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NEWS

Made for Worlds

Oct 022020

For Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek, the most challenging moment in his career was when he first needed to convince his mom to let him go to Spain and play in the LVP at just 17 years old. That was three years ago – from there, success came easy for the rising Polish star. He quickly became one of the best players that Europe’s strongest regional leagues have ever seen and on his two teams, ThunderX3 Baskonia and MAD Lions, he never finished a playoff run below 2nd place. Now he’s Jungling for Fnatic, playing for international glory at Worlds.

 

“Since I was a kid I was always spending most of my time playing video games and I was always good at any game I played. I don’t wanna sound cocky or anything but that’s just the truth. Before League I played a lot of Counter Strike, where I was really good back in like Counter Strike 1.6 and I played some Dota. Then I played League of Legends where I got to Challenger in Season 4 when I was basically 14 years old.”

 

Every player has a different arc. Every career has a different story. Some players find their place in the game over time, others discover it with the help of a mentor or coach. For Selfmade, the arc is in his name.

 

He excelled from an early age, getting scouted for his talent before he even met age requirements or graduated school. His first moment of esports fame came when he joined one of Europe’s most infamous solo queue clans, L9. He started by competing with the best in the server, then he moved to beating the best in scrim sessions.

-SELFMADE-

What was the first moment where you felt you were good enough at League of Legends to play at a professional level?

I think it was when I was playing in LVP in MAD Lions. At some point we started practicing against LEC teams and I was kinda making fun of them. I was like, "Yo, if these guys can play there, then I can for sure too."

So you played against LEC players and you were matching them?

I was doing better than them, I would say, not matching. [Laughs]

For Selfmade, exceeding the other Jungler is very much the norm. He’s a powerhouse solo-carry inside League’s most team-driven position. It’s a role that he’s embraced since the very beginnings of his career in the Superliga and well into his LCS/LEC start on SK Gaming.

 

That season Selfmade earned 7 player of the game awards - more than anyone else in the league and just two shy of getting player of the game in every single SK win. In the playoffs, he got instant notoriety for building a BF Sword into a Guardian’s Angel on Rek’Sai, proving he was also an innovator with a much deeper understanding of the game than people had originally given him credit for.

 

“In Europe, we have this mentality that the jungler has to be a dog. I was the first one to actually change that. So I was the one who picked up all those carry junglers and started just playing for myself and being the carry. But for the whole split all you could see is Inspired, Jankos playing just Sett all the time, Sejuani, whatever tank was open. All those supportive junglers. But then I face Rogue, they get dismantled. I face G2 I also make fun of them in the semifinals.

 

“When you join LEC as a rookie, you’re obviously motivated as hell, right? You just want to give your hundred percent in practice and official games and basically everything you do. But the reality is after some time you just realize that there are only two teams that matter in Europe. You just have to play for individual performance to maybe in the future join them. Because if you won’t then you will have a hard time achieving anything in Europe. So far it’s been like this. Maybe one day it will change, maybe next year. For example, you saw this split had Rogue, had MAD Lions. Let’s say the teams are getting stronger and they’re closing the gap to Fnatic and G2. But in the end, hey every final is Fnatic and G2. It’s still not there yet.”

 

Fnatic and G2 have won every single split except for when Alliance won in 2014 Summer.

 

Selfmade saw the reality in Europe for what it was and joined the team that would give him a real shot at winning big. The decision was every bit the right one. He went from missing playoffs in 2019 Summer to two second places and giving G2 their first best-of-5 loss in the LEC in two years and 4 splits. 

However, there was more to Selfmade joining Fnatic than the chance at an LEC trophy. Selfmade shared that, after his stellar performance on SK, he had big offers from NA.

 

“I always wanted to play again with [Nemesis]. He was basically one of the two reasons why I chose Europe [and Fnatic], not NA.”

 

The other reason?

 

“I knew that if I go to NA, to that team that offered me, I’m gonna win [an LCS] championship. But if I go to Europe I’m gonna have higher chances of achieving something at Worlds and there is only one thing that matters during the year, right? If you lose Worlds then honestly nobody cares that much about the past two splits you won or whatever.”

 

Selfmade saw in Fnatic both a clandestine reunion and the best possible shot at a huge run on League’s biggest possible stage. Now that he’s here, about to step onto that stage, the justification for his decisions become clearest. Even after a brutally hard summer split and an intense year, the justifications become clear.

 

“In the second [summer] split, we didn’t really have any team identity. We were basically every week playing something different so once we got to playoffs we just said we’re gonna put all our cards on carry jungler style and the team is gonna play for me and that’s basically it.”

 

While the solution sounds simple enough, it was something that took veteran teammates and adaptable players to pull off. 

 

“Everybody helped [the team] to go to the same page and said, ‘Yeah we’re gonna all play to the jungler and adapt our champions and playstyle for him.’ It was of course the whole team’s effort and not just me picking different champions.”

 

Nemesis - and the entire team - came into a rare form that Selfmade practically expected them to take on. When the moment was right, it was simply Nemesis and Fnatic making a style of comeback that had become characteristic to them. The reward was a stunning 3-0 over Rogue, the team with the best regular season record. Then a huge 3-2 win over G2.

 

They may have lost in the grand finals but so far, Fnatic has lived up to all of Selfmade’s expectations and helped to make the 20 year old jungler a regional and international contender.

 

“So far we’ve been practicing against the best teams in the Worlds and everybody’s having a skill check against them. How good you are in reality. Individually, I feel like I’m on a really good way to becoming the best jungler in Europe.”

Right now, Selfmade doesn’t quite feel he’s there. Neither confident nor modest, Selfmade places himself and his team right where the results do - 2nd place behind Jankos and G2. It’s also how Selfmade measures the year as a whole. “When it comes to team performance,” he says of 2020, “I think we failed because we lost to G2.”

 

However, with Worlds only days away, that loss to G2 isn’t even on his radar anymore.

 

“We just have to focus on ourselves and don’t really care about who we face. Because we’re gonna play against NA teams, we’re gonna play against LPL teams, right? So every game will be a completely different style. So the most important thing is how you want to play the games  as a team, not how [the] enemy wants to play, and [to] just work around that.”

 

Worlds 2020 is, by design, the most difficult and intense moment of competition in a long year of League of Legends. It’s where the stakes are the highest, where every win means the most, and where a player and team can truly cement their legacy. It’s where Fnatic could become the best team in the world and Selfmade could become the best jungler in the world.

If anyone is made for the moment, it’s Selfmade. 

What would winning Worlds mean to you?

It would mean everything to me, right? That’s the main goal of every professional player, to become the best and lift the championship trophy.

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