When Fnatic took the stage against Rogue yesterday, many people tuned in to watch the old kings of Europe battle against one of the region’s youngest and brightest teams. In fact, their playoff battle drew in a peak viewership count of just over 556,000 people, according to analytical service Esports Charts.
This League of Legends series was a highly-anticipated meeting to see if the LEC’s first-place team could take down a former behemoth to earn their place at the top of the mountain. Unfortunately for Rogue fans, the postseason pressure was too much for the young squad and Fnatic’s superior preparation helped propel them to a stunning 3-0 sweep.
Sunday offered the last LEC match of the weekend. Rogue, the top team of the regular split, faced the fourth seed Fnatic. The black and orange team did not have an easy season and until the last week had a real chance to not make playoffs, but a strong final run secured them the last place in the upper bracket.
The match started with early first blood for Rogue in the top lane, though it quickly went sour as they lost three on the way out. Two kills in the bottom lane and the first tower saw Fnatic amass a gold lead early on. They kept up the pressure and secured tower after tower, extending their gold advantage to nearly 6K just 17 minutes into the game. Rogue tried to fight back, but they were too far. A 2-1 around the 23-minute mark gave Fnatic the Baron, and on their next attack they got two kills in the enemy base and quickly ended the game.
Rogue managed to avoid such a disaster in the next game. While Fnatic took the first blood, the teams kept brawling, and neither was able to secure a big lead going into the mid-game. Fnatic’s main advantage was in the early dragons, requiring Rogue to eventually contest them or concede an ocean soul.
The game was still neck and neck 27 minutes in as the teams clashed near the dragon pit. Rogue secured the drake to deny ocean soul, but they lost the fight. Fnatic aced their opponents and secured the Baron, which allowed them to finally take the lead. Rogue’s last chance came six minutes later as they engaged on a split Fnatic, but despite getting the first kill, Fnatic’s flankers turned the fight around, leading to a 4-2 and match point for the orange team.
Rogue needed to change things around, but the third game also started poorly for them. An early skirmish in the bottom lane ended up as a 3-2 for Fnatic, with two kills going to their AD Carry Martin “Rekkles” Larsson. Both sides played a fast and loose game with several mistakes. Still, great objective control saw Fnatic come out ahead, boasting a nearly 2.5K gold lead at 15 minutes and securing their third drake shortly afterward. As the mid-game progressed, however, Rogue’s teamfighting skill started showing and they had several good skirmishes, eventually getting their core items and equalizing the game.
The two teams clashed near the Baron 32 minutes in. They nearly kiled Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek’s Evelynn, but an overextension cost the life of their AD carry Steven “Hans sama” Liv, followed by three more. With a 5v1 on the map, Fnatic made a beeline for the Nexus and ended the series with a 3-0 sweep.
It was an impressive showing for Europe’s most decorated team, especially as they came into this match as the underdogs and yet didn’t even seem hard-pressed. They will proceed to a showdown with their heated rival G2 next week, with the winner securing a spot in the grand final. Rogue, meanwhile, slip to the lower bracket, where they will play the winner of the match between MAD Lions and FC Schalke 04.