The answer is no. In case you were wondering whether or not I accidentally left out an “a” in the word fanatic. Since I’m not a fanatic, religious or otherwise, then what could this post possibly be about? Well, if you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve picked up on the theme of my site: Gaming. And Fnatic just so happen to a an e-sports organisation and one of the older ones at that.
But why am I suddenly proclaiming this? There’s a very good reason for that. You see, last night Fnatic’s League of Legends team beat the all-time best winning streak in the League Championship Series (LCS) by one, creating a new record with 14 victories and zero losses! 😀
Back to the future
(Yes, I’m kinda proud of myself for that headline and how well I think it fits :3 )
Let’s go back. All the way back to the Season 1 World Championship of LoL. I remember being at a LAN with my friends, where we saw the tournament which set new records for streaming with about 200.000 consecutive viewers (if I remember correctly). Compared to the standards of today it doesn’t look all that impressive, but in 2011, it really was.
I was rooting for Counter-Logic Gaming (CLG) as I watched quite a lot of HotshotGG’s stream. CLG met Fnatic in the Winner’s Bracket Relegation Round. CLG came into the round with a 2-1 score, while Fnatic had a rocky group stage and ended up going 1-2. However, after an epic match, Fnatic won the relegation round 2-1 and I was intrigued.
This team played the way I wanted the game to be played: Ability power (AP) champions in top and mid, followed by a very aggressive playstyle. It was crazy and amazing and it ended up winning the tournament after beating Against All Authority’s squad two times, one in the Winner’s Bracket Final and then again in the Grand Final.
Needless to say, I was hooked. xPeke, CyanideFI, LamiaZealot and Mellisan all played great when it counted and who doesn’t remember Shushei’s incredible AP Alistar and Gragas. Of course, the two champions were incredibly overpowered at the time, but who cares – It was great fun :3
Down the gutter and up again
Then the meta shifted heavily towards the tanky top laners and this ultimately became the slump of Fnatic. I remember watching them struggle as Shushei could not adjust to the (in my opinion) really, really boring meta 🙁
During season 2, and pre-season 3, a lot of stuff happened for Fnatic: Shushei’s performance was too bad for the team, so he got replaced, LamiaZealot retired and Mellisan chose to focus on his studies. After a lot of hassle, the squad ended up being sOAZ top, Cyanide jungle, xPeke mid, YellOwStaR attack damage carry (ADC) and nRated as support. The team briefly had Pheilox as support, with Candypanda and/or Rekkles as ADC.
Actually, with Rekkles as ADC, Fnatic took 2nd place at the legendary IPL5, where they beat the Season 2 Champions of Taipei Assassins, before gracefully losing to Team World Elite in the finals.
League Championship Series
With the beginning of LCS came what I would call “The Golden Age” for Fnatic (until this summer split at least). Fnatic took 1st place in the EU Spring and Summer Split of the first LCS year (2013), as well as the 1st place of the Spring Split and 2nd place for the Summer split of 2014.
During this time, Fnatic also took a respectable 3rd/4th place at the Season 3 World Championship, giving the Koreans and Chinese teams a run for their money (and I’m only briefly going to mention the disappointment of the 12th/13th place at the 2014 World Championship).
Hmm, that was a lot of history in a relatively short amount of space… And it’s kinda boring… Though, I just need to add one thing to the Golden Age: I distinctly remember being extremely sceptical when nRated left (or got kicked) and YellOwStAr switched from ADC to support. However, he proved me wrong. In fact, he proved me so wrong that he since have been the cornerstone player of Fnatic – And I couldn’t be happier about it! 😀
The New Age
What am I trying to prove with this post? That I’m not just jumping on the bandwagon and hype train! Well, sort of not… When Cyanide retired and xPeke, Rekkles and sOAZ left in early 2015, I was confused. Should I keep rooting for the team? Only Yellowstar remained from The Golden Age and I had no “relationship” to the new players. I decided to just wait and see what happened.
However, it turned out that the new squad of Huni, Reignover, Febiven, Steelback and Yellowstar would continue the tradition of aggressive playstyle that I loved from the good ol’ days 😀 Then, when Rekkles rejoined in place of Steelback, the team have simply become unstoppable… Hence the 14-0 record of this 2015 EU LCS Summer Split x)
Fnatic in E-Sports
But, in the midst of all this, I have found that I actually root for Fnatic’s team in other e-sports as well. E.g. when I’m watching Heroes of the Storm, I find myself wanting Fnatic to win, simply because of the name 😛
So, I’ve come to the conclusion that e-sports is just like traditional sports for me. I have specific teams that I root for in football (soccer, if you’re ‘Murican) and I keep rooting for them no matter the player swaps. And I will keep this tradition in e-sports, I mean, given what happened after Fnatic’s recent roster change in LoL, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet 😉
Lastly, I want to reflect on the beauty of Fnatic’s victory in the LCS last night. Not only did they win and set the new record for longest winning streak, they won against the 2nd place team at the moment, Origen. If you do not follow LoL, and somehow made it all the way to this paragraph, I can tell you that Origen is another team that I like to watch. The reason for this is that it is created by xPeke, who also plays in the mid lane, with sOAZ in the top lane. So in a way, The New Age team of Fnatic beat The Golden Age (or some of them at least) in a match that was definitely worth watching! :3