H2k Gaming scored two kills at level 1 after countering a Fnatic invade—Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu, H2k Gaming’s star top laner, perfectly positioned to shut down Fnatic’s own playmaker Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon. They leveraged that early initiative into three uncontested Dragons and an 8-1 kill lead, giving them a 3k gold advantage 20 minutes into the game.
That’s the kind of lead a team like H2k Gaming, notorious for grinding teams down with their solid map rotations and control of the game, never give up.
But Fnatic are not your regular team. The kings of Europe are now 13-0 after pulling off an amazing comeback, first pulling close to even after trading one kill for five in a fight starting in their jungle behind the Baron pit. At 25 minutes, Fnatic caught out Odoamne and used the advantage to attack Baron. In an uncharacteristic move of desperation, three of H2k Gaming’s players drove Fnatic in the pit, giving up three deaths and the objective itself.
At 29 minutes it was 9-9, but Fnatic had a 4k gold lead. Unlike H2k Gaming, Fnatic had no trouble closing out the match, using the insane damage provided by their poke combination of Jayce and Corki to punish H2k Gaming.
“Sometimes when you win these games it’s kind of hard to tell if you win because you are the better team and that’s why you come back into the game, because you make these clutch decisions and get towers for nothing, or if they are just not good enough to keep hold of their towers or the ways we can come back into the game,” Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, Fnatic’s AD carry, said in his postgame interview.
That statement in some ways speaks to Fnatic’s level. Few teams would be able to recover from such a disastrous early game, but Fnatic has become so dominant that they can do it against another of Europe’s best.
H2k Gaming certainly did do some things right, like their level 1 strategy. Fnatic entered the match with a plan based off what H2k Gaming did in their previous 12 matches, Larsson said. But H2k Gaming changed that strategy up in expectation of this match and instead countered the counter to their previous strategy. That gave them a big early lead which they built on in the bottom lane as Raymond “kaSing” Tsang scored two kills on his support Shen.
“They had a huge advantage in pretty much every lane to begin with,” Larsson said. “Outside of that we had weak matchups in every lane as well. It was pretty hard to keep the team solid in early game without getting snowballed on.”
Larsson credits team captain Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim’s shot calling for keeping Fnatic in the game and giving them the opportunity to score free towers to lead into winning the key fight at Baron.
“We did what we could with the champions we had and the situation we were in, so I’m pretty happy about that win,” Larsson said.
The win brings Fnatic to 13-0 on the season while dropping H2k Gaming to 9-4, solidly in third place in the standings. The 13-game streak ties the longest in LCS history, set by Cloud9 in the summer of 2013, and equaled by them in the following spring. Fnatic will look to set a new record tomorrow against Origen, sitting at second in the standings with a 10-2 record.
Larsson says that he always felt like H2k Gaming was a slightly better team than Origen, but that battling former Fnatic teammates Paul “sOAZ” Boyer and Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez will be just as tough of a match. But regardless of that result, it’s clear: Fnatic are the kings of Europe.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr
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