Fnatic dominates Cloud9, advances to Worlds Finals

Fnatic Cloud9 Worlds 2018

It wasn’t just the most important match in both Cloud9’s and Fnatic’s history. It might have been the most important match in the history of the West. For the first time since Season One, the Grand Finals of Worlds will feature a Western organization. Today would decide which side, whether it was North America or Europe.

Fnatic vs. Cloud9: A Historical Matchup

Cloud9 has had one of the most miraculous runs in competitive League of Legends. This team went from being the last place team at the beginning of the split to reaching the semifinals of Worlds 2018. They have also been performing with two rookies, Eric “Licorice” Ritchie, and Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam. These are new heights for North America, who has never had a team reach the semifinals of Worlds before.

On the other hand, Fnatic is having one of the strongest runs its ever had. The last time a European team would reach the Finals of Worlds was back in Season One. Which team was that? Fnatic. The team has great players in every role, from the always reliable top laner Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau to the superstar mid laner Rasmus “Caps” Winther. Can they continue their great form going into the semifinals against Cloud9?

A Dominant Start

Fnatic would come into Game One with a full head of steam. Following some great movement from jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pederson, Fnatic would jump out to a very quick lead. Additionally, Cloud9 would get too aggressive multiple times, which would be their downfall. While both Cloud9 and Fnatic like to fight, the European counterpart is very calculated in the madness. Their ability to turn fights would be the tipping point for the matchup.

Meanwhile, Cloud9 could not find the same success that they found earlier in the tournament. Beforehand, their run and gun, chaotic style of fighting would catch multiple teams off-guard. Korea’s lineups were all very used to slow, methodical styles of play, and so Cloud9 could take advantage. However, Fnatic is a team with a similar playing style, but much more refined. That, plus the fact that Fnatic may have better players mechanically, would spell disaster for the North Americans.

Europe Punches Their Ticket

Unfortunately, some of the big factors to Cloud9’s early success would not show up today. Their top laner Licorice could not get the upper hand on Bwipo, especially after some great ganks from Broxah. The North American top laner was also making some pretty glaring mistakes, which would put his team back even further. Meanwhile, Cloud9 would place veteran midlaner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen on Lissandra three times in a row. He would end up finishing with only five kills and thirteen deaths over the three games.

Additionally, Cloud9’s ability to innovate was stifled for every game. The one big surprise pick they would break out in game two was Viktor in the bottom lane. As expected, it would become almost insignificant by the time Caps would roll on. It was clear that Fnatic was a step above Cloud9 today, and they might have been better than them this whole time. Every single member of the European first seed was firing on all cylinders.

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What’s Next

The Player of the Series was definitely Caps, as his play would dictate the pace of the game moving forward. His impressive plays on Azir would turn the tide in game two, and he was clearly the best player on the Rift. However, an honorable mention should go out to Broxah, who also got his lanes ahead with some great jungle pathing and decision making. Fnatic’s macro play was quite superior and should be frightening for Invictus Gaming. However, their individual play was very good as well.

For Cloud9, they should be leaving Worlds with their heads held high. Their story has been one of the most impressive stories in recent memory, and finishing at the semifinals is nothing to scoff at. Yes, ending their Worlds run with a 3-0 sweep is quite anticlimactic, given the hype leading up to the series. However, I believe that Cloud9 will be back and stronger than ever next season. Their rookies have felt the bright lights of Worlds and I am sure they will want to feel them again.


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