Lec, interview to Flakked: from casual SoloQ player to European champion

Lec, interview to Flakked: from casual SoloQ player to European champion

How did a Lec rookie lift the most coveted trophy in Europe

G2 Esports are back on the roof of Europe for the ninth time, winning the title thanks to a performance never seen before. The most important European competition of League of Legends (Lec) has in fact seen G2 rise from the lower bracket without losing a single game, ending the playoffs of Lec Spring Split with twelve consecutive victories.

After the heavy failure of 2021, the G2 had been removed from the list of favorites for the race for the European crown. The inclusion in the roster of some names unknown to the European scene of the Lec had then reinforced the hypothesis that the era of the G2 had come to an end.

However, it was the team’s new additions that brought back the fighting spirit of Europe’s samurai. Although the expert guidance of the team’s two veterans, mid laner Rasmus “caPs” Borregaard Winther and jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski, quickly increased the team’s level of play, there is no doubt that without the presence of the three newcomers on the team, Lec fans would have probably witnessed a completely different final than the one presented on Sunday, April 10.

We had the opportunity to talk to Victor “Flakked” Lirola, bot laner for G2 Esports, about their miraculous and astonishing journey, his growth as a player and his predictions for the upcoming Mid-Season Invitational in South Korea.

You won the Spring Split at the end of a miraculous comeback started in the lower bracket, getting 12 consecutive wins. I think we’re all kind of wondering the same thing: What happened behind the scenes after the loss to Fnatic in your first playoff game?

“We were really, really sad about the series loss to Fnatic, because we felt like we were playing at our own pace, but at the same time we were feeling a little shaky. In some games we made some really bad decisions because we were very nervous. But as I said in the Post Game Lobby, we learned a lot from them. We realized that we were very nervous and it was our worst game. We struggled with taking dragons or setting up fights around them. And also in not trading lost dragons for towers or anything like that. Honestly, we were terrible. And it’s true, we lost three times and we were kind of sad, but that fight against Fnatic really helped us a lot.”

Would you say that playing with veterans like Caps and Jankos has helped you improve so quickly?

“Yeah, for sure. They really helped me inside the game but also outside the game. I think in the series against Fnatic, everyone was really nervous. I won’t say that I was shaking, but it was really like that. For example, in the first game I was really, really nervous. During the whole series I was finding myself, but I think it was already too late when I found myself. Playing with Jankos, Caps, BB (BrokenBlade) and even Targamas, who have so much experience behind them, it’s really hard to feel nervous, because you know you can always count on them. And that allows you to play on the edge.”

What does this miraculous comeback say about the team and what does it mean for other European teams?

“I think this team is G2 in its prime, but I also don’t think we’ve reached our peak, I think we can still improve a lot as a team. We still need to fix some things around our game but I also think we’re playing incredibly well, and we’re working really hard to get to a certain level. We’re working so many hours every single day, we’re working hard and we’re all focused. And it’s just amazing you know? To start off with a loss and win with twelve consecutive wins starting in the lower bracket. And hopefully we can play like that during Msi as well.”

There has been a lot of talk about rebuilding G2 based on new talent, do you think the European structure with Erl and European Masters is the reason why Europe has so many talented players?

“Yes, I think at the time the ecosystem was not good at all. There was almost no one, there was no investment, there was no money, and so there was no coaching staff, there was nothing! But I think that today there are many teams that maybe are not yet exactly at the level of the Lec but could very well get there. As well as there are a lot of players who are ready for the big jump to the Lec. The level in the last few years is growing so much, and I think it will grow even more. I think it’s going to get to a point where the demands and requirements are going to match what they are now in the Lec.”

This is very interesting, because there are so many people playing in the Erl and, of course, we also have the Eu Masters Main Event coming up. So I wanted to discuss this topic with you, also because you were one of the players coming from that environment. The casters said today that “history remembers the greatest heroes”, and I just saw that you shared a picture of you as a child playing video games. Do you think your younger self would see you as a great hero now?

