It’s an era of unprecedented parity in the League Championship Series (LCS). Squads like Team SoloMid and Cloud9, who used to dominate the standings—losing only a handful of games every season—now face competition from all sides. The talent in the LCS is stronger than ever. The infrastructure behind the teams is better than ever.
Yet in that increasingly competitive environment, Fnatic has managed to put together the most dominant run in LCS history. Today they beat Origen in a slugfest, taking their record to 14-0 and setting a new record for the longest win streak in LCS history during the regular season at 14 games.
What’s more impressive about the accomplishment is that the final two games they needed to win came against Europe’s top two teams. Yesterday Fnatic beat H2k Gaming despite giving up two kills at level one and then followed it up by beating Origen, now 10-4, who ranks just below Fnatic in the standings. The win clinches the top seed for Fnatic heading into the playoffs and sets them up for a perfect undefeated season, something no team has ever accomplished.
What’s also impressive is the way Fnatic won their games this weekend. In both they came back from large gold deficits, 5,000 against H2k Gaming and 7,000 against Origen, to turn the match in their favor.
That’s the hallmark of a good team. In League of Legends it’s often difficult to come from behind and win, even if you have a team composition that features more late game power, like in today’s match against Origen. But Fnatic has a way of finding fights advantageous to them and using their solid mechanics to eke out comebacks, even against other mechanically sound teams like Origen.
In today’s match, Fnatic found themselves down by 7,000 gold at one point, giving up an ace and subsequent Baron and inhibitor in exchange for a single Dragon. But Fnatic found a way to come back, scoring a big team fight win just before the 30 minute mark backed by a Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten quadra kill on Viktor.
The game was in some ways an odd one for Fnatic, which picked a team comp that put their usually dynamic top and jungle combination of Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon and Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin on Lulu and Nunu, more support style champions than the playmakers they’re accustomed to. Huni ended the match with a 0/5/16 KDA line, the normally kill-hungry player looking visibly frustrated at times. But even on Lulu he managed to make positive plays for the team, often surviving deadly ganks and turning fights around from a support role.
That allowed Martin “Rekkles” Larsson and especially Febiven to have a field day, showing Fnatic has more sides than the one they used to win the EU LCS last season. Febiven finished the game with a whopping 11/2/6 score, with Rekkles backing him up at 6/1/7.
“Quite happy we broke the record, but we’ve struggled a lot lately,” Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim, Fnatic’s captain, said in the post-game. “I think we can improve way more.”
That’s a deadly proposition for the rest of Europe and even League of Legends as a whole. The last time Fnatic lost a professional match was at the Midseason Invitational against Korean juggernauts SK Telecom T1. If they continue their upward trajectory, perhaps Fnatic can finally return an international trophy to Europe. But that’s looking a little far ahead.
There’s still two weeks left and an undefeated season on the line. But with the top seed already clinched, it’s quite possible coach Luis “Deilor” Sevilla Petit keeps his card close to the vest and offers some more vanilla strategies from Fnatic. It’s also possible the team tries something new and unpracticed. Whatever the case,they’re eyeing the record.
“I just want to make 18-0 to have some fancy record,” Reignover said post-game at the analyst desk. “We’re going to work harder than before because there’s only 4 games left.”
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr
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