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Bwipo: “Pauses are just as frustrating for us as they are for the enemy”

Tom Matthiesen

Fnatic stood tall today in the race for the final ticket to the World Championship, defeating Misfits Gaming in a nail-biter elimination series. The last opponent that stands between Fnatic and a trip to China is, poetically, their eternal rival G2 Esports. Though after the series against Misfits, the League of Legends community was mostly buzzing about something that happened during the fourth game: the double pause from Fnatic. At the end of the series, jungler Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau joined for a conversation about the hectic day.


Fnatic has overcome two of the three opponents that stand between them and a spot at the World Championship, but can they overcome G2 as well? (Image courtesy of Michal Konkol for Riot Games)

Bwipo first walked through the series itself, sharing his thoughts on his team’s performance. He also spoke about both pauses that happened during the fourth game, step-by-step explaining why his team paused the game and sharing his philosophy on the effect of pauses. Lastly, Bwipo looked forward to the series he’ll play on Sunday against his nemesis G2.

Hotspawn: Welcome, Bwipo, and congrats on winning a series that can only be described as ‘a banger’. You’re visibly energetic—what’s going through you right now?

Bwipo: It was definitely a banger, for sure. I think that the biggest part about the games is that, other than that it feels good to play, they’re also worth watching—except for the pauses. Ultimately, I think esports for me is a combination of two things. I like the fistfights, I like the strategy, and I’m happy that we got to display both. We went for a more strategic approach by changing up the drafts, trying to mix it up a bit. We were trying to actually use the strengths of the team. I liked that a lot because I think it shows that we trust each other a lot.

I’m very happy that my team trusted me in games three and five, I believe it was, where I played Trundle and Graves into the Viego and Lee Sin. Most people handshake and say “Oh you can’t play any other champion into these broken junglers”. But I just told my team to trust me, that they’d get a good pick, so let’s make it happen. I’m very happy that I pulled it off. I’m also happy that, two game fives in a row, the enemy Lee Sin was very, very sad in the game. [Laughs] I felt useful, and I’m happy that my team trusted me that I could find an angle that was a little bit more scaling.

I have some very, very good cheese opportunities lying in wait, so I will definitely be looking to see if Jankos falls prey to one of these.

Hotspawn: It was a scrappy series here and there, but you also clearly showed strengths as a team.

Bwipo: Yeah I’m happy that we got to display our strengths as a team. Our weaknesses as well. It is always good to be reminded that we’re not perfect. If we win game two, we might 3-0 the series and go home with way fewer learnings than we did after game five. It’s nice to win 3-0, it’s just that winning in a game five situation is the best outcome for any team that is trying to improve and do better in the future. I think that’s what I’m really happy with. The learnings and, obviously, the series was a banger, you know?

Hotspawn: You mentioned the Trundle and Graves as picks, but from the way you phrased it, it sounds like they were on-the-fly calls. Was that the case?

Bwipo: Well, yes and no. It is always frowned upon, you know? I look at Nisqy in game three and say “We should really [pick Trundle]. Just trust me! Don’t worry!” I have other picks prepared, of course, it’s not like you can ban two champs and then I’m done. But his face was honestly like “Oh god no…”, you know? [Laughs] He really didn’t want me to do it.

Hotspawn: It was the Caps Vayne moment all over again.

Bwipo: It was worse than that. He was almost disgusted at the idea. But he trusted me and I had a pretty good Trundle game. I’m happy he trusted me there, you know? He’s not limiting himself to his own beliefs, and he trusts me over them.

Fnatic versus Misfits

Hotspawn: Given how Misfits performed versus Rogue and how you performed against Vitality, I think it’s safe to say that many favored Misfits heading into the series. How did you head into the series?

