LEC fans arise! After a worrying Worlds week 1 for the European region, day 6 gave us at least a glimmer of hope. With Splyce surprisingly advancing to the knockout stage, all eyes were put on Fnatic as the last EU team. However, in an extremely tough group, not qualifying wouldn’t be anything unusual. So how did Fnatic do it, and what changed compared to week 1?
Nobody expected Fnatic’s first game of the day to be as close as it was. Compared to last week, they finally went back to their roots, picking a traditional bottom lane. The action started right at the beginning, in the first minute of the game. Both teams met in the bottom lane brushes and traded some blows. In the exchange, Fnatic managed to pick up two crucial kills on their mid and top laner. The action didn’t stop there, either, as both teams traded kills and objectives back and forth for the next 10 minutes. Fnatic firmly held onto their lead, but Clutch Gaming wasn’t far behind either.
Clutch Gaming took over around the 18-minute mark, after forcing Fnatic into some unfavorable fights. However, Fnatic fought back fiercely and managed to beat them in a fight at baron. Securing the objective, Fnatic rotated bottom and tried to push into the enemy base. Clutch fought back with a push of their own in the top lane, forcing their opponents to back off after securing the inhibitor. Their interruption actually prolonged the game significantly, making it one of the most important moments of this game.
Further fights were fairly even, so Fnatic knew they had to make something happen. After a super minion pushed into the nexus tower, Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau teleported onto the minion and attempted a backdoor. Unfortunately, he was only able to secure one nexus tower, dying in the attempt. This led to Clutch securing baron and the momentum swinging in their favor. With the help from the buff, Clutch made a similar push to Fnatic’s earlier one. They managed to crack the inhibitor but were quickly stopped by Fnatic members. The next baron went to the side of Fnatic, but it looked as though it would cost them everything.
Yet, Fnatic fought back hard and nearly aced the enemy team. This led to them acquiring an elder dragon. They once again pushed into Clutch’s base – but once again, Fnatic only got a single inhibitor. Another baron, fight, and elder later, they went for another push that ended the same as the last two. Their last push of the game surprisingly turned into a base race as two members of Clutch headed for the top side. With nothing to lose, the Clutch members only got to the inhibitor as Fnatic destroyed their Nexus.
What was likely the most anticipated game of the day was crucial for Fnatic. They desperately needed a win if they wanted even the chance to advance to the Worlds knockout stage. It started off with SKT picking up some early kills and objectives. However, just when EU fans were thinking this would be just another SKT stomp, Fnatic woke up. SKT went for a risky dive in the middle lane that didn’t pay off. This led to the Europeans picking up three kills and dragging themselves back into the game. The next fight around Rift Herald also went in their favor.
Another failed SKT dive in the top lane almost distracted us from the magic that happened in the middle lane. After it looked as though Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok would get another Akali solo kill, Fnatic’s Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek completely obliterated him on the Veigar. They took this momentum to go for a push in the middle lane, which led to an important fight. The scattered SKT weren’t able to fight back as Fnatic picked up some more kills.
After that, the game became Fnatic’s playground. They did whatever they wanted, and there was no way SKT could stop them. Fnatic confidently finished the game in just under 27 minutes, keeping LEC fans’ Worlds hopes alive.
After RNG lost to SKT in the previous game, both they and Fnatic now needed a win to advance from their Worlds group. Unfortunately for the viewers, this game was completely one-sided. Fnatic took initiative in the early game, attempting to shut down RNG’s star bottom lane. They were fairly successful, amassing a decent gold lead that transitioned to other lanes as well. RNG attempted to fight back, but in their typical fashion, Fnatic managed to sneak many objectives to snowball their lead even further. This stomp of a game ended in 33 minutes, with RNG being completely powerless against the European titans. Subsequently, Fnatic is advancing to the knockout stage as the second seed from their group.
The action continues tomorrow with the last day of groups. You can catch all the action live on Twitch.
Do you think Fnatic deserve their spot in the Worlds knockout stage? Let us know in the comments below!
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Vince Koyle is an esports writer, tech nerd and future CompSci student. He often likes to compare traditional sports to esports, showing his love for both kinds. Also tends to sometimes try too hard with explaining what esports is and how it isn’t any different than traditional sports. He mainly covers the League of Legends scene, with an emphasis on European and Asian leagues.