Fnatic has suffered its first loss at the 2022 League of Legends World Championship. After going 3-0 in the Play-In Stage, the Europeans got unapologetically stomped by Brazil’s LOUD. The path to the Group Stage, which seemed an easy one for Fnatic after the first two days, now has become uncertain. Their loss opens the window for Evil Geniuses and Beyond Gaming to catch up and surpass Fnatic.
Elias “Upset” Lipp, Fnatic’s bot laner, has mixed thoughts on his team’s performance so far. On one hand, he thinks his team suffers a lot from the lack of practice. Both Upset and Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov caught COVID one week before Worlds started, which led to an emergency substitute from Rúben “Rhuckz” Barbosa and a last-minute flight to Mexico from Upset. Furthermore, the compact Play-In Stage schedule prevents scrimming. But Upset also acknowledges his team’s underperformance against LOUD.
Upset spoke to Em Dash after the loss against LOUD. He evaluated what went wrong in the series and why Fnatic’s communication has been lackluster at Worlds 2022 so far. The bot laner also talked about finally getting the experience to play at the world championship after missing out last year.
Losing against LOUD
Welcome, Upset. A rough loss against LOUD—it seemed like a difficult game from very early on. What are your first thoughts on the game?
Yeah, I think the first skirmish in the river was badly coordinated because their mid laner was able to move first. Obviously, we should be aware of that, right? We have communication. [Laughs] Their Maokai was pretty low, so I think Iván [Razork] probably thought he could decide the fight before the enemy Sylas could make his impact. Then there was another fight in the top river which screwed over Wunder’s quite a lot. Aatrox got a kill and Wunder got chunked, and then he also had bad lane conditions.
I think we kind of clawed back into the game. We took a lot of plates bot when they were top and Marek [Humanoid] solo killed the super-fed Aatrox to get a big shutdown. At that point, the game was pretty even again. But then we took another fight in the river, which was a 3v4, where Miss Fortune survived on low health and ended up killing a lot of people. Then they got Nash and we were really on the back foot.
The way these compositions went, they wanted to do pretty similar things. Our champions should be really strong in the skirmishes because there were a lot of melee champions and we have Braum and Sejuani. We just took bad fights. It happens. We have to work on that and come back tomorrow looking sharp.
“We have a game every day, or even two games, and the other teams that we could scrim also have games. So, it’s hard to find a time slot.”
No scrims at Worlds 2022 yet
You mention the communication issues at the start of the game. It seemed to be a theme throughout the whole game. Was there a reason that the communication was so off today?
I think it’s just about practice. We weren’t able to practice at all with the team, basically. [Laughs] Yesterday too, we also got caught out a few times. I think it’s our biggest weakness right now. Usually, we do well in the lanes. So, I would say that it comes from a lack of practice. But I don’t really want to make too many excuses. The mistakes we are making are just bad. [Laughs]
Well, compared to today, the games you played with even less practice looked even better. [Laughs] So, were those days just about you arriving to Worlds and saying “I’m finally here, let’s go” or something?
Nah. I mean, we still aren’t able to play any scrims or anything—
Still no scrims?
We have a game every day, or even two games, and the other teams that we could scrim also have games. So, it’s hard to find a time slot. It has to line up, and then the other team would also have to be down to scrim. I hope we get some practice. I hope we win tomorrow, of course, and that we get to go to New York, but we’ll see.
One factor you and the rest of the team had to adapt to, was that you played your first games with Rhuckz, without any practice, and then swapped back to playing with Hylissang. How was that?
Hylie and Rhuckz are very different players. Hylie is definitely a lot more aggressive. [Laughs] Which can be a double-edged sword. But I think Rhuckz did really well. I think Hylie is also bringing a lot to the team. It’s nice to play with Hylie because I know how he wants to play, of course. I just hope our games will go a little bit better. In both games we had some unfortunate situations in the early game with the enemy jungler, I think. It kind of stopped us from playing the game the way we are supposed to.
Stepping away from the games you played, your journey to Worlds was incredibly hectic. You got COVID, then recovered just in time to get a last-minute flight to Mexico… Can you share your experience of that whole ordeal? Jetlag, for example, can be quite gnarly.
Yeah, I was sick, right? I had corona and was feeling really bad. Then, when I got better, I got to travel and that was quite exhausting. But I think, in the end, if we play well we should be able to win these games. I don’t really want to put it on the jetlag or anything. We were able to win our games before.
No, I didn’t mean to put it on the games, just talking about your personal experience.
It’s 100% a factor in how you feel. The jetlag in particular hasn’t affected me too much, but I still feel a bit weaker and have a little less energy from being sick and from traveling. Otherwise, as I said, it’s just up to us to play better.
“I think, in the end, if we play well we should be able to win these games. I don’t really want to put it on the jetlag or anything. We were able to win our games before.”
There have been a few comments about the setup at Worlds. For example that the PCs running at 30 FPS, or that the desk on-stage is incredibly small. How are you feeling about the playing environment?
My PC is working ok, I think. It’s not the best FPS but everything else is fine, I think. The tables on stage are not optimal for how some people like to use their setup, I would agree with that. But it’s ok. We are lucky to play League professionally. [Laughs] So, some small things can be annoying, but we shouldn’t make such a big deal of it, I think.
I was wondering about the tables specifically because I remember that, during COVID times and remote play in the LEC, there was a picture of you playing with your screen far in the back. [Laughs]
[Laughs] I had to change that some time ago already. Even in the LEC you don’t have that much space because of the camera behind it. You can only move the screen back so far.
Upset’s long-awaited Worlds debut
You finally get to play at Worlds this year. Despite the chaos that happened before your arrival, that must be quite a relief, right?
It’s definitely really cool to play at the tournament. I hope we get our win tomorrow and make it to Groups, then do our best there. It’s still a cool experience for sure.
Fnatic had a disappointing end to the Summer Split, so what’s your mindset or focus Worlds?
I’m just aiming to do my best. I want to try to help my team reach the best form that we can be in right now. If you’re the third seed from Europe you probably shouldn’t expect to win the tournament. [Laughs] But everyone wants to do their best and make a good impression.
If you’re the third seed from Europe you probably shouldn’t expect to win the tournament. But everyone wants to do their best and make a good impression.
You’re down-to-earth with your expectation of not winning the tournament. But what are your expectations then?
Well, expectations without all the circumstances are definitely different than expectations with the circumstances we’re playing under. If we would be here two weeks or three weeks before the event, practice against all the Chinese and Korean teams or have a bootcamp, and then play here, I think we should expect to look very dominant and also have good chances in the Group Stage. Right now it’s not like we can’t make it, but I wouldn’t say that we’re the favorite by any means. We should go in with the underdog mentality and try to do our best to get the hard-fought victories.
To round up, Upset, do you have any words for the LEC fans and the Fnatic fans?
Of course, thank you to all the fans for staying up and rooting for EU. I hope we can show a much better performance tomorrow and get out of the group as the first seed.