In one of the biggest World Championship upsets in history, Brazilian champion INTZ E-Sports silenced China's champion Edward Gaming in a stunning opening day victory. Edward Gaming entered the tournament as one of the odds-on favorites to win it all while INTZ, who struggled in the Wildcard Regional Qualifiers, was seen as merely a small speed bump on EDG's road to the quarterfinals.
We sat down with INTZ's star top laner, Felipe "Yang" Zhao, following the monumental win.
"We knew we had a [small] chance of winning, but still a little a bit," said Yang. "Because of that little bit [of a chance] we had, by the end when [I realized] we really could do it, we started screaming a lot. I had the same feeling as when I won CBLoL."
Although INTZ has always been considered one of the best wildcard teams, it has failed to impress on the international stage before tonight. After a grueling series in the Wildcard Regional Qualifiers against Turkey's Dark Passage, it was Yang on his signature Shen who pulled his team across the finish line and into Worlds. Now that he's here, Yang is making sure people will remember his name.
"Right now, mechanically speaking, I'm right up there with everybody else, the great top laners in the world," he said. "But I still miss a little bit of the knowledge of the game -- rotations, everything -- so I learned a lot in Europe, we bootcamped in Europe, so I learned a lot and realized that. I think that right now I'm still learning a lot, and am not putting myself up there. I'm learning, and I think once I have this knowledge, I will be one of the best top laners."
"The top laner I think I respect the most is Smeb," he admitted, "His mechanics, his rotations, he has a good champion pool."
While the Brazilian dynamos sit atop of Group C after the first day, Yang knows it isn't going to be easy. He mentioned how there is "a bit of light at the end of the tunnel" and making it to the quarterfinals as the first wildcard team to do so would be a dream.
"I just want to thank everyone who is cheering for us, especially those who are still cheering for us even after we [didn't do well]," he said to the fanatical fans at home in Brazil. "I just want to say thank you very much for everybody, and just keep supporting us. Even if we don't make it, we're going to do our best."