The 2020 Summer Split of the League of Legends European Championship is certainly not one to be forgotten. In the league where everyone beats everyone, teams who were on top of the standings in the previous splits find themselves struggling to climb. Currently 7-6, tied with SK Gaming, Fnatic slowly regains its royalty title.
After the sixth weekend of the LEC, Fnatic's Top Laner Gabriël "Bwipo" Rau sat down with Inven Global's Lara Lunardi to discuss the previous Fnatic slump, a possible resurgence, while giving us a lesson on self-confidence.
"Don't ever make yourself believe that you aren't good enough."
Let's talk about your team's results. It seems like you guys had a little bit of a slip in the beginning, but you are picking it back up. Do you want to run us through what's going on?
Well, I think we got a little bit lucky in the sense that things got together by themselves, I don't think we changed anything drastically. I think in the end, things just clicked on stage and we had a much better performance.
With all that in mind, as a team, we're spending a lot of effort to pick up the slack where we can. I, for example, had a much much better game against OG than against MAD Lions.
Why do you think there's a slack going on in the team right now?
It's not that there's any slacking, it's just that results aren't there and it's the first expression that came to mind when it comes to not producing results.
[laughs] That was a bad way of putting it. I think we can produce better results and I'm referring to lack of that as "slack". I don't think any player, in particular, is doing less than they should. It's just as a team, together, we're stepping up. Perhaps it's better to put it that way.
It seems Fnatic's sort of resurgence— can we call it a resurgence?
Not yet. If we have another two weeks going at the end of the regular split, you could say resurgence. But so far, I'd say it's just a good start, a start to a resurgence maybe.
What do you think is missing for the resurgence to happen?
[laughs] I don't think we're missing anything. One of the things that showed up in the OG game is I felt everyone was really committed to just taking every fight we could, that we felt was advantageous. It's something that comes very naturally when we play compositions like Jhin/Pyke. I think as a team we recognize we're here to kill some people and get ahead.
This confidence you have in your team, was it something that was lacking in individual performances before?
I am not sure. Again, I think the confidence in my teammates has always been there, so I don't think it's something that's changed. When we play a kill bot lane like this, I just have this extra little bit. I know for a fact that we're gonna step up when it matters. That confidence has been built into me since 2018 even, we used Tristana/Braum all the time back then, and that was very much a kill lane. It's a difficult lane in some match-ups, but we'd always make it work because we'd go down and play around that lane as a kill lane.
Even in 2019, I remember against RNG in the last match of Worlds groups, we locked in Pyke and it was all about going bot and killing some people. It's something I've learned to believe in.
Have you always been a confident player?
Me? Yeah. [laughs] My trick is that in every point in my own mind, I tell myself I'm the best player in the world and that the only reason I can't show that to the world is because of me. I'm the person stopping me from being the best in the world. If I put in more effort, be smarter, whatever it is, I'd be able to produce results that the best in the world would. I'm not overconfident, I'm just very confident in what I know I can deliver.
Has anyone ever taught you that, maybe in your childhood— ?
Honestly, it came from a combination of things in my childhood. I used to watch live streams of many WoW, Hearthstone players. I'm thinking Reckful, I'm thinking Reynad, imaqtiepie. I watched a lot of those streams and one thing I noticed while I was watching Reynad, he said something that resonated with me: "It doesn't matter what you do in life. If you're the best in the world, you're gonna earn money doing it."
From that point onwards, I always just try to think of myself like, if I want to be the best in the world, I have to work hard and look from the perspective of being the best. I can't ever look at a play and tell myself, "I can't do that".
That's where that mentality grew from. When I watched Faker play and saw him make a play or make a decision, I would never allow myself to say, "I'm never gonna be that good." Eventually, it built up and reached the point where I was a player doing things that made people go, "I don't think I'll ever be able to do that". Don't ever make yourself believe that you aren't good enough, that you'll never reach that level. Because once you admit you might not, it's way easier to fall into the trap of accepting that you won't.
I also think that people sometimes undervalue having a little bit of caution moving forward. Have you found any particular times in your life where caution has been the key to performing better?
I think having a level of respect for what's going on is very important. Caution, to me, is more about being aware of what could go right or wrong. Awareness is something I relate closer to caution. Even if something can go wrong, knowing how wrong it can go is more important to me.
Do you consider yourself an introspective person?
That's a very "expensive" word. [laughs] I'm introspective enough to understand what's happening about me, around me, and with me. But I lose that trait in certain situations. As a person, I tend to lose that perspective when I get very emotional about a match, say when we lose an important game.
I try to be a rational person, but sometimes you get got.
Personally, this LEC split is one of my favorite, with everyone beating everyone and it's so exciting to see everyone perform. But why do you think everyone's performing so well, able to upset each other?
It's the nature of the best-of-1 setting. I think it's one of the things that people underrate. When you look at LPL, a team upsetting another team is not a one-game thing, which is much more unlikely. But I think that's something very cool about the LEC: it's a viewer sport. Seeing one of your favorite teams that is lower in the league beating up the top of the league in a close match and getting the elation of an actual victory — that's awesome.
On top of that, as the split goes on, a lot of teams commit to what they think they're good at. I'll give you an example: Schalke is 3-10. They've changed their draft each week and eventually, you find your fit. If you go shoe-shopping, you'll eventually find your pair after you pick each one off the rack. It's not the optimal way of picking a shoe, but you'll get there eventually, and I think some of the teams got there. With us, we tried Soraka, didn't work. Then we tried Jhin/Pyke and now it looks like we're dominating the league, which in reality we aren't [laughs].
What do you think this is going to do for international events? This year, we had no gauntlet, we have a different system. Do you think worse teams are going to go to Worlds and just being shot down by better teams in China and Korea?
The thing about this setting is, on average, the teams look similar. With the Gauntlet system, teams #1 and #2 would have very different meta than team #3. That's why team #3 would often either be very surprising. Cloud9 is a great example of this, having always had better performance than #1 and #2 seed in NA. They scrimmed for Gauntlet meta, which is then closer to Worlds meta than the actual playoff meta.
Ultimately, without the Gauntlet there, the meta is going to be much more stale going into Worlds for European teams and they will have a very shared meta. The meta will be: 1) Playoffs meta; 2) Worlds. There won't be 1) playoffs meta; 2) small evolution going into Gauntlet, using footage from playoffs; 3) small adjustments; 4) Gautnet; 5) Worlds.
Even if nothing changes — I'm not sure if the patches will change — if you see that G2 won last year by playing X composition, whoever is playing Gauntlet will obviously be like, "They just won the split playing that, we should probably try to replicate that." And then teams will get answered in return when they do.
With that step being skipped, I think the meta in the EU will be much more unified and this could mean one of two things. Either we'll have a very accurate gauge on the meta and we will be a very strong region; or the only teams that survive in China are those who adapt really fast. Often in Worlds meta, if you aren't fast enough to adapt, these teams roll over you, they are just too fast. For example, we're still playing Orianna, while in the LPL we see Galio and Zoes running around, roaming at level 2-3.
For all we know, our approach is much better, but if it's not, we're gonna have to adapt really fast.
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