Tonight, xPeke is facing his old organisation in the LCS finals. And going up against the undefeated Fnatic, Origen has a healthy amount of respect. But the experienced midlaner says that Fnatic was probably stronger with him on the team.
– If we had the knowledge we have now, season three Fnatic would be stronger than today’s Fnatic, he says to Aftonbladet Esport.
December 2014. After the season four world championship Enrique ”xPeke” Cedeño Martínez was released from Fnatic, and decided to start his own team, Origen. Eight months later, the two teams are facing off in the EU LCS finals of the summer split.
– The season so far has gone really well compared to our expectations. We thought that we would be a team in the top five, but with hard practice we could take top three. Making it to the finals in such a convincing way is a big bonus for the team, he says, and continues by showing respect for his old team, Fnatic.
– It’s special to play against a team that is undefeated. It’s really, really scary and I’m nervous about that. But that also means that all the pressure is on them, something that’s in favor of us. We don’t know how they would react to a loss, so if we can surprise them in game one and win; it’s possible we would win the whole series.
“We are the top two teams in Europe”
xPeke played together with Martin ”Rekkles” Larsson in Fnatic for more than a year, but now they are facing off in Stockholm. However, he does not feel that the experience of playing together will be an advantage in the finals.
– It’s not something we can take big advantages off. We know how they play and how they think, but the same can be said for them, they know us well, he says, and continues to praise Fnatic’s season.
– Fnatic has been the best team in Europe for the whole season. During the regular split I was not sure about our play, as we had bad games versus UoL and Roccat who are not top teams, but at the same time we always played well in scrims. Now in playoffs I think it’s clear that Origen and Fnatic are the top two teams in Europe.
Would get nervous from seeing cameras
Origen has an interesting mix of younger talent and some very experienced players. Going up on stage in front of a roaring crowd of around 5500 could make anyone nervous, but xPeke says that the best thing the more experienced players can do is to lead by example.
– We give some small advice to the less experienced players about not getting nervous, but the best thing we can do is show them that even though you can get nervous you still focus and don’t let it affect your play. Showing a calm environment is the most important thing we can do for the less experienced, he says.
– It’s hard to get into focus on a stage like this. Maybe two hours before I get really nervous, but when we get in to Picks & Bans I stop thinking about everything but the game. Then as we load in to the rift and I buy my items all the nerves are gone. This definitely came with experience, for about the first year of professional play I would get nervous just from seeing a camera, but now I don’t care about what’s going on around me.
”Would be important with last pick”
In the midlane, xPeke will play against his replacement in Fnatic, Fabian ”Febiven” Diepstraten, who has had some amazing performances on big stages, including killing the legendary Lee ”Faker” Sang-hyeok one versus one in the MSI. xPeke predicts that the midlane matchup will be even, but heavily depending on the picks.
– If we play Azir and Viktor it will be a farm-fest for 20 minutes, but maybe they’ll get banned and then we’ll see some interesting picks, maybe poke champions or assassins. If that’s the case it would be very important to have last pick in order to be able to counterpick mid. Me and Febiven both have similar roles on the teams, in the late game he usually has a bigger impact but I think I can do more early-midgame, the Spanish midlaner says.
”We could compete with the best”
An interesting comparison could be made between Fnatic with xPeke, in say season three, and current day Fnatic. A comparison xPeke has an interesting take on.
– We are two different teams, now all teams in the west are stronger on the strategy part, but back in season three we were stronger when it came to mechanics. If we had the knowledge we have now I think we would be stronger than Fnatic is now. At season three is when we were at the top mechanically, in that part of the game we could compete with the best in the world, but we got outplayed in the strategy game.