Despite winnings its first match Saturday, Splyce did not have enough to rally and make it out of Group D at the League of Legends World Championship. Splyce went 1-5 in its first showing at worlds, and Slingshot’s Andrew Kim talked to Martin “Wunder” Hansen about the experience, lessons learned and where to go next.
Andrew Kim: I want to ask you what your opinion is on the 2016 worlds experience. I know it was a little bit disappointing in terms of performance or results, but how are you feel walking away from worlds?
Martin “Wunder” Hansen: All in all I think the first three games were not the greatest experience for me. I think I under-performed quite a bit and even though in some of the games there were some things I couldn’t have done differently, I still feel like I could have performed better. The last three games, the first two games we had today in particular, I think I played to my expectations. It’s quite a good experience to have in my first season that I could even go to worlds, since I’m 17. It’s quite a good experience to have gone against the best of the West players internationally. I’m happy for this worlds. I think we learned a lot.
AK: I heard (Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi) say in another interview that you were one of the sick members of Splyce. It seems like illness is a running theme for worlds, so how does the team and you try to work that it doesn’t get anyone else sick, and how that illness impacted you and your performance, maybe even the team?
MH: I couldn’t really do much about it. I just played the game as best a possible. I didn’t use it as an excuse or anything. I didn’t even tell anyone that I was sick so I just tried to perform to the best of my ability. We have to stay in the same room of course 24/7 and it’s not really a lot to do about it, but luckily no one else got sick. I don’t even think, it was maybe my throat and stuff like that, so it was not too bad, but it was definitely manageable but a handful to deal with. I don’t really think it impacted a lot and as you’ve said a lot of players were sick at worlds, so can’t use that as an excuse or anything. It was just unlucky timing.
AK: You mentioned that both Splyce as a team and you learned a lot this worlds. What are some of the biggest or most important lessons you’ve learned?
MH: I think the biggest lesson we’ve learned is no matter what, no matter what team you play against, you can put up a good fight if you have the right mentality, the right preparation, if you believe in yourself, and think you can just play your own game and you can actually deal with a lot of teams. Even though we had individual problems in the first half of the week, I think we still had a good shot against TSM, and against Samsung the game was quite even for the first couple of minutes so I think no matter what team you play against, you can still pull out the win and it’s just about playing your own game and improving on that.
AK: How did the team really feel after you clinched that win against RNG in quite commanding fashion? What was the team atmosphere like?
MH: Obviously there was a lot of adrenaline when we were in game, and we made sure to mention to tone down and play calm and try to pull out the win. After, we knew we had to win all three games to pull through, and we won the first one, so we were still in high spirits. Coming from before the game, we thought RNG was a very strong team, and if we could beat them we could probably beat the rest, it just turned out not to be true though. All in all, I think we just played our own game, all we had in us, and it was just about time we pulled it out on stage, and we did it against RNG, so I’m really happy about that.
AK: You mentioned earlier that this is your first world experience and you have a very young career so far. Did you expect anything going into worlds?
MH: We had only the expectations of learning something when we went into worlds, and I think we did. Besides that, I think we could have done well in other groups but this group is really hard of course, and I still think we managed to show some of our own skills, even though we had three hard teams to play against. Of course we had the expectation that we could beat any team on a good day, and I feel like we can still do that but we just didn’t show up for the first three games and we showed up one game in the last three.
AK: I want to ask more about the team’s dynamic with Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi. He’s obviously very passionate about Splyce, the team has also shown incredible positivity in their mentality. What was it like having YamatoCannon as a coach and a kind of mentor figure for you guys?
MH: I think when it comes to the mental, not tilting stuff it kinda started even before YamatoCannon. When we all played for Dignitas EU for example, we were all five friends, we were all Danish and we all got along pretty well, and it just transferred over, like we’re all friendly to each other and that makes losing a bit easier. When you don’t have any grudges against them and then you lose the game, and it all blows over or something. I think we just take every loss as a thing where we can improve from, and I think that’s just the most important thing. Of course Yamato is like that as well, so it helps but I think it’s just a value of all of us players have within us.
AK: What is something that going into the 2017 spring split, what is going to be Splyce’s No. 1 priority in preparation?
MH: That’s pretty hard to say, but I think we just we are going to go on a well deserved break from now on, and then we will see what happens, but I think we can still stay together, keep up the hard work and probably make it back or maybe win a finals next EU LCS season, but we’ll see.
AK: We’ve seen a lot more traditional sports team invest in esports recently. In the NA LCS we see NBA teams, in Europe we see football teams pick up esports teams as well. Do you have any thoughts about these recent events?
MH: I think that it’s good that organizations with a lot of money get into esports because it’s growing a lot and it only help it. I think that a lot of the teams probably don’t know that much about esports though, and they will have to start up and kind of to get used to it, but they have a lot of money and infrastructure, and they can get a lot of good people in for esports. You can kinda feel secure that they’re not a shady organization when they’ve started up. It’s actually a well established one, so I think it’s good for the sport.
Photos courtesy of Riot Games