With the Grand Finals for the League of Legends Championship coming up this weekend, now might be a good time to sit and reflect on this season and appreciate the journey we all took as players and fans. But something I noticed during my pondering was how very similar the two contenders for the Summoners Cup this year are. Fnatic and Invictus Gaming are almost identical when it comes to the way in which their respective teams are set up, both fielding dual top laners, both with god tier mids, and both have AD carries that have and will take over the game if given the opportunity and space to work. But let's dig into the nuances of the lanes to see if we can find any advantages to watch for.
Fnatics top laners have two separate and distinct play styles and it reflects in their stats. Bwipo is the team player of the two, a solid Top by classic league standards, Stays top farms tries not to die too much and join the team for team fights. Where as sOAZ is a carry style top through and through boasting a 4.3 KDA this past split compared to his counter parts 1.8, he is not afraid to brawl on the island that is top lane. The distinct disparity between these to allows the flexibility that Fnatic has used to climb this high.
Invictus on the other hand has their two top laners more closely matched in play style with the on differences being preferred match ups and champion pools. Duke and Theshy are both capable of wining lane phase however Theshy will have the advantage of his brutalizing of G2 fresh on every ones minds. With good coaching, a champion pool full of powerful pocket picks, and more pure hype coming into the match I give the advantage top to Invictus.
The hallmark of a impactful midlane is usually tied to their Junglers proximity though out laning phase. And with this years world meta revolving around solo lane play and advantages, this fact is made all the more important. However Rookie of Invictus does not need his hand held much, touted as the best Mid in the tourney, he is more than capable of thriving while being left to his own devices. And it shows in Nings ability to take on tank duty, with Rookie, Theshy, and JackeyLove usually all dominating, he can focus more on utility.
Broxah and Caps are much more symbiotic in their lane phase relationship. Broxah will usually come into mid early and aggressive, either getting a blown Flash or getting himself or Caps rolling with first blood. With this level and synergy the pair has managed to positions Caps as a contender for the title of best Mid in worlds. Bullying all but one, Rookie had Caps number in their last meeting and it was almost hard to watch. However if Fnatic can play their cards very well through draft and and lane phase, I believe our two European knights can slay the Chinese dragon. Tentative advantage to Fnatic.
Botlane is not the focus this year, we have moved very far from the hyper carry-centric Ardent Censor meta. With Early power spikes and the dominance of carries from the top, there usually isn't enough time in a game for am ADC to get huge and start popping off. But like a volcano on the bottom half of the map, that threat is always present and ready to destroy your house if given the chance. But with lane bullies like Braum, Lucian and Draaaaaven, the bot side can still get rolling early as well.
JackeyLove is a legend in the making, and Boalan has done a great job of facilitating him all season long. Meanwhile Rekkles and Hylissang are very feast or famine, Hylissang either play aggressive and gets the picks to snowball Rekkles or misses and dies or loses all pressure. This match up is the hardest to judge with for players instead of two in the lane and the rest of the teams performance factoring so highly into the outcome of roams, but I believe that the experience advantage is in the hands of Fnatic.
With all that said we as players all know that the best way to determine who is a better player is to lock in the same champ with the same runes and items and let skill decide. And this years worlds finalists are so similar, skill will be the deciding factor in who is the best in the world.