Articles:Season 3 World Championship - Semifinal Preview - Royal Club vs Fnatic
|Season 3 World Championship - Semifinal Preview - Royal Club vs Fnatic|
The Season 3 World Championship Semifinals are on the way with a pair of matchups, and one of them is Royal Club vs Fnatic. When talk emerges around this matchup, opinions heavily differ - even within Leaguepedia.
Our writers chime in on who they think will win this inter-regional headliner, just like they did with the other matchup - (NaJin Black Sword vs SKT Telecom T1).
Fnatic's presence in the League of Legends scene dates back to 2011, when they won the Riot Season 1 Championship. Despite their non-qualification into the Season 2 World Championship, the team has always been a driving force in the European scene. Now, they look to take back the throne by combining synergy and playbook diversity. The way this EU LCS team plays and Royal’s over-reliance on their bottom lane could lead to the Chinese team’s downfall.
For the most part, Fnatic’s roster has been together for at least one year. If we go further back in time, the core of the roster (xPeke and Cyanide) has been together for more than two years. Synergy was built around all the lanes doing well, and Puszu’s arrival alongside YellOwStaR’s fast adaptation to the Support role meant that the bottom lane was no cause for concern anymore. This is particularly flagrant when there are so little downtimes in Fnatic’s play.
Every team member can play strong laners, but even more impressive is Fnatic’s ability to vary their gameplan at will. This begins at champion select, where they may opt to go for dive or pick compositions.
For the most part, Fnatic has two tricks. The first is their well documented brush strategies: they force awkward rotations or take advantage of the false sense of security their opponents are lulled into. The second is their tendency to apply pressure on the whole map: the Teleport Kassadin was particularly devastating against Cloud 9.
When all else fails they can opt to overpower their opponents in lane and build around teamfights (sOAZ and xPeke are known for that) while the bottom lane is on their footsteps, which is especially effective as of late with Leona-centric lanes.
The meta in Europe and Royal’s playstyle
Europe is known for its dive-heavy playstyle, thanks to the Season 3 patch notes: CLG.EU’s turtle style fell off as a result, and the Moscow 5 style took over by storm. Each team had its own flavor of dive and pick composition cores, all of which are brutal: Ninjas in Pyjamas’ ninja duet featuring Shen and Zed, Evil Geniuses’ double revive with Zac and Aatrox and most of what Gambit Gaming and Lemondogs use. Even paiN Gaming, who were in Europe for a little more than a week, were heavily influenced by that playstyle.
As it stands, Royal’s playstyle is as dive-centric as it gets, with a high chance of a hypercarry tagging along for the ride. Royal’s playstyle leads to what most European LCS games look like, and that LCS saw Fnatic rise at the top. Europe also uses the pick comp, with various outcomes.
Royal’s Achilles heel
Besides Fnatic’s familiarity with the dive-heavy playstyle, Royal counts on their bottom lane to provide the goods both in laning phase and teamfights. Their mid laner, Wh1t3zZ, is a solid insurance policy. Beyond that, everything seems approachable for Cyanide and his teammates.
All of Fnatic’s players are strong lane abusers; if you give them a finger, they will take the arm that comes along with it. Out of the many games that Fnatic played, only a few did not feature brutality on the Fields of Justice.
It will definitely be a hard-fought battle; that is, until Fnatic cracks the code and proceeds to dismantle Royal to bits. The sooner Fnatic finds what makes Royal tick, the sooner(and more brutal) the ending will be. However, on top of resourcefulness, Royal Club has the ability to adapt on the fly, seen during the Chinese Regional Qualifiers and their lone game against OMG in the S3 World Championship.
As such, I predict a hard fought 3-2 in favor of Fnatic. Of course, the possibility that Fnatic cruises past Royal (3-0 or 3-1) does exist, but it depends mostly on how fast Fnatic can figure the Royal puzzle out (especially the Level 1 strategies Royal has in their arsenal).
After Royal’s dominating performance over the favored OMG, it is not hard to imagine they can take this next series against Fnatic as well. Their strong “Feed the Puppy” strategy, great teamfighting, and deep roster brimming with talent will give them the edge over Fnatic.
“Feed the Puppy”
The phrase was almost beat to death leading up to Royal Club's quarterfinal match with fellow Chinese rival OMG. Simply put, Royal Club thrives when they're able to set up Uzi (“the Puppy”) to carry to victory. Royal Club was certainly up to the task, as Uzi tallied an impressive 8.67 KDA with 18 kills in the two game set, including some awe-inspiring moments. Royal Club built successful comps around AoE damage, lockdown and peels which allowed Uzi to display his legendary mechanics, completely dismantling OMG's champions in the process.
Strength in the Teamfight
I feel that a Royal Club teamfight is best described as “controlled chaos.” The players are quick to engage and fearless with their abilities knowing that each player will perform correctly. The result is 5 champions flying around leaving trails of destruction that are rarely seen in the competitive scene, even amongst the best teams in the world. Using champions like Jarvan IV, Elise, and even Tabe's support Annie, a fight is always a split-second from breaking out, and more often than not - Royal Club victoriously emerges from the chaos.
Not Merely a Supporting Cast
The biggest name on Royal Club's roster (and deservedly so) is Uzi, however, the rest of the lineup aren't exactly space fillers. Not content to let Uzi do all the killing, Wh1t3zZ brought out an extremely deadly Zed in Game 2, going 7/2/7 as well as a very strong Vladimir in the opener. While not scoring particularly high on the kill counter, GoDlike and Lucky combined for a whopping 48 assists in the series, while Tabe made highlights of his own with extremely accurate Crescendos. Royal Club will be seen as “Uzi's team,” but don't expect Royal Club to wait around for Uzi to make plays on his own. It is easy to say that the key to beating Royal Club is shutting down Uzi, but it will prove extraordinarily difficult for Fnatic to keep Wh1t3zZ, Lucky, and GoDlike down as well.
Dealing with Fnatic
The European champions knocked off North American champion Cloud 9 in an exciting three game series to earn their spot in the semifinals utilizing effective lane phases and impressive mid-late game scaling. In the both games Fnatic won, they utilized a double teleport strategy to react to any objective or counter-engage ganks. Uncoincidentally, xPeke was also playing Kassadin both times. Expect Kassadin to be banned or even picked away throughout the match, while it will be Royal Club's task to prevent Fnatic from snowballing via strong lane phases and to have a quick reaction to Fnatic's ability to appear anywhere, as well as doing whatever it takes to let Uzi be as effective as possible.
Fnatic presents a very different style of play than that which OMG utilized. Royal Club is ready and prepared for xPeke and company and will take a commanding lead in the set before Fnatic pulls a rabbit out of their hat and catches Royal Club off guard to steal a game. Unphased, Tabe will rally his team together for the final victory as Uzi scores a pentakill in the clinching fight, and Royal Club will head into the Finals with momentum firmly behind them, ready to light the Staples Center up for League of Legends fans worldwide.
Royal Club Huang Zu 3-1 over Fnatic