In the entire history of competitive League of Legends, only one team (SK Telecom T1) has ever won consecutive World Championships. There's no doubt that the tournament's 2021 winners — Li "Flandre" Xuanjun and EDward Gaming — want to do it again.
It's been an interesting year for the defending champions. Though they had a rough time through the beginning portions of the year, they came into their own through the summer and returned to being one of the best teams in the world. Though there have been some hiccups in their performances so far at Worlds, the same can be said about last year's championship run. Inven Global spoke to Flandre, and discussed his thoughts on his team's performance, what teams impress him, and what EDG needs to work on.
Your team is now in the knockout stage — how do you reflect on your performance throughout the group stage, and what do you believe are the biggest points of improvement?
In terms of our performance — except for the games against T1 — we all performed quite well. But when we first went against T1, because of the top lane...Zeus was able to just play better than me. So for this part, I really need to practice more to have more improvements in the future.
Other than the top lane situation, what were your overall thoughts of T1? Were they surprising to you? What are some of the steps you need to take against them to have a better showing if you face them again?
All the players in T1 had a very high mechanical ceiling. And also in terms of their tactics, I must say they have so many strategies in the actual game. We could feel that in both games, because when we got into both games against T1, the game starts very hard for us. Both of them were not easy games. So we really need to study them in the future.
Like other teams, EDG's mid laner Lee "Scout" Ye-chan has had to overcome health problems. For you, personally, why do you think your performances were weaker in the games against T1?
The reason maybe is that in the laning phase, sometimes I may not be that familiar with the top lane champions' matchup. For example, maybe the champions I've picked like Maokai and Ornn — I may not be that familiar with their laning phase against certain champions. So maybe in the future, I would like to pick more top lane champions that I'm able to have more confidence in.
Are you concerned about your group stage performance going into the other stages of the tournament — what gives you the confidence you’ll be able to find more success in the knockout stage?
It feels like if we were able to have more time maybe in the future to make some adjustments and watch games, and to try to improve our abilities in scrims — definitely we'll become a very strong team like T1.
From what you've watched from other teams that have played in groups, what teams stand out to you?
It feels like the teams from other groups — there are so many players that I can really learn from. For example, in Rogue they were able to really master top lane Maokai — they played it so well, and I can really learn a lot from him [Odoamne]. And also for RNG, they show us a lot of top lane bruisers, so for this part, I can still learn from them. So there are definitely so many teams that can somehow stand out and so many players that I can really learn from.
Was there anything else specifically about Odoamne and Rogue that impressed you?
Frankly, I'm learning how Rogue's top laner played those very tanky champions in the actual game because it feels like he is a master with those champions.
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak, Flandre! Is there anything you'd like to say to EDG's fans of the world?
First, I want to say to all the EDG fans and supporters: thank you all, and hope you guys can support EDG in the future as well. And recently, I believe we would like to try to have some adjustments in our health and conditioning. I believe after Scout has recovered, the five of us will play on stage together as a whole. And definitely, we're going to study more towards our opponents — we're going to make some improvements in the future and try our best to show you guys a good performance.
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.