Fnatic makes esports history with undefeated season
A League of Legends team made history today by going undefeated for an entire season.
It’s a feat that no one has ever accomplished, and quite possibly no one else ever will. And it’s even more surprising considering the current esports environment, where teams have better infrastructure and resources at their disposal than ever before.
But Fnatic managed to do it, even after giving Unicorns of Love a lead early in the game.
The Unicorns, in their traditional fashion, pulled out a bit of cheese for the important match, picking Poppy for top laner Kiss “Vizicsacsi” Tamás. It’s a pick they used before in their run to the LCS, taking advantage of Poppy’s late-game power to crush Millenium in their promotion series last year.
Fnatic took over the game largely thanks to Huni himself, whose Ryze exploded to a 12/3/1 KDA line, mowing down the Unicorns left and right with his machine gun spells. The match was over in just 23:39, the quickest game of the LCS season.
“It’s actually a great feeling,” team captain Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim said in a post-game interview. “I didn’t expect to have this season so far. We’ve struggled. To me, we are taking it as a good experience and learning from our mistakes. We didn’t go for perfect, but you can’t expect better than that.”
The 18-0 mark is easily the best ever by a team in the LCS. Cloud9 holds the next best record at 25-3, an 89.3 win percentage, set in the Summer of 2013. But that was a different time in League of Legends, where the level of skill throughout the league was not close to what currently typifies the LCS. SK Gaming and Elements, after all, were two of the top teams in the past two season, yet they did not make the playoffs during this split.
But while Fnatic’s regular season was certainly perfect, no one will remember their accomplishment the same way if they fail to win the LCS title. But Fnatic is ready for the task at hand. While fans are most concerned about what they accomplish at the World Championships (which technically Fnatic has not yet qualified for; they must reach the finals to guarantee a berth), the team is squarely focused on the task at hand.
“Right now we’re just focusing on playoffs,” Kim said. “Why not? Maybe we can make it a perfect run.”
To do that, Fnatic needs to win six more games, three in their semifinal series and three more in the finals. Considering how they’ve played all season long, it’d hardly be a surprise to see them do it. In fact, it’d probably be more shocking if they dropped a game.
Of course, anything can happen. Just ask the 2007 New England Patriots. After a 16-0 NFL regular season, a feat only ever managed by three other teams, and that hadn't happened since the 1972 Miami Dolphins, they rushed through the playoffs and into Super Bowl XLII against the heavy underdog New York Giants. But the Giants won the big game, crushing the Patriots’ dreams of perfection. That 16-0 regular season record can’t be remembered without the caveat that they couldn’t see their perfection through. Fnatic will face the same pressure come playoff time.
But for now, they can be pleased with the fact that they’ve accomplished something no one has ever managed to do. The team’s owner, Sam Mathews, certainly is—he’s promised to do “something special” for the team should they finish the feat.
An 18-0 record is something we’ve never seen before. And it's something we'll likely will never see again.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr