The European superpower fnatic have had a tough start to the year. They suffered a 9th-place finish in Winter and 0-4 start to the Spring. With their first win against Team Heretics and a second win against KOI, both they and their fans have found some confidence and gathered some hope that they can rise back to the top.
On the long way up the summit, back to where fnatic was in 2018, we spoke with the team's new top laner, Óscar "Oscarinin" Muñoz Jiménez, about their win against MAD Lions, making the Playoffs, their boost in confidence and what else has (or hasn't) changed in fnatic.
Aykut Sapaz, BLIX: Congratulations on your victory, that was a thrilling match against MAD Lions, a joy to watch. Before we get fully into the match, let’s talk about you and your beautiful Olaf performance for fnatic. What was the difference between playing online and on the stage?
Óscar "Oscarinin" Muñoz Jiménez: I always feel more comfortable playing from home. It’s the setup I always use so I’m just more comfortable playing on it. Playing the whole night yesterday, it’s way different than playing in your house or whatever. It is what it is, you have to get used to it anyway.
BLIX: It is what it is. We've been through more than half the season, more than two-thirds of the season, we're nearing the end of it. You guys just had a big victory against MAD Lions and increased your chances of making it to the BO3s even more. What are your initial thoughts after the game against MAD Lions?
Oscarinin: With time, I think we are getting better and I think MAD Lions are playing way worse now. I don't know what happened to them, but they didn't look the same as in Winter. I don't know what's happening in the split for them, but I think they are playing much worse and I think we're playing way better too. It kind of showed in the game I guess.
The rising performance of fnatic
BLIX: Yeah, teams rise, teams fall. Speaking of rising, you guys are on the up, what has changed since the beginning of the season?
Oscarinin: I don't think anything changed. I think we have had good scrims since the start of the season, from when we started scrimming. I think everything was really nice, we were doing really well in my opinion. On the stage, we weren’t performing as we were doing in scrims, but I think winning against KOI gave us a lot of confidence and we needed that one win for sure because we didn't believe that we could win. I think that that game gave us a lot of confidence in general for the next games. I think we are performing a lot better now on stage or in LEC games in general than before.
Credit: Michal Konkol/Riot Games
BLIX: Ah, the one key victory that unlocks the rest… It's beautiful to see a team going from “we can’t win” to “we can win”. Stories of teams going through adversity and eventually reaching the top, that’s what it is all about. You have two more matches in front of you and if you win those, you will make it to BO3s. Are you excited about that?
Oscarinin: I think that’s the goal, right? I think this one was very important for us to make it out, to make it into the top eight. We still have two games and I think we have to win at least one to make it. But if we win both, that’s even better. I think we’re all looking to win this next game and we’re all confident. So we’ll see what happens.
The opponents we lost along the way
BLIX: We will see. Two teams will not have a chance to join you in BO3s, who do you think will be the two teams that won’t make it into the Playoffs?
Oscarinin: I think Heretics probably isn’t making it and I think XL is not making it either. I think their upcoming games are going to be tough, so I think it’s between XL, Heretics and MAD Lions right now.
Credit: Michal Konkol/Riot Games
BLIX: We’ll see. That’s the bottom three, the bottom three you are now out of with your recent resurgence. Is there anything else you want to add for the fans at home who will be excited to see you in your next two matches?
Oscarinin: I just want to say it feels great to have so many fans. They cheer me up even if we are losing. My first week wasn’t the best and seeing the messages on Twitter or Instagram trying to cheer me up, saying that I was playing well. That’s always nice and it feels great when you’re down. So, thank you for that!
BLIX: I want to ask, what was the most interesting message you’ve received since you’ve been on fnatic?
Oscarinin: I think they were all pretty normal. I think there is no one that was crazy.
BLIX: I’m glad to hear that. I hope it continues that way, it’s always fun when fans are happy as well. Thank you so much for joining me here. Thank you so much for making time and good luck with your future matches.