Kobbe's 2021 season was eventful: after a messy Spring Split, he and Misfits Gaming were a Viego pick away from making Worlds.
As the AD carry prepares for his 2022 campaign with Astralis, he spoke to Jaxon about the previous season, his expectations, how the offseason went, and more.
I wanted to start with some reflections on last season. Misfits struggled in Spring, not making the playoffs, but results during Summer changed a lot. What was the main factor for that to happen?
In Spring, we had kind of two rookies with Vetheo and Hirit, where the team didn't really come together, and they still had some stuff to learn.
So, there were signs of good games, but we had a terrible start. I think we went like 2-1 in Week 1, and then we were 3-8 at some point.
But since then, we actually had a good trend, winning a lot of games, and that carried into Summer as well.
So, I think we just needed some time to get started and find our footing. Then, early in Summer, we figured out exactly how we wanted to play.
It was very telegraphed or easy if you studied Misfits that year, what way we wanted to play the game.
And looking back at it, you were one game away from Worlds. If you could go back in time, would you like to change something?
Maybe send a complaint to Riot that Viego shouldn't be a part of the game.
That's all, basically, because this champion was the most stupid I have ever seen.
But actually, we threw the game as well. It was almost won by us, but we just trolled and threw the lead.
Still, in all my years playing, I have never seen a champion that stupid, being able to just 1v5.
I was really salty for a long time about this, but the thing is, we could have known going into it. Could have just banned it as well, right?
I just think it’s a terrible champ design, and I don't know why it's allowed to be in the game.
And more personally, how would you rate yourself in the past year?
It went up and down in Spring. I was kind of burned out in the middle of Spring already because we had to do a lot of work in the offseason.
So, my first half of Spring wasn’t that great, but then the latter half of Spring, I think I was playing really well. Maybe the best in the entire year.
That was also the time where we didn’t really find our team setting, so we were playing bot-side more as a team, which made me stand out more.
In Summer, I think I became really good at my role.
As I said, we figured out how we wanted to play. We were playing for top side only every single game. Vander [and I] just had to play champions we are comfortable [with] and contribute in teamfights, because in the early game I was basically alone.
So, that’s why I think it’s hard for me to say how it went. I think I did my role well, but [from] the outside it’s not going to [look] like I am doing anything well alone, because I don't really have the chance to carry any games. I just have to do the best I can, farm as much as possible.
Do you think people misinterpret the role of the AD carry in a team? I mean, in your case, you are more of a weakside AD carry and not often in the spotlight as to carrying the games, but that does not mean that you are bad, you have a different more supportive role in the team. Because of that, people start thinking that you are not good enough, but that is definitely not the case. Why do you think this misunderstanding occurs?
First of all, it can be a simple understanding like not having all of the context. What’s related to that is the recency bias.
I have played for a really long time, I guess I was a lot more in the spotlight when I was playing for Splyce in terms of how we played.
In Misfits, it was not really up to me to carry the games with the way that we were playing. And that just changes as to how it looks to the outside, right? Like, ''Oh what happened to him, he looks so much worse, so much [more] boring''.
It’s all fine for me to be recency bias, but if people say, like in the case of myself, “He is just a weakside player, always been”, then that obviously shows that you don't know anything, because I have been playing for five years and I have been in very different situations in teams.
It changes from split to split. Sometimes, people say I am one of the best AD's, and the next one they will say I am the worst.
This year, [their] perception of me wasn't that good, I guess, even though I was doing pretty well in my team. That's why I don't really care, because I see these comments, and I think to myself that they don't know what they are talking about.
How do you deal with the criticism?
The best way to deal with it is just to ignore it, whether it’s positive or negative.
I’ve tried both, where if you read too much into it, everything is positive and you will get some kind of confidence, but it's also going to be bad for you to read too much of it.
For the negative: for example, this split or last year, there were times when, I guess, public perception of me wasn't that great. But there was no reason for me to read into it, because it won’t help me.
Even if I say it doesn't affect me when I read it, it’s always going to have some kind of impact. You will always see things here and there, but try to limit yourself.
