EU LCS: Summer Playoffs Finals match preview

Will it be Fnatic or FC Schalke 04 that lift the trophy?


(Image credit: Riot Games)

It’s been a tough Split. The competition had been fierce at the top of the EU LCS leaderboard for weeks, with intense speculation whether it would ultimately be Fnatic, G2 Esports, FC Schalke 04, Vitality, or Misfits that would lift the EU LCS trophy in Madrid.

At long last, we know which two teams have made it to the finals. Fnatic and FC Schalke 04 will battle it out in a Bo5 series on Sunday 9th September. A lot is on the line for both teams, so don’t expect this series to close out in three games.

Fnatic’s Caps looks unstoppable

Fnatic has been known as a tough team to beat this Split. Whether it’s through the unpredictability in their draft, the wide champion pools offered by Caps, Bwipo, and sOAZ, or through the uncertainty of whether Bwipo or Rekkles will feature in bot lane, any team looking to take Fnatic down has their work cut out for them.

Adding to that difficulty is mid-laner Caps. Ever since MSI this year Caps has really made his mark on the Rift and shown himself to be the main carry of the team. Although known for some unusual picks, Yasuo mid being his signature, he more often than not has the mechanical skill and game sense to make them work.

A case in point was Fnatic’s semi-finals series against Misfits last week. During game three, Fnatic was on the back foot, with Caps having drafted a Vayne in mid-lane. Although everything pointed to Misfits winning the game, a misplay from Hans Sama outside Fnatic’s base gave Caps the opening he needed to take Hans Sama down, and with that turn the game into a win for Fnatic.

Based on Fnatic’s performance during the semi-finals series, if Schalke wants to challenge the defending champions, they will have to draft smart, keep a tab on Caps, and punish any over-aggression on the side of Fnatic during the early and mid-game.

FC Schalke 04 is looking to make history

FC Schalke 04 had a Spring Split they’d rather forget about. Upset – their star ADC – was ill during the initial weeks of that Split and things never really got off the ground for them.

Fast forward to the Summer Split and Schalke looks like a different team. Upset has popped and looks fierce in the bot lane while Nukeduck seems to have lived up to the hype that it is finally the year of the duck. Even Amazing has stepped things up in the jungle, proving that he can handle aggressive junglers such as Kikis during Schalke’s semi-final series against Vitality.

This will be the first finals that Schalke have made and a win would represent an incredible turnaround for a team that struggled so much at the start of the year. Even on an emotional level, it’s clear that Schalke will put their hearts and souls into this finals series, as evidenced by Amazing’s tears following their win over Vitality – understandable given his career history, having worked as an analyst on the EU LCS during the Spring Split, only to join Schalke at the start of the Summer Split.

In fact, some of Schalke’s more veteran players, including Amazing and Nukeduck have all made it to an EU LCS final previously but failed to take the trophy, although Amazing has two other finals wins to his name elsewhere. Overall, a lot of history could be made if Schalke can take the win on Sunday.

Verdict: Given how much a win would mean to both teams, it’s unlikely that this series will close out at 3-0. However, Fnatic has much more experience on the finals stage than Schalke, and with the versatility of using Bwipo or Rekkles in bot lane, this series should go to Fnatic in the end.

Third-place decider and a shot a Worlds

Alongside the drama of the finals series, there will also be a Bo5 third-place decider between Vitality and Misfits on Saturday 8th September.

Although both teams would undoubtedly have preferred to make it to the finals, there’s still a lot at stake when it comes to the third-place match.

For instance, if Vitality can secure the win over Misfits and Fnatic beat Schalke, then Vitality should grab second seed in the qualifications for Worlds due to their fourth-place finish during the Spring Split. This would be a huge achievement for the team.

Should Vitality lose, then they will face the Gauntlet to see whether they can make Worlds this year, which will be held in Korea.

Whatever happens, Fnatic fans will be pleased to know that they have already booked their spot at worlds and will place first or second-seed depending on how their series against Schalke plays out. 

Do you think Fnatic or Schalke will take the win? Let us know in the comments below!

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