It was a successful weekend for Fnatic at ESL One Cologne and at the LCS Finals. And the longest running North American LCS rivalry has a surprising ending in the finals. This and more in this week’s eSports Weekly!
LCS Finals: Surprise Results and The Implications of Worlds
This section sounds like an awful title for a Harry Potter book, but there was certainly magic this past weekend. In both the European and North American LCS Finals of the 2015 Summer Split, we were treated to two premiere match-ups. In Stockholm, a rivalry in the making took its next big step, as the the still undefeated Fnatic faced off against the definite second best European team: Origen, who had just finished their first LCS split ever as a team. Fnatic went into the finals sporting a 21-0 record; their last loss came against SK Telecom T1 at MSI, and their last LCS loss was in the finals of the Spring Split. Meanwhile, the infamous TSM vs CLG rivalry finally made its way to the LCS finals and the bright lights of Madison Square Garden. CLG earned their spot with a win over Team Impulse, 3-0 in the semifinals. TSM had to face the gauntlet of Gravity and Team Liquid, winning both series 3-1.
But before picks and bans were placed for the grand finals, two important series had to take place to determine third place. In the EU LCS 3rd place series, a bronze medal and bragging rights weren’t the only thing on the line. With the heavily favored Fnatic assumed to win the finals, this left the door open for the winner of the 3rd place series, who would have the most championship points, and secure the second EU seed and a spot at Worlds. For the Unicorns of Love, it was a disappointing end to their playoffs, as they fell to H2k three games to none, after losing to Fnatic 3-0 to be placed in the 3rd place game. With the victory, H2k earned a spot at Worlds, assuming Fnatic won the next day. Meanwhile, back at MSG, a disappointed Team Liquid looked to rebound against Team Impulse after a heartbreaking loss to TSM in the semis. Liquid would do just that with a solid 3-1 series win over an Impulse team that looked lost without XiaoWeiXiao. With the win, Liquid would earn a spot at Worlds assuming TSM won the finals.
At long last, the finals were underway. For Fnatic, their impressive streak of wins would mirror The Undertaker’s streak at Wrestlemania: reaching 21, but going no further. Origen stunned Fnatic in game one, thanks to impressive teamfighting and stellar barrel-play from Amazing on Gregas. But like The Undertaker, Fnatic would come back and win the next one with great play with a trio of Orianna, Tristana, and Janna, played by Febiven, Rekkles, and YellOwStaR respectively. Rekkles carried hard on Tristana the next game as well, picking up a 13-2-9 KDA in game three and giving Fnatic a 2-1 lead. Origen responded the next game, this time with Niels on Tristana, as Origen claimed a 52+ minute, low-kill game four, forcing a pivotal game five. The final game went back and forth for the most part, but momentum went in Fnatic’s favor after a mini base race, and carried them to victory. Fnatic claims the title of 2015 Summer Split champions, and the #1 EU seed, as H2k claims #2 seed with the most championship points. Despite the strong showing in the finals, Origen will have to compete in the regional tournament to make it to Worlds.
Now back to Madison Square Garden, and the NA LCS Finals. In one of the most shocking, one-sided Finals I’ve ever seen, Counter Logic Gaming absolutely destroyed Team SoloMid. I can’t even do a recap, it wouldn’t do the series justice. Go watch the VODs. CLG were clicking on all cylinders across all three games. ZionSpartan played like an absolute madman, earning series MVP with an average KDA of 20.5 (12 kills, 2 deaths, 29 assists across 3 games). And TSM just looked lost. In only a couple of hours it was all over. The CLG organization stood on stage for the first time as champions, as an emotional owner HotshotGG thanked the fans and his players with what was left of his voice. CLG didn’t shy away from the trash talk, as per usual, with Aphromoo referring to the series as “just a walk in the park.” With the win, CLG earns the #1 NA seed at Worlds, with TSM picking up the #2 seed with their championship points. Liquid, Impulse, Gravity and Cloud 9 will all compete in the regional tournament for the 3rd spot. And finally, DoubleLift‘s trophy case has something to go in it, alongside an impressive pentakill he had in game two.
CS:GO: Winners of ESL One Cologne Make History
It wasn’t too shabby of a Sunday for the Fnatic organization this past weekend, as their CS:GO team and their LoL team would claim championships within an hour of each other. While the LoL team faced Origen in the LCS Finals, their CS:GO squad was running through the main event of the ESL One Cologne major. Fnatic earned a main event spot with dominant 16-2 wins over both eBettle and Na’Vi in the group stage. In the quarterfinals, they faced a red hot Luminosity team that had just taken FlipSid3 to double overtime to make it to the playoffs. Fnatic made it look easy on Train on game one, but LG were able to make it interesting on Mirage, taking the map to thirty rounds before Fnatic came out clutch at the end, winning 16-14 and taking the series 2-0. In the first game of their semifinals match-up against Virtus.Pro, Mirage wasn’t too kind to Fnatic, as VP took game one 16-6. Fnatic came up big in game two on Inferno, turning around a 13-8 deficit, and letting flusha pick up a quadkill in the final round to tie the series with a 16-14 victory.With the momentum on their side, Fnatic made quick work of VP on Cobblestone, taking the series 2-1 with a 16-7 victory in game three. Fnatic’s final opponent were the new roster of EnVyUs, and the French squad put up quite a fight in game one on Dust2, forcing the game to overtime. But Fnatic would claim map one after just one round of overtime, and made quick work of EnVy on one of their best maps, Cobblestone, and claimed the finals in just two games.
With the victory, Fnatic set two impressive standards; the first team to win three majors overall, and the first to win two majors back-to-back. All while their organization’s LoL team won back-to-back LCS split titles. As I said, not too shabby of a Sunday for Fnatic.
- Dota 2: More shuffles this past week.
- Aui_2000 formed his new team, Digital Chaos, featuring talent formerly of Liquid, ROOT Gaming, and compLexity. Also features some new players.
- Both mynuts and s4 return to Alliance to fill out the roster of Loda, AdmiralBulldog and Akke.
- 7ckingMad, who just left Alliance, joins SingSing and others on new roster called Monkey Freedom Fighters. Additionally, BigDaddyN0tail, who like SingSing used to play for Cloud 9, has formed a roster with Fly, cr1t, Moonmeander, and Miracle-, on a team called Monkey Business. I’m not kidding, two teams with Monkey in their name were just formed in the past few days, I swear I’m not making this up.
- Na’Vi parted ways with two of its members: Artstyle and VANSKOR.
- A new game has emerged to challenge Blizzard’s upcoming TF2-MOBA hybrid Overwatch, and Overwatch hasn’t even gotten out of the gate yet. Cliff Bleszinski, better known as Cliffy B, and his company BossKey Productions have just released their first gameplay trailer for LawBreakers, an arena shooter with MOBA aspects that appears similar to Overwatch in gameplay and hecticness. This is the year of first/third person MOBA shooters, as at E3 we saw similar games such as Battleborn by Gearbox, Gigantic by Motiga, and of course Overwatch. And as always, there’s TF2. Who can become king of the increasing competition? We’ll have to wait and see how they differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack.