CLG Contractz

CLG Contractz looks to EG: “I wish it was Sunday already”

By Nicholas James


Mar 25, 2023

Reading time: 5 min spoke with CLG’s LCS jungler Juan “Contractz” Garcia about his style of play, the team’s success, and what comes next after the team’s 3-1 loss to Cloud9 in the second game of the 2023 Spring Split Playoffs.

Contractz is a veteran of the LCS, entering as a high-value rookie who took the LCS stage by storm with his aggressive play. In 2023, he’s an experienced voice who has found a new streak of success with Counter Logic Gaming, who surged to a fourth-place finish in the regular split. Contractz took the time to chat with us about how he stays sharp, the team’s struggles, and what matches he most looks forward to. Coming off of today’s series against Cloud9, the games were a lot closer than the 3-1 scoreline would imply. How are you feeling coming out of today’s games, and what’s on your mind at as you head into the lower bracket?

Contractz: I think, for me, I had a very clear plan on how the enemy jungler was going to path and how he wanted to play. I feel like I read him very well. Nothing was very surprising, everything was pretty expected, and I felt like I had the upper hand on a lot of early game pathing. I think what I struggled with throughout the series, as a team as well, is finding these midgame windows, which wave we want to play on. I think they out-tempoed us a lot. Their dragon and Baron setup were just much better than ours throughout the whole series. Past 20 minutes, I think we really struggled with finding windows to engage, finding angles, and really figuring out how to get vision back. I think this is something we need to work on.

You mentioned feeling confident in your early game pathing, and we saw two different picks for you this series with very different presences. Elise, with her pick potential and tools for diving, and Wukong, with more teamfighting presence. How do you feel playing these different styles?

Just naturally, Elise is a champion that you’ll be able to pressure with at level three. You have a lot of windows to pressure the enemy jungler, as you said, play for dives and really just put the pressure on the enemy. Wukong is more of a champion where you’re kind of just chilling. You can find windows if it looks good but if not, then you’re kind of just farming until level six and taking those objective fights. So honestly, I think they’re two different champions, but I’m comfortable playing any style, I feel. Whatever the game needs, whatever my team needs, I feel I can play towards that pretty accordingly.

Being comfortable with those different styles was a real strength of this CLG roster during the split, where you outperformed a lot of expectations for the team. You’ve played on a lot of different rosters. How do you feel about this roster and the performance you’ve managed to have during this Spring Split?

Playing with the whole team again has been a blast. I really have been enjoying building off the synergy that we made last year, I think we’ve improved a lot since last summer’s playoffs. I think we’re definitely a more fundamentally sound team than we were last year. Just in general, being able to have that bond from last year, being able to communicate with each other well. We’re going to keep building on it, we’ve got this whole year to come and I’m just excited. I’m looking forwards to Sunday, I think we’ll do really well.

There’s been a lot of praise for your individual play as a jungler this split. What do you think has allowed you to excel this year?

This offseason, and throughout this whole split, I’ve been working really hard to be more creative. Think about pathing, really applying pressure around the map and doing that as effectively as possible. I think I just have a really good lead of how to pressure leads, what waves to play off of, I think I have a really good idea of what to play for on the map. I think I have a pretty good idea of that. I just keep building on that every single day. The main thing for me is just being super goal-focused. Come into each week and take things from each game, whether that’s that I could have pathed differently, or played this fight differently. All these small things really build up over time. [I’m] just making sure I have good habits that I’m working on each day.

On Sunday you’ll be facing Evil Geniuses, who fell off after having to play remotely where you guys stabilized late in the split. How do you feel about the matchup?

Obviously, they [were sick] for a couple weeks, so that’s going to put you in reverse. You’re not really moving forwards, it’s hard to focus. I’ve been there, so I can definitely relate and I feel for them. But when they’re online, when they’re playing well, they’re a strong team. So we can’t underestimate them, I think we’re just going to do our best to focus on ourselves and clean up our midgame macro that we struggled with this series. If we can do that, I think we have a very good chance at macro.

This week we saw the All-Pro ballots come out, and there’s a lot of discussion on the broadcast and social media about your team not being given enough respect on the ballot. How do you feel about All-Pro?

In my opinion, All-Pro doesn’t matter. The big thing that all LCS players root for is that title, going to Worlds, going to MSI. In my eyes those are the only things that matter.

How are you feeling about your possible competition in the lower bracket?

There are some pretty good junglers down here, there’s River, there’s Inspired. There are players that have played well over numerous splits, you’ve seen last year River was playing well on Golden Guardians, Inspired’s the reigning MVP. I’m definitely up for the challenge, I think I have a lot of good competition down there. I wish it was Sunday already, I’m not going to lie.


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