Fnatic defeated Rogue this past weekend at the 2020 League of Legends European Championship Summer Playoffs, qualifying for Worlds, right after G2 Esports made it in. This prompted one question: did one of the most exciting and unpredictable Splits in the history of the LEC scale up to the inevitable Fnatic versus G2 finals?
After the #FNCWIN, Lara Lunardi had the chance to talk to Zdravets "Hylissang" Iliev Galabov about the current state of the team, and the hype for the 2020 League of Legends World Championship.
Congratulations on qualifying for Worlds. Did the “Fnatic Playoffs Buff“ finally hit you guys? But jokes aside, what has changed in the way you guys have approached the game recently?
The playoffs mean a lot to us, so it’s exactly what you said, the playoffs buff. We changed a lot about our playstyle, and also changed the way we practice, and now, where we play LEC games.
What does the “Fnatic Playoffs Buff” mean to you, personally?
Qualifying for the playoffs made us realize that we could still make it, and still be the dream team. We didn’t have a great Split, and we were unsure whether or not we would make it. This really shows our changes have worked out.
We had to come in earlier to the office, and after practice was done, we would spend more time together as a team. There was a lot of team bonding involved, so we were closer to each other. We took practice very seriously and wasted no time. We talked about our mistakes, our playstyle, like putting Selfmade in a carrying Jungler, and me on a playmaker, rather than Tahm Kench, or some other champion that needs to sit and wait for something to happen.
Were you ever worried that Fnatic would not make it?
Oh yeah, I sure worried. Even in week 2, I was not really satisfied with the way we were playing. It’s nothing for me to be proud of, but I did not really like how we were approaching the game and how we were behaving as teammates. I thought this way, honestly, until we made it to the playoffs.
I was scared because it would be the first time I would not make it, and it would be a shame because my teammates are really good. We are one of the best teams out there.
So what stops a team that has some of the best players in the LEC from making it to a higher placing in the standings?
The only thing that stops us is ourselves. We have to leave our egos aside and to not think of ourselves as the best players in the world, and try to see the team as your friends, rather than just players. If you make mistakes, you need to be able to assume them, and if the coach tries to help you, you have to meet him halfway.
When you work individually, you look only at your mistakes, not at the team as a whole. Teams don’t succeed, even with good players, if they don’t work together.
I think it was really visible that the team’s morale was affected throughout the season from reading the faces players had after the games, through the camera feed. But this weekend, you guys were vibrant. What has changed?
Honestly, It’s funny, but the conditions we had at the place we played our LEC games was not ideal. The Air conditioning didn’t work [it has been averaging around 30 celsius in Berlin for the past few weeks], we had issues with our headsets, so that affected communication. It’s hard to see that in scrims because the atmosphere is different. Our games were also usually pretty late in the night, and that affects me a lot.
We are now playing from LVL Global, it’s way better. The environment is different, which makes all of us go into tryhard mode, and be a lot more talkative. Playing from here doesn’t make us feel like this is just another day of solo queue in the office. Your body realizes that there is a change in the environment. It’s like playing from the stage, but with no crowd.
You just qualified for Worlds 2020. But this event will happen differently than the previous years, with the competition being mostly online.
I am very in the dark about what will happen. It will be very weird, probably. I hope that we have good conditions for practice rooms and for the stage. I am not even sure if there will be a stage there, so it will definitely feel different than other Worlds but it’s still the biggest event in the year, so I hope we do good.
What are your thoughts on the meta we will have at Worlds? Will it benefit Fnatic?
We are changing it a bit, trying to get away from Sejuani, Sett, Volibear…
If I recall, Riot did say they want to see more of the 5% appearance rate champions being picked at Worlds this year…
Well, we will definitely give them that opportunity. I hope we don’t lose our roots. It’s easy to follow these picks for tank junglers, for example, Selfmade is really insane with jungler champions that have more pressure on the map, like assassins, rather than make early gameplays and hope that lanes get carried. I hope the meta fits us.
This Split everyone beat everyone, which made it for some really exciting and unexpected results… but now leading to the end of playoffs, I am starting to realize what finals will come down to.
Is it G2 vs Fnatic again? Has it always been…?
[laughs] There is so much happening right now! I feel like Rogue, MAD Lions and Schalke all had very impressive results so far. They must have a very good team atmosphere and have very skilled players to be able to pull this off. Props to them.
About Fnatic and G2, when the knife is close to the bone, we perform. I hope that we will have another G2 - FNC finals. I like the rivalry. When I play against G2, both teams are very cocky, so there is an extra layer of aggression in the game, trying to prove we are the better team. It’s great to play against them.
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