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FNC Rising Delord: “We aren’t scared of the LFL”

Head coach Paweł "deIord" Szabla took time out to speak to us about the Misfits Premier series and how he thinks the finals might go against Karmine Corp.

With possibly one of the biggest upsets in EU Masters history, Fnatic Rising defeated Misfits Premier, the LFL champions, in a tense 3-2 series to make it to the finals. This is the organisation’s first ever finals and they are up against the second seed of the LFL and reigning EUM champions: Karmine Corp. Can they take home the ultimate prize?

First of all, massive congratulations. Fnatic Rising exceeded all expectations and made it to the finals of the Amazon European Masters! I want to get your thoughts on the series against Misfits Premier as a whole, what were your expectations going into the series and how did you see it as a whole?

Delord: So basically, I think after the Movistar series, I knew that we were capable of achieving something more. In my opinion, we are really growing with this tournament and this is something that happened before in my experience. At the start, we were not favourites or described as a good team, but I think right now, let’s say we have found our style and how we want to play as a team.

It also comes with the trust and bad moments we had, because it just made us stronger. We had time to overcome our problems compared to stronger teams. Maybe they did not have more obvious problems and when they met some of these problems along the way, they had no time to solve them.

I think we’ve had a lot of ups and downs, and right now what we have is a strong team with a strong mentality with a lot of trust between all of us. I think that that’s also the key here.

Your mid laner, Dajor, whom I interviewed last week said that he believed that Misfits Premier was the best team in the European Masters, so you guys technically beat the best team! What were your preparations like coming into the series against them and what did you work on?

Delord: We scrimmed Misfits a bit in the season and we kind of knew how they function as a team. I know the players and generally we know each other since we’ve played with or against each other a lot for a number of years, so I think that we knew how Misfits wanted to approach this game and also being aware of our strong sides. We just drafted it in that way and prepared some stuff versus Misfits, and I think they surprisingly fell into that pretty easily, I would say.

From the Misfits and Vodafone Giants series, I was wondering how much of it was Misfits’ victory or problems and mistakes from Giants. I had no clear idea and when we won against Movistar Riders, I was also wondering how much of it was Movistar making mistakes or us actually being that good. I still think our victory was probably based on our good performance, but in the Misfits and Giants series, I think that Giants could have played better. I also think they could have prepared better. For example, I think that it was not very wise to leave Aphelios open for Woolite. Woolite has been playing Aphelios extremely well since the champion was released.

So yeah, we had this idea on how we wanted to play against Misfits and, obviously, I did not think that it’s going to be easy at all. But after we went 2-0 up I thought, “Okay…what’s going on here?”. But then it evened out to 2-2 in the end and gave everyone a nice five game surprise. It was like this party where you did not expect anyone to come and then the whole city showed up!

There are two points in that answer that I want to address, so I’ll take it step by step. The first one I want to ask you is about Woolite. Woolite was your old lane partner and you guys made the EU Masters finals on Illuminar Gaming in 2018. How was it like facing him as a coach?

Delord: We played together and we won almost everything that we could in Poland. We are still good friends to this day, we do stuff like with each other, we party sometimes together and stuff like that so we still have that connection. I know that Woolite is a very competitive person and he wants to be in LEC again. He wants to show the world his greatness and I believe he’s a really great player, but it was just sad that I had to face him to reach the finals and we beat him.

I mean it’s sad in some way but also I think that he knows that this is just a part of how this competition works and on another day, the opposite result could happen to me. I think maybe they did not expect us to play this well and actually contest them. They won the LFL after all and they are a really great team. Luckily, we are a really great team too!

The second part of the question now is how you guys led 2-0 but then Misfits came back with two games straight naturally people were thinking Misfits might go for a reverse sweep. Were you guys worried about it as well? What was the team atmosphere like going into the final game?

Delord: After Game 4 we kind of knew what we did wrong or how the dynamic of the plan went so we just had this idea that we will just stay on Blue Side and we will do exactly what we did, but we’re gonna change our prio on the first pick. We just change the priority based on the results. At this point, the draft went exactly the same. They did not change much and we basically changed the third ban and banned Olaf, because we felt like this was just a strong early game champion for them and they know how to play around it.

We wanted to maybe slow down the game a bit because Xin Zhao and Lee Sin were already banned. Viego is also strong, but he’s kind of ‘slower’, let’s say. We just wanted to ban Olaf and then we just took really good matchups. I think we played really well, like how we controlled the mid lane later on in the game. I think that’s basically it.

Moving on from Misfits, of course now you have to face the LFL’s second team and the defending EU Masters champions: Karmine Corp. What are your expectations going into that match and how do you think it will go?

Delord: The LFL is really strong this year. We did not play Karmine Corp that much this season compared to Misfits, but I think at this point it does not matter too much. I mean, we are aware of the strong sides but at the same time, we need to be aware of our strong side too. We can’t run into the trap that we’re going to just try to think like them and what will they do. What I want to do is to have a cozy draft for us with comfortable champions so we are able to play our style.

I also think one of our strong points is that we are very aware of what we are good and bad at, and this helps us avoid making more mistakes. I think many teams tend to think that they can play everything, and the problem is if you play everything, then you’re most likely not very good at everything. Most teams are not able to be good at everything, realistically. This is what I think, at least. I think I would rather have a team that is really strong in one or two styles to start off and then of course if needed, then we can switch it up a bit.

I just want to get your prediction very quickly: What do you think the score will be for the finals?

Delord: Of course, I will say that we are going to win. As long as we’re going to stay as the same team that we are in the playoffs, I think we have a really good chance of winning everything. Big shoutout to Dajor, he’s done so much work this past month and I’m so proud of him. I’m really happy that he trusted the process and the players who wanted the best for him.

We aren’t scared of the LFL, why would we be, right? They are a really good team, but so are we and we will do everything in order to win it. I hope it’s gonna be a bigger series for the viewers and they will have fun watching it. Hopefully it will be a five game series!

As we come towards the end of the interview, I’d like you to talk to the NLC fans. BT Excel made the finals in spring, now Fnatic Rising in summer. As the underdogs going into the finals, what do you have to say to the NLC fans to give them hope that you guys will take home the trophy?

Delord: I want NLC fans to believe in us, of course. They should not be scared of the ‘croissants’, because hey, we also have a lot of good food too! Banter aside, we should be proud of how far Fnatic Rising has come and of the region/ERL. We should not be ashamed of the results because many people would say that maybe the region is really bad or something like that. But we, the NLC, are now in the finals twice with France. This should tell everybody that they should shut up and watch.

We’ve come to the end of the interview. Anything else you’d like to add? Any shoutouts you’d like to give?

Delord: I’m sending my thanks out to everybody who watches us and cheers for us during the games. Of course, shoutout to Fnatic, their sponsors and BIG, because we are in the BIG office and they are really kind to us. They are really helpful. All of the players, coaches and people who work here, they’re really cool.

I would also like to thank Bean because he translates everything for us while Dajor is chilling, since we don’t speak German. I mean, Pride also translates. At least we have three German speaking people and it’s really helpful!

Thank you delord and best of luck!

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