Upset: 'I Love Competing Against The Best, And Rekkles Is One Of Them'
The fire in the belly of Fnatic is beginning to heat up in the LEC Summer Split, with the flame-kissed tangerine-tinted beasts now on a red-hot streak going into their most pivotal weekend of the Season.
As the three-time League of Legends World Champions eye yet another venture onto the biggest stage in esports, a familiar and fierce rival stands in their way.
Ahead of the fixtures against Astralis and G2, we had a chance to speak to Fnatic bot laner Elias "Upset" Lipp about their recent momentum, not underestimating Astralis, and trying to identify a weakness in the impenetrable G2 armour.
UPSET Discusses Fnatic Momentum, Not Underestimating Astralis, And Identifying G2's Weaknesses
First off, after losses in the first two games of the Split, you seem to have found some solid form going into this weekend. In general, how are you guys feeling after three straight wins?
The mood is pretty good within the team. I think we’ve picked up some momentum after the 0-2 start, which is always quite a stressful experience. But, usually, it’s important to have some losses at the start to realise what you’re doing wrong, because in official matches you can really see the difference of how the game is being played, which is a good realisation for us, seen as though we have a new top laner and Gabriël "Bwipo" Rau moved into the jungle.
I didn’t feel too bad after the opening games in terms of how competitive they were, because both were quite close, although the MAD Lions' game was a little more one-sided. But yes, the mood here is pretty good, we’re looking at continuing the winning streak and keep improving.
Adam "Adam" Maanane seems to be growing into his role in the Top Lane, can you share any light onto what impact Adam is having on the team since stepping into the side, this Split?
I think he's a very calm guy, especially with his communication. He’s got very relaxed energy. Before we had Oskar "Selfmade" Boderek and Bwipo, who are two more very talkative guys - I communicate a lot, Yasin "Nisqy" Dinçer communicates a lot, and Zdravets "Hylissang" Iliev Galabov says what he thinks. Now we have a little more flow in the team because everyone’s got a bit more space to figure out what we need to do - and communicate because of this.
Sometimes less is more, and we can get on the same page. He’s doing a good role for us, a little more quiet in his personality, but I’m sure he can develop more too and embed more into the team, which I’m looking forward to.
The first match sees you come up against Astralis, although G2 loom later in the weekend. How important is it to make sure you stay concentrated against Astralis and come into the G2 match after a victory?
A win is a win, I want to go 2-0 this weekend. If we lose to Astralis then we move onto G2, and it will be the same attitude. But we’re looking at the scoreboard, and we want to have a good position going into playoffs. Both games for me are very important. With G2 there is a little bit more on the line because they’re the better team, so beating them would be more valuable for our standings as they’re close to us right now. But I don’t want to be underestimating Astralis at all.
To be honest, the guys haven’t been looking too bad, even against G2 they put up a pretty good fight for most of the game. I think Astralis is not a team that is as weak as the last Split, and they shouldn’t be underestimated.
G2 also seem to be in great form too. With both sides going in as probably the most on-form teams in the LEC right now, what is the general feeling in the camp ahead of the fixture?
I’m looking forward to it. I feel very confident going into the match playing with Hylissang because we’ve practised so much together and talked about this game so much. We’re always trying to push ourselves and never satisfied with just playing average, so we’ve put in a lot of work, so my confidence comes with that.
I’m very excited to play against such a good team, because it also lets you find any flaws in your game - they're exposed against better teams that you can then improve on. I think that’s what this Split is really about for us, just coming together as a team and looking to improve.
In their only defeat of the Split so far, it was Schalke's Nuclearint who took the game by storm in the mid-lane, taking the MVP award. Is this an area that you may have identified as a weakness for G2?
No, I think Caps has been their best player since the start, he’s probably been the best player overall in the LEC for a long time. So I don’t see Caps as a weakness.
From what I remember in the [Schalke] game, it was mostly top lane that got most of the advantages, so I think the sides may be more vulnerable when I look at G2. They are a very good team and I wouldn’t say that this is a clear weakness for them, but I would expect more things to happen in the side lanes than against Caps because I think he’s their best players.
If you have identified the side lanes, not necessarily as a weakness, but as a possible way of cracking G2, is that something you will look to exploit then?
Well, I always look to take a shot in my Bot lane, that’s how I and Hylissang play. It’s not just a thing to counteract G2 - but I do see potential to getting a good laning phase there and turning it into a win. This is always a part of my game, so nothing changes too much in this game.
Once again, you'll be going up against former Fnatic star, Rekkles. Do you relish the chance to go up against him and almost prove that you can be just as, if not more, impactful on the Fnatic side than he was?
Yeah, as I said, I feel good playing against every Bot laner, so that doesn’t change with Rekkles, but of course, he’s a very consistent and good player. I love competing against the best, and he’s one of them. I look forward to the opportunity to prove myself again and show that I’m very good.
Fnatic just narrowly missed out on the top four seed for the Spring Playoffs, is that the aim for you this Split?
We haven’t really spoken too much about what everyone is expecting of us in terms of the result at the end of the Split, but I think in everyone’s mind, the top four is something we want to achieve as it gives you the top seed in playoffs.
I'm sure everyone has this in the back of their mind, but right now we take it game by game, week by week, day by day, and try to improve as much as possible. The seeding will come as a byproduct.
Should you reach the top three in the playoffs this Split, this would be your first venture to the World Championships. How much would it mean to you to get there and represent such a prestigious side on a stage that they're expected to be on?
It’s the pinnacle of the competition in League. I’ve been close quite a few times, and I’ve been feeling ready ever since my first season in LEC, to play on the main stage, so I hope it comes true. I think we have a good chance if we keep going at the rate that we are, in terms of improvement, most definitely.
It would mean a lot to me, it’s what I play the game for, to play against the best and prove that I can be the best in the world. It would mean everything.