This is the critical moment as the EU LCS Summer Split Playoffs kick off with Schalke battling Splyce. Schalke could have secured a pass to the semi-finals after winning his first tie-breaker against G2, but couldn’t do the same against Vitality.
Still, it was a position many didn’t expect to find Schalke in after their performances at Spring Split. They had a solid roster on paper, but for some reason things didn’t work out which kept them from making the playoffs.
We caught up with their support Oskar ‘Vander’ Bogdan to find out how Schalke changed his fortunes and how the team feels up front ahead of playing in the quarter-finals.
We caught up with Vander ahead of Schalke’s EU LCS playoff quarterfinals game against Splyce
A lot of people didn’t understand why Schalke had underperformed so much at the start of the season and Vander admitted that the team were just as confused internally: “There were a lot of expectations of us and we really let go of the people. We were wondering to ourselves what was going on and what was wrong, so doing well now is a great feeling because we couldn’t match the last split together.
From eighth in spring to third in summer, Schalke has undergone a major transformation. Vander added that adding Maurice ‘Amazing’ Stuckenschneider in the jungle was a big boost for the team: ‘In the spring, Pride didn’t talk too much, which is a big deal as a jungler because you are the person on the team with the fewest things to focus on early in the game, so they should be able to create plans for the team.
“Now with Amazing we have a lot of communication and support from the jungle. It’s not like he’s the main shooter on the team, but he makes good contributions to snipers and naturally now I have to call a lot less than before. For me, I like to create a plan for the team, help them, call up stuff too, but it’s really hard if you have to do this job for two people.
Vander credited the addition of Jungler Amazing as helping to resolve the team’s shooting issues.
Amazing’s veteran experience will be a useful tool for Schalke in the playoffs, but Vander explained that the player swap alone was not responsible for their change of form: “I think the big difference for us was the addition of a sports psychologist between spring and summer, Fabian Broich does a great job for us.
“He moved to Berlin just for us and works with the team every day. You can see how confident we are on stage right now, Fabian has played a big part in that.
You can feel the same confidence talking to Vander, this is the first time Schalke as an organization has qualified for the playoffs, but it doesn’t bother him at all: “I’ve played in the playoffs a few times. in my career, so It’s nothing special to me, it’s not such a big achievement. But that’s good considering the difficulty we encountered in Spring Split.
He added that he and his bottom lane partner Elias’ Upset ‘Lipp shouldn’t be underestimated:’ I think me and Upset have always had a really good synergy, we know how the other wants to play. I think in the spring he was a little nervous at first, he needed to learn and gain experience on how things work on stage, now he’s been playing really well recently.
Having played with Upset in Challenger and LCS, the bot lane duo have great synergy
With the ADC Champions returning to the meta, Upset will be ready to really show off what it can do. However, Vander isn’t quite as excited about the changes: “I really liked the mage meta with a lot of crazy choices and a few killers. Now it’s coming back to a more boring playstyle, you’ve got kill lanes and combo lanes like Xayah and Rakan, but most people play picks like Tahm.
“Both sides are just evolving, so there’s not much pressure of destruction in the way anymore. AD matches are really farm dependent, so things get really tough if your AD has a little element disadvantage. When playing with ADCs there are windows to roam around for support but they are much smaller than the meta mage because it’s so hard to dive a champion like Vlad or Swain 2v1.