Fnatic has had more than their share in the spotlight, but they earn the first spot of teams to preview. I’ll review other notable EU and NA LCS teams throughout this week. But for today, we’re talking about Fnatic, one of the winningest teams in League of Legends history (and the only team to win at Dreamhack twice in a row).
You can’t have a European scene without Fnatic. Fnatic is one of the oldest professional League of Legends teams, and also one of the most consistent under pressure. Their story is one of important wins. In Season 1, they barely made it through the Group Stage, going 1-2 and losing to two teams they would later beat in the semi-finals and finals of the winner’s bracket, Epik Gamer (almost a sister team to TSM) and aAa (aAA’s sOAZ would replace Shushei top lane for Fnatic in Season 2, but not before Shushei and xPeke first popularized the double AP strategy, a strategy that has existed on and off since, but is something that Fnatic is still famous for.
Fnatic had a relatively quiet Season 2, but came back with a bang in Preseason 3, picking up the young Rekkles and dominating a series of tournaments, including Dreamhack 2012, one year after their Season One victory.
They would go on to be extremely dominant in the first split, going 36-9 and taking first place in the playoffs. And while they struggled in the summer split with Puszu, going 25-21, they pushed their way to second place (and a World championship qualification). After losing their first game to Vulcun, they went undefeated through the group stage with a dominant 7-1 performance, beating out Samsung Galaxy Ozone and European rival Gambit Gaming. They then beat Cloud9 2-1 before losing 1-3 to Royal Club, leaving them in 3rd place.
Fnatic has an extremely unique style, that is known for being somewhat random and all-in. They have become known for the term ‘Fnatic bush’, the act of hiding as a team in a ward-cleared bush you think it likely the enemy team will walk blindly through, but that is not the extent of their brilliance, only an indicator. They are primarily known for running tons of map presence abilities with heavy dive champions.
sOAZ loves Elise and Kennen, champions that see considerably less play top (although Balls plays some Kennen, and Elise is not unheard of either). He also became well known for his Lissandra top, as Fnatic ran double TP Lissandra/Kassadin to devastating effect, with heavy global pressure and extreme dive potential.
xPeke has always been a high-caliber mid, but his famous backdoor vs SK catapulted him into international recognition. He is best known for his performance on Lissandra and Kassadin, both champions who can dive heavily onto the ADC and roam well with Teleport. However, like most European mids, he is extremely strong on more standard AP Carries. Two of his overlooked mids are Twisted Fate and Ahri, both of whom also have the ability to exert heavy map pressure and bring the ability to dive onto ADCs.
When you think ‘inventive jungler’, you typically think DiamondPr0x. But Cynanide is also extremely inventive, somewhat responsible for pioneering jungle Aatrox and Gangplank. He prefers bruisers with gap-closers, like Lee Sin, Jarvan, Aatrox, and Xin Zhao.
Rekkles has been heralded as an extremely talented ADC, and his performance vs C9 at the Battle of the Atlantic was impressive despite his team’s 0-2. Can he give Fnatic the small bump they need to be the World Champions next year?
Yellowstar has played Marksman and Support for Fnatic. In Season 3, he preferred Thresh and Sona, and his Thresh has paired nicely with Rekkles’ Lucian. He was previously known for his skill at Leona, who is considered very strong now.
Their roster has changed far less than many teams, with Cyanide and xPeke being original members, and sOAZ having been around since early Season 2. However, in part because Rekkles was not old enough to compete in Season 3, their bot lane has been less stable. With Rekkles coming of age, will we see an even more dominant Fnatic in Season 4? They suffered a setback loss to Cloud9 at the Battle of the Atlantic, but Rekkles was extremely dominant regardless. If their history is any indicator, xPeke and sOAZ should come on strong in Season 4 when it really counts, and Fnatic will be one of the teams to beat.
Mattias “Gentleman Gustaf” Lehman is a big time nerd-gamer who has been involved in both SC2 and LoL. He has ranked as high as Diamond 1 in solo queue and Diamond 3 in arranged 5s.
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