The 2015 season of League of Legends has officially begun. The League Championship Series kicked off this morning with a bout between defending European champions Alliance, now sporting new digs under the brand Elements, and their traditional rival Fnatic.
This new-look Fnatic only features one member from the team that won three straight LCS seasons and reached the finals last year, but that didn’t stop them from kicking off the season with a victory.
The Fnatic lineup featuring two Korean imports and new mid-laner Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten, blitzed Elements by scoring early kills and never letting up.
Diepstraten had big shoes to fill, coming in to replace one of Europe’s biggest legends in Enrique “xPeke” Cedeno-Martinez, and was up to the task, posting a 10/1/12 KDA line on Xerath. Elements targeted three bans against Diepstraten, yet the mid laner still carried the game for Fnatic, landing so many perfect Xerath ultimates fans were joking about his cheats.
Febiven toggle it off man…
— Yiliang Peng (@TSMDoublelift) January 22, 2015
Part of that was because of the help he received from the jungle. Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin outplayed his counterpart Ilyas “Shook” Hartsema, controlling the game on Rengar starting with securing first blood before before applying constant pressure through the map. Kim finished the match with a 7/3/11 KDA line.
The team secured a key Dragon at the 23 minute mark, winning a team fight shortly after as Elements tried to engage them, and parlayed that advantage into a 27 minute Baron before closing out the game.
Elements played the style many feared they’d fall into when they picked up farm-heavy marksman Martin “Rekkles” Larsson in the offseason. Larsson and mid laner Henrik “Froggen” Hansen are infamous for their farm-heavy, passive play styles, and it played out in this match. Both players took big farm leads over their lane counterparts, but with Fnatic applying more pressure from the jungle and securing the kills they needed to take objectives, the farm differential mattered little as the game slowly spiraled out of Elements’ control.
“Elements is known as a passive team. They are waiting for late game, you could see it in their pick and ban phase,” Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim said in his post-game interview. “We knew if we went for a fast-paced game they wouldn’t be able to follow us.”
While fans may be surprised to see the new Fnatic team take out the defending champions, Kim was confident going into the match based off their solid preseason practice. “It would be a failure if it wasn’t a win,” he said.
Losing some of Europe’s biggest legends and highest profile players hasn’t stopped Kim or Fnatic, it seems.
“Now we we have less personalities. We have to build something really new. Everyone is going to listen. We can pick our own playstyle, work with each other,” Kim explained. “There are no rules, no personality, no ego. It’s way better to pick up new talents and new players who are really motivated and willing to prove they are good players.”
“This is what I wanted to do. I want a strong team that is willing to win, and have the same goal.”