After a very poor showing in the group stage, Fnatic had to fight for their tournament lives in a lower bracket elimination game at the EPICENTER Dota 2 Major today.
Their opponents, Forward Gaming, really impressed a lot of people with their tough battles against Vici Gaming and Virtus Pro in the last round.
It looked like Fnatic were going to try to build their draft around Daryl “iceiceice” Pei Xiang on Medusa, which ended up being an error since they left an opening for Forward to build against that by drafting Undying. With their captain Johan “pieliedie” Åström locked in, the lanes became hell for Fnatic.
Forward’s offensive firepower broke through whatever plans Fnatic were working on and threw their rotations into turmoil. They pulled mid laners into offlane and continuously picked off the support players as they tried to back up the frontliners.
Things got increasingly more difficult for Fnatic as they kept failing to follow up on successful fights. On multiple occasions, a Forward player lost a confrontation with Fnatic and then managed to escape despite their poor positioning. It was as if Fnatic were already checked out and just ready to go home.
Forward continued their push and ended the game only losing one life to Fnatic the entire match. That left the win at a 36-1 kill difference and a 40,000 gold advantage as Forward move on.
This is the second straight Major that Fnatic have underperformed at. They were the first team eliminated at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major last month too, and this shaky streak really makes them look like a team that’s become weaker as the season has progressed.
They already have a spot at The International 2019 locked up because of their strong performances early in the season, but if Forward can utterly dominate them, it doesn’t look like they have a good chance to win it.
Forward will take on LGD Gaming as they try to become the second North American team to qualify for TI9. That series begins at 2:30am CT on June 26.