Don't sit every day just searching for it.
After 6 years in the game, you're considered one of the best AD carries in the league. How did you manage to stay on top for so long?
Oh wow, it's actually been a long time.
I think, whatever team I was on, I always tried my hardest to make it work. Just to find the best way to work together as a team and have the highest chance of winning.
That's also what I did in Misfits last year. I just tried to make the team work instead of focusing on myself.
Work ethic has changed a lot from the past, because before it was only about playing the game. I always cared a lot about it, just trying to improve all the time.
Before, it was just about playing the game, and nowadays it’s more about making sure I am in a good mental state while also practicing properly.
I guess, I realized my mental state is more important than the solo queue games for sure, because it will affect how I work every day and how I will perform.
Do you feel like the preparations have improved throughout the years? If you go back to 2016 and you compare to now?
Yeah, it’s so different. 2016 no one cared about mental and physical health. We were just five players and one coach.
Now, in Astralis we have so many people helping us outside of the game. We have two in-game coaches, we have analysts, we have personal and mental trainers, a physiotherapist and so on.
That's such a big support group outside of the game.
Now, you’ve signed with Astralis. First, I want to ask: how was the offseason for you?
My offseason was pretty different from others, I think.
When I went into the offseason, I honestly didn't expect to get a lot of offers, even after we had a pretty decent year with Misfits.
It's just because I knew that the perception of me is not really great and you can see now there are a lot of young players coming into the league.
I thought many teams just wouldn't prioritize me so I was like ok, well Misfits wasn't too bad. I didn't particularly enjoy the entire year - how I had to play - but I was happy with the org and most of my teammates, so I would like to stay there maybe.
A few months go by and I don't really hear a lot, anywhere. Of course, it's early offseason and most things come towards the end, but I just decided that I didn't want to wait for the last moment because everything can happen.
And why did you choose Astralis?
I kind of thought about the Astralis thing because I just wanted to be happy in my next team and be able to enjoy every day at my work, which I didn't really do in Misfits.
First of all, just living in Denmark is very nice, compared to Berlin and our team chemistry outside of the game was not that good in Misfits. Scrimming wasn't enjoyable either so that's why everyday life didn't feel so great.
I sort of pursued this Astralis thing, reached out to some people and figured out if it was possible and then it just went from there. I don't really know if it was me or them who reached out first, but it does not matter.
That was my first real option on the table and I was happy with what was offered. I just thought it was a good option for me and I didn't want to sit and wait until the last minute of the offseason and be stressed that I end up without a team.
I did not want to burger flip my whole career if I get a good offer or not. I was happy with what I was offered and I decided to sign early.
What are your expectations of Astralis and what is the goal?
I don't really have many expectations. I don't think we are going to be a top 3 team instantly but the common goal is to make it to the playoffs in Spring, which I think is realistic.
My expectation coming in before scrimming was that it will be around the middle and then it's what we can do from there.
So right now, we have a really young mid laner and we need to get up to par with the rest in terms of knowledge and experience because the rest of the team is very old. I think we are the oldest team in the league.
The goal is playoffs and for Summer, it's improving as much as we can. I think right now we are not that great but it's up to how much we can improve.
The general opinion of the fans and some analysts is that Astralis won't make it to the playoffs and they put you in their predictions as a last-placed team. The same happened last split and Astralis almost made it to the playoffs, being only one game away. You will be the underdog next season. What would you like to tell them before the season starts?
It’s always comfortable to be in the position of an underdog. It's just nice.
It means there is pressure on the other players to perform and you can only impress and surprise people in a positive way.
It doesn’t do anything bad for me, it's only good.
I think it’s a really underrated quality. If you lose, you don't get the blame, but if you win, you get all the praise.
Yeah, but I don’t have any strong quote like we will finish top whatever.
As I said, right now we are not that great and we need to improve a lot.
That’s why I am aligned with the team goal for now. It’s a focus on improvement.
Hopefully, [we] reach Spring playoffs and then for Summer, playoffs again and be able to aim higher if we improve enough. That’s the most realistic goal, I think.