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[Interview] Fnatic Derke, "We Got Frustrated Waiting So Long For Official Matches"

An exclusive interview with Fnatic Derke during VCT EMEA Kickoff 2024.
[Interview] Fnatic Derke, "We Got Frustrated Waiting So Long For Official Matches"
Picture: Riot Games

The team that had a dream run in VCT 2023, Fnatic, is back in action in the EMEA Kickoff with Elmapuddy as the new head coach and Mini being their assistant coach. The team debuted their 2024 season against Vitality and won the series 2-0 to qualify for the playoffs, where they face the team that has shocked everyone with their performance this year, Karmine Corp.

Following Fnatic's match against Vitality, I had a chance to talk to Derke about the long offseason, their new head coach, the current meta, and more. You can read the complete interview below.

Fnatic Derke's Interview During VCT EMEA Kickoff 2024

Interview with Fnatic Derke after their win against Vitality in VCT EMEA Kickoff 2024.
Interview with Fnatic Derke after their win against Vitality in VCT EMEA Kickoff 2024. (Picture: Riot Games)

First of all, congratulations on the win and also congratulations on qualifying for the playoffs. How have you been feeling after the long offseason? You're back on stage with the team. How has the experience been up to now?

Derke: Yeah, we haven't played in a long time because of the offseason, but everyone was excited to play. We practiced really hard, but it's like we didn't get any real experience. So it was kind of hard coming into the first map.

But then I think we did really well in overtime and just brought it to map two by winning Lotus. Everyone was just excited to play. We were getting a bit annoyed before the matches because we waited for so long, and people in practice sometimes didn't take it too seriously, so it was like official is good for us, and we can't wait to play more.

Talking about today's match (against Vitality), the second map was very smooth for you guys, but in the first map, you guys started off a bit slow. Then you guys dominated, but in the second half, somehow the match went to OT. What exactly happened at that time?

Derke: Yeah, we had some communication issues. I take the blame. I kind of trolled some rounds, too, and I kind of fell off. I was almost like, yeah, maybe I didn't do the right thing, or maybe I over-peeked here or couldn't hit my shots either because I haven't been taking aim battles for so long, and then it kind of feels a bit annoying.

But then we hit the OT, and I was like, 'Alright, we can win now. I have a good gun finally, and it's gonna be easy.' My teammates played well, but there were some situations where we didn't execute correctly, even though we had prepared for them and talked about how we needed to play them.

It was kind of an off-and-on situation, but I think we fixed it later on. It's good that it happened in an official match and not in practice because people will learn from it. Regarding the second map, I think we played really well, comms were fixed, kind of.

We knew what we were doing. We knew what they were doing. And then we just played it like we used to a long time ago. We didn't feel any pressure. We didn't feel like we needed to do anything extra. And it was good.

Elmapuddy is now with you guys as the head coach. Can you share how has been his addition to the team has been and how his coaching style, strategies, etc., differ from what Mini usually had in mind as the head coach?

Derke: It's good that we still have Mini, and it doesn't feel like we have left a hole by getting a new head coach or that Mini left in general. So Mini is still helping us a lot like he did last year. He's super good, I think, in terms of making us collab more with each other, like, 'Hey, you guys, you two need to go server together, fix this.'

'You three need to watch these rounds together, not one by one, or not like one guy does it, and then he says, 'Oh, guys, I've done it, don't worry.' 

It's like everyone needs to do stuff together; everyone needs to play together. During rounds, people need to kind of come together, like, 'Hey Alfa, let's go pick this together. Hey, let's go back now,' is the kind of stuff that he brings. He just wants everyone to be more collaborative because he thinks that's going to be the difference between tier-one top teams and lower teams.

So yeah, in those terms, it's good. He fixes stuff, has really good humor, so it fits really well in our team, and can also calm people down sometimes, like sometimes we're a bit anxious or tilted during practice, and then he comes and kind of fixes the situation because he has a really good understanding.

So far, we like him; he fits on our team well, and we haven't left any hole like with Mini going to assistant coach, so we're all happy, and I think this year is going to be amazing.

I wish you all the best for that. Next, I want to ask you about what Boaster said in the post-match interview. He mentioned that you guys have been practicing with Deadlock, and might have some surprises for us coming in the future. I want to know, have you guys been doing the same with Iso as well, given that Iso's been buffed a bit recently, and Riot has been trying to somehow make space for him in the meta. What are your thoughts about it, basically? Do you think it will happen based on what Iso is right now, and have you guys been practicing with it?

Derke: Yeah, but he is just weird because when I played him in LA for the first time before it was official or anything, I instantly told the devs and other fellow pros or content creators that he's not playable in pro play because he doesn't bring anything to the team. In terms of, like, what can he do? Like, in order to get his shield that doesn't really do anything in pro play, you need to kill somebody.

So it's a bit like Reyna, and in that case, you'd rather just pick Reyna because if we kill somebody, she can cross to the other side or heal out of it and make more plays. With Iso, it's like, you can't really do that with that shield. The second thing is that the bulletproof wall is too short. The Undercut, the ability that double damages people, is kind of unique and nice, but also, sometimes, it's useless.

The ultimate is like 50-50. Do you want to take a character with an 80% chance of winning the round with his ultimate, or do you want someone to take 50-50 and die? And then everyone's going to laugh at the player, and he ain't going to feel nice.

What I do is, after server time, we go, we practice our stuff, dry run it. Then I'm telling Alfa, 'Alfa, wait a second.' I'm switching to Iso, taking notes with him, warming up, and then going to the official. That's what we did today. 

One last question before wrapping it up. Let's say Riot gives you a choice to design a duelist, and you have full independence — whichever abilities you want to choose from the present agents in the game. What would be your ideal duelist in that scenario?

Derke: I think, honestly, if you would replace Yoru's TP with a Jett dash, it would be insane, I think. In my opinion, it just would be broken. Because the ultimate is super annoying, and then you have a dash instead of TP. TPs, I feel like, allow a lot of bad plays, or a lot of mistakes or errors, because you need to time it well, you need to put it, and... I feel like sometimes it would be cool if you could just pop a flash and dash with it for yourself.

It would be kind of cool. It would be kind of like Reyna in that instance. So I think that because this fake clone is really useful too. Like sometimes I play ranked on Yoru for fun.

I was just like every five rounds telling my teammates, guys, we're going A, I'm going to pretend to be a clone. And then I just run past people, and they don't shoot me. And I'm like, what is this game? And especially after all the Jett nerfs, Yoru has been, you know, used more than before. 

I would like to thank Derke for his time, and I wish him and Fnatic all the best for the season.