Xpecial on Fenix's growth, their upcoming match against TiP and TSM's summer performance

by theScore Staff Jul 26 2015
Thumbnail image courtesy of Damian Estrada / theScore

After Team Liquid's 41-minute win over Team 8, Xpecial spoke to theScore eSports about Fenix's confident play, their upcoming match against Team Impulse and Team SoloMid's summer performance

Last split, everyone on Liquid was talking about how FeniX was the "scrim god" but his play on stage didn't really live up to expectation until this summer. What changed for Fenix between the splits.

It's definitely a combination of everything. He was confident, but in some ways he was overconfident and in some ways he wasn’t as confident. He would try to push his advantage a lot, he would get a CS lead, but he would be vulnerable to ganks because he was playing so aggressively. He felt that he could destroy this guy in lane, and he would often get ganked.

A lot of the time, honestly, he wouldn’t lose when we won. He would lose because he got ganked. He would die First Blood and stuff like that, and those were reasons why he wasn’t performing as well. People saw he wasn't performing to the level we said he would and were dismayed about that. But now he’s more comfortable, he is playing with confidence.

We are also making him ward more and be more vision controlling rather than just trying to straight out mechanically outplay them. When you watch someone like Bjergsen for example, last split he was winning, he still got wards, he still had vision and he was indestructible. We’re trying to get FeniX to do the same thing, but Fenix is doing great and we’ve seen him show-off his mechanical skill a lot this split.

Gravity has emerged as a very strong competitor after some offseason roster changes. As a support player, what can you say about Bunny’s development both as a shot-caller and as a top level support this split?

I think Bunny has improved a lot from his time on Curse. He was seen as a fairly good support player that can only play Thresh, and we saw in this split that he's using a lot more champions and also innovating in his support role as well with the Shen pick.

In terms of Gravity, I don’t think they're a very strong team internationally because their play is very erratic and they don’t really set rule, which is good and bad. It's bad in that they should not be consistent. but they are somehow winning a lot of their games.

I think their playoffs will see a lot of those weaknesses and I don’t think they’ll make it to worlds with how they’re playing right now

Team Impulse were hit with a serious blow when XiaoWeiXiao was suspended for ELO boosting. Although it's never fun to see a fellow competitor take a late-season hit like that, what do you as a team need to do to put yourselves in the best position to secure the first-round bye?

We’re just going to beat TiP. Just traditionally TiP hasn't done so well with their playstyle against us. They are a very early game centric team, but our lanes and our players are very strong in the early game as well and they never seem to get a big advantage.

The only games where they have beaten us are mainly the ones where they snowballed on us, and as long as we can avoid that I think that we will beat them out in terms of team fighting.

In terms of rotations, everything beyond the early game we’re stronger than them in. Without XiaoWeiXiao as well, they’re not going to have their late game team fights with XiaoWeiXiao carrying, so I’m not worried about TiP. We’ll just play our game and play it well.

TSM have been experiencing some late-season struggles heading towards the playoffs. Can you evaluate what's hurting TSM and how this will affect their play in the coming weeks?

It's hard for me to evaluate what is wrong with them, as I don’t really know the inner workings of the team anymore. I see it as more of a team that's been getting by solely because of Bjergsen getting ahead. Now that Bjergsen isn't getting the pressure that he needs mid to carry the game, TSM doesn't really have a carry that is getting a big enough lead to allow him to win these games that they should have won in the first place.

When we look at games from last split, and a lot of games in this split as well, you see four players on TSM being behind and Bjergsen being up five kills and 4k gold and he’s the one that’s carrying. That’s not happening this split, and it shouldn't happen at all.

I assume they’re getting better, but without that carrying TSM is just not good and I don’t know what they can do to fix this. It looks very dire for them, but I always see TSM do well in playoffs so we’ll have to see. We can’t underestimate them.

How excited are you for possibly taking a trip over to the east coast and what does Liquid need to do to get to the finals? Who is your biggest threat heading into the playoffs and who are you most excited to play in a best of five match?

So depending how we place tomorrow [Sunday], if we beat out TiP we will likely have to play tie breaker game against CLG and we’ll win that as well. We are pretty much guaranteed to go to Madison Square Garden because we will be in Top 4 and Top 4 will eventually play at MSG.

Our goal is to really take first. We really don’t care about who we play against. The toughest opponent, I would say for us, is Gravity. Even though I said they are very erratic and they are hard to predict and they aren't consistent, they have been doing extremely well. They are the only team that has beaten us twice this split, and they seem to have our number. I’m not afraid of any team but it seems like Gravity is our biggest weakness.

In terms of who I want to play against, I think I would like to play against CLG probably. I just think they don't have our number, I mean they beat us last time, I do want revenge against them. If we beat them tomorrow, I don’t really care, but if they lose tomorrow and end up in the playoffs then it would be really good for us.

This interview was conducted with the assistance of Nicholas Doucet and has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Skye Bui has a passion for dry humor and eSports. Follow blahblahblah on Twitter.