Bwipo: I mean, as a jungler it’s been pretty simple, right? I’ve always been a player that has focused on making sure that I know what I’m doing. Before I participate in what my team is doing, I try to know what I’m doing. I actually think that this was one of my biggest weaknesses last Spring Split. I didn’t feel like I had that focus on myself to make sure I was in a good position and then share the love. I think my performance started dwindling then because I put less focus on making sure that I was good in the game. I put less focus on playing matchups that I know how to play and know how to get ahead in, or that I’m happy with being even. By avoiding that and going a bit more crazy in the picks, trying too hard to get good counter picks, I ended up in a situation where I was performing poorly.

Now that I’ve moved to jungle, I’m going back to the roots of what works for me: making sure that my first clear is solid, making sure I know what I’m doing. Just play smart for myself, and then give to my team without putting them too far under, right? I don’t want to make the game difficult for my team, but I also want to have the freedom to be proactive in my early game strategy and get the advantages where I can find them. For me, at least, the usual.

Hotspawn: Razork has had a notoriously good early game this Split, helping his team to many victories through it. Was there any preparation you did for him?

Bwipo: I had a specific pathing prepared, but it didn’t end up being too useful. [Laughs] Then I just played the game. I didn’t do anything special, at least I don’t think I did. I still have a lot more up my sleeve for sure. I actually got someone to do a bunch of pathings for me and discuss pathing. There’s a little guy that worked on that a lot for me. I have some very, very good cheese opportunities lying in wait, so I will definitely be looking to see if Jankos falls prey to one of these. [Laughs]

Again, for me, I want to make sure I play the game well, make sure I play the game smart, don’t fall behind in the first clear. That’s the number one goal. Make sure that I’m strong after my second clear and can help my laners when I need to. I feel that’s what the meta is, at the moment. It’s very much making sure that the AD jungler gets a Pickaxe, or Sheen in Viego’s case, walks out on the map and does something on his timer. Usually, it’s gonna work out well because they’re pretty fucking strong at that point. These champions are ridiculously strong at that point. So, if you can get something going from that point onwards until you finish your mythic item, you’re good. That’s when I try to make action happen. It’s nothing crazy, it’s pretty stock-standard. But I’m autofilled! So if my team is happy, I’m happy.

Hotspawn: Something I have to touch on is the pauses that happened in game four. They’re very controversial at the moment, so I just want to ask you to walk me through them. Let’s start with the first one, where you as Viego aren’t teleported with Nisqy’s Ryze ult.

Bwipo: So basically, I dodge out of the Ryze ult. Then I step back into it, but apparently, there is this little circle that completes, and when it’s completed and you click outside of the Ryze ult, you do not take it. Now, the direction I was clicking was towards the Ryze ult, but I was clicking outside of the Ryze ult, and I was on the edge of it. I mean, before that, it was just like “I died, I guess I didn’t get taken, there is probably a bug with Viego’s channel.” So I didn’t do anything. Then Hylissang was like “Bullshit, I’m pausing” and he slams the pause.

During the pause, Upset reminded me that you can Nunu ult during it, and I remembered that you can Sion ult during it as well, right? So it makes no sense that my channel would’ve canceled it. So the LEC investigates it and according to them it was working as intended. And then the same thing happened at Baron.

Hotspawn: I think that’s where the confusion exists. You pause, it’s explained to you guys that it’s working as intended, so why pause again?

Bwipo: Right, because from Hylie’s perspective, he was scared of doing anything. Maybe subconsciously he clicked, but he thought he didn’t. I think people make a really big deal out of pauses. But pauses are just bad for everyone, you know? When you’re behind and the enemy is pausing, it gives them the opportunity to think about what’s going to happen in the next few minutes. “How do we lose the game?” Eventually, in the pause, you can start talking. Or, individually, you can already think: “Ok how do we lose this game? I’m really fed, how do I carry?” And then when the game resumes you can communicate your thoughts to the team.

