Two intense semifinal matchups have come and gone, each filled with their own great moments, and now the final matchups in Madrid have been set. In the finals, it’s a battle of old vs new. The kings of EU, Fnatic, looking to continue their legacy of dominance and win their seventh EU LCS title. Facing off against them will be FC Schalke 04, a team that has had its share of ups and down, but now find themselves one series away from cementing their names in the history books. One of these teams will take their seat on the throne of EU and represent them as the number one seed going into Worlds.
On the opposite side of the bracket, we have a matchup for 3rd place between Team Vitality and Misfits Gaming. The two teams have a lot to prove after a fairly disappointing semifinal. Team Vitality need to show they’re a top team in the region after an upset loss to Schalke while Misfits need to prove that their destruction of G2 wasn’t a fluke. With two important matchups, the fans at Madrid will have a lot to look forward to.
Who will take the title? Who will win the consolation prize of 3rd place? Will we see more upsets? These questions and more will be answered this weekend. But first, let’s take a look at these matchups.
3rd Place Match: Team Vitality (2nd) vs Misfits Gaming (5th)
Both teams come into this match for 3rd with a different experience. Team Vitality come into this match after an upset 1-3 loss to FC Schalke 04. The team suddenly showed weakness during the series, something that was missing for most of the second half of the split. Looking to now capitalize on this will be Misfits, who come into this match after a 1-3 loss to Fnatic. While that result was expected, Misfits need to prove that they’re still a top team in Europe. Moreover, they must also prove that their victory against G2 wasn’t a fluke and that they can hang with the rest. With better seeding for the gauntlet on the line, both teams will have a lot to fight for.
The key matchup to watch out for in this series will be between the junglers. Both teams have shown that they’re reliant on the jungler to control the pace of the early game and to snowball their lanes. In this case, the advantage on paper goes to Vitality’s Mateusz “Kikis” Szkudlarek over Misfits’ Nubar “Maxlore” Sarafian. If Misfits want a chance to win, despite their weaker mid and bot, they need Maxlore to control the jungle and keep Kikis in check.
While there were a few upsets so far during the playoffs, it’s hard to see any taking place at this point. Misfits have a small advantage top lane with Barney “Alphari” Morris against Lucas “Cabochard ” Simon-Mesle, the advantage in other positions go to Vitality. Although Misfits have been playing better as a team in the later stages of the game, Vitality’s aggressive early game plays will give them a huge advantage. This advantage will more than likely be enough for Vitality to take the series.
So, while Misfits have looked better than expected during the playoffs, Vitality simply has an incredibly favorable matchup against them. While I see Vitality slipping up and losing one game, I still see them dominating most of the series As a result, I give the series to Vitality 3-1.
Finals: Fnatic (1st) vs FC Schalke 04 (3rd)
Another finals for Fnatic and another new team that’ll be challenging them for the title. Only Alliance has ever been able to stop them at this stage. Will Schalke be the second?
After an upset victory against Vitality, Schalke comes into the finals with a lot of momentum and nothing to lose as the underdogs against Fnatic. Fnatic, of course, looked unstoppable against Misfits, with mid laner Rasmus “Caps” Winther even pulling out Vayne in one game.
While every lane will be competitive, there will be one matchup that may decide the entire series, and that will be in the mid lane. While Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik Holm is an amazing mid laner and a key reason that Schalke has made it this far, Caps will be his biggest challenge yet. Caps has shown that he’s a world-class mid laner capable of laning against the best. While Nukeduck has shown that he’s capable of taking down some of the best mid laners in Europe, he may have met his match in Caps. If Schalke want a shot at winning it all, they need to get Nukeduck going and allow him to make the plays needed to win. Otherwise, it’ll become duck season as Fnatic rolls over Schalke on their way to title number seven.
The winner should be obvious at this point, Fnatic simply has the better team across the map. While Nukeduck will be able to steal a game or two for Schalke, it’s hard to see Caps allowing him to get that far ahead. On top of that, while Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider has proven himself as a jungler against Kikis and Team Vitality, Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen is a whole different animal. It’ll be hard for Amazing to take over the early game and to get his lanes rolling like he did against Vitality.
I can see Schalke having the ability to steal a game, but I wouldn’t count on it. I give the series and the title to Fnatic 3-0.
While the EU LCS semifinals were exciting with upsets and great plays, the finals will be a little different. We’ll still see some great plays, but the results are pretty clear at this point. Once the victors are crowned, it’ll be time to look ahead to Worlds, where we’ll see more exciting play!
To watch the EU LCS, visit watch.na.lolesports.com. For more information on the split, teams, standings, and players, visit www.lolesports.com. Recaps of former weeks and other LoL content can be found at https://thegamehaus.com/league-of-legends/.
Featured image courtesy of LoL Esports Twitter.
Follow Rui on Twitter @ruixu38.
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