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TNC booked their tickets to TI9 in Moscow when they made it to the top 6 at the last Major of the season. We’ve been able to talk to TNC’s captain, Nico “eyyou” Barcelon during the day off at EPICENTER and we’ve been curious to hear from him how the team dynamic changed after Lee “Heen” Seung Gon joined them and how they managed to improve so fast.  


Hello Eyyou, congrats on the group stage run and on the upper bracket quarter-final. Did you guys expect to do so well at EPICENTER, especially after you saw what kind of teams you got in your group?

I don’t know what were the exact expectations of my teammates, but for me, when we qualified for this tournament and when we arrived here in Moscow, I just wanted to perform well on this last Major. I didn’t think about the TI slot, I just want us to have a good tournament run.

Clearly, something changed for you guys when Heen joined TNC. Can you tell me how is he directly impacting your game?

 He brought a lot of knowledge about the game, and he knows how to transfer all his experience to us. He is very good at explaining what we did good, but more importantly what needs to be improved, how the lanes should be treated and played with a certain draft, for example. He talks a lot with us after the games, we go through what happened, what we did well and what we did wrong in a game, where we lost and things like that. He is there for each and every one of us, he listens to our problems and tries to help us fix or improve on the things we are not sure about. 

He is a  coach in all aspects, you know. Plus, we actually didn’t have a coach before so, his presence helps us a lot. We also don’t need to think that much about the draft anymore. I mean, of course, we all discuss the draft we have our input, but he is so smart about the game, honestly.

Your next series will be with the winner of OG vs PSG.LD, which would you actually prefer to be and why?

It will be exciting to play OG. We already played two Chinese teams here so It will be interesting to have OG. The way they are playing the game right now is super good, even though they are with a stand-in. It looks like they are enjoying playing so much. The way they approach the game and the way they deal with all the challenges that are presented to them is very inspirational. They are relying on their friendship and it works so well for them. 

Knowing you for a while now, and seeing how you are on LAN tournaments, I would say you can relate to that a lot. TNC is also more like a family, you guys have very strong relations as well, right?

Yes. I would say that TNC is family structured if you want. 

I noticed in the EPICENTER qualifiers that the SEA teams value Grimstroke a lot while the rest of the regions are a bit obsessed with Warlock. Can you explain to us why you guys prefer Grimstroke?

The thing with Grimstroke is that he also secures you the creep wave clear and in the laning phase he can be a very aggressive support while Warlock provides the sustain in the lane.

The 7.22 patch made the supports life a bit easier. Can you tell us what are the changes that you like the most from this patch?

I’m a position 5 support so, the fact that the courier and the wards are cheaper makes me really happy.

Is there anything that you consider broken in this patch and you would like to see it changed before TI9?

Perhaps Spirit Breaker. His second skill is super imba, he goes around the map as he wishes and he forces you to use spells on him, but you don’t want to do that, right? So I guess they should nerf it a little bit. 

Let’s talk about the SEA scene for a while. We saw Fnatic not doing well two tournaments in a row, Mineski struggled as well. I guess you practice with them every now and then, so, what would you say are the main reasons for SEA scene not being stronger towards the end of the season?

I think this year, somehow, every SEA team had a big problem to deal with at some point in the season. And when you have to take care of things like that you lose the focus on the game, you perhaps start to have internal issues and it’s like a domino effect if you want. It happened to us, now it’s happening to them, but they are good teams and I’m pretty sure that they will come back stronger for TI9.

Who do you think will win this last Major of the season? 

With Secret already knocked out, I think this is’s Major to win.

Thanks a lot for your time Eyyou, good luck in the main event and if you have any shout-out to make, please do.

Shout-out to all our fans who supported us this year and been there for us all the time. 


More interviews from the EPICENTER Major

Boxi: “Regardless of how we’re doing, we know that we really improved through the year”

Ceb: “That victory over Secret was an important statement that we had to make”

xNova: “Except for VG, I think that all other [Chinese] teams are quite stagnant”

Daxak: ”It kind of feels bad that we have to fight against them [Alliance]”

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