European team Fnatic met Chinese squad OMG in a battle with huge implications. Both teams sat at 1-2 entering the day. A loss would be disastrous, a death sentence in one of the closest groups in the tournament.
In a ridiculous 70-minute match, Fnatic came within a single auto attack of winning the game before OMG stormed back to take the match, crushing the Europeans’ hopes at Worlds. Plenty of matches have came down to late game antics, with teams just barely failing to close out a game. Plenty have ended with drama, including Fnatic’s own famous backdoor antics. But none were as close as today’s game, where one auto attack, a single super minion’s bash, the smallest touch could have changed result of the game and the fate of each team at the biggest event of their careers.
Gao “Gogoing” Di-Ping, largely considered the best top laner in China, put together an amazing performance on Ryze with a 5/0/15 KDA line. A rock for OMG, Gao avoided Fnatic’s plethora of crowd control and single-target nukes like Syndra’s ultimate to survive for the entire 70 minute match.
OMG got Gao going with a lane swap that placed him far ahead of his counterpart on Fnatic, Paul “sOAZ” Boyer and his Rumble. But Fnatic, despite playing behind in gold for most of the match, managed to stay competitive by out-rotating the Chinese team and staying ahead in tower kills.
After a push to secure a third inhibitor, OMG managed to kill three members of Fnatic. But during the chaos, minions managed to destroy OMG’s nexus turrets, leading to frantic action around the map as Fnatic tried to rush OMG’s nexus and the Chinese team desperately backed to defend.
The Chinese team had a clear team fight advantage, winning the last couple of battles, and eventually found the fight they needed to win the game, wiping Fnatic to crush their base.
The heartbreaking loss means Fnatic is likely eliminated from the tournament, a fact not lost on their players as they worse their emotions on their sleeves after the game. Team captain Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez could barely contain his tears, while Martin “Rekkles” Larsson had no such qualms. Fnatic still has a chance, but they need to win their final two games, including a tough rematch with Korean powerhouse Samsung Galaxy Blue.
For OMG, the win was an exhilarating victory that places them squarely in contention for their group. A win over LMQ would ensure them at least a chance at a tie-breaker against their Chinese brethren, giving them control over their own fate.
A single auto attack separated the sweet taste of victory and the bitter agony of defeat. That’s what often makes sports so great, capable of wrenching hearts and keeping everyone watching at the edge of their seat. The Riot World Championships has certainly delivered.
Image via Riot Games/Flickr