Questions were asked of Fnatic this season after they were toppled from their strong early 7-0 start by ROCCAT and Gambit Gaming. However, with only a single defeat in the final three weeks of the Spring Split, they seemed to have found their form at the right time as they claimed a second place finish leading into the playoffs.
Quick adaptations to the meta game with sOAZ bringing out Lulu top in all but two of Fnatic’s playoff matches resulted in a victory at the Spring Playoffs and a ticket to All-Stars. The Season One World Champions will look to build on their LCS victory despite facing tough opposition from the rest of the world.
Fnatic will be keen not to repeat their showing at last Fall’s Battle of the Atlantic, where they lost to Cloud 9, but with Rekkles now a fully practiced member of the team, they won’t make it easy for the American outfit. They seem to have recently eradicated most of their consistency problems, and will look for a strong showing against OMG – Both teams were knocked out by Royal Club on the way to the Finals last season, and SKT was a key matchup in the mid lane between Faker and xPeke.
With extended teamfights now the norm and teleports common in both top and mid, teams will be looking to Fnatic to continue innovating in their strategy with high map pressure and aggressive moves to take advantage of even the smallest mis-play. Fnatic is not a team to be written off lightly, but can they go all the way? Or will Europe once again be left languishing in last place?
Paul “sOAZ” Boyer – Top
sOAZ’s reputation for breaking the mold in top lane has continued on for yet another season with both Lulu and Soraka being seen during the LCS spring playoffs. However, this innovation hasn’t always drawn him the greatest praise, especially during Fnatic’s problems earlier in the season with their double AP comp.
However, sOAZ is still one of the best top lane players in the world and shows excellent mechanical skill across one of the broadest top lane champion pools.
Lauri “Cyanide” Happonen – Jungle
Cyanide’s performances this season have shown that he is one of Europe’s strongest junglers and that he is willing to do whatever it takes for the team to succeed. However, he is regarded as one of the team’s weaker members due to his lack of flashy plays, though we have sent plenty of ‘Insec’ kicks from him.
With his teammate-orientated playstyle and Lee Sin Baron stealing mechanics available for the team, teams ought to underestimate Cyanide at the risk of their own peril.
Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño – Mid
Despite Kassadin’s near perma-ban status and subsequent rework, xPeke hasn’t suffered like his most iconic champion has. He’ll always be known for the backdoor base race gimmick, but he’s not short of raw talent across a surprising number of champions.
xPeke has racked up a surprisingly large number of deaths, the most on his team, but this is due to his high risk/high reward playstyle that sees him 5th highest in total gold for the season. Look out for the Faker vs xPeke match up on Friday!
Martin “Rekkles” Larsson – AD Carry
Although a relatively young talent within the scene, Rekkles plays like he’s been around since Season 1. His high level of mechanical play and strong synergy with Yell0wStaR has seen him rack up the highest KDA and GPM of anyone in Europe last season.
Obviously we can’t heap all the praise on Rekkles, but there is a reason Fnatic was happy to wait for him, and he has repaid that faith.
Bora “Yell0wStaR” Kim – Support
As the experienced half of Fnatic’s duo lane, Yell0wStaR has had his fair share of tough games over the years and has experience in droves that he has been able to share with his new ADC. Having played ADC for Fnatic in the past, he shows great understanding of the bot lane. His support play this season has shown the kind of player he still is.
With the highest KDA of any support in Europe, and almost 25 more assists than second place, there’s a reason why Yell0wStaR is where he is.
A mid-season bump may have rocked the confidence of the Fnatic faithful, but they have recovered since then and come into the tournament as a worthy representative of Europe. With the ability to make flashy plays on a bedrock of solid farming and objective control could this be the year where EU claims the number one spot? The answer lies in their hands.