The reigning champs are still in the mix for another run at the HoN Tour World Finals in Bangkok, Thailand – but they face a tough task in compLexity in the elimination game on this Saturday. Long-time member Robert „Fusen“ Flick sat down with HoN Tour writer Fantasy to discuss the chances of the team, some problems within the squad, what Thailand means to him and his stance on cockiness.
Hey Fusen, thanks for taking the time before the important match on Saturday against compLexity Gaming. It's gonna be an elimination match, how do you and your team approach that certain situation, knowing that it could be the end of your playoffs run?
Hello, we just try our best to not disappoint fans and hope for the best. Don’t think there is a point over analyzing the situation what happens if we win or lose, we just play and try to win. Think coL is one of these teams who tried really hard this season and they deserve to be in Thailand for sure. Sadly there's only one spot, I'll be very sad for them if they end up losing. I'm sure it will be a great series, and I wish them best of luck.
Those are not really the fighting words I expected to be honest. Don't you feel any added pride or pressure because of being the defending champs after all?
There is some sort of pressure, but not really. Everyone knows we're in a tough situation when it comes to our roster and previous issues, so it is not a completely fair situation. Defending title would mean a lot if it was the same team with the same motivation, as it is right now it's a different team. We would still love to go to Thailand though, I have amazing memories from there!
You brought up the team issues, iNsania is sort of standing in for you, while really having a focus on another game. How much practice time do you guys actually get as a team in terms of scrims, replay sessions or just theorycrafting?
We try to scrim as much as possible, generally time wise it is alright. We have scheduled talks from time to time and I do have ideas here and there and watch replays. I think the time we spend together as a team is not a problem at all, luckily.
Then what would you say is the biggest problem?
Every time you change roster your team changes. Your playstyle, drafts and roles in your team. It is a very complex thing but shortly just one change can do a lot. Sometimes you can adapt quickly, sometimes it takes more time, it is not really predictable. In our case we went through three different players in like 2-3 months after Teltook moved to Australia, which was unfortunate. While you are trying to focus to get the team together and find out what suits you and how you wanna play the other teams are already a unit, and improving. That's been the story of this year for us.
We had five players playing for us as position 4 in eight cycles, that’s more than a new player every second cycle.
Understood, we've seen that same story a bunch of time in the history of HoN, so let's talk a little bit more about the playoffs run so far. Especially the contest against Evil Corporation first. As a neutral spectator it seemed that you guys were in it, especially in Game 2 - can you walk us through that series and what happened?
Honestly as much as we can talk about the series in the end it was my bad because I had a really bad day and was tilted even before the series started. I think it’s unfortunate because it made us play 40-60% worse. That's my opinion only though, but based on our history we never do good when I'm tilted (over other issues than HoN). But looking back to the games, we should have laned smarter and game 2 we needed shrunkens on our cores. We were facing Salforis with sheep, resto Behemoth, and Klanx, and we did not have a single shrunken head in an hour long game, I just don't know what we were thinking. Literally as soon as we lost the game we asked ourselves why we didn't get shrunkens (especially on a hero like Valkyrie who just melted in a second), but obviously it's easy to hindsight. Shit happens.
Speaking of shit that happens - and you probably know what comes now as we discussed this privately already. Game 2 against Polymorph. Probably one of the most epic endings in recent history, once more maybe questionable item choices, questionable decisions after steam rolling them in Game 1. Overconfident and cocky or was it something else?
Yeah, was overconfidence and iNsania was perhaps tilted because he did not exactly have the game he imagined he'd have. I do not think it would have happened in a closer game, but what can you do. I'm not proud of that game, although the ending was fun to watch I'm sure - but from my perspective it is bad mannered to fool around and act cocky against any opponents, no matter what.
Leaving history behind, looking into the future and you against coL. You've mentioned in the opener that they worked hard and they also have a very stable roster for sure - where do you think your team has an advantage over the NA boys?
For sure not the ping (Just kidding, don't take me seriously). I think coL (and other top teams as well) are much better at teamplay and executing strategies, so we rely more on strategies/complete outdraft and individual plays than anyone else. With that said I am confident I have one of the best, if not the best players playing for my team and sometimes even I get surprised how good they are (thinking back of Boxi's Devo vs ECx for example which really showcased how good he is) and it is definitely possible that people are going to play out of their mind. I do not think the gap is super huge though, it is not like we're terrible but it's natural that a more stable team has better team play.
If you would make odds for the upcoming match. How much of an underdog do you think you are against coL?
I do not think anyone but hardcore fans and perhaps my overconfident teammates expect us to win, but realistically I think it's an even match. I'm biased because I play for BMG, and coL would say the same, but I would not be surprised if any of the team wins 2-1 or 2-0. It is completely going to depend on how good coL plays, how good BMG plays, how the drafts look like and how much on fire our star players are.With that said we qualified (and won) last year despite of most people counting us out because we held back a little bit end of the season, I'm not saying this is the same situation, but history can repeat itself. Of course coL are the favourites though.
I brought up a similar point in the preview article for this match, so glad to hear you say the same! Last couple of questions are about Thailand as the dream destination of HoN. You've been there last year, what is different about the country and the way they celebrate HoN compared to other countries and events you've been to?
Honestly, you can not compare Thai HoN scene to anything else HoN related. I wish more teams could go just to be part of it. The fanbase is huge and I guarantee no matter who qualifies he's gonna have fun and meet a lot of fans there. If you think Boxi got his fame there after winning you're wrong, even before the event people were going insane, despite of his first LAN. They follow the int scene very closely.
Very true, we’ve seen m`ICKe and Boxi both get a lot of love from the fans specifically. Speaking of their teams, for the longest time they weren't competitive enough against the top NA/EU teams, now they go into the World Finals with the confidence of the DreamHack Summer 2015 title - how did you experience their game style when you faced them?
I'm still one of the few players who has not lost a single series against SEA teams and I'm still fairly confident I'd beat them. But at the same time other teams might have issues against them, HoN team power rankings is not a straight list, but rather like rock-papper-scissors. I think confidence is key, and now that Thai people are more confident it is definitely scarier, and I believe NA/EU also became less confident. Perhaps that might be in our regions favour though if for once people respect their opponents enough and do proper research. At least the impression I got from previous events is that NA/EU teams usually underestimated the teams from other regions.
We will see how that works out in Thailand a few weeks from now. Before I let you go I'd like your unbiased pick for the playoffs. Who do you think will travel with Sync eSports to the World Finals?
I think anyone can win it, and Mint has been looking good but not sure for how long they can keep their form. I'll make a prediction excluding my team, that's how you stay unbiased. So if I had to choose between ECx, coL and Mint and I was a betting man I'd go for ECx. Even though I do not think they're the strongest team, I think under pressure they will perform the best.
The Corporation it is. Thanks a lot for your time, Fusen! Any final shoutouts you want to get off your chest?
Honestly big shoutout to all the fans, it is mind blowing how much support we get and how many people still love us. It helped a lot to get through the harder times.Big shoutout to BMG and all the sponsors, especially QPAD, you guys have been awesome to us from the very start!
Awesome, good luck on Saturday, buddy!
Fantasy is a journalist with four years of experience working in various eSports. He is currently the HoN Tour correspondent for the CIS and SEA regions, as well as an editor for both ESL Gaming and compLexity Gaming. In addition to his online endeavors, he studies Publicity and Communication, plays American football, and loves movies.