Fighting PandaS started their Minor road into the Major with an impressive win over the tournament favorites, Nigma. They didn’t flinch in front of Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi’s Arc Warden and are now a series way from making it into the WePlay! Bukovel Minor playoffs.
Jingjun “Sneyking” Wu was kind to answer a few questions right after FP took down Nigma 2-1. We’ve talked about what changed in the Fighting PandaS macro game, since the MDL Chengdu Major, if the latest patch had any impact on what they practiced for this Minor, and how they planned to approach this tournament.
Congrats on the victory, I guess everyone had this series as the must-watch one from all that is on the day 1 schedule at the Bukovel Minor. Were you guys feeling some sort of extra pressure having to open your Minor run versus the TI9 runners up, did you dedicate special preparation for this team?
To be honest, we weren’t able to practice very much at all. Coming into the tournament we only wanted to focus on ourselves and we had some fundamentals that we really want to follow to the tee, and we want to keep proving our fundamentals more rather than focusing on each individual team. In the end, you have to beat almost all the teams if you want to win the Minor, and as I said, we didn’t have that much time to focus on each team here. Our plan is to focus on the macro aspects, on ourselves.
Did the latest patch, released a day before the Bukovel Minor, mess up with your training?
The patch definitely played a small role in our drafts. I think Doom getting slightly nerfed had definitely made some changes, as the hero is on the edge of being overpowered. That said, the small nerf might actually make a pretty big difference. I would say that the hero is still pretty strong, but it depends on the team whether they will first pick it or ignore it entirely. I feel like right now it’s just a coin flip, but for sure he is on the edge of being overpowered.
Nigma had Arc Warden in the first game, which is somewhat a special hero for Miracle. What were the key points in your draft and game execution that allowed you to turn that game around?
I think the most important thing for that game was that we were able to execute our strategy, all things considered. In the draft, we got all the heroes we wanted, and we thought that no matter what they had, it wouldn’t beat our draft. So, even though we saw the Arc Warden, we didn’t panic, we just stayed with our strategy.
We’ve talked to Envy at the MDL Chengdu Major about his selfless play style in that tournament particularly, and he was admitting that he took this strategy of him being actually the 2nd or 3rd in farm priority a step too far. Looking at your games from today, I’d say that this habit is gone. Did you actually work on how to prioritize his farm or is it something that came naturally?
Yes, indeed, that was something we had to work on as a team. When I and EE first played together, we didn’t really know what is the best playstyle for each individual, and as a result for the entire team. But as we played more games together, we were able to kind of help each other see the weakness, and that was definitely a problem of his that we worked on.
I’m glad to see it today that he really stepped up. You can see it in his Phantom Lancer performance, it’s almost flawless, it’s a drastic improvement from the Major.
Perhaps a lot of people had Nigma as the main favorites at the Minor title, but after seeing RNG’s series from today, do you think that they might be the ones to actually pose a bigger threat?
The Chinese teams like RNG are always scary because they come from a background with very hard training, and they get to play against other Chinese teams which turns out to be some of the best teams in the world. So, no Chinese team should ever be underestimated. However, we actually scrimmed with Team Spirit a lot, and I think they weren’t really in their best element in that series versus RNG, and I don’t want to take anything from RNG, but I think if Team Spirit and RNG were to play again, it would be different.
Alright, thanks for taking the time to talk to us, it’s already a bit late in Bukovel, so I’ll let you go rest. Good luck in your next series and I hope to get to talk to you again, perhaps from a Major stage.
Thank you so much.