Fnatic is one of the oldest esports organizations in the world and will always be known for winning the first League of Legends World Championship in 2011. The team set the standard as the LoL organization with the most EU LCS championships won with five and have also achieved the longest ever win streak in the region with 18 games. The Fnatic team has been a dominant force in past years but are at serious risk to set a new low this season.
Fnatic suffered its first heartbreak after failing to qualify for the 2016 League of Legends World Championship last October by losing in the playoffs and regional qualifiers. That was the first time that Fnatic failed to compete at Worlds. Now, the organization is in another difficult situation as they are struggling to get a playoff spot this Spring split.
Let’s look at a breakdown of why the team is struggling and will likely struggle to get a playoff spot.
After Fnatic failed to punch its ticket to Worlds 2016, the organization was dealt a blow with major roster changes. Mateusz “Kikis” Szkudlarek was transferred to Fnatic Academy, Lee “Spirit” Da-yoon went back to Korea and joined Afreeca Freecs, Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten joined H2K and Bora “Yellowstar” Kim became the manager for the PSG esports team. Only Martin “Rekkles” Larsson was left to rebuild the team from scratch.
The new Fnatic team made up of Rasmus “Caps” Winther, Jesse “Jesiz” Le along with veteran players Paul “sOAZ” Boyer and Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider showed promise in the first half of the Spring Split. However, Amazing failed to perform on consistent levels that were expected of him and the team as a whole could never piece together a decent win streak. His kill 60.6% kill participation is second to the last in the region which resulted in the decision to sub him with Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen.
The roster changes are taxing on Fnatic’s performance as a whole. While many other teams focus on furnishing their gameplay, Fnatic is being left out still figuring out synergy between players. While individual play may get you so far, it’s macro-play at the end of the day that differentiates the G2’s and UoL’s of the EU with the middle of the pack teams.
At the end of the 2016 Summer Split, Nicholas “NicoThePico” Korsgård replaced Luis “Deilor” Sevilla as the team’s coach. Many criticisms were fired at NicoThePico regarding the “weird” picks and bans in matches which allegedly caused countless defeats for team. The organization then made another change after NicoThePico departed earlier this month. Fnatic decided to put interim coach Mihael “Garki” Bolze as manager and temporary coach of the squad.
While Garki’s management was able to gain a win against Giants, the change is crucial as coach and player synergy is difficult to build. It takes knowing the strengths and limits of each player and when to time moves correctly which can only come with experience of playing all together as a single unit. Building player morale after losses and handling their emotions during victories also takes time to learn which is something that Fnatic don’t have right now.
Facing the “Towers of Group A”
In order to secure a playoff spot, Fnatic has to win atleast one series against G2 Esports or Misfits, the top 1 and 2 teams of EU LCS group A. Failing to do so might allow ROCCAT to secure a playoff spot if they win against G2 Esports. This will be a difficult challenge for the team as G2 are undefeated in the Spring Split while Misfits defeated Fnatic in Week 3 in 2-0 fashion. Even if they do make the playoffs with a ROCCAT loss to G2, Fnatic still have a lot to fix. The team have struggled of late with a poor 2-1 showing against GIANTS! preceded by1-2 losses to ROCCAT and UoL. Fnatic have to step up their game if they want to defeat the top teams of the EU LCS in Week 10. It will be a huge statement for Fnatic to qualify with wins over the top teams rather than limping into the playoffs by virtue of a ROCCAT loss..
With all this said, the world is waiting and expecting more Fnatic magic. All we can do as fans is hope that this team performs well in possibly it’s most challenging feat.
Do you think Fnatic have what it take to topple G2 or Misfits? Let us know in the comments!