Looking To The Future: Fnatic
For a casual fan, Fnatic not being at Worlds will come as a shock. After suffering through a disappointing summer season in which they placed fifth, they went into playoffs with the mindset that they could still push for the title. On paper, they had one of the more talented rosters in the west, but they never truly performed to expectations. After getting demolished by H2k-Gaming 3-0, Fnatic set their sights on the Gauntlet, hoping that in the time leading up, they could figure something out. Once again, though, they failed to show improvement, losing 3-0 to the Unicorns of Love.
Going into 2017, they once again have a huge offseason on their hands. Lee "Spirit" Da-yoon announced recently that he would not be playing for Fnatic anymore, and with that, they lose their most talented asset. When overviewing Fnatic's roster, you notice that the top lane was underperforming, as well as Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten in the mid lane. Febiven, once considered the best mid in Europe, looked much more like a middle of the pack player. Ranking ninth in CS differential out of 10, seventh in CS per minute, seventh in damage per minute and last in percent of team's damage, which is just terrible. This is a huge problem for Fnatic, they must figure out a way to get back the prime Febiven that played for them previously and not this struggling mid laner who goes by the same name.
The one bright spot for Fnatic this season was Martin "Rekkles" Larsson, who consistently performed at a high level. Arguably the third best ADC in Europe, only behind the two best western ADC's in Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen and Konstantinos-Napoleon "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou, he is the shining light for Fnatic. Going into the offseason, keeping him is a crucial part to their success, and adjusting the roster to help him will be the best option.
What would I change?
Firstly, I want to start in the top lane. Mateusz "Kikis" Szkudlarek is a very average top laner, one that can play well when not getting resources. So in theory, he should work well with players like Febiven and Rekkles. Sadly, with how bad Febiven was playing last season, this style did not prove to work well because they only really had one carry threat.
The first step in my mind is to figure out if Tamás "Vizicsacsi" Kiss is an option to acquire. He was arguably the best top laner in Europe, as you will see when looking at his stats. Not only was he the highest DPM and damage share top laner, but he also is able to play tank champions at a high level. Now to be fair, in no way is he a world beater when it comes to the international stage, but as a team, they have to get there first, and he gives them the best chance from the top lane.
The only other option I would consider for the top lane is to bring back Paul "sOAZ" Boyer. sOAZ as a player had a solid season despite his team's struggles, and he might be the most odd player we have left in league. As someone that is known for not playing much solo queue and taking practice lightly, maybe this will be seen as a risk. In my opinion though, sOAZ fits the current meta really well, so this can be overlooked. He has always been a stong 1v1 laner, which seems to be what Riot wants the game to focus more on. So if you put sOAZ in the top lane 1v1 against the rest of the Europeans, I would put my money on him.
Jungle is an interesting situation for Fnatic. With Spirit leaving, they lose one of the most talented junglers in the league, but I think this may be a positive for both sides. Spirit played the game with his main focus on farming. With one of the lowest first blood percentages, and highest CS per minute/CS differential at 10, he had little affect on his lanes.
As you can probably tell, I want to see Fnatic get an aggresive jungler, but who might that be? When looking at who Fnatic could get, it looks pretty bleak. Either they get a solo queue talent and hope for the best, or they get an import. The top jungler available in my opinion is Lee "Rush" Yoon-jae.
Rush has always been a strong ganker, as well as a strong invader, so this fit makes sense. The question is, does Rush want to play in Europe, or does he just keep streaming, which has been a massive success for him? Maybe he plays in the LCK; I can't imagine that teams in Korea wouldn't be interested. Who knows, but if I am Fnatic, this is my top priority. What other option is there besides a solo queue talent that I currently do not know.
Addressing the Trio
Bora "YellOwStaR" Kim and Rekkles are a great duo, so there is no reason to mess with that unless YellOwStaR choses to retire. Rekkles is a no brainer, and YellOwStaR is a very middle of the pack player in terms of mechanics, but brings a leadership personality to the team that cannot be replaced.
You have to stick with Febiven. He has shown such great potential that you simply cannot replace him. In all honesty, he is the best available anyways, even if he plays at the same level. Barring a huge breakout solo queue mid laner, Febiven holds the highest ceiling of all EU mid laners, so you need to find a coach or players who can help bring out the best in him.
This trio is a great core to have as a roster, it just comes down to who they can find to help facilitate the talents of these three. With Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon and Kim "Reignover" Yeu-jin, they had a huge top lane focus that often led to the game just being 2v2 top, which allowed Febiven and the bot lane to have much less pressure on their lanes. Ideally, they can find something similar with a combo of Rush and Vizicsacsi/sOAZ.
The Starting Lineup
On paper, this becomes a roster that rivals G2 and tops one that H2K is likely to come back with since they will more then likely not have FORG1VEN. Splyce simply could not matchup with this team in lane, and I think with how the meta has changed, this will prove to be incermountable through team play, which is Splyce's strong suit. This team would easily slot in as the number two EU team in my preseason rankings, and could be number one by the end of the season.
Hopefully for Fnatic fans, they do something similar to what I have suggested here. Then again, they could find another group of rookies that turn out to be great western players, just like they did not too long ago.
I want to get your thoughts on what you think Fnatic should do, as well as what you think of these articles. What do you think Fnatic should do in their offseason? And do you want so see more Looking to the Futures? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom, @OhSoDicey
Image credit www.lovefortunetelling.com