Earlier this month, Giants Gaming beat Fnatic 2-0 in the EU LCS, with British jungler Nubar “Maxlore” Sarafian putting in a brilliant performance. David Hollingsworth looks back on Maxlore’s plays in this analysis article.
Looking at Fnatic vs Giants, on paper you’d expect this match to go one way.
With an experienced roster and one of the best-known teams in eSports, Fnatic looked to be heading for another 2-0 series victory prior to their game with Giants on July 1st.
When the dust had settled, the match had indeed ended 2-0. And with the victory went the spoils, but it was the plucky underdog – not the seasoned veterans – that took the prize. How did this upset happen and what factors were at play?
We are going to focus on one specific factor of those two games as we take a look at Maxlore and how he made such a giant impact on his team’s win over Fnatic in this week 5 EU LCS upset.
Maxlore joined Giants’ LCS roster at the start of the 2016 summer split, along with mid-laner NighT. Giants had to fight for their life in the spring split to hold onto the coveted LCS spot, managing to win in the playoff series to bring them back in the LCS for the summer round of games.
Fast forward to July 1st, after losing to Fnatic on the opening game of the summer split, Giants wanted revenge on the high-flying Fnatic team. And Maxlore was a key factor in Giants winning this fantastic best-of-two series.
Ahead of the match, Maxlore made a 2-0 win prediction, with a wink.
Spirit, Fnatic’s jungler, on the other hand, said: “I don’t care much about the opponent’s jungler, if I can pick Nidalee, it’s usually a free win. I can beat every champion on her.”
The next day, it would be Giants who picked Nidalee first, giving her to Maxlore – and the rest was history.
From minute one, Maxlore made a move into the bot lane of Fnatic, catching Yell0wStaR out of position. And with the help of other members of his team, Giants were able to pick up the first blood and set the wheels in motion for game one.
Maxlore would go on to help secure kills in both sides of the map, including picking up the game’s first baron, before Fnatic could even register their first kill of the game.
A number of fights and solo outplays would cement this game in the favour of Giants, with the game ending in a comfortable 16-3 to Giants, with two barons picked up and four drakes, it was great to see a team play in near perfect harmony, with Maxlore pulling the strings from the jungle.
Fnatic had been rattled and shocked in the first game of the series – both Twitch chat and Twitter would tell you how much of an upset the first game loss was for Fnatic fans.
But they could make it all better by picking up a draw in the series. However, that wasn’t meant to be.
Game two highlights: Maxlore vs Spirit
In game two, Maxlore settled with Rek’Sai after Giants had banned out the Nidalee pick (a wise move given the previously mentioned Spirit quote).
The game’s first play took place with a fight over red buff; Spirit (on Olaf) looked to invade and steal against a half health Maxlore. Once the fight was engaged, it looked like it would only go one way, save for some great outplay and mechanical play. Following that up, he was able to get a pick onto Fnatic’s mid-laner Febiven, setting up an early 2-0 lead for his team.
After setting up another kill on top followed by a kill into the bottom lane, Fnatic started to pull back some kills, taking the game to 4-3. It may have looked like things were looking up for Fnatic, but our boy Maxlore was there on point again, as he made a 1v2 play in his own jungle as his team collapsed and chased the Fnatic bot lane out with their tails between their legs.
Baron was again first picked up by Giants at the 22-minute mark. This uncontested Baron play allowed Giants to make a push into the bot lane, and with a misstep from Spirit, let Giants easily push on the back towers and take down the inhibitor, closing out the series with a very convincing 2-0 win.
League of Legends is a team game, but individuals can stand out in iconic victories like these. Maxlore had one of those series in the 2-0 win over Fnatic – and it’s great to see a UK talent representing on the big stage.
It’s a long season, but recent wins could land Giants on the right path to becoming one of the EU LCS signature teams. The team will only get better with time, and with more victories against the top teams, let’s hope we have another long-standing UK League pro alongside Team Vitality’s KaSing.
Don’t forget to check out other UK players – Alphari, Impaler and Caedrel – taking part in the EU Challenger Series Summer Playoffs this week.
You can follow Maxlore on Twitter here
Image source: Riot Flickr