Last weekend’s LEC Summer Final in Athens, Greece is a best-of-five that will be talked about by League of Legends fans for years to come.
Europe’s historically most successful teams clashed at the peak of their abilities in an epic series which shook the stadium to its core. Fnatic fought valiantly to dethrone the reigning Mid-Season Invitational champions, but G2 Esportsnarrowly pulled out the victory.
After giving everything on stage, Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen was left devastated, but his season isn’t over yet. He and Fnatic have qualified for this year’s World Championship in Europe and will look to make the most of a home field advantage to go one step further than last year – by lifting the Summoner’s Cup.
Showing up when it counts
With the dominant season G2 have had, it was hard to imagine any other team walking away with the LEC trophy. It’s perhaps fair to say that many fans underestimated Fnatic – and the series look incredibly close at times – but Broxah says they never had any doubts:
“I think we've shown a lot of inconsistency this entire split, whereas G2 have looked a little more solid for the most part. Even with that in mind, we always knew we could take down G2 if we had a good day.”
“It feels really good sitting on these big stages and having the crowd behind us."
Fnatic performed extremely well in both of their best-of-fives against the eventual champions, and Broxah admitted that looking back at the games hurts: “We've been so close twice and it just feels... bad.”
Though the Danish jungler acknowledged the strength of Fnatic’s performance: “It sucks to lose but I'm proud of how we've played this week. We've been working really, really hard these past weeks to make sure we could play at our highest level coming into playoffs. I feel like the last few games could have been decided by the smallest mistakes and we both made a lot of mistakes. In they end, they came home with the victory but honestly, it could have gone either way.”
The black and orange army
Inside Athen’s Niko Galis Indoor Olympic Hall, the cheers when Fnatic went to matchpoint were deafening. It was very clear that most of the arena were supporting the black and orange team.
“It feels really good sitting on these big stages and having the crowd behind us,” says Broxah. “It doesn't matter who we go against in Europe, we always have the most support and that really means a lot to us players.”
And the Dane especially had a lot of support from Fnatic fans as they voted him as the team’s MVP of the Summer Split, an award that meant a lot to him: “I feel really happy that I'm getting recognition from them. Paying back the Fnatic fans has always meant a lot to me and the fact they think I've been the MVP of this split is really important to me. I've been having a really rough split but I've been able to prove myself as best as I could – and I really appreciate the support.”
The big stage
Now, Fnatic will compete in the gauntlet to decide their seeding before heading into the World Championship with that strong European support firmly behind them.
“I'm really excited to play Worlds in Europe. Playing in the World Championship can't be compared to anything else,” he says.
“Being in these LEC finals is always really cool, but playing at Worlds against these international teams under a completely different kind of pressure with so much more at stake is just so much more exciting – and I'm really looking forward to playing on home soil this time around.”
After what was perhaps the greatest final in European history, it’s safe to say there’s a lot of buzz and hope for the region this time around. Broxah reckons it’s not all talk either:
“There's no doubt that Europe is stronger than we've ever been going into Worlds. Like last year, both us and G2 went really far at Worlds, and this time around I think both of us have a very, very high chance of going all the way.
“I'm sad that we didn't get the fans the trophy they deserve this time around in Athens, but we will do everything we can to make the fans proud at Worlds.”