Fnatic vs SK Gaming
The 2021 LEC Spring Split playoffs are finally here and, needless to say, we're in for quite a ride! To start things off, we have a rather peculiar clash between the former "Kings of Europe" Fnatic, and the unlikeliest of challengers — SK Gaming. By and large, this is quite an interesting Best of 5, although it is fairly one-sided in nature. Heck, we're putting it mildly here.
In fact, let's go with it — let's phrase things clean and simple: Fnatic are better in every which way. They have a higher skill ceiling, the better players, a breadth of experience, and more mechanical talent than they'll ever need. They're not perfect, of course, but they don't need to be take down a team like SK Gaming and proceed further into the playoffs bracket.
Still, they haven't been all that impressive lately which, to be fair, can be excused to a certain degree. Both Hylissang and their assistant coach Tolki contracted COVID-19 at some point which meant the whole team had to separate and go into quarantine. Such a development invariably affects a team in a myriad of ways -- none of which are even remotely good.
Then again, the same can be said for SK Gaming. None of their players got infected, but their five-game losing streak tells you all you need to know about their chances and overall level of play. Why they've been performing so darn badly as of late is anyone's guess, but it's a night and day difference when compared to their mid-split surge — the one reason they're in the playoffs in the first place. They're much better than they've looked lately, but none of that will matter much if they cannot get on the same page and execute as a team. Unfortunately, they'll face off against quite a stiff test, one that can play a wide range of styles and has stamina for days. It's hard to imagine SK Gaming pulling off an upset tonight as they're just not good enough to compete with Fnatic on even footing. There's no other way of phrasing it, really.
They're good but not great. They're capable but just not capable *enough* — at least not when compared to a team as stacked and experienced as Fnatic. Even on a bad day, the boys in black and orange should be more than capable of getting away with the win, although how hard-fought a win it'll be is still unknown at this point.
We all love a good underdog story. We really do, but it's nigh impossible to bet on SK Gaming right now, given just how shaky they've looked over the last few weeks. Still, they're good enough to give Fnatic a solid run for their money and entertain us all in the process. And, who knows? Maybe they'll even get a win (or even two) on the board should Fnatic need a bit of time to ramp up and start playing at their maximum level.