Today, it’s time for the second quarterfinal of EU LCS spring 2017.
Old teammates are going to meet each other and there is a certain hype around this matchup. But only one of them can walk away victoriously today…
On one side of the rift, we have the long time fan favourites: Fnatic.
Martin “Rekkles” Larsson and crew just made it into playoffs by the skin of their teeth.
Had they just lost one more game against absolutely anyone, they would have lost their spot to the recent steamroll of Roccat and just their very last series against Misfits spared them from their fate.
It’s safe to say that this split is not, what Fnatic had expected, when building their new roster. They were very outspoken about believing in an all European squad, because of cultural alikeness and the in-existence of language barriers.
A team with four veterans and one promising newcomer in Rasmus “Caps” Winther had huge expectations to fulfill, which they really just didn’t.
Their first ever series against G2 looked promising, but everything went downhill afterwards.
We saw a pretty mediocre start to the regular season, but after some huge backlash from the community, long time jungle veteran Maurice “Amazingx” Stückenschneider was put into Fnatic’s challenger team instead. Just a few weeks later, their coach,
Nicholas “NicoThePico” Korsgård was released as well and since then, Fnatic has not found a replacement and is instead coached by their Manager
Finlay “Quaye/Finlay” Stewart.
Fnatic, like many fellow mid tier teams could not really hope to upset the likes of H2K or Unicorns of Love and their recently developed style has not had too much to do with any actual teamwork, but it has looked a lot like solo queue. This makes some sense for them, considering that almost every single player on the lineup definitely still has or has had great mechanics at some point in their careers.
But their gameplay makes them predictable, since it has always been the Kennen-Shen combo that got them nearly every single one of their wins in recent weeks.
Only the Fiddlesticks-support by Jesse “Jesiz” Le has been any surprise at all and even that one was scouted and banned quickly by G2.
Fnatic are a one-dimensional team and we are going to have to see, if this one style is going to get them in playoffs, what they couldn’t get in the regular season:
A series victory over H2K.
Let’s now take a look at their opponents on the rift today.
H2K is the polar opposite of Fnatic. Only losing series against the two top teams in Europe, G2 and Unicorns of Love, gave them an overall 10:3 record in series.
They have not been upset a single time, which speaks for the consistency of the squad. H2K have been improving over the entire split in teamwork and communication, too. Those two skills make them a macro-team to be feared.
Mechanics-wise, Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten and Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski have been looking sharp and while I would say, that the Korean botlane, consisting of
Choi “Chei” Sun-ho and Shin “Nuclear” Jung-hyun has looked like a downgrade to long-standing legend Konstantinos “For1ven” Tzortziou and the versatile
Oskar “VandeR” Bogdan, their synergy has been apparent from the start and I think, we can expect a lot more from them in the future. The duo has been looking confident from the start and they don’t seem like the kind of players. who would choke, when it matters.
When talking about H2K, you also have to mention Neil “Prolly” Hammad.
When H2K are on stage, you can clearly see the respect, they have for their coach.
Sure, there is some joking-around between him and the players outside of the game, but when they put on the headsets, the gloves are off. H2K’s success can definitely be seen as partly being a result of their coaching and consistent pick-and-ban phases and their read of the meta seems to be superb at all times.
In the end, I have no doubt that H2K are going to take it. Sure, Fnatic do have their veterans and a winning strategy with the Kennen-Shen splitpush, but if any of those two are banned or taken away, I just do not see them winning a Bo5 against the adaptability of H2K. While the fan favourites have been looking better recently, it would take a massive carry performance of Caps and Rekkles and Febiven and the botlane of H2K are just too consistent to make any kind of case for Fnatic. I do expect H2K to take the series 3:1. Fnatic are going to take a game because of some new creative pick, they might have up their sleeves. But no cheese is going to be enough for Fnatic to beat the sheer consistency and adaptability of H2K.