Fnatic Rising’s Prosfair on EU Masters: “Top four should be our expectation at minimum and I could see us winning the whole thing”

After a dominating 3-0 victory over Diabolus in the UKLC Spring final, we spoke to Fnatic Rising support Prosfair ahead of his 3rd EU Masters tournament later this month.

During the Spring split regular season, league leaders Diabolus had managed to find a fair level of success over Fnatic Rising with both teams taking 2 wins. Despite most expecting a close series, Prosfair thought that it could go “one of two ways” with either Fnatic winning “3-0 or 3-1 with really convincing 30 minute wins or it would be a 5 game series with 50+ minute games.”

“For various reasons we’ve always struggled to end cleanly versus Diabolus and we had been working on some of the underlying issues as a team in the week leading up to Tower 7 and playoffs. Coming off the back of the series with Excel it felt like, as a team, we really understood how we wanted to play the game on 9.5 and everyone was looking incredibly confident in their play.”

Ahead of week 7, Fnatic Rising announced the arrival of 2 new substitutes; Ronaldooo in the mid lane and Targamas at support. Despite Ronaldooo not making an appearance, Targamas has shown an immediate impact on the team and played in the first 2 of the 3 matches in the final series.

Prosfair went on to explain how he himself was surprised at his reaction on the set-up:

“Being honest I thought at first having to watch my team play official games from a spectator standpoint would feel worse but actually I wasn’t particularly upset. Obviously I wish I could have played in the games with my team but I also know Targamas is putting in just as much effort as I am and I respect his skill as a player. If he wasn’t getting to play official games it
would be unfair to him.”

“It does open up a new experience for me which is that getting to play games as the team’s support is no longer something I can take for granted, If I’m underperforming or slacking off there’s someone right there to pick up the slack.”

He went on to add how this change could “only be a positive experience”, “as long as I use this as motivation to perform at my best”.

“If I screwed up here there was a chance I wouldn’t get to play with the team I’ve been working with for the last 3 months”

On spectating his own team, he explained that “getting to watch all of my teammates play to their best level confidently working together was really nice to see and made me realise that when I’m playing with them I don’t need to stress about trying to take more than my fair share of responsibility. As it turns out the other players on my team are pretty good if you let them play how they want.”

Prosfair described how when it was his chance to step up in game 3 he “was definitely feeling some pressure”, adding that he “knew that if I lost this game there was a chance that he [Targamas] would be subbed back in and people would start thinking that Targamas should be playing every game.”

“Obviously that’s a bit of an extreme outcome and I don’t think Jandro [Fnatic Rising’s coach] would be swayed by public opinion but I always have a problem thinking about the worst case scenario. With a little voice in the back of my head saying if I screwed up here there was a chance I wouldn’t get to play with the team I’ve been working with for the last 3 months I was definitely feeling some pressure.”

In winning the UKLC, Prosfair has now been crowned champion of the UK league 3 times in a row (twice previously with Misfits Academy) while teammate Shikari has won the last 4 consecutive splits (with Excel and Misfits Academy).

When asked what sets them apart from other UK talent in order to be so dominant, Prosfair speculated that “it might be the standards we set for ourselves and the fact that outside validation isn’t good enough for either of us.”

“I’m speaking for him of course but I’m sure Shikari appreciates a compliment or recognition from other people that he is playing well, but I know for a fact unless he himself thinks he has played up to his limits he will be extremely unhappy with his performance regardless of how much praise he is receiving from others. He’s attended the last 5 finals and I know for a fact that after at least 2 of them his main feelings were of frustration and disappointment towards himself. Knowing him I’d guess this might be the first finals of the five where he’s happy with his performance. I think a mentality like that is always going to bear results when contrasted with people who are playing competitive for the enjoyment or the validation from their peers (not that there’s anything wrong with either of those things).”

The final week of the UKLC Spring split brought with it an unusual scenario for Prosfair in which he went up against his own brother Artorias; top-laner for Barrage Esports. For Prosfair, however, “the fact I was playing versus Artorias didn’t really have any relevance for me”, adding that “in this match I already was of the opinion that every player on my team was better than every player on Barrage; I know that we all have far more time dedicated to the game, we scrim more, we have more resources, we have higher quality practice. In this instance winning versus him isn’t some way to score points like it was back then.”

As a player I don’t think there’s any better feeling than winning versus an old team and showing that they made the wrong choice.

This was a reference to the last time the brothers faced off while playing for opposing teams (Insomnia 55), where Prosfair was playing for MnM and Artorias for Excel (who had recently kicked Prosfair from their roster).

