After a close series, Fnatic managed to take home the title of European summer split champions, as well as taking Europe’s first seed for worlds. The games had a heavy focus on the top lane, where Fnatic’s Seong ”Huni” Hoon Heo eventually was able to overcome his opponent Paul ”sOAZ” Boyer. After the games, Huni says that part of the success was because of the great crowd in Stockholm.
– When I hear my name being chanted, I can’t stop myself from smiling. It gives me the confidence to play even more aggressive, he says to Aftonbladet Esport.
Going up on the stage in front of around 5500 fans was a new experience for Fnatic’s Korean toplaner, but he was an important piece in bringing the victory to his team.
– In Korea, I played onstage one or two times, with like 30 people in the crowd. Here it felt like there were one million people in the crowd. It brings both advantages and disadvantages, the crowd being so loud makes it harder to communicate, but it also gets us hyped. I didn’t really get nervous, but I was scared at some points because I knew that one mistake could be enough to lose the game, Huni says.
During the games it was clear who the crowd favorite was. When the immensely popular Swede Martin “Rekkles” Larsson got a pentakill the stadium was close to exploding, but the only player whose name could be heard in the chants was “Huni, Huni, Huni”.
– Of course I’m really happy with the crowd cheering on me. I think maybe the enemy top laner gets sad when he hears they cheer for me and not him, he says jokingly, and continues to praise the crowd.
– When I hear the cheering I can’t stop myself from smiling. I get more confidence in my play and go even more aggressive and make plays with the support of the crowd. I don’t know why I am so popular, maybe it’s because I don’t speak English that well so I have to try with some random English, maybe the fans like that, he says with a laugh.
“I knew we were not going to 3-0”
Going in to the games against Origen undefeated, a lot of people thought it would be an easy win for Fnatic, but not the players themselves.
– I expected the games against Origen to be hard, I knew that it was not going to be 3-0. They are a really good team at managing lanes and lane swaps, as well as playing the map. Their champion pools are good too, but the most important thing is that they have so much experience, Huni says about their opponents in the finals.
Before the series, many people, including xPeke, was wondering about how the undefeated Fnatic would react to a loss. But after a convincing win for Origen in game one, Fnatic showed that they could bounce back.
– I was not surprised after game one. We have lost to them in scrims and we knew it was going to be tough. Adapting during a series is really hard, but I think we did it really well and that’s how we won. We changed picks, bans, strategy, everything, between the games, says Huni.
“I should be better than sOAZ”
During the series there was a heavy focus on the top laners, both in the picks and bans and in the game.
– I didn’t expect such a focus on the top lane. I was losing a bit vs sOAZ when I did some mistakes. I think I should be better than sOAZ, but it was really hard to play against him one on one. I did some mistakes and he was able to snowball really well, says Huni.
With a score of 2-2 after the first four games, Fnatic went back to a trusted strategy in game 5, with Huni playing Rumble. An adaptation that turned out to be the right choice.
– We realized before game 5 that Origen plays really safe, so we decided to go full ham and engage on them. Annie and Rumble worked pretty well, it’s somewhat of a Fnatic special, says Huni.
“Worlds this year will be the biggest chance of my life”
Winning the series 3-2 means that Fnatic are qualified for worlds with the first seed from Europe, with H2K having the second seed. Something that might turn out to be crucial, according to Huni.
– We really tried to get the first seed; it will make it easier. Worlds this year will be the biggest chance of my life, so I really have to take it. I think I have an advantage because Worlds is in Europe this year so the crowd will chant my name and the enemy top laner will be really sad, he says with a trademark Huni laugh.
– We match up well against the rest of the Western teams, especially the North American teams. I really want to prove that the European teams are better than the North American ones. The goal for Worlds is to win, and I think it’s possible if we work hard enough and have full focus.