The race is on: can Fnatic still make playoffs this Spring?
Fnatic started their post-Caps era in horrible form as they suffered a 1-5 record with their first three weeks of the season. Since then, changes have been made to the roster and their World Championship finalist components are starting to come into play with their recent wins. Just last week, Fnatic overcame the esports odds and went 2-0 against Origen and Team Vitality to bring their regular season record up to 5-7.
With three weeks left in the season, Fnatic will need to play every single game like its their last if they want to once again defy the skeptics and push their way into a playoff position. The only problem is they have plenty of competition in the LEC looking to do the same.
Building with a new identity
Quickly after their first two weeks of going winless in the 2019 season, critics of Fnatic were all ready to throw the blame in any direction to prove their teams changes during the offseason were the wrong ones. Fnatic’s replacement mid laner for their MVP last year got off to a timid start. But Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek has come into his own in recent weeks as he’s been given opportunities to explore his champ pool.
Likewise, the earlier issues of Martin “Rekkles” Larsson resorting to venting his frustrations on stream when his team was slumping has fixed itself with their results. From a team perspective, the flip has switched for all players as Broxah, Bwipo and Hylissang have all had to step up in their respective roles in order to pull out ahead. This weekend was a perfect example of that change.
In their game against Origen, it seemed like Nemesis finally unlocked as he was consistently ahead at every stage of the game. Nukeduck has been a difference maker for his team, but Fnatic did a great job across the board on making him the single focus and his impact was neutralized to a bare minimum. That same trend continued against Team Vitality as they found winning conditions in several lanes and pushed their advantage to make Mowgli an afterthought.
The playoff picture
In the next three weeks, Fnatic will need to play their absolute best in four pivotal games that can decide the fate of their split. Assuming they win against Rogue and lose against G2, Fnatic still have coin flip games against Misfits, Schalke 04 and Splyce that can make or break their chances.
In their head-to-heads so far this season, Fnatic have already lost to Schalke and Misfits. This coming week, Fnatic open the weekly action for LEC as they prepare to take on Schalke for round two. With Nemesis getting his groove going, the tale of the tape could be different if Broxah and co. find a way to get their carry ahead.
Week 8 features some of the most pivotal matches of the season for Fnatic as they take on both Excel Esports and Misfits. Misfits Gaming are still reeling from their mid-season coaching change, and the balance of the season could rest on this game for both teams depending on how Week 7 shakes out.
Misfits are just now starting to shake off the cobwebs, SK Gaming are finding their stride, and Origen have also found a way to secure wins. No matter which way you slice it, Fnatic will have to beat out some serious competition if they want to turn their season around.
Their biggest competition will end up being Splyce undoubtedly to end the regular season. Of their final six games in the Spring Split, Splyce are facing playoff caliber opponents in every single contest. Origen and Misfits, on the other hand, have had the hardest parts of their season behind them. This gives Fnatic an ideal window to pounce on a wounded opponent. If Fnatic still have any championship DNA left in them, this will surely be their most daunting test yet.