“When we first joined the scene both of us played versus each other once at Insomnia 55 I was playing on MnM and he was playing for Excel. Back then I played for the fun of the competition and I was really pleased when we had a dominant game versus them. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of that which was due to our competitive nature with each other. Although mostly I was just happy that I’d won versus Excel who had kicked me from their roster a few months prior just as I had role swapped to support for the team. As a player I don’t think there’s any better feeling than winning versus an old team and showing that they made the wrong choice.”

Focus then turned to the upcoming Spring 2019 instalment of EU Masters, for which Fnatic Rising had just secured their spot in the group stage. Prosfair revealed his expectations for the tournament, explaining that “top 4 should be our expectation at minimum” while he “could see us winning the whole thing.”

“I think everyone just wants us to perform up to our best level, nothing more, nothing less. If we lose in the finals playing our best and we just happen to be playing a better team, well that sucks but it’s better than underperforming and leaving the tournament feeling that you lost to yourself.”

This will be Prosfair’s 3rd appearance in EU Masters, however his previous 2 outings with Misfits Academy were not rewarded with high placed finishes. Prosfair was confident, however, that this Fnatic lineup will bring a change in fortunes:

“I think there are a lot of differences between the two rosters, I think we have better coaching structure, I think we use our time more efficiently, I think people work harder, I could go on and on to be honest. However, If I had to pick the main one I’d say that the mix of personalities we had on Misfits just wasn’t good. We were a very emotional team and I think we wasted maybe half of our scrim time either by just having to cancel or by people being so emotionally upset at losing that the quality was so low. Unfortunately I think Zen’s [Misfits Academy coach] approach only made these problems worse in his attempts to fix them and In hindsight it’s pretty shocking we managed to win either final.”

Prosfair highlighted the addition of mid-laner LIDER in the Summer split of 2018 as a help in restoring the team’s attitude, describing how “literally overnight this changed with bringing him on board to the point that I think everyone was giving it 110% effort in scrims and actually looking forward to turning up to practice, along with believing not only that we could win but having absolute confidence that we would win.”

“I think being told we weren’t allowed to play with LIDER for EU Masters was part of what caused our embarrassing performance at the tournament as the mood took a swift downturn.”

Looking ahead to his first EU Masters with Fnatic, Prosfair highlighted France’s Team-LDLC and Poland’s Rogue Esports Club as the most likely to rival Fnatic, citing that “both of these teams have really good players across the board for a start” and that “they also both have a strong understanding of how they want to play the game and execute on it very well.”

“You really get the impression that all 5 players are talking to each other and sharing all the important information about the current game-state and thinking about what their best move is in the moment. Once they’ve decided on a play everyone on the team will commit to it with full confidence. It means that even playing from behind they are all 5 of the players are on the same page and all playing towards an optimal (or near optimal) play. This sounds simple but it’s one of those things that’s easier said than done.”

“The issue playing versus teams like this is that they only make mistakes when they either miss-judge a situation because of lack of game knowledge or they mechanically miss-execute. I think it goes without saying that If you need to rely on these things to beat a team you’re probably not going to win versus them. Pretty much the only way to do it is to also be able to keep track of the gamestate and make good plans which you can execute on as a five man. Except you have to do it better than them. Another thing which is easier said than done.”

He went on to highlight LDLC’s botlane as the strongest botlane he is likely to go up against in the tournament. For ADC Comp, he described how he is a “really solid ADC, for sure one of the best at the tournament and I could easily see him replacing some of the LEC ADC’s without any issues”, and explained that support Steeelback “is obviously a player with a lot of experience at a high level and I remember the first time we scrimmed LDLC I thought he was playing really well for someone with so little time on a new role”. We later went on to add that Steeelback “would get my vote for the best support at the tournament.”

Bringing the interview to a close we touched on Prosfair’s personal goals moving forward, where he went on to highlight his aim of being an LEC calibre support:

“At some point over the summer split this year I want to reach a point where I could play in LEC games and look at home. Right now I could play in the LEC for a game or two and probably manage to walk away looking fine but I’m sure if I played a full split my inexperience would show. I just need to keep working to increase not only my ceiling but my consistency, luckily Fnatic is a very good environment for improving as a player so I think I can achieve this goal. Honestly the biggest obstacle for me to playing in LEC right now is that Hylissang is playing insanely well, so trying to fill his shoes even as a sub for one game is something I don’t think I could do right now.”

In closing, when asked if his preference for tomato ketchup storage was in the cupboard or the fridge, Prosfair provided the somewhat indifferent answered of “honestly I don’t mind either way but I put it in the fridge.”

You can follow on Twitter Prosfair here, and NineTeeSix on Twitter here.

Article by Lee ‘Couple Sodi Pops’ Jones