Splyce and Fnatic met in the first semifinal of the LEC playoffs this weekend. With Fnatic taking both of the previous games between the two teams, and a berth at Rift Rivals up for the taking, the reigning champions were the heavy favorites going in. As always, Splyce were up to the challenge to defy expectations.
Game 1 started strong for Splyce, as their unorthodox composition of a Corki mid and a Zoe in the bottom lane spent the early game bullying Fnatic’s top laner Bwipo into a 0/3 start. After the fifteen minute mark, the tides turned as the creep score leads from Fnatic led to even trades in kills and objectives. Most importantly, they were able to secure all five elemental drakes. This allowed the champs to utilize their superior macro play, even nullifying the Baron Nashor secured by their opponents. This back and forth continued until Splyce made a desperate attempt to deny the ultimate Elder Dragon. It didn’t go well and the team lost four members and eventually the game in the process.
The second round was complete suffocation by Splyce. Knowing that Fnatic’s composition relied on the late game power of their Cho’Gath, Kayle, and Sivir, the underdogs struck fast and hard. Norskeren, in particular, was nigh omnipresent, finishing just one kill short of perfect kill participation. Splyce simply took barons, towers, and fights as needed to close out the game before Fnatic could catch up.
The third game started very similarly to the first two, with Splyce focusing hard on the early game. However, disaster struck as the Fnatic squad collapsed hard on the bottom lane at the nine-minute mark. This resulted in a four-for-zero fight win that allowed Nemesis and Bwipo to snowball the next twenty minutes. They were able to push Splyce back into their own base while only losing a single tower. A stalemate broke out, with Splyce unable to leave their base and Fnatic unable to cleanly close the fights. This carried on until the entire Fnatic squad made a mad dash for the open nexus, ending the game at the forty-minute mark.
Coming into the fourth game, with match point in play, Splyce thought they had out-drafted Fnatic by counter-picking the Vayne with a bottom lane pocket pick Veigar. Instead, the response was a Sivir bottom lane, revealing the return of Fnatic Vayne mid. Fnatic proceeded to play mind games with Splyce the rest of the way, with Nemesis and Rekkles constantly trading places and Broxah roaming around the map like a madman, picking off Splyce members left and right. The game was efficiently closed out by Fnatic, who took the series 3-1. Bwipo was awarded the MVP honors.
With the win over Splyce, Fnatic will play the loser of G2 Esports and Origen next week. The team has also guaranteed a spot for themselves at the Rift Rivals event later in the year.
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