Fnatic reclaimed their spot as the Kings of Europe in Spring and came into the Split with no intentions of surrendering their throne. The wide majority had them pegged as the favourites and Fnatic did nothing to change their minds, earning accolades without their superstar AD Carry Martin "Rekkles" Larsson for seven of the nine weeks of the Split.
Schalke have been the surprise standout. A team that is greater than the sum of their parts. The addition of Maurice "Amazing" Stückenschneider gave them a reliable foundation for strong macro play and teamfighting; however, it’s also a roster that has a frighteningly small champion pool and limited amount of win conditions.
Speaking of win conditions, the general consensus heading into the set was that S04 would need to weather the Fnatic onslaught early and transition into their strength of strong macro play through the mid-late game in order to have a shot. If they couldn’t, Fnatic’s wealth of individual talent would be too overwhelming to overcome.
The roaring crowd filled the Palacio Vistalegre and had a pretty strong Fnatic bias. Schalke didn’t looked too phased by the hype around Fnatic and instead came out swinging in Game 1. They punched the six EU champs in the mouth as Amazing took some aggressive jungle paths early, leading to spectacular dives and unlocking the early game for S04. Fnatic’s late-scaling comp was never able to gain traction as Schalke continued upping the tempo. It was a different style from what we’ve seen from them all Split, but it paid off in spades. It was 1-0 for Schalke after a dominant snowballed game.
Unfortunately, as the series progressed, it was clear this style of play was not something S04 was entirely comfortable with for the long haul. As Fnatic adjusted and started to counter with their own aggression, Schalke’s response seemed to be stuttered. They began to take more risks and play more aggressively but lost the composure they held in Game 1. This out-of-character decision making caused huge miscommunications and haphazard choices across the board. Schalke began to force plays, looking for anything to swing the momentum back in their favour.
These synergy issues can be traced back to the jungle. Amazing often looked to make plays without full support from the rest of the roster. For a squad that previously relied on their ability to team fight all Split, this solo queue-esque mentality was the start of their downfall. They began to look like a team scared to lose, rather than a team fighting to win.
Fnatic, on the other hand, looked driven by the taste of that Game 1 defeat. Easily sweeping what would be the final three games of the Finals, Fnatic claimed the EU LCS Summer Split title as well as the 1st place seed for EU heading into Worlds. Rekkles had his best games since his return, going 19/4/15 cumulatively in the last three games of the series. Schalke showed flashes of what might have turned into comebacks, but Fnatic quickly responded with Worlds-calibur plays of their own. They also flashed their team’s versatility, playing at least three different champions in each role over the course of the series.
Schalke may have had the first word in this Finals, but Fnatic made a last statement that they are the top team in Europe and will be a threat to everyone at Worlds.
What Comes Next?
With 2018 Summer Split final ending on @FNATIC victory, we're now locked in as #EULCS 2nd seed for Worlds 👊— Team Vitality (@Team_Vitality) September 9, 2018
This means we will be representing Europe in Korea this October on the biggest League of Legends stage 🇪🇺 #VforVictory pic.twitter.com/2rJU4jUZbu
With Fnatic taking the crown and the first seed, Team Vitality qualify for Worlds via their combined Championship points from Spring and Summer.
Taking points into consideration, that means Schalke, G2, Misfits, and Splyce will be headed to the Regional Qualifier for Europe.
These four remaining teams with the most Championship Points accumulated across the Spring and Summer Splits will compete in a single-elimination Best of 5 format tournament. The winner of each match will continue on to the next round, moving up the through the gauntlet until one team reigns supreme.
100 (30 in Spring + 70 in Summer)
FC Schalke 04
90 (0 in Spring + 90 in Summer)
90 (70 in Spring + 20 in Summer)
70 (50 in Spring + 20 in Summer)
40 (0 in Spring + 40 in Summer)
10 (10 in Spring + 0 in Summer)
10 (10 in Spring + 0 in Summer)
Unicorns of Love
Teams with fewer points have lower seeding meaning they’ll need to play more matches, giving teams with better Split results an advantage over the competition. The higher seed team in each round will be able to pick Red or Blue side in odd-numbered games, while even-numbered games will be decided by the lower seed.
The EU LCS Regional Qualifier will take place from September 14 - September 16 starting at 12:00 CEST on September 14 and 11:00 CEST each day thereafter.