As the temperature rises in the Summer Split one of the oldest rivalries in competitive League of Legends has reached its boiling point. For years players have endlessly debated the age old question of which region is stronger: EU, or NA? The time has come to settle the score once and for all, to finally prove which western region reigns supreme in the ultimate test, Rift Rivals. Along with G2 Esports and the Unicorns of Love, Europe is represented by Fnatic, who are not only one of the oldest teams in League of Legends but also the five-time EU LCS champions. Fighting in the midlane is “baby Faker” himself, Rasmus "Caps" Winther, who finds himself representing his home region in his first appearance in an international competition.
You’ve mentioned you don’t think North America will be able to handle Fnatic’s “unique” play style. In your words, what is Fnatic’s play style?
Well I think there is definitely a chance that they will win, but I don’t think it’ll be really one sided. For example, I think TSM and C9 are better than Splyce, who we recently played. But the difference is Splyce has played against us so many times, so they know our picks and how we play, but the NA teams almost never play against us. I know C9 played a little bit of Kennen ADC themselves, but I don’t think it’s the same way we do it. So I think part of our play style is our unique picks that other teams might not see, and then the way we play with sidelanes where people will get caught when they play against us, because we do unorthodox things. I think it comes from the experience of Rekkles and sOAZ, they’re really good in the sidelanes because they’ve played so many games like that.
You’ll end up facing Ryu, who you never faced when he was here in EU. What did you think of him back when he was playing in the EU LCS?
I never really watched either LCS back then, so I don’t have that many thoughts about him. I remember he didn’t look too shabby in Playoffs, he really stepped up for them and for Worlds. In particular I remember his Cassiopeia being really good, and I think he was also really good on LeBlanc. So he had these key picks where if he had them he was really good on them, especially in high pressure situations.
Do you think Ryu’s experience in the EU LCS gives him an advantage in Rift Rivals?
The thing with this tournament is that since it’s here in EU it’s kind of just like regular EU LCS for me, at least in where we play and how we get to the studio, we’re comfortable playing here. I have never played internationally, so I don’t know what differences there will be from a regular day of EU LCS games. So I don’t know yet, but I think he’ll have a slight advantage because he’s played here.
Is there any added pressure on you because this is your first international tournament?
We’ll see when it actually happens, but I usually don’t feel pressure too much. The only times I get stressed about pressure is when there’s other things happening, like when my eye was hurting or it’s raining a bunch and really cold on stage, but when it comes to things like playing in Hamburg or Turkey I didn’t feel like there was a lot of added pressure.
So you did an EU midlane ranking, but how would you rank the NA midlaners who will be here?
It’s really hard because I haven’t played against them. But as far as I can tell, I’d say C9 Jensen seems really good in lane, and is probably the best. After him is Bjergsen and then Ryu, at least when it comes to the laning phase. But it’s hard because Bjergsen seems to add so much more out of the laning phase, and he seems to be more consistent. People often say that Bjergsen will never lose a game for his team, and even though Jensen is consistent as well he isn’t to that point I don’t think.
How do you want people to remember you from Rift Rivals?
It’s always scary to face somebody for the first time, and I think for the first while I’ll just be farming in games and testing my opponents out. Once we’re in later games - and hopefully the Bo5 finals - then I think there will be some more action happening, because we’ll all know each other by then and how the other teams play. At that point we’ll be playing more aggressive.