It was a close match from start to finish, but after the fourth game of the day, Korea’s Hanwha Life Esports have qualified for the 2021 League of Legends World Championship’s knockout stage. This victory also means that Fnatic’s miracle run to the quarterfinals has been cut short.
Throughout the game and the day, Fnatic showed awe-inspiring courage with their confident and aggressive playstyle. With how they jumped into teamfights and found skirmishes against these tough opponents, they didn’t look like a team that went 0-3 in the first round-robin of groups.
Their spirit and tenacity weren’t enough, however, with HLE’s superstar mid laner Chovy taking it upon himself to snatch the victory. Piloting LeBlanc, the 20-year-old phenom continuously found angles to chip away at Fnatic’s hefty frontline, popping in plenty of damage to the squishier carries of Twisted Fate and Miss Fortune.
Chovy ended the game with a whopping nine kills, eight assists, and one death. HLE’s veteran AD carry Deft also had a significant role in the win, sitting second in damage dealt in the game behind his teammate in the mid lane. In the end, Fnatic were ultimately outdueled in the later stages of the game, but the whole game was balanced on a knife’s edge until the Nexus exploded.
This game also marks the end of Fnatic’s journey at Worlds 2021. It has been a difficult, emotionally charged road for the perennial LEC champions, ever since they had to move Bean—a rookie ADC from Fnatic Rising—into the main lineup. Their starting marksman, Upset, had to leave Iceland due to an urgent family matter, which threw a wrench into Fnatic’s plans for the tournament.
HLE, on the other hand, will now look towards the knockout stage. They are the third Korean team to qualify for the quarters and should have a good amount of expectations on their shoulders.
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