I’ll give an example. Imagine a pause happens in chess and you’re up five points of material. There is not a single chess player in the world that wouldn’t enjoy fifteen more minutes when he’s ahead, because he would be able to think more about the ways he could lose the game. I think it was the same here. Misfits were up like 6k gold, or something ridiculous.

Hotspawn: Misfits was extremely far ahead, yes. Still, there is something to be said for the fact that Misfits was in ‘a winning flow’, they had momentum that was disrupted.

Bwipo: So, I agree that pauses during fights are very frustrating and the second pause was actually during a fight. I understand where the frustration comes from. But you also have to be fair to the players. We play the game day in, day out. We know how interactions work. We’ve played with Ryze thousands of games and this never happened to us. I’ll be honest with you, I have never had this happen to me. Every time I’ve wanted to take a Ryze ult, I’ve taken it. Every time I didn’t want to take it, I didn’t.

Honest to God, I didn’t know that it worked this way. Even if it is explained to you in the same game, your experience will always outweigh whatever someone just told you. We’re in the middle of the game, on-stage. We’re fighting for our lives. We’re trying to make it to fucking Worlds, you know? And even if the referee says “This is how it works”, it doesn’t mean that that registers in your brain completely. You will still rely on your experience more than you will rely on something that was just told to you. We have the right to pause. So unless Riot changes the rules and tells us not to pause, if there is a bug, our players will pause.

Hotspawn: You can’t afford to constantly think about those notifications when you’re fully focused on the game.

Bwipo: I’m not a fan of pausing either. People always mention that it’s good for us, but pauses are just as frustrating for us as they are for the enemy. I remember when I was playing Karthus against G2. My screen froze during the game a second time. It went black. My teammates actively asked me to not pause the game. “Just don’t pause, it will fix itself.” They didn’t want to lose their focus either.

It affects both teams just as much. You’re in the same situation. I can agree that it’s frustrating for the viewers, and that’s what I don’t mind. What is frustrating to me, is that people in the scene are talking as if we’re using it to our advantage, which is bullshit. If everything is going according to plan, we’ll just tank our loss. We went 0-4 in a row at the end of the Split. It’s not like we paused in any of those games. What is this? They’re trying to make it sound like we pause when we start losing the game because we think it’s funny. Absolutely not. We only do it when something happens that we are not aware of.

I understand the frustration, but I also think it’s important to be reasonable.

We were not aware that this, with Ryze’s ult, was the situation. Riot slowed it down to 0.25 speed, from my point of view. They showed it to me and my teammates and I were still looking at it and we were still sure that I was in the Ryze ult. So they said “Yeah, but the click you did there!” and I’m like “The click I did there? Ok, I guess?” Now I know that I just have to release my hands from the keyboard when Ryze is ulting, or else I’m not taking it.

I understand the frustration, but I also think it’s important to be reasonable. As I said, when a pause happens and you’re ahead, more times it’s gonna be good for you than bad. You get to think more about what can go wrong, which is the only way you would lose. The other argument is that both teams get affected equally.

Hotspawn: Alright, for my final question I have to ask about your upcoming series: you’re playing against G2 Esports for the final Worlds ticket. Any thoughts about this matchup?

Bwipo: I want to make it a fistfight. Combined in players, I think Fnatic and G2 still have the most veteran players in the LEC. I’m pretty sure we have the most experience in years across both teams combined. Maybe Rogue, but I wouldn’t think so. We have a lot of years between our teams. So I think that playing a slow and methodical macro game will be equal. I think we will both be very smart and have very keen ideas on how to win the game.

I’d rather put my fist in their mouth in the early game and never dislodge it, you know? [Laughs] Just beat them up in the early game and then we’ll win the game through that. That’s the way I view it. That’s the way I want to play it. Jankos is much smarter than I am when it comes to jungling, I’m sure. So I’ll just get them in the early game and hope it works out!

Fnatic play their next series on Sunday, August 22nd, at 5 PM CEST. You can watch the game live on the official LoL Esports site.