Fnatic vs exceL
A clash between Fnatic and Excel Esports isn’t all that exciting on paper, but make no mistake: this match-up has all the hallmarks of a barnburner, even though it’s all but guaranteed to go in Fnatic’s favor. Still, it’s enticing for a host of different reasons, and while it might not be the most exciting game of the day it’s not far off either.
So let’s not waste any more time than necessary: Fnatic are heavily favored and there’s a good reason why. Does Excel have a fighting chance? Of course — they’ve been performing way above expectations lately and they’re quite a potent dark horse. But that’s sort of been their M.O. over the years: good but not great. Highly capable, but just not consistent enough when it matters most. They have a couple of stellar players but it’s like they lack just one more hardcarry (perhaps in mid or top) to truly “seal the deal.” Their bottom lane is exceptional, but they can only do so much by themselves. The rest of the team is, as always, both hot and cold. When they set things up well and execute, they’re quite a dangerous challenger. When that isn’t the case — and it mostly isn’t — they fumble and fail in more ways than one.
Fnatic, on the other hand, are playing some insanely good League of Legends right now. Heck, we’re putting it mildly here. The only thing we can truly fault them for is their lack of consistency, but that’s something that comes with time. Other than that, they’re pretty much amazing across the board. And we can notice their development, too. In the first week of play they were way too chaotic and reckless. They went for trades they shouldn’t have gone for, they stayed for far too long whenever someone decided to engage, and there was very little synergy to speak of. Then in week two things sort of stabilized. They were less volatile and more calculated, although things were still rough around the edges. Still, it was a huge improvement, and one that was to be expected given their experience and pedigree. Game three, however, was when they truly kicked things into overdrive. Their mistakes were few in number, and their individual play? Sublime across the board. Bwipo and Upset, in particular, have stepped up immensely with some mind-blowing hardcarry performances. Everyone over at Fnatic has been doing a ton of heavy lifting, and watching them perform and dominate has been an absolute pleasure. They’ve also outclassed G2 Esports so it’s pretty much impossible to doubt them (and their long-term potential) going forward. Again, they’re not perfect, but they’re not making any egregious mistakes either, and they’re far better and more dangerous at this point in time than anyone could’ve anticipated. That whole narrative of them needing a ton of time to restructure now that Martin “Rekkles” Larsson is no longer present turned out to be false. Upset just slotted right in and he’s been delivering performance-wise from day one pretty much. The same goes for Nisqy who, while not as flashy or dominant, has been enabling his team in more ways than one, much like he did back on Cloud9.
Watching them play has been nothing short of mesmerizing, and they’re no doubt going to give G2 a run for their money and eventually challenge for the LEC throne. Right now, however, they’ll face a feisty albeit inherently flawed challenger, and they want to get as dominant a win as possible so that they can enter the second half of the split on a high note. Fortunately, they have all the right tools for the job.