Team Heretics has three more games to redeem itself. After six best-of-ones, the Spanish squad finds itself at the bottom of the LEC standings with a 2-4 score. It’s not an impossible position to work from—three other teams share that record—but even in victory Heretics looked wobbly. Top laner Shunsuke “Evi” Murase attributes his team’s sloppy play to players not being on the same page.

After Heretics took down Excel Esports, Evi spoke with Em Dash about Heretics’ slow start to the best-of-one stage of the LEC Spring Split and how the team is trying to fix underlying issues. He also looked back on his decision to leave Japan to compete in a different league for the first time in his life.

Fixing Heretics’ issues in the LEC

Congratulations on Heretics’ first win of the split, Evi. You needed the win desperately, I suppose, because the start of the Spring Split was quite a disaster for the team.

Yeah. My mental was so bad. But being negative doesn’t make you happy, and when you’re not happy, you don’t improve. I tried to change my mind and make myself more positive, and then tried to get better practice. It was not perfect, last game, but we won. I’m happy now.

Why do you think the first week went so poorly?

I’m not sure why. I think our preparation, drafting, and then how we played in-game all was not good. This week we focused on our drafts and we fixed our communication in-game.

Is communication a big issue for the team?

Hm, yeah, but not the language. We just can’t get on the same page. Each person thinks something different, which creates panic, and we can’t play the game.

“The reason for our communication issue is that there is too much talking in-game.”

I can imagine that some complicated topics can still be miscommunicated between team members. Or have you figured out how to work with that?

I think it is a knowledge problem. We need to adjust what we should do because all players have different ideas. We need to decide what is best, but we need time.

How do you try to fix that issue?

I think the reason for our communication issue is that there is too much talking in-game. We are trying to talk less in-game. Then, we can fix the problem.

Last split, Heretics finished in eighth place. What is your goal for this split?

We are 1-3 now. I hope we go 6-3. [Laughs] I want to win every game.

[Laughs] That will be difficult.

Not difficult. Just try our best!

Evi Jankos Ruby LEC 2023 Heretics
Team Heretics has picked up two wins in the LEC Spring Split and is fighting for a spot in the Group Stage. (Source: Michal Konkol for Riot Games)

Comparing the LEC to the LJL

Speaking about the year as a whole, you made a huge career decision by leaving the LJL, the region you played in your entire life. How has it been so far for you to play in the LEC?

I am excited and I am enjoying it. So far, we are not successful and I want to fix our problems. That is a bit hard. I am a bit worried about that. But I try to stay positive and I believe we can do it.

What are the differences between playing in the LEC and playing in the LJL?

I think the Japanese League of Legends scene is a bit small. Here, it’s a major region. I’m really surprised—there is such a big gap. In Japan, I was on the number one LJL team. But here, wow, I am so scared.

Yeah, the players are perhaps a bit better here.

Yeah, I am so surprised. But I am so happy when I play here. I play against better opponents. It’s a new challenge, it’s a new environment. It all makes me happy and excited.

“In Japan, when we practice against an opponent, they never use Garen. I don’t mean it negatively, but they never use weird champions.”

You’ve been playing League for a long time, but I imagine you are learning a lot more by playing in the LEC.

The meta in Japan depends a lot on Korea and China because it’s so close. Here, in Europe, it’s all different. I’m so surprised. For example, in Japan, when we practice against an opponent, they never use Garen. I don’t mean it negatively, but they never use weird champions. In Europe, there is so much freedom. Wow!

This is Europe. People don’t look too much at the meta. You just believe in yourself and play with freedom. This is freedom country.

[Laughs] I’m glad that you’re enjoying the LEC. Sometimes, when LEC teams get a player with such a different cultural background, there is some worry that living in Berlin might not suit them. It seems that you’ve enjoyed Berlin as well, right?

Yeah, normally I don’t care about new environments. I didn’t worry, I wasn’t scared. But I have a complaint: it’s cold in Berlin. Very cold!

It gets cold in Berlin as well though, right?

Yes, but not so much. It is hotter in Japan.

To round up, Evi, is there anything you would like to say to your fans and to the Heretics fans?

I know we are not perfect. It is not enough. But we can improve. We never give up trying to get better and trying to challenge. I hope you guys cheer for us.

Team Heretics plays its next LEC game on Saturday, March 25th, at 6 PM CET against Astralis. You can watch the game live on the official LoL Esports site.