Fnatic Rising now have a chance to bring it home, but can they? EU Masters semi-finals preview and quarters recap

eu masters finals preview

Fnatic Rising will have the chance to win it all in Leicester’s iconic Haymarket Theatre this weekend after their victory over Ventus Esports.
The UK League of Legends side have secured a minimum top 4 finish in the EU Masters, however the road to Leicester was certainly bumpier than expected and their next opponents are daunting. Megalodontus once again takes a look at their chances.

Quarter final recap: Fnatic Rising vs Ventus Esports

Despite many people expecting Fnatic Rising to take this series over Ventus Esports easily (us included, admittedly), Fnatic looked rather sluggish and out of sorts in the first game. Perhaps they took their opponents lightly or nerves got to them, but it didn’t help matters since Ventus showed they were here to play.
All of Magielix’s plans to help the team get back into the game with his hard split pushes were undone by Ventus’ response. And Fnatic forcing several poor key engagements which ultimately cost them the game. Krislund was once again terrorising on his Ezreal with a 7/0/8 score.

The second game started out more evenly and Fnatic reverted to a more calm and calculated style they were previously known for playing. Carries xMatty and MagiFelix accrued early advantages while Dan facilitated a lot of hefty punishes on Ventus members – especially toplaner Sleeping – when they wandered off to split push.
However the mid to late game became an intricate dance around Baron Nashor with members from both teams constantly warding and occupying the mid lane, completely neglecting the side lanes.
Fnatic’s tendency to want the ‘perfect’ Baron fight – which happened when they faced Misfits Premier – almost cost them the game. But their early drake priority payed off and after the acquisition of the first Elder Dragon they proceeded to win it.

Their win in Game 2 was a massive boost in confidence and with Dan getting his hands on Rek’sai (which has been banned a lot), Fnatic Rising showed no mercy. Every Ventus lane suffered their wrath, with xMatty and Targamas’ Xayah/Rakan combo tearing apart the bot lane.
Fnatic’s constant aggression in forcing skirmishes and punishing Ventus’ members continued until it was time for the Baron. Once again past 20/25 minutes and especially around Baron, Fnatic were again looking for the ‘perfect’ Baron fight. Eventually they got it and in the ensuing fights xMatty’s Xayah became a terminator, finishing the game with an impressive 10/0/7 scoreline.


The final four have been decided, so who’s next?

eu masters last 4
Fnatic Rising now at minimum will finish top 4, making this the best placing for the British circuit ever. They will get to play in front of their home fans on April 27th this weekend at approximately 6pm BST. If they make the finals they will play defending champions MAD Lions or the familiar Misfits Premier.
For those who wish to read a breakdown of SK Prime’s style and players in general, here is the guide my partner Clockwork and I prepared for lolesports: SK Prime. Without further ado, let’s dive into it their next match.

Fnatic Rising’s opponents: SK Prime (Premier Tour, Germany)

sk prime logoSK Prime is a team that at one point very nearly qualified as the DACH region’s first seed if not for their infamous offline woes. Adding in former MAD Lions analyst Kanani as their coach alongside Brokenshard for the EU Masters, SK Prime have been on a tear since their play-ins dominance. Their series against Team-LDLC showed SK Prime are not slowing down now that they’ve booked their ticket to Leicester.
SK Prime in many ways play like Fnatic Rising do. They rely very much on the explosive jungler in Phrenic to sow the seeds of havoc, and he’s been indomitable in contests between objectives thus far. As caster Foxdrop eloquently described it, Phrenic “steals the baron, steals the dragon, steals ya girl”. Dan will once again have to be at his best to read or counter Phrenic’s movements.
After that SK will continue to blitz through the foes much like Fnatic, razing the lanes and taking every single advantage. They are an extremely difficult unit to break, for they possess reliable carries in all three lanes. Sacre in the top lane has capably handled the competition so far and with his large, interchangeable champion pool shared with aggressive midlaner Jenax, Shikari and MagiFelix will have to do their utmost to hold them down.
Handing over Jayce to Sacre will prove to be sheer folly as many can attest, but so is giving MagiFelix Corki. It will be a tug of war from the draft phase.  

xMatty/Targamas must keep Keduii/Doss in check but even this is no easy task. Doss on his Thresh in particular and Keduii on Tristana can take over the midgame by themselves if left unchecked. Both will look to pressure Fnatic’s usually passive botlane early on for the SK duo love to fight.

If there is one weakness both teams share it’s they tend to have a long lull in activity in the mid to late game. Both teams tend to play it much safer to defend their leads and minimise mistakes, with the proclivity towards ending the game in one or two big engagements.
With their recent form, SK Prime won’t let Fnatic’s constant dancing around Baron go unpunished so easily. Perhaps the only ray of light is SK’s reputation of choking on the live stage. However, it would be foolish to assume they have not been working hard at it throughout the tournament.
The similarities of the 1996 Euros held in England have never been more profound. England were stopped from ‘bringing it home’ in the semi-finals by the German national team, who then went to win it all.
Will the same heartbreaking scenario repeat itself in Leicester or will Fnatic Rising break the curse? We’ll find out this weekend.

Fnatic’s chances of winning

If SK Prime shows their usual LAN performance: 3/5
Otherwise: 2/5
Games start at 3pm this weekend and will be broadcast from twitch.tv/riotgames

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