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LCS Playoff Preview: Fnatic vs Vitality

All eyes are on Fnatic in the first quarterfinal round of the Spring Split Playoffs. The boys in orange are up against Vitality, one of the top teams in the region. This best of five series is going to be difficult and may very well push us to the limit, but we’re heading in with something to prove and are ready to claim victory.

It’s easy to see that we’ve come a long way in just a few months. The Spring Split was full of trials and tribulations for the Fnatic lineup. We had a new squad that needed time to learn to communicate and play together. The spring split was the perfect time to develop as a group before the all-important Summer Split leading up to worlds. It might’ve taken some time but the international experience at IEM was integral to our development as a team. There were some missteps in the last week of the split, which do happen from time to time, but what’s important now is that we secured our playoff spot and go into this weekend with clear heads and the determination to win.  

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It’s true that we didn’t win against Vitality during the regular season but don’t let that statistic fool you. Our first loss came during Week 1 when we were a new lineup still trying to find our footing. There were a lot of mistakes but at this point it’s not a game we can accurately analyze in terms of what it could mean for playoffs. There were a lot of nerves, we had a lot to prove, it was the first week.  

Fast forward to Week 8 where we met Vitality again. They had grown in strength and were one of three teams competing for the first place position. We might’ve been lower in the standings but coming off of a great performance at IEM Katowice we were more than ready for this rematch. Vitality let Rekkles get Jhin, a champion that he had dominated on a week earlier. The same goes for Spirit who had proven to be a major threat on Lee Sin. Despite good performances, we eventually fell to our enemy. Still, there were many bright spots in this close game. Febiven showed everyone he can play Corki well and Rekkles went 6-1-6 on Jhin. It was a great match to watch and a vast improvement compared to where we were during our first week.

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That Week 8 game was close and had things gone a little differently we could have marked down a W. Now we’ve got a best of five situation and we all remember how that went at IEM…GG. All joking aside, a best of five is a good situation for us to be in right now. It allows a little room for review and adjustment if necessary. On the other hand, if we’re doing well in the early games we could snowball our advantage to a series victory.

As a team, it would be easy to try to downplay Vitality because of their Week 9 loss to Roccat but two weeks is enough time for them to shake off a single loss and come back more determined than ever. There are quite a few threats for us to be weary of. Nukeduck is a mechanical powerhouse who is known for his vast champion pool and consistent performances. Cabochard is a monster top lane. Shook always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Hjarnan is a reliable carry and always brings a lot of damage. Then there’s the glue that holds them all together, kaSing. We’re going to have to evaluate each player to determine what lane to exploit.

For our matchup of the series, we’re going to be looking toward the midlane. A best of five gives both teams the flexibility to choose some off the wall champions and we know Febiven and Nukeduck have those back pocket picks that can throw the other team off guard. Or maybe we’ll see a head-to-head assassin game? Just spitballing here. Both players are huge in determining how their team performs so we’ll be eager to see what they bring to the table during playoffs. Plus, the potential of five matches between these world-class midlaners is enough to get us excited.

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