Interview by: Adel Chouadria
Special to VPEsports
G2 Esports started their 2019 Mid-Season Invitational on a strong note, as they prevailed against SK Telecom T1 and Team Liquid. Their sole loss of the tournament against Invictus Gaming held silver lining, as it allowed them to explore their possibilities in the current meta.
Adel Chouadria was on the scene for VPEsports, and he caught up with G2’s mid laner, Rasmus “Caps” Winther, ahead of their game against Flash Wolves. Below is the full transcription, with very slight edits for clarity.
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You usually play some pretty crazy things during bootcamps, and I remember one time where you picked Draven [in his first bootcamp ever with Fnatic — Ed.]. What was it like this time around?
[laughs] I mean, we definitely got to experience a lot. We had a long bootcamp. Other than that, we tried to find some strategies that worked and we’re now just pulling them off.
It’s a whole team process this time around. It feels like you guys didn’t hold back even on stage, especially when looking at yesterday’s draft against Invictus Gaming. Tell me about that process as far as you’re concerned. It’s a different intensity this time around, isn’t it?
I was at MSI last year, and I took a lot away from that. Coming here, I was very focused on not getting burned out, because the last MSI was very hard on me.
How MSI works basically is: you play a game, then you sit and wait for four hours and watch other games, and it can get very tiring. When you do that five days straight and play that many games and sit, and wait so long, you get very tired. It can be hard to focus and play at your best. This MSI, I just came in, and I am trying to be calm between games. I don’t want to get too hyped if we win games and not too sad if we lose. I try to reset and relax. [Win or lose], it’s fine. When best-of-5’s come, that’s when I really want to show up.
Something did happen yesterday since you’re bringing up the point of waiting between games: on top of waiting, you also had a huge pause. How did that influence you?
The pause was annoying for sure; it’s never fun to wait. I don’t think we necessarily lost because of the pause. iG beat us before, and they beat us again. They’re a good team. But I would rather play my game straight away. It’s good that Riot fixed the things now; we came here against [Team Liquid], and everything was working well. I’m happy that they solved everything.
Before the bug, you guys were swapping champions like crazy. Speaking of which, isn’t that flex draft a little too much?
Yeah… Let’s say we tried out some things. We didn’t necessarily do what we practiced. We had some changes in our plans and it didn’t really work out for us. So, we’ll have to be more prepared next time, I think. That’s also the big thing of MSI: you play so many games, and it’s hard to be prepared for every game.
It’s hard to be as prepared as you want to be. You can get in a lot of situations that you may not be used to because you play so much. Because we play so many scrims, we end up in a lot of weird situations there, but that’s because we play so often. Now that we’re on stage, we’re really prepared, but it can be hard when we play many games, especially the second. You prepare for the first game, but you don’t necessarily prepare for the second game as you want to focus on one game at a time. But we’ll be better next time.
To be fair, it’s a different focus from the regular season when you have two games every week, one game per day. At this time, you’re having 10 games in five straight days. It’s a different focus and it’s something that you’ve been trying to optimize on your end.
Yeah. I think there’s no perfect way of doing it. We usually focus the most on [the first game of the day] because that’s the game we play first. For Game 2, hopefully we won Game 1 and we just look at what our opponents-to-be did and find ways to adapt, but we have less time to do it. We just want to do as well as we can.
The mindset I like the most is: when you lose, you’re being happy and having fun; and when you’re winning, you’re being serious. You want to even it out.
In the meantime, sure you were at MSI 2018, but this time you’re with different players and it is your first international competition with them. There is something about EU competition, but it’s another thing to go against SKT or iG. Tell me about how your teammates act in this situation. Granted, they’re experienced internationally, except for Mikyx who’s getting his first here.
I think everything is going well so far. A lot of the time, MSI and tournaments like this can be very stressful, and the biggest problem that I usually had was that we would have arguments, or that people would get mad or sad about how they performed, or if we start losing. When we lost yesterday, we were still joking and trying to reset.
The mindset I like the most is: when you lose, you’re being happy and having fun; and when you’re winning, you’re being serious. You want to even it out: you don’t want to get too happy, nor do you want to get too sad.
And at the same time, G2 took a risk vs. iG. Sure, you paid for it with a loss, but you’re owning up to it. It’s not like, “Oh my God! Someone just messed up” or something backlash-inducing.
The roster is very strong. That’s what I was hoping for when I joined. We still have a lot of work to do, but I think we have become really good in one split already and I’m just excited for what the future holds.
On a more personal note, I saw that your father was around again. How many international competitions has he attended at this point?
I’m not really sure. He never went to NA, and he didn’t go to Worlds in China, but he went to everything else. He even went to Turkey back in the day. [Caps started his professional career at age 16 on Dark Passage — Ed.] He’s obviously travelling a lot, and he’s always there for my semifinals and finals. It’s always nice to have that support, even in the regular season when he attends it a lot. I’m thankful for that.
And I know that you have family supporting you back at home. In a way, do you think that your brother’s past career as a pro player has also helped your father know what you were doing when you got started and give you his full support as a result?
Yeah, I think so. That has helped a lot. When I went to Turkey, there were so many fans in the TCL finals. He saw that it was so huge, and that the fans were so passionate, and that playing League makes so many people happy and excited to watch it as well. He realized that there were a lot of passionate people about it.
A lot of people just pick comfort picks, and we hoped that our way of playing was better — and it was.
Going to Turkey was a huge thing. But maybe I would never have gone to Turkey if my brother didn’t help convince my parents. I asked them if I could go to Turkey, and my mother was like: “Wait, what?” [laughs] It was in the middle of the summer vacations, and they probably had their own plans on what we were going to do, but then I just went to Turkey. [laughs]
And since then, a lot has happened. You qualified for Worlds in 2016 but couldn’t play because you were under 17 years old. Then you went to Fnatic and the rest is history. But speaking of that, I do remember something about a hotel running out of freshly pressed orange juice back in 2017. What was it this time in Korea and in Vietnam?
[laughs] I don’t know if anything necessarily happened. We were trying out everything. Obviously, Vietnam is very well known for pho, which is something that I never tried before joining G2. It’s nice to have it here, and it’s better here [than in Berlin.] We’re also trying different dishes, and obviously drinking orange juice as well. Yesterday, I got an avocado juice, so I was kind of cheating on the orange juice a bit.
But regarding your MSI experience so far, I would say that your performance overall can be attributed to drafting, and the games against Team Liquid and SK Telecom T1 were won at the draft. What’s your opinion?
We went in with our plan, and we knew a lot of what they were going to pick. A lot of people just pick comfort picks, and we hoped that our way of playing was better — and it was. Now that we played against them, we can do more specific plans, but as of now, we’re picking what we always picked.
I’m pretty confident in our team. We definitely have a shot at beating everyone at this tournament. We really want to prove ourselves against iG. That’s definitely our focus for the next five games, when the [round robin] resets in the second half of MSI.
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We would like to thank Caps once again for taking part in this interview. At the time of publishing, G2 Esports just finished their game against Phong Vu Buffalo and now enter the second half of the round robin with a 3-2 record.