Though it seems that everyone gave it their best shot, it was hard to over-hype the game between G2 Esports and Fnatic. Coming into Week 6, the two teams were tied for first in the EU LCS, each with a record of 7-3. Fnatic had won their last five games in a row, and G2 had won their last six. Fnatic ADC Martin “Rekkles” Larsson and G2 Mid Laner Luka “Perkz” Perković each had a league-leading 46 kills. In the history of the league there have been 10 Splits. Fnatic has finished first in the league five times, and G2 four. All eyes were on these two as they took to the rift this week, and they did not disappoint.
Before the game, most predictions were leaning at least slightly towards G2. They have dominated the league for the past two years, and many who bet against them have regretted it. Still, Fnatic is never to be counted out, and after the draft their supporters were confident. The teams chose similar compositions, with tanks in the Jungle, several scaling Carries, and lots of wave clearing ability.
G2 was able to secure Ganglplank and Sejuani, two of the most contested champions this season. Fnatic countered by selecting Vladamir for a safe Top Lane matchup, and putting Rekkles on Sivir, a champion he has looked dominant on in the past. The primary focus was expected to be on the Mid Lane, where Perkz was to go head to head with Rasmus “Caps” Winther. “I think the Mid Lane is going to decide this one.” Fnatic Jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen said in a pre-game clip, elaborating on his prediction that he and G2 Jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski would be spending most of their time making sure their own Mid Laner was ahead.
Once on the rift, however, the first opportunity for action came in the Bot Lane. After taking the scuttle crab, Broxah (Skarner) slipped through the enemy Jungle and appeared behind Petter “Hjarnan” Freyschuss (Varus) and Kim “Wadid” Bae-in (Alistar). Simultaneously, Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov (Braum) flashed forward and used Winter’s Bite to slow Hjarnan and begin stacking Concussive Blows. Rekkles was able to follow up with auto attacks, stunning the enemy ADC and allowing Broxah to close the gap and land his own Crowd Control. After the three Fnatic members eliminated Hjarnan, they turned their attention to Wadid, once again stacking stuns and making escape impossible. Perkz (Ryze) began channeling a Teleport to assist, but cancelled it when he saw the hopelessness of the fight.
Another flurry of activity occurred only a few minutes later. Jankos (Sejuani) ganked the Top Lane to help Martin “Wunder” Hansen (Gangplank) secure a kill on Paul “sOAZ” Boyer (Vladamir). Seeing the enemy Jungler in the Top Lane, Fnatic responded with a four-man Tower Dive in the Bot Lane. Caps (Viktor) was able to kill Hjarnan, but Hylissang took too many Tower Shots, and gave up a kill to the enemy support.
For the next 15 minutes, the teams battled back and forth. Fnatic took the first two Dragons and picked up a tower and another kill. They mostly focused on playing safe, scaling, and keeping vision control. However, G2 was able to use their precise Macro play to lock down the Rift herald, two Dragons, three Towers (including First Tower), and two more kills. This objective-focused play slowly earned them a Gold Lead of almost 6k at 32 minutes, which they used to take the first Baron. Fnatic hunkered down even more, clearing waves until the Baron Buff was gone.
Turning the tides
Fnatic’s patience paid off, and eventually G2 ended up making a fatal mistake. At 36 minutes, G2 had used their Baron Buff to nearly double their gold lead to over 10k. They were inching ahead every second, but still had not been able to break their enemy. And then something happened. While posturing for vision around Elder Dragon, Perkz and Jankos found themselves alone behind Fnatic. As the enemy turned to collapse on them, Perkz calmly used Realm Warp to take them back to their team. As the teleport triggered, however, only Jankos was inside. Perkz had second guessed the safety of the Realm Warp destination as Fnatic moved towards it. In his hesitation, he stepped out of the circle, and instead tried to escape through the jungle. It did not take long for Fnatic to chase Perkz down and take him out.
This is the window Fnatic had been so patiently waiting for. Without wasting any time, they turned their attention to the Elder Dragon, knowing G2 could not contest with only four members. They burned down the Dragon, and took out G2’s other main threat, Wunder, mere seconds later. Making the most of this opportunity, Fnatic pushed down the Mid Lane as a team, and destroyed the first Inhibitor.
After both teams reset and bought new items, they returned to the Mid Lane, where a spontaneous skirmish left all members of both teams alive, but G2 without two important Ultimate abilities in Gangplank’s Cannon Barrage and Varus’ Chains of Corruption. Additionally, the fight had damaged Perkz enough that G2 had to back off. Fnatic used this brief advantage to move to the Baron pit and gain vision control.
Fnatic seals the deal
G2 interrupted Fnatic’s first attempt to take the Baron, and the brief fight left both Supports dead. Fnatic re-focused on the objective, and were able to secure it just as the enemy closed in. In an incredible explosion of damage, Rekkles deleted both Jankos and Hjarnan. Before G2 knew what was happening, sOAZ showcased his exceptional map awareness. He disengaged, and immediately Teleported to the Minion Wave that was just approaching the enemy Nexus Towers. With the Baron Buff, he was able to take down the two remaining towers just as his team joined him, and though Wunder did his best to clear the minion wave, Fnatic won the game at 41:03.
While every victory is important at this stage of such a close split, this one meant just a little bit more. Not only is Fnatic alone at the top of the table, but they are now also 2-0 against G2 this split, which will put them ahead in case of a tie-breaker at the end of the season. Possibly just as important is the reminder that sOAZ, Rekkles, and the rest of Fnatic are still here, and are always coming for the title.
Featured image courtesy of LoL Esports