How are you feeling after the loss?
Minitroupax: I left the stage crying. Our team is a team that, even though we're rookies and even though nobody expected much from us, we knew it would take everything. Ever since we lost to Fnatic in the Semifinals, we became really down because we thought if we could take them, we'd take the Finals. We came here with high expectations. We're rookies, we need tournament experience.
Well, we started well in the series yet it bounced back and forth, and game five wasn't the best we've had. We ended up losing. It's never good to lose but I guess we just take it as experience. Fourth place is not that bad for a new team, we'll just try to improve as much as we can for next Split.
How did you prepare for the Finals?
Minitroupax: It was really good preparations. In the Semifinals you're playing against the top four teams so we were scrimming Fnatic and G2 nonstop, and we were doing really, really well. But, scrim-wise, you're less nervous and it affects the rookies because you're just chilling at home playing video games. We managed to play really aggressively and we managed to snowball even harder. It was incredible. Sometimes we'd have 10k gold leads at 15 minutes. There are games where we get stomped as well, but there are games that even top teams cannot play against. I think it was Rekkles that said we were the best scrim team in Europe, or something like that. We're quite good in scrims– We smash people, but we also get smashed and a lot of teams learn plenty from us.
It was Rekkles that said we were the best scrim team in Europe.
What do you think was the end factor for the loss?
Minitroupax: In the second game, we misplayed a lot in the mid lane against the Cassiopeia. I've never seen a more dangerous snake in my entire life. It just happens, it snowballed out of control. We also snowballed out of control in the first game and stomped them, the third game we smashed them again, but the fourth game... We were quite ahead in the start. We did super great bot lane and, by laning phase standards, we were quite ahead. Then we didn't know how to progress the snowball. They took one Baron, started snowballing and outscaled us. In the fifth game, nobody wanted to mess up and everything was so tense. We ended up team fighting like twenty times in that game. They just played better.
Is there a reason you picked Blue side each game?
Minitroupax: Not really, they had three set selections and we had two. The first game we won, and decided not to show them anything. Then we picked Blue side and we lost. Then Splyce saw that loss and gave us Blue side. But then we won on Blue side, so it was strange. The teams were comfortable on both sides, but it ended up being five games for us on Blue side and five on Red for them.
When you go to a game five, either one team is under-performing or the teams are very equal in level.
Do you think Splyce was the better team today?
Minitroupax: I think the teams' levels were pretty similar. I don't think they are much better than us and, even if we had won, I don't think we're much better than them. When you go to a game five, either one team is under-performing or the teams are very equal in level. When it came down to it, they took the fifth game win and that's what matters. Congratulations for them, and we'll face them again next Split.
How was the team mentality after Gilius was caught out in Game 1?
Minitroupax: We have this strategy with Sion starting in our jungle while we invade their blue, but they managed to have four in the bush. We took a minute, said we needed to chill out because jungle was behind. Mid and bot were doing well, they might actually have been ahead. We were pretty good in that aspect, we started snowballing and that was a big mistake by them– They never let us do it again.
How did the team react to Nisque's 1v5 in Game 2, when he managed to secure two kills solo?
Minitroupax: We were actually laughing. We figured we had him, it would be the first kill of the game for us, and we saw his score. When an enemy midlaner goes 7-0, it's time to try cheesy stuff and not play standard in order to win. You can't care too much. If you care too much about the games you're going to lose in a best-of-five, you'll get tilted and won't play as well as you can. So you chill out, you try to keep the mood up on the team, and then you don't think about the past.
Splyce seemed to let you have all of your pocket picks. What's up with that?
Minitroupax: They let Caitlyn past one game, they left us Taliyah a few times and Tahm Kench a couple as well. We only played one with Tahm, but that was because while we might be good with that champion, you have to have more champions in your pool. I think that if you're a professional player, you need to expand out. Splyce did a good job scouting us and knew what to play, and we also messed up a lot.
Where would you want to improve?
I even think our early game is the best in Europe.
