To say the results of the quarterfinals of Worlds 2018 were surprising would be an understatement. But now here we are in the a semifinal match up between Fnatic and Cloud9. Both teams played amazing League of Legends to reach this stage, but now only one will move on to the finals and fight for the Summoner’s Cup. Who will win? Who will move on to the finals? Let’s take a look and find out.
The Vitality Effect: Keys to the Kingdom
Before we talk about the two teams, it’s important to understand how they made it to this point. To do so, we’ll actually be taking a look at Team Vitality. While the team was eliminated in the group stages, their playstyle revealed the key to taking games off the Asian teams in the current meta.
Starting by taking a look at their pick bans, Vitality reveals their game plan: a fast paced game loaded with action across the map. Their champion picks reflect this with proactive and aggressive champions that are looking to make plays early and often – champions like Leona and Lee Sin. A match that best shows this play style in action and why it was working so well is their final match against Gen.G in the group stage.
While the game started out fairly slow as we expect from most games at the moment, everything changed fairly quickly. Around the eight minute mark, the action began with a top side that lead to first blood, at the same time a roam mid from Leona nets a second kill for the team. All the while they also end up getting first turret gold. Suddenly, a 2000 gold lead was picked up for Vitality. The action didn’t stop there, non-stop aggression in all lanes paired with constant visits to the solo lanes from the jungler and support eventually lead to Vitality’s victory and Gen.G’s elimination. It was a case of Gen.G not being able to adapt to the faster pace of the game. Instead they stuck to the slow play style of most Asian teams at the tournament.
So while Vitality are gone, the results so far are thanks to them.
Cloud9: NA Dreams, No Longer Memes
Before this Worlds, a Korean team has never lost to a western team in a BO5 series. Now not only has Cloud9 beat a Korean team in a BO5, but they did it convincingly with a 3-0 win. Now they find themselves in uncharted territory in the form of the semifinals. During their matchup against the Afreeca Freecs, Cloud9 played a near-perfect game filled with aggression, which lead to their eventual victory.
On top of that, standout performances from jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and ADC Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi allowed the team to control most of the early game. Meanwhile, the rookies in top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie and support Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam continued to impress as they held their own against the likes of Kim “Kiin” Gi-in and Park “TusiN” Jong-ik.
Despite all this, the star of the show remains mid laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen who continues to prove that he deserves to be in the conversation for the best mid laner at the tournament.
Altogether, the team has proved that their struggles throughout the year has been worth it as they’ve been playing amazing League of Legends as a team. While they’re still considered the weakest team out of the four that remain, the quarterfinals showed us these distinctions no longer matter. Regardless, Cloud9 thrives with the underdog role, and this tournament has shown that. Will their amazing play be enough to get them past Fnatic? We’ll find out this weekend.
Fnatic: Western Excellence
While Cloud9 are considered the underdogs of the tournament, Fnatic came into this tournament as the hope for the west. Their performance up to this point has continued to cement that status. With two upset victories over Invictus Gaming to take the 1st seed and a 3-1 victory over EDward Gaming, Fnatic has looked unstoppable.
During their series against EDG, jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen continued to impress, slowly putting himself into the conversation of best jungler at Worlds. Meanwhile, ADC Martin “Rekkles” Larsson absolutely dominated the series, with a 13/1/11 statline in their three victories. Although mid laner Rasmus “Caps” Winther had a mostly rough series, his play on Irelia was a huge factor in their victory in game two. Lastly there’s top laner Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau and support Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov, while they weren’t able to put on their carry pants like their teammates, their play continued to be solid and still made big plays in key moments, leading to their victory as expected from players of their caliber.
While they’ve had some solid results going into the semifinals, Cloud9 could prove to be a big challenge for the team. While Fnatic are still the favorites for their match, Worlds has been unpredictable so far. Will Fnatic be able to maintain their amazing play? Or will they end up falling short? Only time will tell.
On paper, this matchup is fairly close. While the advantage in the mid and jungle slightly go to Fnatic, every other lane is fairly even overall. As much as I want to give the series to Cloud9, it’s hard to bet against Fnatic with how well they’ve been playing this tournament. However, with how close the teams are, Cloud9 should be able to take this series to the limit. In the end, though, I’ll be giving this series to Fnatic with a score of 3-2.
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Follow Rui on Twitter @ruixu38 and stay unexcited for KT with him.
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