Caps discusses his G2 Esports move and his fire LEC season
© Riot Games
A controversial move that raised many eyebrows and led to an incredible inaugural LEC season with two domestic titles. Just what can’t Rasmus ‘Caps’ Winther do?
No one could have predicted Rasmus ‘Caps’ Winther’s move from Fnatic to G2 Esports. As the Worlds 2018 runners-up, everyone looked at the first western team to reach the finals since the Season One Championship to attempt a repeat through 2019 – yet the star midlaner would jump ship to Fnatic’s domestic rivals, fuelling intense debate amongst fans and pushing the rivalry between the two teams to another level.
It was a risky move that could have backfired, but with two domestic League of Legends European Championship titles, and the Mid-Season Invitational trophy in western hands for the first time, Caps’ G2 move certainly looks like a success. With a Worlds campaign on home turf kicking off in Europe early next month, and plenty of accolades under his belt, Caps is fired up for the World Championship – and things are living up to his hopes.
“Obviously I had high hopes joining G2, and so far it has been nothing but good,” he says when quizzed about his team’s performance over the past year. “We had some rookie games now and then but usually only after we already qualified for higher stages, but when it really matters, we always performed so far. And I just hope we can keep it up for Worlds.”
G2 certainly look poised for Worlds. Taking Fnatic to a thrilling five-game finale in Athens, Greece, was certainly a highlight among a season filled with amazing moments, and with their domestic dominance and ability on the international stage, as witnessed at MSI, Europe’s first seeds are the top hope for the host continent, and they could definitely go far.
Once I had the chance to go all-in for a professional career in League of Legends, I just went for it
But away from the pressures of the World Championship, away from Spring and Summer Finals, Caps is largely a humble presence who simply loves the game. We’ve largely seen the 19-year old pro excel on the Rift, but before League of Legends entered his life, Caps even dominated in other games amongst his friends – only that wasn’t on the biggest stage in the world.
“I definitely played a lot of video games all my life. Obviously League of Legends has been my focus game since it came out, but before that I also played a lot of Warcraft 3,” he says. “I have always been quite good in these type of games, meaning that I was pretty much the best among my friends. In certain other titles like First-Person Shooters, like Counter-Strike, that wasn't the case but I definitely excelled in all things strategy games. I used to be pretty good in StarCraft as well.”
Gaming has been a constant in his life, and while the young pro has been competing at a high level since he was 16, he feels lucky that he has understanding – and supportive – parents who completely get what it is he does.
“My brother played Dota professionally, so they already understood about professional gaming,” he says. “When I was 16, and still in school I went to Turkey during the summer vacation and played the Turkish League. We won the finals in front of so many fans – my dad could see firsthand how much passion for the game there is from the League of Legends fans, and how big it is, and how many people are watching competitive matches. That for sure also helped a lot.”
“My parents always wanted me to finish school,” says Caps. “They had the mentality that after I finish school I can just do whatever I want. In the end, once I had the chance to go all-in for a professional career in League of Legends, I just went for it.”
Caps’ Dad has become somewhat of a legend among the community for showing up and supporting his son, and even appearing on camera for interviews – notably at last year’s World Championship – and his dedication and support is no doubt a positive for the star player.
“Having my dad come to Worlds in Korea and also my mum, as well as other family is always nice. They come and try to support me in whichever way they can. They know and understand that when I’m at a huge tournament, or playing something like playoffs, that I am fully focused and spending all my time on the game. So it’s not distracting for me at all,” he says.
“They usually just watch the games, and once we are done, for example with the Finals in Athens this year, or if we make it to the Worlds Final and win that, then we usually spend time together and then obviously would go home afterwards.”
“My dad doesn’t play League,” Caps explains after a quick question. “My mum played the tutorial but my dad hasn't tried yet.”
Caps has proved over the past year that he is one of the most versatile players in the LEC, with an impressive champion pool, and on-point game awareness. He’s pulled out off-meta picks, and surprising champions, and has succeeded with them even against some of the league’s most difficult teams. Yet, Caps still thinks he has far to go – and that there’s still plenty for him to practice, and achieve.
“In terms of versatility, I obviously need to practise different champions – same as everyone else – but I believe I can play everything. So regardless of what the meta is, or what the meta will be, I will be prepared,” he explains. “To be honest, I very much like when the meta shifts because I like learning new things and playing new champions.”
“There’s always a million things that you can improve on, no matter if in-game or out of game,” he says. “I try to look at all aspects, but obviously you can't improve everything at the same time. As long as you make little improvements every day, it will make a big difference in the grand scheme of things.”
With Worlds on the horizon, Caps has the international stage before him – and we’ll soon see if he can take G2 to even greater heights.