Fnatic Nemesis needs the Caps treatment

Fnatic's new mid laner—Nemesis—had a rough time during his first week of the 2019 LEC Spring Split. What can his team do to help him recover?

Image Credit: Riot Games

To say that Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek had a rough LEC debut would be an understatement. The first week of the 2019 Spring Split saw Fnatic struggling to gain any ground against the newly-franchised SK Gaming and Origen. A huge reason behind this lied in the mid lane. Nemesis had a hard time challenging veteran players like Pirean and Nukeduck in the early game, and Fnatic had to play two (three, if you count a remake against SK Gaming) of their matches with a losing mid lane.

To make matters worse, Nemesis is the only new face on an already accomplished lineup. It was only several months ago that the four remaining Fnatic members had gone all the way to the Worlds finals, cementing themselves as some of the best League of Legends players in the West. Nemesis’s track record pales in comparison. He doesn’t have the achievements or the highlight reels of his veteran teammates, so it’s easy to single him out as the root of Fnatic’s problem.

But what if their issues run deeper? 

Week 1 of the LEC saw Fnatic put a strong emphasis on their side lanes and do everything in their power to set up Bwipo and Rekkles for success. This game plan makes sense on paper. Anyone with an ounce of reason would realize that it’s much better to play around proven powerhouses until the new guy starts getting the hang of his role on the team. But a reasonable approach isn’t always the right one. After all, this is League of Legends.

Rekkles speaks his mind on Caps leaving Fnatic

Most European fans have already heard Rekkles’s opinion that the biggest triumphs of their previous mid laner—Rasmus "Caps" Winther—came from Fnatic going above and beyond to set him up for success. And while this statement might seem odd in view of recent results, it isn’t far away from the truth. 

When Caps joined Fnatic for the 2017 EU LCS Spring Split, he was a talented, yet deeply flawed player. He had the mechanics and the killer instinct to pull off spectacular outplays, but he lacked the game sense to recognize when said outplays could blow up in his face. This turned him into a textbook example of a feast-or-famine player. And the fact that Fnatic were hesitant to funnel all of their resources into the mid lane left Caps wide open to the enemy jungle. 

It wasn’t until 2018 that Fnatic committed to playing around Caps, effectively turning him from a wildcard into a star player. Perhaps Nemesis needs to receive the same treatment. If you go back to his first LEC matches, Nemesis spent two of them on Galio—a utility pick, whose main strength comes from locking down enemies and assisting his side lanes. On top of that, he had to face two hard counters in Corki and Vayne with close to zero assistance from his jungler, so the deck was stacked against him before he even loaded onto the Rift. 

You could say that Nemesis still shouldn’t have lost lane as hard as he did. But in the end, it’s hard to expect a rookie standing up to battle-hardened veterans in such unfavorable circumstances. Meanwhile, his Akali game was much more impressive. Despite having a tough matchup against the ultimate anti-assassin champion in Lissandra, Nemesis stayed relatively even in CS and made his presence known in mid-game skirmishes. Granted, Fnatic still lost that game in teamfights, but it’s hard to deny that Nemesis showed promise as a carry player. With that, shoehorning him into the utility role might be the same as trying to fit a square block into a round hole. 

Nemesis is still at the beginning of his competitive journey. For this team to succeed, he needs to feel like he won't be left out to dry. He needs the Caps treatment.

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Daniil Volkov

I craft League of Legends narratives and cover LCK, NA & EU LCS.