It's finally here. The LEC Summer Split is coming to a close and only three teams remain. These teams are Schalke 04, Fnatic and G2 Esports. At the top is G2 who, after defeating Fnatic in Round Two of the playoffs, secured themselves a ticket straight to the Finals. They're the reigning kings of Europe, winning the 2019 Spring Split and taking home the MSI trophy. This season they've rocked every team in the LEC and look nearly unstoppable.
But close behind them is Fnatic ("FNC"), another team with a grand legacy in European League of Legends. They've been one step behind G2 this year but actually surpassed them at last year's World Championship. Here, they made it all the way to the Finals and challenged Invictus Gaming. This season they want to win it all, and with the form they've shown against G2, it's possible they can. They nearly beat G2 in a best of five and now it's their time to show what they're really made of.
Finally, we come to Schalke 04 ("S04"). They're definitely the underdogs coming into this weekend but have the potential to make a splash. They've been in the league for quite a while, but have always been a middle-tier team. That said, back in 2018 S04 was a serious competitor, attending the 2018 Summer Split Finals as well as the regional Gauntlet. Unfortunately, they won neither of these. This will be their chance at redemption and to build a legacy.
Schalke 04 vs. Fnatic
The first match of the Finals weekend will be between Schalke 04 and Fnatic. In all honesty, it should be a rather one-sided affair. FNC are heavy favorites to win this because their skill ceiling is simply much higher than S04’s, from what we’ve seen so far.
First off, their individual players are a tier above S04’s in every role. The closest position in this regard is probably in the jungle. Trick has played exceptionally this split and is a significant factor in his team’s success. Despite this, Broxah still probably comes out on top for his consistently high level of performances he’s had since last year.
In addition, FNC has a lot more surprises up their sleeves. They were the first to find success with the Garen-Yuumi bottom lane, for example, and have unique drafts. They can utilize champions with global ultimates, like Twisted Fate, Shen and Nocturne to great success. Rekkles is comfortable on non-marksmen too, which gives them more opportunity to flex champions. S04’s drafts are rather meta, but they did bring out Xin Zhao and Leona in their series against Rogue. This means they may have some special picks of their own.
In terms of style, FNC should have the advantage here too. Their style is fast and bloody, similar to G2’s, which has proven difficult for most teams to play against. Plus, FNC has excellent roaming proficiency that makes them able to threaten all over the map quickly. S04 did demonstrate an ability to play for the early game versus Rogue, but their drafts primarily have late-game scaling elements they depend on.
When these two met during the regular season, FNC won both times. It should be another FNC win here, and if they want to prove themselves, a 3-0 is necessary.
G2 in the Finals
The winner of this series will face the reigning champions, G2 Esports. No matter if S04 or FNC meets them, they have a massive mountain to climb. G2 is far beyond any other LEC team in terms of individual skill and team coordination. Their style may seem messy to many, and indeed it can be when they’re off their game, but most of the time they’re exploiting every opportunity they can. Although it’s a scary idea, its crucial to attack G2 in the early game to prevail.
S04’s chances of making it here are slim, but in the off chance they do, their lanes must be ready to absorb pressure. G2 can attack from any angle, so being able to ward them off and make it to the late game can be a way to win. Especially since their drafts tend to favor team fighting.
For the likely other finalists, aggression is vital. Their first two games against G2 in Round Two were won because of aggression and off the back of Nemesis’ Twisted Fate. If they can obtain this champion again, it could be huge for them, but it is unlikely to escape bans. Either way, FNC has to keep up the pressure in the early game and make Caps into Craps.
At the end of the day, G2 is the expected winner of the Summer Split. They’ll hoist another trophy and hold their heads high moving into Worlds, where they’ll be a favorite to win even there.
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Images via LoL Esports.
Featured image via Dexerto.