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Fragster | 1. October 2021

Worlds 2021: Will Fnatic end their up-and-down season on a high note?

After having one of the toughest seasons the fan favorite European organization has had, Fnatic once again seeks glory at the biggest stage.

Fnatic had one of its toughest offseasons after last year when its franchise player, Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, decided to leave the team and sign with their longtime rivals, G2 Esports. To replace him, they decided to go with European superstar bottom laner Elias “Upset” Lipp, who has been heralded as the next great bottom laner from the region. They had also decided to let go of their mid laner Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek, and replaced him with Yasin “Nisqy” Dincer from LCS organization Cloud9. 

The transition into a post-Rekkles era for Fnatic has not exactly been smooth. The team developed a relentlessly aggressive style of play, which meant that whenever they were winning games, they would look really good, but whenever they would lose, they would lose each and every fight and would simply get stomped. The team was rather streaky, and could not find a consistent form. They finished fifth in the regular season, and were soundly beaten by FC Schalke 04 Esports 3-0 in the playoffs, where they also ended up in fifth place. 

Following their lowest postseason finish as an organization, Fnatic knew they had to make some changes to have a shot at qualifying for the World Championship. They traded superstar jungler Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek to Team Vitality, acquired Adam “Adam” Maanane from the EU Masters Champions, Karmine Corp, and then roleswapped Gabriel “Bwipo” Rau into the jungle. People were very skeptical of this change as the team was letting go of one of the best junglers in Europe for a roleswapped player, and rightfully so. The team had a lot to prove going into the summer. 

In the summer, things seemed more or less the same. Bwipo was more proficient in the jungle than most people expected him to be, and Adam held his own against the best top laners in the league. The problems around the team’s streaky performance have remained, however. At times the team would make risky moves that would pay off and they would look like they have complete control over games, and other times they become a bit too greedy and lose a huge lead and the game over it. As a result, they ended up at fifth place with an 11-7 as the regular season ended, despite being in the top 3 for most of it. 

Going into the playoffs, most analysts and experts had very little idea as to what form Fnatic would show, but they also predicted that Fnatic would most likely miss out on the World Championship. They had a five-game series against Vitality, Misfits, and G2 Esports just to qualify for Worlds, and they swept Rogue 3-0 to get into the final. In the finals, they were somewhat competitive with the MAD Lions, but they ultimately lost to them 1-3. 

This team has aggression in spades. Upset and Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov are very proficient in lane, capable of getting 2v2 kills in the laning phase. Hylissang often leaves Upset to go assist the rest of the team. In addition, the synergy between him and Bwipo when making aggressive plays is a marvel to watch. Both Adam and Nisqy are always willing to leave their lanes to secure a lead elsewhere in the map. The entire team is usually in sync in its desire to get more and more in a game, and while it may cost them, it is also the reason why they should not be counted out at any stage of the game. 

The team is also known for its rather unorthodox drafting at times and the players’ wide champion pools. If Fnatic has clearly studied a meta and if they are on point mechanically, then they will surely be a force to be reckoned with in the World Championship. 

 

(Header image via Riot Games)