Fnatic has created League of Legends history by becoming the first team to reach the quarterfinals with an 0-3 record after the opening week.
It’s a storyline the likes of which few could have predicted. After an opening week plagued by internal disputes, player outbursts and lacklustre performances, Fnatic played without fear to defy their odds and steal the second seed in Group B.
Perhaps the defining moment of Group B was Fnatic’s return victory over Immortals, the side who, at the start of the day’s play seemed destined to reach the knockout rounds.
After a catastrophic misplay from Fnatic captain, Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, handed victory over to Immortals on day two, it was the Swede’s turn to celebrate as the repeat fixture ended in dramatic fashion.
And celebrate he did…
“This is the game, last game didn’t happen… if we win this, we’re in it.”
Martin “Rekkles” Larsson
Snowballing the advantage acquired after a clean teamfight in the bot lane, Fnatic made a frantic dash for the Nexus, desperate to close out the game with their remaining members.
As each member of the Fnatic roster focussed their attention of the Immortals nexus, falling one by one, the North American’s base inched ever nearer to destruction, the rate of its demise slowing as more and more members of Fnatic perished.
In the end, it was Paul “sOAZ” Boyer, the top laner so frequently criticised for his week 1 displays, who dealt the decisive blow, sparking wild celebrations amongst Fnatic and European fans alike.
The significance of Fnatic’s victory over Immortals is not to be understated, as it all-but-eliminated any hope of NA’s automatic qualification, given that IMT’s only remaining game would be to face-off against the undefeated Longzhu Gaming.
More than anything else, the manner in which Fnatic sealed victory over Immortals would have had a significant effect on the morale on the two teams.
To pull out a win, against the odds, to keep their team in the tournament will no doubt have strengthened the mental fortitude of the Fnatic line-up.
For Immortals, the two consecutive defeats would only be the tip of the iceberg as their day went from bad to worse, ending with a 2-5 record.
After a year in which the future of the European region has been a forlorn topic of discussion for organisations like Fnatic, to enjoy a moment of EU-phoria over their North American rivals is certainly something to savour.
Regardless of Fnatic’s performance in the quarterfinals, their reputation as a European fan favourite is secured after one of the most memorable comebacks in World Championship history.