On the 21st, at the Busan Bexco Auditorium, the 2018 League of Legends World Championship Quarterfinals match between LPL's EDward Gaming and EU LCS's Fnatic took place. The European champions played as one and came out on top of EDG with a score of 3-1. Having drafted interesting picks throughout the series, our team grew anxious to speak with the man standing behind the players.
The following is an interview with FNC Dylan.
Congratulations! How do you feel?
I feel amazing. It was always my dream to make it far in the World Championship. We know that we're capable of winning the entire tournament. We're really happy that we were able to play to our advantage.
How did you prepare for today's match?
Against EDG, we noted their bot lane as their best trait. We also took note of how their jungler was really good at basically sitting bot the whole game. In turn, we prepared thoroughly on how to deal with this and how to path our jungle. Outside of that, we focused on building strong teamfighting compositions.
You mentioned how EDG has a strong bot lane. Can you tell us about your 'picks and bans' strategy that you utilized against that said bot lane?
In the first game, we banned Kai'Sa because she is iBoy's best champion. However, we quickly realized that Kai'Sa isn't as important. We're a team that is very confident in playing against Kai'Sa, we simply banned her out of respect.
We needed other bans, so instead of banning her, we decided to put more control on the support matchup, as we found that to be the most important.
A lot of interesting picks were played in the mid lane. Irelia, Yasuo, and LeBlanc. In a way, these champions come with a lot of risks. Were you aware of those risks before drafting these picks?
In EU, we played Wukong mid, Vayne mid, and other crazy picks. To us, champions like Yasuo is a normal pick. (Laughs) We like matchups where we can secure kills in the mid lane because we like to play through Caps and his lane.
Why did FNC win today?
I think our Baron play was better. We were better at getting vision. I believe we had more wards around the map -- we had pinks everywhere whereas EDG didn't. I think a lot of it is from our macro game and knowing when to fight. I also think we drafted picks that can win teamfights.
As an EU coach, can you give us insight into how EU is performing so well this Worlds?
I think a lot of it is due to our large player pool. I believe we have even more players than Korea. The players in EU are fearless. They try really hard and are very competitive. Their mindset -- in a progressive meta like right now -- really shines.
The current Worlds meta seems to revolve around the mid laner and his synergy with the jungler. Coincidentally, Caps is highly regarded as one of the best mid laners here competing at Worlds. In your opinion, is the meta advantageous for Fnatic?
A lot of Rekkles' best picks are meta, and a lot of Caps' best picks are meta. This is just an amazing meta for us. I'm really happy about it. Caps can also show off his mechanics on stage.
Can you tell us about the top lane Viktor pick?
(Laughs) We did not scrim a single top Viktor game before today. We had zero scrims. (Laughs)
Did Afreeca inspire you to play that pick?
We had prepared for it before. We already knew its strengths and we had prepared it as a backup pick for today -- although we still didn't play a single scrim of it. (Laughs)
We saw Afreeca playing him, and we saw how good he was in the early game. So we said, "okay, let's just try it."
Do you have more surprise picks that you're hiding?
We have some extremely crazy picks at ready.
It's been a long time since we've seen a western team at the Worlds Finals. What do you think about this? Has the gap closed?
The gap has definitely closed. We're scrimming some Korean teams, like Damwon and Griffin, and I believe that the best players in the world are still here in Korea. They just need to make better lineups with their players. They need to make rosters consisting of both veterans and new and up-and-coming players -- not having 5 new guys like Griffin, or having 5 old guys like KT. Mix up the roster, and I think Korea will at least probably make Worlds Finals. They'll probably become one of the strongest regions again.
You'll face Cloud9 next. In a way, it'll be a very meaningful match for the fans. How will you prepare for them?
We'll prepare for them like how we prepare for every match. We'll put a lot of work into our draft, as Reapered is extremely good at drafting.
Anything you want to add regarding your upcoming battle against Reapered on stage?
I've faced Reapered many times. I used to be a coach in North America before I moved to Europe, and I think I've faced him multiple times in multiple tournaments. I have a lot of respect for him as a coach. His drafting and strategy are always really good. I'm sorry though because we're going to be the ones to win.