Excel UK falter but Fnatic Rising keep the UKLC flag flying high: Can Fnatic win the EU Masters in Katowice?

Image and article by Megalodontus

Fnatic Rising once again put the hopes and dreams of the British circuit on their back as they book their tickets to Katowice, Poland.

They are back in the League of Legends EU Masters semi finals, where they exited in heartbreaking fashion last time against SK Gaming Prime. Bitter memories still linger heavily in the air, but can Fnatic Rising rise to the occasion and conquer the gauntlet that is the EU Masters?

Megaloduntus recaps the last few games and previews the semi-final in this article.

20 teams from 13 regions sounded this tournament off…and now we’re down to four. In the harsh crucible of the EU Masters, only the strongest are left standing. Through the dust, dirt and ash once more the the crown that Fnatic Rising wore during their coronation in the UKLC shone brightly, heralding the last beacon of hope for their anxious legion back home.

Perhaps it’s only us who hears “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!” from William Shakespeare’s Henry V’s play, as the British circuit’s last hope of completely abolishing those nasty Brexit and banana republic jokes lies in a crucial best-of-five series on September 28th. One series to enter the finals; one more to take it home.

We asked this last split and we ask it again: Will Fnatic Rising finally rise?

A word in honour for the UKLC’s second seed: Excel UK

To Excel UK, hold your heads up and be proud. It might not feel like it right now but you’ve brought much pride back to the UKLC, with your historical undefeated record through Play-Ins and almost toppling the DACH champions mousesports.

In our book it’s an excellent run. You were here when the EU Masters began and we will be sure you will return to shake the foundations of Europe once more. Continue thriving together and onward to 2020!

British underdogs fall to mousesports 2 – 1

We must give due commiserations to Excel UK as we thought mousesports to be a very difficult matchup and despite the final results, there were moments where it looked like Excel UK might have taken the series instead.

In a series that went all the way to three games, viewers were blessed with a host of fascinating picks in draft (Garen/Yuumi, Kindred, Heimerdinger, Ekko for example) and nail biting plays throughout the series. Game 1 went quite straightforwardly to mousesports despite Excel UK exerting a lot of pressure early on, and Game 2 went Excel’s way after fighting tooth and nail for the entire game, toplaner Send0o’s Yorick proving to be a pivotal distraction in his split push duties.

Game 3 was the match that would deliver both heart-attacks and heartbreak for the UKLC faithful, as mousesports’ support Gistick went rampant on his signature Pyke and the DACH champions almost completely subjugated Excel UK’s famed early game.

Small glimmers of hope later in the game in the form of skirmish wins -and even a Baron steal from Taxer– were not enough for the brave British side and mousesports closed the game out.

Fnatic Rising rise to the occasion and bring devils.one down in a decisive 2-0

Elsewhere, clad in resplendent armour and armed with a host of unpredictable armaments, the knights of Fnatic Rising put the devils cloaked in black from Poland to the sword, denying them what they sought most: to play in front of their home crowd in Katowice. A harsh outcome for the Ultraliga faithful.

In a relatively straightforward series, Fnatic started off game 1 rather slowly which was worrying against devils.one’s near full scaling comp. Soloqueue players the world over celebrated however, as Fnatic took the gold lead, the Baron, the Elder Drake and eventually the Nexus, defeating the notoriously obnoxious Garen/Yuumi duo with xMatty’s Kai’Sa taking the MVP.

Game 2 was all Fnatic Rising. It was almost as if they were using the first game as warmup, the Kings of Britannia put Nji on his pocket Zac, yelled ‘CHARGE!’ and just went gallivanting in.

Constantly forcing skirmishes and acquiring a triple Infernal Drake meant devils.one could only watch their base and finally their Nexus crumble, along with their chances of going to Katowice.

Fnatic Rising’s next opponents: Vodafone Giants (SuperLiga Orange, Spain)

Goodness me, it’s gone all Battle of Trafalgar in here hasn’t it? First it was Team LDLC, now it’s Vodafone Giants! The last representative of Spain has thus far destroyed all who stood before them, bringing down their monstrous clubs in thunderous blows much like their fantasy namesake.

And like their dominance in the Superliga Orange, the Giants have not slowed down one bit. No team has pushed them to the very limit to force their hand in changing playstyles, which is a surprisingly traditional tank top, mid/bot carry composition considering every other team these days loves implementing madness into method.

In contrast, Fnatic Rising are almost unthinkably a team that might be the very antithesis of Giants. Other than their crazy games in the UKLC’s Tower 7, Fnatic have shown that they aren’t afraid to become Fnatic Flexing by putting their players in different lanes, on different champions and even on different roles!

If Fnatic somehow master this style, they will be an incredible pain in the you-know-where to draft against. So what’s the breakdown against the mighty Spanish Armada?

CelticTiger’s advice to teams despite the humourous delivery is not without truth. There is a reason why Th3Antonio is the SLO’s Summer split MVP despite him mainly playing tank tops such as Sion or his famous Cho’Gath.

Of the four remaining teams, he is probably the most potent pressure sponge and Bando will have to be at his best to face him (same with any other Fnatic members who wish to gank him). The biggest mistake Fnatic can make in draft will be thinking Th3Antonio can’t play carries.

The botlane is a matchup to see who is the superior British ADC in the form of xMatty vs Deadly… that is, assuming xMatty isn’t put on Nautilus duties.

Giant’s jungler Razork is a menace in terms of applying pressure especially in the early to mid game, while midlaner Milica can play just about anything, much like MagiFelix. Will we see Fnatic send support Ronaldooo to the midlane again? Who knows.

In this best-of-five series, the talking point will be whether Fnatic Rising choose to fight Vodafone Giants at their own game, or don the mantle of Fnatic Flexing? Like Fnatic, Giants are also extremely potent teamfighters especially in the mid to late game and do very well in long series: their finals in the Superliga Organe against Origen BCN went to five games.

Will Fnatic Rising finally be able to sing “IT’S COMING HOME!” OR will they be singing “WE’RE COMING HOME“?

Fnatic Rising’s chances of winning: 2.5/5 (0.5 for unabashed UKLC bias)

(For a more detailed breakdown on Vodafone Giants, see this Lolesports article on more EU Masters teams here)

Tune in on September 28th at 4pm BST to watch Fnatic Rising at  https://www.twitch.tv/riotgames to see if they better last split’s results!

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