meta. (…) If the gank doesn’t work out, your pace is disturbed. I can’t carry the team then.”

In the second week, Vitality lost two games and came down from an initial great 3-0 start. What were the takeaways from that?

After we lost two games, everyone became more serious about the scrims. Everybody is trying to work very hard, together. The scrims actually went well for the team. Today’s loss is kind of unlucky, but we will turn it around.

Since you said the team became ‘more serious’: was the team too goofy, maybe too cocky after the first week?

Yeah. Actually, when we were playing scrims and the games were going well, sometimes everybody started playing like it was solo queue. But this week, everyone is trying to follow the strategy and play more as a team.

Bo Vitality LEC 2023
Bo and Perkz celebrate another victory for Team Vitality. (Source: Michal Konkol for Riot Games)

Fitting into the LEC

Let’s talk a bit about your performance. There was a lot of hype surrounding you at the start of the year because of the performance you showed in the LPL. You leaned into that hype as well, posting highlight clips of your solo queue adventures. How do you look at your results, a few months into the LEC?

I actually think my performance has been mediocre. This meta, and the meta in the past, has not been focused on the jungle a lot. You have to gank a lot in this meta, at level two and level three, which is not supposed to happen. If the gank doesn’t work out, your pace is disturbed. I can’t carry the team then. That’s why I think my performance has been so-so.

If you compare playing as a jungler in the LEC to playing as one in the LPL, are there many regional stylistic differences that you have had to adjust to?

It used to be that the language was the biggest challenge. In milliseconds, I have to think about how to say what I want to do in English. That was challenging for me. Now, I almost have that covered.

Another thing is that, in the LPL, people always skirmish and fight. Here, teams farm a lot and try to scale. They try to play the game much slower. I had to adjust to this.

“We still need time to develop our synergy and bond with the team. Upset only joined a month ago.”

At this point, what do you hope to achieve by competing in the LEC? Is there something you want to prove to yourself, to the LEC, or maybe even LPL teams?

I think this isn’t just my personal goal, but it applies to all the pro players: going to Worlds and to prove myself on the biggest stage.

As we discussed, there still are some mistakes to iron out. What do you think the team needs to address to get to MSI?

We still need time to develop our synergy and bond with the team. Upset only joined a month ago. We haven’t played that many scrims together. I think, in the future, we’ll be much better as a team when everybody is in sync.

Team Vitality plays its next LEC series against MAD Lions on Saturday, April 8th, at 6 PM CET. You can watch the series on the official LoL Esports site.