After becoming the first European team to make it to World Finals since Season 1, Fnatic were hoping for a strong start last week to set themselves on the right track for the 2019 LEC Spring Split.
Instead, Fnatic ended up going 0-2 in the first week of play, but their jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen isn’t at all worried. According to him, history is on their side.
“Generally we’ve never been the best team in the first weeks of a split,” he tells us after the game against Origen. “Even last year, which was one of the best if not the best years for Fnatic ever, both in Spring and Summer we were actually really inconsistent in the first two weeks. We didn’t play at a high level in either split until the middle of it.”
In 2018 Fnatic lost to H2K and Vitality in the opening couple of weeks of the Spring Split, and lost to Misfits in the first week of Summer before going on to have a pretty dominant year.
“I’m hoping it’s going to be the same this time around. I’m pretty confident it’s going to be the case. I’m not worried. I’m frustrated, I’m angry, it’s really sad it has to be this way, but at the same time we have more or less the same roster as last year, and we’ve proven so many times we’re a good team. It’s just a matter of time before we show that."
Of course, it’s not quite the same roster as last year, with Rasmus “Caps” Winther leaving a pretty big hole that Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek is now trying to fill. It would be easy to point to Fnatic’s new member as the cause of the problems, but Broxah hasn’t seen any issues so far. In fact he’s been pretty impressed.
“Nemesis played completely fine these two games, he did what he could,” says Broxah. “Looking at our practice for the last two weeks it’s gone pretty well, we all had pretty high hopes, and thought we’d be in a good spot. These two games show us we have quite a few things to work on as a team. So now we’re just going to go home, work as hard as we can, and try to show up strong next week."
"I’m not worried. I’m frustrated, I’m angry, it’s really sad it has to be this way, but at the same time we’ve proven so many times we’re a good team."
As for what exactly went wrong, Broxah doesn’t want to reveal too much to his opponents who might be looking for their own tips on beating the Worlds finalists. However, in general he does think their early game needs some work.
“We’ve been too inconsistent in both games, our communication has to be more on point, and we just all have to get into it again, get into our routines, know our habits. Then we can become the team we used to be.
“The draft phase couldn’t have been better, but it was not the only reason we lost. It ended up turning out pretty bad blind picking Galio and getting counter-picked with Vayne against Origen. But at the same time I think we had openings to make it a good game and punish Nukeduck for his cheese pick."
That said, Broxah isn’t above picking some of the more interesting champions in the game himself, saying: “I think my champion pool is pretty deep right now, and there’s a chance there’s going to be something cheesy coming out from my side as well.” Understandably, he won’t tell us exactly what, but says he is enjoying the current meta and the freedom to pick aggressive champions such as Lee Sin, while also having the option to play the tanks like Sejuani and Gragas.
They may be down right now, but Fnatic are certainly still the team to beat in the LEC, and everyone else still recognises that. Getting a win over them is almost like making it over a mental barrier for some.
“My first basic goal was making playoffs,” Han “Dreams” Min-kook tells us after SK Gaming’s win one day one. “But since we beat Fnatic, I'm wanting more. I want to go at least until the finals.”
If Fnatic do indeed recover and become as strong as they did last year, they may have something to say about that.