For the first time since 2011, a western team has advanced to the League of Legends World Championship. Fnatic, the same team that won the Season 1 world championship, when LoL was a small, up-and-coming competitive MOBA title, advanced to the 2018 worlds finals after a quick 3-0 sweep over North America's Cloud9.
Afterwards, the team had a few words on their victory with members of the South Korean, Chinese and English press.
Congratulations, phenomenal series. For Broxah, in our first interview this year and I asked you how realistic it is to win worlds and you said, "No, well from a western perspective it's always kind of a meme to say 'I want to win worlds and stuff.'" Would you like to retract that statement now?
Mads "Broxah" Brock-Pedersen: Obviously now, I would like to retract my statement. We are closer to winning worlds than I expected us to be. I had some high hopes this year of going to semis, maybe getting to the final, making history I guess. But, it's kind of a weird feeling right now, I know we just played a great game. It doesn't feel as hype yet. We still have some work to do. While I'm really happy and somewhat relieved there's still a bit of work to do before the satisfaction is completely there.
Rekkles, this is the first time a western team, and an EU team, made it to the finals in the last seven years. What does it mean after all this time to finally have a western team in the finals?
Martin "Rekkles" Larsson: Honestly, I don't think it means anything. If we were to win, it means something, but if we were to lose everyone will forget about it within in a year. I don't think anyone is satisfied. Maybe the fans are but for ourselves at least it's just another game.
Bwipo, we talked about how you weren't really excited about playing [Martin "Wunder" Hansen] or [Eric "Licorice" Ritchie] but [Kang "TheShy" Seung-lok], who you've been a fan of the entire time, that excited you. Can you talk about how it's going to feel to play TheShy in the finals. Are you excited?
Gabriël "Bwipo" Rau: Right now I'm not too excited. I think that we still have to prepare for the matches, get an idea of how it's going to go but, all in all, yeah I look forward to playing him. I think he's a really good player. If I can have a good game against him, if I can beat him, I can prove that I belong at the top.
Rekkles, after beating EDG, you said you felt like EDG was stronger than iG. After yesterday's series do you still believe so? What will be your biggest worry going into the finals?
Rekkles: I don't really know what you can take away from our series today or yesterday's series because I think both matches were really one-sided and too easy for the good teams or teams that were winning. For me, I still believe that iG struggle in areas of the game. I would see ourselves as the favorites in the finals. If we do well and play our game we're probably going to end up as the winning team.
Caps, you've already played against Rookie three times in this tournament and you'll face him again in the finals. How do you think facing him in the finals is going to be?
Rasmus "Caps" Winther: We played a lot of big events, but we've never played a worlds final before so it's hard to say how I will play and how other people will play. But I feel like I've seen enough Rookie and I've played against him enough now that I kind of know his weakness. I know what makes him different from other mid laners. I'm pretty confident going up against him. I think what he does will be a lot harder to do in the final and I think we're just a better team, and I think we have a pretty good idea of how to beat him.
Bwipo, you are half-Brazilian and you have all Brazilian people cheering for you. How do you feel about this?
Bwipo: The more people that look forward to Fnatic winning the better I think. It feels pretty good knowing that I kind of have the nation standing behind me. I think that most people people want to see us win, at least from our side of the community so I hope we can just give them that and pay off all the support we've been getting. From the start, most people actually believed that we could make it this far and the fact that we did just means that we have to take it home to prove that we're the best team in the world.
Bwipo, were you quite surprised at C9's draft, especially at playing around 1-3-1?
Bwipo: I'm not really too surprised. I figured if they were going to leave a champion up that was powerful like Viktor or Aatrox or something like this, C9 always have a tendency to take a cheese pick into it. I think this time around, their pick was very lackluster. I don't think that Ekko is a champion into Viktor specifically that will show results on stage. So I just played the best Viktor I could and that was good enough to take them out.
Caps, we saw your family cheering for you in the audience. Is the support from your family a big part of your performance in any way?
Caps: I'm really excited about my dad watching me. I know that my mother and the rest of my family are watching me from home. It's definitely very nice to have a lot of family supporting me. I also saw a lot of Caps signs in the crowd and I saw a lot of Fnatic fans which definitely excites me and makes me hyped about the game. It just makes it so that when you're nervous or when you don't think or know you have the confidence to go for something, you just want to go for it to make the fans proud. And they're out there supporting you.
Youngbuck, we've seen that in the semifinals you had much more of a dominant series. What are the things you have to go over when you only have two days as opposed to a whole week of preparation.
Joey "Youngbuck" Steltenpool: I think it comes down to supporting our opponents' level ones, jungle pathing, what champions they like to play, specific combinations of champions we like to play and I think we have a really good staff for that, Dylan, myself, and Jack who is not here but somewhere in the bleachers. And we just all separate the work and have a big workload but because we have the goal to win worlds I think none of the players or staff members are burning out yet, which usually happens, which I also think happened to C9 and G2, where they reached their goal or overreached and didn't feel the same hunger to keep working and the hunger for us to win finals is there, so we'll keep working.
Broxah, earlier in this tournament someone asked me what champion I thought was the least likely to be played in this whole worlds tournament and Rek'Sai was near the top of that list but you pulled it out today and got the win. What was the inspiration behind that?
Broxah: In our quarterfinal game against EDG, Xin Zhao ended up being really really high priority so we figured that finding a counter or something that's good into Xin Zhao would be a good option. We tested some picks and Rek'sai turned out to be the pick that was actually playable into Xin Zhao. It worked pretty well. Yeah, it was based on the series with EDG where Xin Zhao looked really OP, and then Rek'sai was a secret counter to that, or at least playable.
Rekkles, you've been on a lot of teams throughout your career, a lot of Fnatic teams. What makes this team different than all of the ones you've been on before.
Rekkles: I think I've always been with good players. I can't possibly say that I've had an unfortunate time of playing with a bad team. I would say that the biggest change this year for me is that we're actually playing really well together. Even in 2015 when we had our worlds run, we weren't that great as a team. We were getting carried by Huni and when he couldn't carry against the KOO Tigers, I think we really didn't have much to offer. This time, pretty much regardless of what teams bring against us we have someone popping off, someone doing really well. That's why we are where we are. We pretty much have no weaknesses at all people can't really prepare well against us and they can't really do crazy things against us.
Rekkles, you are known to make rational judgments on players or teams. What is your subjective opinion on Fnatic's chances against iG in the finals?
Rekkles: I think our chances are higher than [iG's]. They had a free win in semifinals, and in quarterfinals they may have well lost. We have beaten them in the group stages, and it wasn't out of chance. I think we are stronger.