Fnatic may have once emerged victorious in the European League of Legends Championship Series' Grand Finals, but their opponents, Origen, put up a strong showing against the previously undefeated squad. After the series, Origen support Alfonso "mithy" Aguirre Rodriguez took some time to talk to theScore eSports about the Finals and competing in the Gauntlet.
How do you feel about the series overall? Do you feel positively about it even though you lost?
I think both teams played worse than they actually are. I didn't expect the series to go so close, but if we were to win, I expected it to be this cose. I'm really salty we lost, right? I'm disappointed we lost 3-2 in such a close game and such a close series, but at the same time I'm really proud about how much we have achieved. I'm really happy with my team. I'm extremely happy, actually. I expected much less from us at the start of the season. We set ourselves Top 6 as a milestone, but we got top two instead, and we made playoffs, and we made the finals, and we pushed Fnatic to a 3-2 series. I'm proud of how much we have achieved in one split and I think it can only go better from here.
Going into the Gauntlet, how do you think having played this series changes your outlook, if at all?
I think teams will be more afraid of us going into the Gauntlet after this series. I think the main thing about the Gauntlet is going to be ROCCAT against Origen. If we can overcome the fact that we are 0-2 against them, the Gauntlet should go smoothly — unless UoL improves themselves drastically in one week. I'm just looking forward to redeeming myself against ROCCAT. I underperformed in those two games. That's pretty much it.
After speaking with sOAZ, he said you are responsible for most of the mid-to-late game rotation calls? Is that correct?
That's the general idea, but everyone on our team shotcalls. There's not really a shotcaller. We just create game plans, and everyone just follows the same game plan. Since I have the most free time, and Amazing has the most free time, Amazing will throw in questions like "Drake in two minutes. Do we want to fight it?" If the answer is yes, then we agree to set up drake. We don't exactly tell someone when to slowpush, when to push out, when to do this, when to do that. Everyone has their own judgment of what they can and can't do, and we just work towards a game plan that, in this example, is getting drake.
In today's Game 1, your trades and rotations were very crisp compared to past encounters with Fnatic and other games this series. To what would you attribute that?
Our comps were different. Obviously, we learned from our past encounters. We had a very specific comp in Game 1 that allowed us to rotate from lane to lane. We just outpicked them so hard in Game 1, they couldn't do anything. We lane swapped with our comp because we had a much stronger and earlier power spike on all of our champions, so we could use it to siege properly because we had Braum against Viktor. They basically got put in a situation where they couldn't fight, and they couldn't defend their own towers so they just lost the game as soon as we got TriForce. If you watch the game, the second Corki gets TriForce, it's probably around ten minutes until they lose.
Normally, if you can't fight someone who has a stronger power spike than you, you want to ignore them or try to trade objectives until you get your items to fight evenly or even become stronger. In Game 1, they couldn't trade objectives or defend their own objectives. That's why that game looked so smooth. For example, in Game 4, we were in a situation where we scaled better than them. We tried to trade objectives, but we screwed up a lot, so we were put in a really bad position. In Game 5, we were in the same position where they had a really strong mid game power spike, and we would outscale them late game, but we screwed up too much by fighting on their power spike instead of trading evenly or slightly behind. We lost the trades a bit too much, and then they were able to snowball.
The way the game goes right now, you can just press tab, see their items and levels to check if they are stronger or not. You can then know if you're going to win a fight or not. It's pretty straightforward. So we ask ourselves "Do we want to fight? Do we win a fight? Yes? No?" Then we decide if we want to try it.
In some games you would start to lose a bit but still be even. Then maybe your vision fell behind a little bit. You have a reputation for tilting, do you think that was a factor in this series, or did you keep a clear mental focus?
I don't want to say I did keep a clear focus, because I think I underperformed overall. I think I was mostly focused, like yeah, I underperformed, that's pretty obvious, but there were never thoughts going through my head like "oh, I'm playing bad" or "oh, this is happening or this is not happening," like I was focused on the game. I knew I made mistakes, but I just kept on playing.
