The first two matches of the League Championship Series playoffs, which decides what three European teams will head to the League of Legends World Championships in Korea later this year, ended in one-sided romps. But the semifinals today between Fnatic and ROCCAT at Gamescom changed that trend.
Fnatic, the defending LCS champions, will head to the finals to seek their fourth straight LCS title after surviving a tough series against ROCCAT, ousting the Polish team with a 3-2 score.
The victory sends Fnatic to the Season 4 World Championships where they will represent Europe as one of three teams from the region who will challenge the best players in the world. ROCCAT has one more chance to join them, the third place match tomorrow against the loser of SK Gaming and Alliance.
Fnatic entered the semifinals as the favorite, after a late season surge saw them shoot up the standings. But one of ROCCAT’s strengths has always been preparing for a specific opponent, and they came to the match ready.
The Polish team stole the first map by building a lead off a few picks from the signature Thresh play of support Oskar “VandeR” Bogdan, whose Thresh hooks allowed the team
But Fnatic would take the next two games off strong performances from their two star players, Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez and Martin “Rekkles” Larsson. Game four was nearly theirs as well, as the team held a lead deep into the match, but ROCCAT managed to twist things around thanks to mid laner Remigiusz “Overpow” Pusch’s chase play on Kassadin, setting up a huge 10/2/7 Tristana game for marksman Paweł “Celaver” Koprianiuk.
The fifth and deciding game went much the same as the two Fnatic wins. The team managed to pick Kog’Maw for Larsson, who had already put up 7/1/7 and 7/0/7 lines with the champion in games two and three. Surrounding him with Lulu, Orianna, and Nami, all champions with the ability to protect the carry, Fnatic leveraged their MVP–and the MVP of the entire LCS season–into a victory.
ROCCAT tried to counter with Remigiusz on Fizz, presumably to dive Larsson, but the pick seemed completely ineffectual in both games they picked it. Remigiusz surrendered a huge CS lead to Rodriguez in both games and failed to make an impact in team fights.
Larsson delivered on the promise of his record setting regular season, posting a 28/6/24 KDA line through the five game series. Fnatic seems to realize the talent lurking in their bottom lane, considering their most successful compositions are based around boosting his power.
For ROCCAT, Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski staked his case as the best jungler in Europe. He secured multiple first bloods while posting a 22/9/30 KDA, the top in the series excluding Larsson.
“I expected [ROCCAT] to be good. They were very good, especially in lane swaps. They did what they had to do,” said Borat “YellOwStaR” Kim, the Fnatic support, after the match. Kim is now the first player ever to qualify for all four World Championship events in League of Legends, and depending on the rest of the playoffs, may be the only one.
“We are really ambitious. The dream of every one of us is to win [the World Championships], but it’s going to be super hard obviously,” Fnatic captain Rodriguez added. “For now we will go practice as hard as we can and focus on group stage first.”
Of course, Fnatic has a date with the winner of SK Gaming and Alliance set for Sunday. The winner may not earn an all-important spot in the World Championships, but they’ll still take the LCS title. A title currently held by Fnatic.
Fans of Fnatic will certainly want their team to win their fourth straight LCS title. But with the notoriously talented but inconsistent Fnatic team, you never know.
“That’s why we trained [the fans] in the LCS split,” Kim said. “It’s like a rollercoaster!”