Over the span of the 2017 Summer Split, Fnatic laid claim to the EU LCS throne. They took the competition by storm with a staggering 11-2 record, only dropping games to Team ROCCAT and Ninjas in Pyjamas. And even with their shaky showing at Rift Rivals, fans believed that Fnatic would still defeat G2 and become the new kings of Europe.
But the playoffs meant a different story.
Suddenly, Fnatic looked figured out as they fell at the hand of Misfits, and even though they managed to recover with two back-to-back victories against H2K, their spotless legacy was forever shattered. Now Fnatic have to go through the Group C of the Play-In stage, and battle against Kaos Latin Gamers and Young Generation to redeem themselves.
In the process, they’ll have to answer five questions.
1. Can Broxah expand his champion pool?
During the regular split, Broxah made a name for himself as one of the best early game junglers in the league. With stunning showings on Lee Sin and Elise, the rookie broke open countless matches with his gank-heavy playstyle. Then the meta shift came, and his staple champions fell out of favor.
Very quickly it became clear that Broxah just wasn’t that great on other picks. Even after taking up Gragas—one of the best junglers on the current patch—he struggled to have the same in-game impact he had in the past. Rest assured everyone at Worlds will be well aware of these limitations.
It will be up to Broxah to prove them wrong.
2. Can the team work without engage from sOAZ?
When Misfits came into the Bo5 against Fnatic, they had a very simple game plan: ban out sOAZ. On his own, the French top laner is one of the most versatile players in the world, but somehow that isn’t the case on Fnatic.
The truth is that sOAZ’s team heavily depends on him being the go button.
Neither Jesiz nor Broxah have had the ability to find the right fights, so sOAZ on champions like Galio, Jarvan IV, and Shen became the team’s get-out-of-jail-free card. When removed from the equation, Fnatic lack the ability to kick-start a teamfight.
Of course, Broxah has stepped up as another initiator, but will that be enough without sOAZ guiding Fnatic in 5v5s?
3. How will Caps hold up against international mid laners?
It’s been a long road for Caps.
After entering the Spring Split as the brash rookie who had more brawn than brains, he picked up the slack and became a top 4 mid laner in the EU LCS. Even so, old habits die hard, and you can still see Caps taking needless risks and going for cocky trades.
Not only that, but his performance against the likes of Febiven, Perkz, and PowerOfEvil has been very hit-or-miss—and things aren’t about to get any easier for him at Worlds.
The Play-In stage will be Caps’s first opportunity to prove his worth outside of Europe, and that is a very heavy burden to bear.
4. Will Rekkles keep crushing the bottom lane?
Bot lane has always been Fnatic’s power source. And while Jesiz certainly pulls his weight as the credited playmaker, it’s Rekkles who shines the most here. After transitioning from the unorthodox splitpushing playstyle towards a more conventional approach, Fnatic’s captain has been the foundation that the team’s strategies are built upon.
Sure, you could turn to sOAZ for the top lane presence, and Caps often puts on a clinic in the mid lane, but it’s really Rekkles and his bot lane prowess that propel Fnatic to the next level.
Even so, dominating Europe and taking over at Worlds are two completely different things, so it will be up to Rekkles to make his presence known when it matters most.
5. Can Fnatic keep evolving?
Fnatic went through a lot of change in the EU LCS.
Their champion picks, their splitpushing strategy, their top-centric approach—everything had to continue evolving for them to even make it this far. And as soon as they became complacent, a new challenger appeared and dragged them down to earth.
It’s clear that Fnatic’s form in the EU LCS playoffs won’t be enough to make a splash at Worlds, so they have to keep going. They have to keep evolving to make their home region proud.
But doing so on such a short notice is a tall order.
Think we missed something? Have more questions for Fnatic as they prepare to fight in the 2017 World Championship? Let us know in the comments below!
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