With Sunday’s 3-0 win against Albus Nox Luna, H2K secured its spot in the semifinals of the League of Legends World Championship and a date against Samsung Galaxy in New York’s Madison Square Garden. Slingshot’s Vince Nairn talked afterward to Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski about getting there, how to beat Samsung and H2K’s crazy ride to reach worlds.
Vince Nairn: You’re a worlds semifinalist. How does that sound?
Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski: I think it sounds weird (laughs). H2K semifinals. But I’m very happy we made it. I’m happy that we are going to New York and playing in Madison Square Garden. I can see the city, which is probably the biggest city in America. It’s so huge. Even Chicago is very big, so I wonder how is New York. And I’m so excited.
VN: The thing with ANX is they surprised a lot of teams last week. How much did it help being able to have some detailed scouting on them?
MJ: Yeah, I think it helped us a lot. They had so many games that we know what we played, and we didn’t underestimate them. We knew how to play against them after watching their games. I have to also say I felt like they played way more passive than they did in the group stage.
VN: You guys as a team have been through a remarkable amount of stuff this year, whether it was Ryu and visa problems, Freeze getting hurt, FORG1VEN leaving and coming back. How did you guys deal with all the stuff you had to go through to get here?
MJ: Right now, it doesn’t matter anymore. We got to world semifinals, and we are really happy that we are here. Yes, we had troubles. We had FORG1VEN’s army thing, Ryu’s visa and stuff like that, but H2K took care of it, so right now we are here as five, six with Freeze. I’m glad we overcame those and made it here.
VN: What were the keys to be able to handle all of that stuff?
MJ: I think that’s hard to answer. I think we just stayed together as professionals and e tried to not look at the stuff too much. We worry about what’s now rather than what was or what will be. It was the same like at group stage where we slacked really hard first week, and we came back (strong) the next week. We had some troubles with stuff and then we stepped up. I’m very happy that everyone is kind of strong mentally.
VN: FORG1VEN, what have you seen from him since he came back to the team that has been different?
MJ: I think he tries more than he was trying before he stepped down. He still doesn’t play the most solo queue or doesn’t talk the most, but he tries to respect other people more. He tries to shut down emotions in himself and doesn’t expect so much from people anymore. And that just has us have way more team chemistry. Everyone can focus on himself, and no one is there to just bash on whatever you do. Obviously, sometimes he still explodes or gets really upset, but that’s something that is not a problem.
VN: You guys have all around him individually raised your games as well. What has been the factor in that?
MJ: I think it’s mostly that we just try our best. Everyone on our team is talented, so it’s not like we just suddenly became good. I think we, the four of us plus FORG1VEN, have created something good and with pr0lly. I think we just have good chemistry. And we still try to be professionals. So even if some people have hard feelings toward other people, we still try to ignore them and focus on the goal instead of being emotional and upset or whatever.
VN: You guys are the last non-Korean team remaining. What’s it like being not only EU’s last hope but the last team with a chance to prevent further dominance from Korea?
MJ: Our chances against Korean teams are like 20 (percent) to 80 when it comes to beating Samsung. I think we can beat them. I think Cloud9 played really bad against them. But at the same time, I think it’s going to be super, super hard against them. Korean mechanics and not only lane pressure, but also their macro game is so, so strong, it’s actually unbelievable. So hopefully some practice from ROX and SKT if they will scrim us, we will improve enough in those 3-4 days to be able to match Samsung.
VN: Yeah, what is it going to take to improve and get to that level?
MJ: I think overall, we have to think about the macro game. What do they do and how do they do it? I think I have to match Ambition a lot. I think he’s really smart, but hopefully I will find a flaw. I didn’t just yet. I think their game is to lose if they lose laning phase. If they win laning phase against us, I think they can snowball the game so good that it will be super tough. I think it;s our game to win early game, and it’s still going to be hard, but at least not responsible.
VN: With the exception of Fnatic in Season 1, this has been the stopping point, I guess, for European teams. What does it mean to be at this level and have a chance to reach a final?
MJ: I think it’s too hard to judge now. I think we have to prove ourselves against Samsung so that people will shut up about us having the easiest group and the easiest quarters because, to be honest, we probably had the easiest ones. But I also think we played good. So I want to prove ourselves and take a game or two or even win the BO5 to prove to people we deserve to be here. If we beat them we will be in the finals as the only other European team to ever reach the finals, and it would be amazing. For now, we just have to focus on Samsung and try to find something.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games