After putting up a gem of an inaugural performance on the League of Legends World Championship stage today, Fnatic’s jungler Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek couldn’t help but speak humbly of his early accomplishments.
“I felt like I was invisible during that game,” Selfmade said after Fnatic’s day one victory over TSM—a victory in which he played a vital role. Even after putting on a masterclass of jungling on his trademark champion Evelynn, Selfmade couldn’t wait to “move on to the next game.”
His debut on the Worlds stage is something that ought to be savored for a moment, however. The young Fnatic jungler had incredibly big shoes to fill coming into the team’s first game at the tournament. Throughout the organization’s history, the jungle position has been normally held down by some of the biggest, most talented names in the professional scene. From Cyanide back in 2013 all the way to Broxah just last year, Fnatic’s junglers have been traditionally exceptional at the World Championship. Today, Selfmade was no exception.
With a scoreline of 4/1/4 and a kill participation rate of 75 percent, Selfmade made up nearly 23 percent of Fnatic’s total damage against TSM, according to gol.gg. His performance came to a head, however, when he effortlessly solo-killed TSM’s bottom laner Doublelift with a combo that hammered the final nail into TSM’s coffin.
It was because of Selfmade’s presence across the map that Fnatic secured the victory. His prowess at every stage in the game made him look like an experienced veteran with years of international experience under his belt, despite only playing on the professional stage for just two years.
“Obviously it feels great since going to Worlds,” Selfmade said after today’s win. “Fighting for the trophy is the goal of every pro player. I’m happy that I finally made it. Hopefully we can at least make it out of groups.”
And frankly, the odds are in Fnatic’s favor to do exactly that. With a win today, the team has given itself a bit of a cushion moving forward in Group C. Additionally, Fnatic’s strong track record shows that the team has advanced past the group stage in all four of its last appearances at the World Championship.
That’s partly because of the roster the team has put together over the course of the last few years. The foursome of Bwipo, Nemesis, Rekkles, and Hylissang all led Fnatic to a quarterfinals berth last season. This year, Selfmade stands as the only player on the team’s starting lineup to have never qualified for Worlds before. To say that most of Fnatic’s members have “been here before” would be a massive understatement. Furthermore, the only Fnatic player who hadn’t played in an international game prior to today is already on a warpath.
Still, Selfmade is doing everything in his power to take a step back and learn from those around him. Taking in information and advice from experienced veterans is often a recipe for success when it comes to young, developing players. At just 20 years old, Selfmade is admittedly “learning how to approach the international stage” while simultaneously handling all the pressure that comes with being a top League of Legends player. And while these things take time to learn, having four teammates around you to ease the process definitely makes things less startling.
For Selfmade, keeping his internal focus intact is going to be a key factor when it comes to his success at Worlds.
“We’re going to play against teams from all over the world and obviously their playstyles are going to be different,” he said. “Mostly though, I’m trying to think about myself instead of focusing on other teams.”
But in a group like this, how could you not think about other teams? Group C features what is arguably the strongest combination of talent and competition that the young jungler can come face to face with. Between the LCS champions in TSM, one of the strongest teams the LCK has to offer in Gen.G, and an ever-present threat in LGD Gaming, the group is stacked from with some of the strongest teams at the tournament. Staring up a mountain of competition, though, Selfmade has yet to flinch.
“I’m pretty confident in my abilities,” he claimed after today’s confidence-inspiring win. “I’ve been practicing against the top junglers in the world. I’ve been able to have a reality check and see how good I really am. And I think I have a pretty good shot at matching them easily.”
At Worlds, though, no team or player can ever be totally certain of how they’re going to stack up against the field. But if Selfmade continues to play throughout Worlds similarly to how he played today, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be regarded as a genuine force on the international stage.
On Tuesday, he and Fnatic will face an even greater challenge in Gen.G, the third seed from the LCK and Fnatic’s number-one threat in Group C moving forward. The Korean powerhouse is predicted by many to walk out of the group stage on top of Group C, so a win for Fnatic would most definitely put the team in an extremely favorable position moving forward.
“I’m excited to face Gen.G the most,” Selfmade said with Tuesday’s contest in mind. “I’m definitely looking forward to playing against Clid…he’s most likely the best jungler in our group.”
When that match comes, all eyes will be on that jungle matchup. In today’s contest against LGD, Clid led Gen.G through a wild 45-minute storm of a game that ultimately saw the LCK topple the LPL. In that matchup, Clid outclassed LGD’s jungler Peanut in almost every facet of professional League of Legends. It would be stunning to see him have a repeat performance against Selfmade, who’s coming off of the game of his life.
Things are looking great for both Gen.G and Fnatic, who both sit at 1-0 in a tie for first atop Group C. Tuesday’s game will speak volumes about the future of the group—but if one thing is certain, it’s that Selfmade and Fnatic are certainly not going to back down without a fight.
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