Three minutes is hardly any time at all. Think about all of the things you could do in exactly three minutes. Maybe you could finish a thought, take a cigarette break, go drink some water or cook some instant noodles.
Now imagine you are in an arena of ten thousand fans watching you play. Not just watching you play, but nearly all of them rooting against you to lose. One million more are online, the majority of which are hoping, praying for your downfall. VP crushed Fnatic on the Mirage 16-6. On Inferno, the first half ends in VP 7-8 Fnatic. It is now 13-8, Fnatic have yet to win a single round on CT side.
A pause is called and now pronax and vuggo must in three minutes find a way to stop the Virtus Plow, find what’s going wrong, fix it and reset their mindsets. It works as Fnatic start taking round after round as they take the next 5 rounds from VP. VP answer with their own pause, but it was either too little or too late and Fnatic hold the line and take the map 16-14.
After having an intense first half on cobble, Fnatic then crushed their way through VP on T side to win the series. Their reward? To face a completely fresh EnVyUs in a bo3.
And again, and at the 7-14 scoreline, on T side, Fnatic calls for a time out. It seems to be too late. EnVyUs are just 2 rounds away from winning the map. Most teams would already be thinking of what to do the next map, of just writing it off. In three minutes, Fnatic must again find a way to crack EnVyUs, must dig deep into themselves and believe in themselves that they are clutch enough and strong enough to force a comeback.
They do so, off the backs of teamplay and the backs of flusha and Krimz as they score clutch round after clutch round dragging Fnatic from 7-14 all the way to 15-15 and then winning the tiebreak 4-0.
It was these two maps in particular that struck me the most during Fnatic’s run at ESL One Cologne. In my mind, the mark of a Champion is marked by two things: their ability to play under pressure and their ability to get back up. Under fire and under pressure, Fnatic were just flicks away from losing, yet they stayed composed, especially due to the efforts of flusha and Krimz as the two of them together did all of the carrying as the pressure kept ramping up higher and higher. More than that was Fnatic’s ability to get back up. Olofmeister had only 6 kills on the first map of Mirage vs VP. In the next two maps he took 45 kills. Against both VP and EnVyUs, Fnatic were down a huge amount of rounds 8-13 against VP (without having won a single round on their CT side) and 7-14 (later 10-15) against EnVyUs.
Give Fnatic three minutes, and they will find a way to reset themselves under the highest pressure situations. Give Fnatic three minutes and they will find a way to run a comeback against VP down 8-13. Give Fnatic three minutes and they will win against EnVyUsdown 7-14. Give Fnatic three minutes, and they will give you a Championship.
Photo by Helena Kristiansson