In terms of why the map went dark, first of all, for wards per minute, that stat is completely useless because when you are stronger you ward more, and when you're behind, you ward less. In the fourth and the fifth game, we had a better comp late game. So we just wanted to hug our towers, try not to do much. If we walk into their jungle and fight, they're stronger than us. They would run at us, and then they would win fights. So we want to scale up, therefore, Amazing and I won't just walk into their jungle and place wards, since we'll be at risk of dying, but in Game 1, I probably warded twice as much. It just depends on how the game plays out.
It's a vision game. For example, in Game 5, they had our bottom inhibitor so they had a lot of pressure on bottom lane and they had tier two on top. They could push waves to our tier threes and get complete control of our red side jungle. With our comp, if we would facecheck them, they would win, but if we were patient, they would lose against us so they choked our vision out. We were forced to facecheck them. There was just no way we could enter the jungle since we also had lost our bottom inhibitor. When I got caught, I expected them to be there. I knew they were there, but I didn't expect the Flash Tibbers. Niels wanted to push out just one more wave to get QSS, so I had to get vision for him so he doesn't get caught there.
Overall, the whole vision and tilting and so on, sure I underperformed, but it's hard to say if I just underperformed or if they are just really good, so they don't give up things. There were a lot of situations where I couldn't do much. They are good players individually. On the third game, when I was playing Thresh, I was trying to make plays, but they were all able to counteract what I was doing. I don't think I underperformed in that game. Sure, I made some mistakes, and overall my play was worse than usual when I shine, but I don't think I played terrible either. I think YellOwStaR showed that he is better than me, and that's it. That doesn't mean that I am bad or tilted or anything.
So do you think you kept your mentality clear overall throughout the series?
Clearer than I thought I would. I thought I would tilt, right? I didn't even necessarily think I would tilt, but I thought there was a chance that I would tilt. I don't think I tilted, but I did under-perform in the sense that I didn't shine, but I also didn't play ultra bad.
Speaking of the Thresh, it was known as one of your main picks in the past. It's been played a little less lately. When you chose the pick, did you go for it because it fit the composition, or because you personally felt confident with it?
Janna and Thresh fill the same purpose in two different ways. The picks I could choose in that game were Janna or Thresh. Niels wanted me to pick Thresh, and I felt "Why not?" so I just went for the Thresh. Obviously kaSing plays Thresh a lot, right, but I think it's, as you said, played less. Usually we pick support to fit the comp, and in this case Thresh was just a disengage support for us.
If you make it to the World Championship, you'll be going for your second time. Keeping in mind what your experience was like last time, what would you hope for this year?
I want to be able to take as much as I can from our scrims against all the foreign teams and all our games in the Group Stage. Just take as much as I can. Last time, I got my ass handed to me in scrims, and that really motivated me a lot to improve myself as a player. I want to do the same thing this time. I think I should get a lot of value out of going to Worlds. I don't think, realistically speaking, we would get first at Worlds, especially with third seed. I think seed three looks pretty grim, actually. I just want to get what I can mentally, individually, and strategically.
Before I let you go, I wanted to ask about the Braum pick. It's been seeing a lot of priority. What are some advantages and disadvantages of the pick?
Braum is not so good in lane, but he's not bad in lane either. His laning is fine. He is good in brawls and skirmishes in the jungle. He's good at disengaging too. I guess it's kiting, not really disengaging completely like Janna, but kiting back and forth to intercept skills. He's good at stopping wave clear mids and side lane pressure because you can just stop the wave clear skill. It forces the enemy side lanes to get screwed over because of this one champion. I think he's strong overall.
Are there any significant disadvantages to picking it?
If you need hard engage, then it's bad, right? If you want to have strong peel, then you'd go for Thresh or Janna, but if you want to brawl and kite back in team fights, then I think Braum's good.
This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.