After a four-split break, Europe welcomes back Fnatic as the reigning overlords of the League Championship Series.
For Fnatic, a return to winning the final game of the split was long overdue. It’s been two hard years (and four excruciating splits) for former World Champions to bear. Out of nowhere, European League Championship Series became an unbeatable hurdle for Fnatic, they finished third three times and sixth once in the 2016 Summer Split, keeping them away from the World Championship altogether.
This split, however, they entered as favorites to win. Fnatic remained the only team in the European LCS to keep the entirety of its roster from the last season with some changes to the starting lineup. Even moving Jesse “Jesiz” Le to the substitutes and acquiring Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov from Unicorns of Love proved to be the right move and further increased Fnatic’s power in the bottom lane.
Not even Paul “sOAZ” Boyer’s hand injury right before the playoffs could keep his team from their destiny. Replaced by Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau, a toplaner better known for his time in Russia’s RoX and Turkey’s Dark Passage, Fnatic managed to comfortably move through the semi-finals, where they defeated Team Vitality 3-1. For them, this sudden replacement of one of their core members seemed like a minor hiccup.
Their opponents G2 Esports had a lot to prove going into the finals. The reigning champions, together with their captain Luka “Perkz” Perković, were looking to extend their winning streak to five splits in a row — a record high in the world of League.
In the first game of the best-of-five series, the game had to come down to the bottom lane strength of each team. Martin “Rekkles” Larsson’s Tristana was going head to head with Petter “Hjarnan” Freyschuss’ Jinx, supported by Braum and Tahm Kench, respectively.
In the game that lasted 42 minutes, Fnatic took the initiative into their own hands and refused to let go until the end of the match. Even with all the effort by team captain of G2 Esports, stoping Rekkles’ Tristana proved to be an impossible task — he finished the game with ten kills, five assists, and no deaths to his name.
During the second game of the series, all the eyes were on the middle lane, where Perkz on Karma was facing the famed mini-Faker himself, Rasmus “Caps” Winther on Zoe. G2’s Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski successfully secured first blood for his team, taking down Fnatic’s substitute player in the top lane.
And even though G2 Esports managed to snowball that into a slight lead over Fnatic, it was not enough to stop Rekkles. A small mistake near the Baron pit cost G2 a lot — the young Swede secured an ace and cemented his team a victory in the second match of the day, as his opponents weren’t able to bounce back and find a way to winning once again.
Finding themselves two games behind, G2 entered the third game looking lost. All of the confidence that got them the lead in the second game was gone and mistakes were plenty. Fnatic secured the first blood, completely shut down Martin “Wunder” Hansen’s Ornn in the top lane, and snowballed that into an easy three-game victory in the EU LCS grand finals over G2 Esports.
This victory marks Fnatic’s return to the very top of European League of Legends, as well as secures them a hefty € 80,000 prize, 90 Championship Points, and a spot in the 2018 Mid Season Invitational this May.