Minitroupax: I think our early game is quite good. In almost every single game, we ended up quite ahead and I even think our early game is the best in Europe. Even against Fnatic in the Semifinals when we lost, we had a really good early game. But where we mess up is at the 20-minute mark, that's a Baron Nashor. Sometimes we get impatient and we start yelling to go. Somehow, jungle ends up behind on Smite or gets silenced and we have to find ways to stall it out and come back from that. I think that's the greatest mess-up that we have. Our late game is okay-ish, but we haven't really gotten to late game that much because we are a team that snowballs. We either snowball and finish the game around 30 minutes or, normally, the games don't last that long. Today was an exception, I think.
Even against H2K, we actually did really well. Our fourth game, though, I think was the fastest game of the Split when they won against us in 22 minutes. We had to just chill out and take a minute to reset.
What do you think of Copenhagen?
Minitroupax: I think it's very nice. I never really thought about Denmark as a country, I was just a poor little Portuguese boy who went to Spain, sometimes France or Switzerland, but I never travelled that much. Then we came to Berlin, with that big city vibe, and now we're in Denmark and it was pretty nice. It was our first Riot event and we were not disappointed.
How did the opening ceremony feel?
Minitroupax: It felt amazing. Even though this is not our country, we're really proud to be the first ones approaching this. Vitality had never made it this far before so we decided as a team to go with our own countries' flags. So we stood there, really proud of ourselves for what we've achieved so far, and next Split we'll take the flags to the Finals.
Our team, we don't have anyone from the same country, so we figured it would look pretty cool. Everyone is from a different country so next time, we'll all have our flags.
And the practice rooms were all decked out with your branding.
Minitroupax: It was so awesome. It feels good to see your face around. You really feel that you're relevant to the game and to this event. One year ago, we were almost getting relegated and now, from one year to another, we've gone to fourth place. I can't really complain about that.
What has changed the most since last year's LVP?
Nobody expected much from us and we proved them wrong once again.
Minitroupax: The atmosphere is pretty good. When we got together, we really fit together well. We just started playing, we had a lot of fun playing, so we smash well together. We started winning a lot within one year; we only lost one tournament. So we came to LCS being no-names and we started smashing Fnatic and all of these other teams, it was like... Surprise!
Everyone is hyping us up and we had a small losing streak, sometimes it happens and it's better to happen during the regular Split so you know how to come back from it. We made it to the Playoffs and nobody expected much from us, and we proved them wrong once again. Even though today we lost, of course it feels bad but I don't think anyone saw us as a weak team.
What are your plans for the off season?
Minitroupax: We have a Korean boot camp booked for one month, with one month of vacation. When the Split started, my sister had her first child. I haven't seen my nephew yet and I can't wait to see him. I'm going to be a good example for him when he's around 12. If he wants to play video games for life, he has me as an example so I'm glad about it. I want to spend time with my family, relax, spend as much quality time as possible and then just go to Korea and try hard. We're going to come back as strong as we can.
Are you close with your family?
Minitroupax: Good question. When I was 14, I lived only with my sister. My parents didn't live with me while I was a teenager so my relationship with them wasn't the strongest one. We would call each other and see each other on vacation, but they weren't there so my sister brought me up. With my father, it goes back and forth a bit. Both of my parents came here to Copenhagen, they really support me and I know I can count on them.
How did the fan meet go?
Minitroupax: Of course, the atmosphere of the team is not that great after losing a best-of-five in the final game, but it's like... Once you see all of these people cheering for you despite your loss, it kind of forces you to smile. If you force yourself to smile, you'll genuinely smile eventually. It make it easier, it doesn't feel as bad as it could be.
It was the family fans that stood out to me. My parents came, YamatoCannon's brother came, Jiizuke's brother came and the girlfriend of Jactroll. All of these fans, you actually know them and they're really close to your teammates and your coach so it's really nice to have them there.
Any closing words?
Minitroupax: Thank you for always believing in us. Trust me, we're not bigmouths. If we say we really wanted to win, we wanted to win. Nobody is more destroyed than we are about losing this one, but we'll surely become stronger and we'll take over in the next Split.