“Yeah, for sure. I think my younger self would be insanely proud of me. And so would my family. You know, when I first started playing it was really hard. Of course I didn’t have a lot of support or backing from my family, because they didn’t know anything about esports. When I decided to seriously commit to League of Legends I was just a casual Solo Q player. I was about 15 years old and I still decided to take it seriously, I think I even made it to Challenger at that time. But I went through depression and a lot of anxiety issues and such. My start was super hard. But I’m really happy that I finally made little Flakked proud. And most importantly now I know that my family is really proud of me too.”

Do you think sharing your experience and journey from casual SoloQ player to European champion will help more players in the future?

“I hope I can be an inspiration to a lot of people. Of course the path is very difficult, especially for me. When I started playing in Spain I didn’t win for two or three years, and then especially my last split I hardly played. I mean, I actually made it to the playoffs, but I finished zero-three in the quarterfinals. Really, really depressing. So yeah, I really hope I can be an inspiration to some other young talent, but I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up.”

Coming back to today’s win, you are the fourth team to qualify for Msi. So far the other teams are Detonation Focus me from Japan, Istanbul Wildcats from Turkey and of course T1s from Korea. What are your thoughts on these teams?

“I don’t know Donation Focus Me. I mean, I know their name, because the previous years I think I saw them in international events. But of course I know T1 and actually Istanbul Wildcats as well, because we actually faced them in scrim several times, and we played with them for a while even before the playoffs, and the games against them were really helpful. They’re crazy, but nice to face.”

Of course this year the titan to defeat during Msi are T1 and all G2 members, including you, have said they are ready to do so. But who from other regions, for example from Lpl, would you like to meet?

“Right now I think I would say Gala or Jackeylove as the bot laners I would want to face. I remember not watching competitions much in the early days of playing. But I remember one World Cup final where I went to the movies and I was watching Jackeylove – it was so exciting, I really wanted to be there. And that goes for Gala as well. I was totally infatuated with their style of play. And I actually played against him in SoloQ in Europe and he played like he was crazy! So yeah, I think I would be really happy if I got to play against either of them.”

As a player but also as a person, what do you expect to discover and learn during Msi?

“I don’t have any international competition experience, so it’s probably going to be a disaster. But you know, I’m not really afraid of being nervous or choking under expectations or anything. I’m pretty confident now, and I think it’s going to go really well. But what I really want to learn is how to become a better player. Not just individually, but more importantly for my team. I really want to become the best at laning, I really want to become the best at teamfights, and I really want to become the best Adc in terms of team composition. I also want to get better at everything else.”

One last question that’s a little off the meta. Someone on your team told me you’re a big fan of the show Peaky Blinders, have you seen the latest season yet?

“I haven’t seen the last season because it’s not on Netflix yet. So I don’t know, I think I’ll see it in June. I started watching Peaky Blinders about a month ago, but I’ve already watched it like five or six times! I started watching it one day, I watched the first two episodes and I was so amazed! And then I don’t know, in three days I finished the whole series. So when I’m in SoloQ I keep watching every single episode over and over again.”

You told me before that the mental component is very important for a player at your level: would you say that watching Peaky Blinders is your way to release some tension and take your mind off League?

“Yes absolutely. I really like all the series and movies that are about organized crime. For example, I remember when I was sick I watched The Godfather, I even played the game. I mean, it’s a crazy movie! Especially the first one! But maybe I say that because I re-watch it about 300 times a year. I know every single word and everything that’s going to happen in every scene. I don’t know if a lot of people know this, I think the Spanish people know this because I’ve said it in interviews in Spanish, but I always watch the movie Scarface before a big fight. I love Scarface! I’m actually the biggest fan of the Godfather, I even got a tattoo! But I have to say that I also like to watch documentaries and TV series about organized crime and other topics that I like.”