After last year’s loss to NA, EU has taken sweet revenge by winning the 2018 Rift Rivals.
Despite EU taking advantage in counterpicks due to the results at groups, the start of the day was unexpected to say the least. The undefeated European team, G2, was defeated by Echo Fox, and Splyce was victorious over Team Liquid.
With wild but yet solid performance on picks like Pyke and Heimerdinger, Fnatic was able to close out the series and give the EU region a trophy to take home. After the games, we sat down with the explosive Fnatic bot lane. sOAZ and Hylissang introduced us into the world of Heimerdinger.
Let’s see what sOAZ and Hylissang have to say about beating NA, Heimerdinger, and NA’s champion pool.
¤ How does it feel to win against NA?
Hylissang: It is always nice to beat NA because we have so much rivalry.
sOAZ: For me, it doesn’t feel as special as beating NA at Worlds. Rift Rivals is important, but it isn’t the most important tournament. It felt good to win of course. However, it didn’t feel super special.
Hylissang: The best part is that we didn’t lose to them.
sOAZ: YEAH, exactly. It is good, but it is not like “Holy s***” you know?
¤ Fnatic went 2-0 in the final day of Rift Rivals. Would you say you guys are the carry for EU?
sOAZ: I mean… G2 dropped the ball a bit you know (laughs)? Splyce did really well for us. Nisqy played extremely well on Zoe.
Hylissang: I think today, it was about who was playing with pressure and who was playing without pressure. G2 had a lot of pressure on their shoulders while their opponents did not have any. G2 dropped the ball.
For Splyce, it was the opposite. They had 0 pressure, so they picked their champions and yoloed. It worked out. For us, we are used to playing under pressure. We were able to show that we can win under a lot of stress. It was nice to see.
¤ Tell me about your Pyke, Hylissang. You guys just popped off on Swain and Pyke.
Hylissang: Yeah, I mean I think I am always comfortable playing Pyke. This is because I know it is hard for me to int (laughs).
Hylissang: Even though, I think I kind of inted lv 3 or something. I don’t really know (laughs). I tunnel-visioned so hard, and they punished me for this.
I am happy that I recovered from this mistake because many people will tilt hard off tunnel visioning. I was able to go over it and play my game. I am really confident on Pyke, and it shows.
¤ What do you think EU did well during this Rift Rivals? Also, what do you think NA did not so well during this Rift Rivals?
sOAZ: Some of the NA teams were trying out sub rosters and whatever. Teams like Team Liquid would play very standard. Some teams did play mage bottom, but most of them resulted in either gold funneling or playing standard.
In this meta, I don’t feel like there are any strategies involved. It is all about picks/bans. If you are a player that can play a lot of champions, it always helps.
¤ In a recent interview with Doublelift, he admitted that EU players are mechanically more skilled than NA players. What are your thoughts on his statement?
Hylissang: I would agree with his statement. However, I would also blame the ping in NA. It is really hard to play on 60-70 ping. It is not even stable.
At least in Europe, the ping is kind of stable. You can have around 30 ping. Especially if you come from a place with lower ping, it is very difficult to play in NA. Maybe it is not that hard if you get used to it, but you know…
¤ This is a question for you, Hylissang. What are the differences between supporting Bwipo and sOAZ?
Hylissang: They both have different playstyles and different champion pools. I don’t think it is necessarily difficult. I just need to adapt well. It was easy for me to adapt to Bwipo because we are both very aggressive.
With sOAZ, he does not want us to push too hard and risk us dying. sOAZ tries to keep his advantage at all times. I need to adapt to his playstyle so that I don’t go too hard. Yeah, I mean… I enjoy the Heimerdinger bot lane (laughs)
Hylissang: I believe the way for NA to improve is to pick Heimerdinger because that champion is really broken (laughs). EU was playing Pyke and Heimer at a really good level while NA did not.
NA got caught off guard with the Heimerdinger. I don’t think they studied us well. Since they didn’t pick Pyke, Swain, or Heimerdinger, I don’t believe NA’s champion pool is that great.
¤ sOAZ, is there a huge difference between how you play mage/bruisers in the bot lane compared to that of the top lane?
sOAZ: There is a difference in regards to wave management and communication. Since you are playing with someone else in the bot lane, you need to constantly keep the flow of communication going.
I need to tell Hylissang about my cooldowns. For example, I would tell him what my cooldowns are for my passive on Swain. This is to make sure I can pull whenever he lands CC. I just need to keep talking and reporting on things that we frequently forget.
¤ Lastly, is there anything you want to say to your EU fans?
Hylissang: I am really grateful for the EU fans and NA fans actually. There were not that many but there were NA fans cheering for us (laughs).
sOAZ: Pretty much the same for me. Overall, it was a fun tournament for us. In some sense, it was a test. The EU meta was really different, and we didn’t play with Rekkles for this tournament.
Rift Rivals allowed us to see how well we could perform with these changes and prepare for an international event. It was nice playing in Rift Rivals. Everyone here was extremely polite.