The 3 European Gaints And The Post S2 Battle
This article will cover the rise of Fnatic and the journey of CLG and M5 including Fnatics after S2 worlds. Coming into the first ever lcs split there were 3 european titans you could make an argument to place all 3 in the top 10 and at least 2 of them in the top 5 teams in the world at the time. The teams were Moscow 5(Gambit), Clg.eu(EG) and Fnatic. M5 and CLG.EU both accomplished many feats in s2 with clg.eu going to ogn and placing second after going 2-3 againsts frost in the finals. M5 had crushed nearly every opponent and were favourites to win s2 worlds losing to tpa in the semi's, clg.eu also were knocked out in the semi's and to the same team who knocked them out of the ogn finals Frost. Throughout s2 those two teams had met many times clg.eu being one of the few teams actually going toe to toe and beating the Russian Overlord. The rivalry was probably one of the greatest the lol scene had and will ever see but both teams slightly fell of after the disappointing performance at worlds. With M5 losing tales of the lanes a small tournament to SK Gaming and CLG.eu getting 2-0 by blaze MLG Pro circuit.
The next tournament CLG.eu attended was Dreamhack winter a tournament pretty much filled with European teams, it was supposed to be a simple win for Froggen and friends considering M5 the only other European team which could consistently beat them had not attended. This tournament took a complete turn in the finals when clg.eu lost 2-1 to Fnatic. Many considered it a fluke at the time as Fnatic had not done anything major for an entire season, after losing this clg.eu went of to prepare for ipl5 a tournament with the best teams from all over the world, to call it a mini worlds would be unfair as it had more teams and a better format than any worlds had ever and has ever with a double elimination bracket allowed for teams to continue on after losing a game in the bracket stages. M5 was also invited to Ipl 5 and so had "WE" the mega giants from china and the world champs TPA. Fnatic had not even been invited and team alternate another european team known for having the highest ranked solo players had got the spot. Alas alternate were not able to attend and Fnatic got sent and invite last minute. Leading up to the tournament fan favorites such as Clg.eu,M5 and TPA were all on the lips of who would, few could have predicted what would happen next. The group stages saw one major upset taking place in a game between the second strongest some would say the strongest korean team facing Fnatic with their new adc rekkles. No one would have predicted the loss of blaze and the manner in which fnatic completely dismantled this korean gaint. It was only a best of one and people were still reluctant in believing in the fnatic chances at the tournament.
Both M5 and Fnatic went 2-1 in their respect groups with M5 losing to their seeming to be kryptonite TPA. Fnatic lost to WE who had one of the best mid laners misaya and the best adc by far at this point Weixiao. The bracket stages put M5 vs WE, at the time M5 were still heavy favorites to win this entire thing but "WE" put a dagger in the hearts of fans, as they 2-0 M5 showing that they were a team to be reckoned with. Clg.EU had to face the NA's powerhouse TSM with reginald in the mid lane. It was a clean sweep for CLG who won the series 2-0. Fnatic after finishing second in their group and beating Blaze had to face what was presumed at the time to be the hardest opponents, TPA who in the group stages had fended off against's M5. This was Fnatic's second test in IPL5 could they some how content with the worlds best, the s2 champs ?. This was probably the point in which this reiteration of the Fnatic team put themselves among the likes of M5 and CLG.eu. This was the moment they proved they were a world class team. TPA couldn't deal with xpeke and co, with Fnatic completely out playing TPA through out the entire series. TPA did not get a single game in and lost 2-0. This was a turning point for both Fnatic and TPA, no more were TPA considered the best in the world and Fnatic was world class and proven.
With M5 going to the loser brackets they faced Blaze who had gotten into the losers bracket do to the group stage loss to Fnatic. M5 had a close series against's blaze staying true to their modern day name "Korean Slayers". This Blaze team had Flame, Lustboy, helios ,Captain jack and Ambition and was certainly not just a team to be brushed aside but in this tournament they had been completely defeated losing to fnatic, WE and M5 and crushing out. CLG.eu had to face WE in the winners bracket and they got 2-0 by WE the same team they had beaten in the quarter finals of worlds a few month earlier. WE had definitely shown massive improvement since then and these games had again show cased it. Fnatic also in the winners bracket took on CLG.Na with Hotshot and doublelift. This was probably the best tournament had performed in recent times. They massacred Fnatic's team in game 1 with Doublelift getting a penta kill and destroying rekless, the second and third game however fnatic did the same to clg and winning 2-1. Now clg had been knocked down to the losers bracket and had to face M5 they put up a fight and surprisingly took a game from them but they fell to another 2-1 by a European team. With TSM losing earlier to Blaze NA's last hope had died to the Russian machines. In the other losers bracket CLG.eu had to face TPA. This was a spectacle of games with Froggen performing extremely well but CLG.eu as a whole did not have what it takes to take down TPA. This Meant the exit of the first of the 3 European titans. M5 went ahead and faced TPA in the losers bracket.
M5 now infuriated by the constant loses to TPA went into this series willing to spill blood. TPA had bested M5 once to many and now was the time to prove Alex ich and team had it within them to win. Much to the dismay of fans of the western scene m5 once again got defeated by TPA this was another stab in the already shattered M5 moral. After this tournament M5 were never in contention for the best team in the world being top 5 at times but never being on the no.1 spot. Never the less M5 crushed out of the tournament 2-0 after going a total of 5-1 in games to TPA over a period of a few month. Now with the 2 season 2 finalist out most of the European fan base started to cheer on Fnatic. Who had to face WE who had knocked both CLG.eu and M5 into the losers bracket. This was Fnatics chance to get into the finals but the defensive style of WE was too strong fnatic tried but couldn't break the shield WE had set up. They put up a great fight being the only team to even take a single game of WE at this point who were playing some of the most dominate league scene to date. Fnatic dropped to the finals of the losers bracket, the winner of this game would face WE in the grand finals. Fnatic had to face TPA again. Fnatic had been the team who had knocked TPA out of the winners bracket but could they do it again. They proved the could and didnt drop a single game. This must have been extremely frustrating for TPA who had lost 4-0 in games to Fnatic in this tournament alone.
Fnatic advanced to the grand finals for a rematch with WE, We being the winners of the upper bracket went into the best of 5 with a one game win. Fnatic took one game but that was all WE won the tournament 3-1 and only dropped 2 games both of which to Fnatic. At this tournament it was safe to say Fnatic was probably the second best team in the world. And definitely deserved to be mentioned along with the European elitesM5 and CLG.eu.
This article covered the rise of fnatic, if it gets enough attention i will make another one covering the first season of lcs and what it was like entering it. Including the Fnatic rekkles saga, CLG.eu fall from grace and the rejuvenation of Gambit.