Fnatic's 2018 League of Legends team is the best western team to ever hit the rift. Armed with the perfect balance of veteran experience and explosive youthful talent, Fnatic became the first western team to reach the World Finals since Season 1.
There are plenty of impressive facets of Fnatic's 2018 campaign, but one of the more low-profile progressions has been the improvement of Jungler Mads "Broxah" Brock-Pedersen. Broxah originally slotted into the Fnatic lineup as a strong teamfight presence, but has developed into an individually carry threat in his own right. His Lee Sin performances at Worlds were best in class, and his early game aggression was a huge part of Fnatic's success throughout the tournament.
Broxah's season earned him a spot at the All-Star 2018 in Las Vegas. On the last day of the event, I got the chance to speak with Fnatic's Jungler about his first time in Vegas and the finest season of his career.
I'm joined by Broxah, the Jungler for Fnatic, here in Las Vegas for All-Star 2018. How have you enjoyed representing Europe at the event so far?
Yeah, I think All-Star has been really nice. Normally at events, I don't have any free time; it's just playing League of Legends all day. But here, it's more free. I haven't played any solo queue, so I've just been around talking to people from other regions. I've been able to do some sightseeing, and I went to the Casino - all the typical Las Vegas stuff! It's nice. I'm enjoying it.
Between this and Rift Rivals 2018, this year was the first year you've been to the United States, right? Do you like Los Angeles or Las Vegas more?
I definitely like Los Angeles more. I feel like Las Vegas is too centered around partying and casinos and all that kind of stuff. That can be cool, but I wouldn't want to stay here for a long time. Los Angeles is more down to Earth. It's a city that you can actually live in... I would never be able to live here. It's too crazy.
When Rekkles told you he was going to give you his spot for the event, what was your reaction to being presented with the opportunity?
I could kind of understand it because Rekkles hadn't really had a lot of time off this year, which goes for all of us, right? He felt like he needed a bit of extra time to chill and actually spend the holiday, which I can respect.
Obviously, I don't mind getting the spot and coming here, but it turned out I would have gotten the spot anyway since Riot ended up invited the 3rd place spots in the voting. But either way, Rekkles doing that is super nice, it's a cool gesture.
That's definitely cool that you ended up making it on your own merit in the end, because this year you established yourself as a world class jungler. What do you think was the biggest factor in your growth as a player this season?
I think I just gained so much experience last year. First of all, I got used to all the pressure and get used to how to playing on stage. Last year, I had to learn how to play tanks, which I had never done before. At this point, I've more or less played all different Jungle styles. I have a lot of experience, and I don't really get affected by the pressure anymore.
To compare, I was ten times more nervous in my first games on stage than I was before the Worlds Final, which is pretty crazy, right? So I think just having that extra year of experience really helped me a lot.
You're here representing Europe with your former teammate Caps. Have you guys had any back and forth banter since his defection to G2 Esports?
I mean, Caps came here today in a G2 jersey, so I couldn't resist bullying him a bit. I still can't figure out whether he was wearing it just to troll me or not, but either way, it was kind of funny. We're still having a good time together.
There's a community perception that there is a full-on grudge between your two teams.
I mean, obviously, we in Fnatic think it's kind of weird that he would decide to leave, especially after leaving the World Final. I will never agree with his decision at all, but at the same time, I have to respect his opinion. If he wants to do something crazy and change things up, that's life.
Have you had a chance to practice with your new Mid Laner Nemesis yet?
I got to duo a bit with Nemesis, and it has been really cool. I actually think he's going to fit really well into the team and be much better than people expect. With Caps leaving, everyone thinks the Mid Lane situation will be doomed, but Nemesis is actually a really good player, and he has a really good attitude.
What people need to keep in mind is that we still pretty much have the same core. Changing one player isn't really going to change much, and I think we'll be really good coming into next year.
The other roster change you guys made was in the form of sOAZ joining Misfits. Since Bwipo will be taking over full Top Lane duties, do you think that will make a difference to Fnatic from a strategic perspective?
Well, from a strategic perspective, it's obviously a little worse having one Top Laner instead of two. But at the same time, I feel like both Bwipo and sOAZ were able to play both styles. Bwipo has already proven he can play both carries and tanks really well on stage, so I don't think we're going to have any issues.
sOAZ added a lot of experience to our roster, but at this point, all of us have so much experience on our backs, I don't think it's going to matter much.
Looking towards the LEC, Fnatic is the team to beat. Everyone is looking at Fnatic vs. G2, but are there any teams or junglers on your radar that you're specifically looking forward to playing against?
I'm not sure, honestly. I'm just really excited to see how everything is going to go and how all the other teams are going to be. I'm pretty confident in my own team that we made some small adjustments. You could argue that the mid lane change was big, but like I said, we still have pretty much the same core.
G2 made some crazy changes, Misfits made some crazy changes, and there are some new teams coming into the league as well. I'm just really excited to see how everything pans out and if we will be as dominant as last year.
One of the most exciting signings we've seen in the LEC is Mowgli joining Team Vitality from Afreeca Freecs in the LCK. How do you think he will fit into the European Jungle pool stylistically?
I think generally, Afreeca has had some really aggressive junglers. I think he fits pretty well into the Vitality style of just going full ham and hoping for the best. Generally, when it comes to strategies, they have a lot of early game strats, but after that, they kind of seem to falter.
I think Mowgli can really help to pull together their early game and refine that early game style that Vitality likes to play.
Overall, it looks like a lot of these teams in the LEC are being built to last. Fnatic has shown that investing in a core long-term has paid off for your organization in the form of yourself and Caps for the past few years. Do you think organizations will move towards putting a higher priority on long-term development for players?
I definitely think there's going to be more of that now that the league is growing and there will be more stability and infrastructure. I even think there will be teams that start picking up Academy teams and start to nurture new talent and get new players into the league. A team like Fnatic has already had so much success with that, so I think that's something that's going to continue.
The long-term partnerships are going to be great for everyone from so many different angles. There will be better structure, and the scene will have more safety which will increase the teams' chances of getting sponsors. And everything that helps the teams is helpful to us players as well.
Broxah, thank you so much for the interview. Your time and perspective are much appreciated. Is there anything else you'd like to say?
I want to apologize a bit to the fans for doing so poorly at All-Stars. While I had a lot of fun games, I ended up losing most of them. I only won in URF, but I guess you could argue that's the one that matters most.
I'm a little salty we lost both EU vs. NA and East vs. West because it was so close, but we couldn't make it in the end. *laughs*
Maybe next year. Enjoy the rest of the event!