We sat down with Fnatic League of Legends team’s head coach Luis „Deilor“ Sevilla after the LCS games last week to discuss the Fnatic’s performance in the EU LCS Spring split so far.
After the four EU LCS weeks Fnatic is in the middle of the standings table with 5 wins and 3 losses and though their overall performance does not seem too bad, it is weaker than some could have expected. With the newest addition to Fnatic’s roster of Swedish rookie support player Johan „Klaj“ Olsson and surprise goodbye to previous support Lewis „Noxiak“ Felix, the team currently beholds a question mark status.
readmore.de: Fnatic did not have the smoothest start this split and did not manage to maintain the high-level performance throughout all four weeks, could you tell the main reasons for it and what are you doing to solve those issues?
Luis „Deilor“ Sevilla: It is all about the synergy which is also related to the communication. We have two Koreans and they are having English lessons every morning except for the show days, so at least three times a week. They are improving. Gamsu’s English is actually fine. He is more of a shy guy but slowly he is opening up. For synergy the communication hierarchy is important. If you have a clear structure of who says what, who is in charge of which part, you practice it and then it is much easier to play the game. In the beginning we tried one system, then another and another. We kept doing it up to the point we realized the process is working. And only after building up this structure we can continue working on the synergy. Right now we found a system that we would like to continue using and I would say it proved to be working in our last games against Giants and ROCCAT.
So could you tell us, who is currently taking care of shot calling?
No, I’d like to keep it a secret for now. Even though it is working, I am not sure if it will stay so and just don’t want to jinx it. I have to continue experimenting. Shot calling is shared by a few players. In the old Fnatic, YellOwStaR was at the top of the hierarchy, Huni was responsible for the teleport plays and ReignOver for the skirmishes. All the players had different tasks. During this split we have been constantly swapping the roles and communication systems. For the players it is not easy.
Rekkles and Febiven in previous interviews have stated that it was more difficult for them this split to concentrate on their roles, shot calling and leading the guys, do you think they got pressure because of the changes in the team?
I just want to make it clear that being a leader and a shot caller are two different things, which do not necessary happen simultaneously. Leadership is both about inside and outside the game. In case of Rekkles and Febiven, the guys, who have been on the team longer, of course, they have to take a lead. They already know, how the things work, they have to help others to get acquainted and comfortable. It is very difficult for them. If you have been playing for years doing certain part of the communication and you have suddenly change it, it is not easy. It is very challenging.
Many people were just hoping that with two strong Korean players you will stomp the competition like last year.
We did not go 18-0 in the Spring Split last year either. I think it was 13-5, we were second in the split and then we nearly lost to H2k-Gaming and Unicorns of Love. It was not all that smooth. Our start was rough but I knew it will be so. I was aware we might have issues. My goal is still the same like the last year – to win the Summer Split. With different players I have to concentrate on different things but we are getting on track. Every week we are improving. The attentive viewers can see our improvements and experiments from game to game.
There were also some discussions around the Internet if bringing two Koreans, Gamsu and Spirit, was a good idea because of the communication issues, what is your take on that?
Maybe with players speaking better English we would have no language problems but every player brings a particular skillset. When you want to combine five skillsets, some issues always arise. It does not matter, if player is Korean or from Europe. It is more complicated if you are a Korean and do not speak English language-wise, but at the same time, because of their cultural background, players bring to our roster some insight that Europeans might not have. The start was rough but for the long term performance I am sure it was a good decision.
Is it a possible solution to swap the players or right now you are trying to focus on building the synergy among the current roster members?
Last season between Spring and Summer splits we replaced Steeelback with Rekkles. If I would consider that players are not doing well and swapping a player would be beneficial for the long run, we would look at it but right now is still very early.
Deilor’s comment on addition of Johan ‚Klaj‘ Olsson to Fnatic’s roster quoted from team’s official website:
In December when we were holding tryouts for the team, Noxiak was by far the most standout performer. We saw potential in him but the team didn’t come together as desired from a communication and shot calling point of view.
The aim of this FNATIC team is to perform at the World Championship and I did not feel that the team was working well enough to match our goals. We need to have good communication and shotcalling so the change had to be made. We tried to overcome these problems but progress was way slower than I considered needed. Even though it makes me sad and maybe this change doesn’t have an immediate positive impact on our LCS results, I’m sure it’s the correct decision for our long-term plans.
I want to give a big thanks to Lewis for his work at FNATIC. We have brought Klaj onboard after rigorous tryouts and multiple recommendations and I look forward to helping him develop into a world-class support.