After two days of games in the 2020 World Championship Group Stage, Fnatic sits at 1-1, beating TSM in their opener but falling to LGD in their second game. This is Fnatic's fourth year at Worlds in a row, but the first for their new coach, Alfonso "Mithy" Rodríguez, since 2017. After a long player career, Mithy came to Fnatic at the start of 2020 as their head coach, and with them has found immediate success.
With just four games left in the Worlds Group Stage, Mithy spoke to Inven Global's Parkes Ousley about FNC's preparation, the quarantine, beating TSM, and expectations fans should have for the rest of the event.
Watch the interview on our YouTube here, or read the transcript below.
It's your first time at Worlds as a coach. You are 1-1 now, but before we get into the games I wanted to ask what is it like coming to worlds as a coach for the first time?
It's exciting, it's a lot of responsibility in a different way. I think I'm doing what I can. I think I'm putting in a lot of effort. It feels good, ya know. Today was not a good day, but yesterday it was, and we have a lot to learn from the games that have been played, and I think that we should have a good time adapting for the rest of Groups. We play Gen.G in two days, we have some time to adapt. I think our score is looking alright for us to make it out of Groups, especially if we beat Gen.G because they beat the other two teams.
Did you change the way you approach Worlds for your first time as coach and did the quarantine change anything for you and Fnatic?
No, I think my approach to Worlds is the same. I have more time to prepare drafts and strategies and so on, and structure things for the guys, so in that way, it's a little bit of different responsibility. But I was doing that as a player anyway, so I'm just trying to help through my own experience.
As far as the quarantine, it was actually quite useful for our team because we skipped over the social gap of having to look at each other while we're speaking or having arguments. Having one guy thrown off, you don't get to feel those things so the group was actually more connected. And I think we did a pretty good job so far with how our bootcamp went and some of the talks we had there as well as what we wanted to do moving into the tournament.
"It was much more of a plug and play game for [LGD] than it was for us, so I just think the draft didn't really help coming into this game."
That's an interesting side effect that I wouldn't have expected. You played TSM yesterday — did it feel weird seeing the team on the other side of the stage and going up and giving a fist bump to Parth?
Yeah, of course, it was an extra push for me to try harder. I just had a lot of motivation going into the game and I think I had a pretty good read on them and what we had to do. And it turned out to be easier than expected in terms of the draft, they gave us a lot of comfort so that was nice. So yeah, it was just a little bit more hyphy, but nothing that was overwhelming or anything.
Yeah, I'm sure you expected that win, but today... LGD was sort of a question mark after the play-ins — of course, they are from the LPL, they have a high ceiling, and they are expected to play well — but what was your preparation like for them? They took the win today, so what is your thought about their strength overall?
I think they're a solid team. They have a good idea of what they want to do and how they want to play the game and I feel like for us today, I tried to attack some of their players, but I feel like we didn't end up with a good comp overall and I think they just managed to steamroll through us. I don't think we had a strength that would carry us through the game unless the enemy team heavily misplayed. It was much more of a plug and play game for them than it was for us, so I just think the draft didn't really help coming into this game.
Drafting has been a sort of a hot topic. You mentioned earlier TSM didn't help themselves with their draft, so how much weight do you give a draft when considering the outcome of a game?
There's a lot of variance because it's not just about looking at what is written on paper and saying "well this beats that, end of story." You have to consider that a lot of the guys here are playing at a world-class level, but it's hard to expect them to play every champion at a world-class level. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, things they're good at and things they're not so good at. So it's about managing all that.
TSM has weaknesses, as do LGD and Gen.G, so it's about managing everything together and the sum of one beating the sum of the other. So in this case, the sum of LGD just won. Yesterday was a more close game, I would say, but it's a bit hard for [TSM] to play against our comp because they don't have much experience playing against that, but we had a lot of experience playing against their champions since they were meta champions.
So you mentioned you have time to adapt and you're going to adapt, so what's the biggest thing to ensure you guys get to the Knockouts?
I think the biggest thing is for the guys to come together and have the same view of how they want to approach the games, what they want their prios to be, how and when they want to pick certain champions, and how they want to play. And to have everyone on the same page and understand each others' flaws as well as strengths and work around that. That's the main goal for us. It's always been the goal, and it's definitely a hard goal to reach, but we do have to work towards that since we won against TSM and we still have a very good shot against Gen.G so we'll see.
That leads me to the next question - the LCK is so far undefeated. We'd usually look at the LPL and say it should be them because they won the last two Worlds, but after DAMWON beat JDG and the G2 vs Suning game (along with yours against LGD) where do you feel like Europe slots into that?
I think the LCK has always been — even in the last few years — the most successful region in the group stage. That's probably because of how structured they are as an organization and how they approach preparation and practice and what strategies they come into the games with.
I think things get a little chaotic for them in best of fives because through Group Stage, teams start figuring out what their comforts are, what they're good at, and what they're not so good at. And they start making things a little bit crazy and they haven't really been able to handle that craziness in the last few years so we'll see about that.
All images by Riot Games
For more LoL Esports news and content, head over to our dedicated League of Legends section!
Find full schedules, brackets, and more for your favorite esports on Juked.gg!