Even the most hardcore League of Legends esports fans find keeping track of every region, including the minor regions, a tall task. As a result, the majority of fans will be unacquainted with many of the teams and players attending the most prestigious LoL Esports event of the year. So Worlds Spotlight was created to help educate and inform the fans of the stories and narratives surrounding these players and teams. Welcome to our Fnatic Worlds 2021 Spotlight.
Top: Adam “Adam” Maanane
Jungle: Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau
Mid: Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer
Bot: Louis “Bean” Schmitz
Support: Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov
Head Coach: Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi
Regular Season Placing: 5th
Playoffs Placing: 2nd
After a disappointing spring split, Fnatic made some significant roster changes before summer. They brought in KCorp top laner Adam and moved Bwipo to the jungle. While Adam’s addition was celebrated because of his performance in the LFL, uncertainty swirled around Bwipo’s move to the jungle. With a rookie top laner and role-swapped jungler, Fnatic’s summer seemed more unpredictable than ever.
Initially, it seemed like Fnatic was doomed for failure. They started off the split with a 1-2 record in the first week. However, following week 1, Fnatic would never fall below third place in the regular season standings until the last week. Another 1-2 record in a super week dropped them to fifth, forcing them to begin playoffs from the lower bracket. Bwipo seemed well-adjusted to his new role throughout the regular season while Adam was suffering some growing pains.
Despite a strong showing throughout the summer, Fnatic was considered the underdogs coming into playoffs, much less a contender for a worlds spot. After all, to qualify for worlds, FNC would have to win 3 Bo5s in a row. However, in playoffs, the magic began. FNC ran the entire playoffs bracket edging out VIT, MSF, and long-term rivals G2 in 3-2 series each time. Following their historic victory against G2, FNC swept aside a struggling Rogue in a clean 3-0 to face defending champions, MAD Lions, in the finals. However, it was here that FNC’s Cinderella story ended, with MAD triumphing over them to win the title. As a result of this loss, FNC is attending Worlds 2021 as the LEC second seed, where they will be competing with the likes of MSI champions RNG and PCS kings PSG Talon in the group stage.
Players to Watch:
The Professor: Hylissang
Hylissang looks like a diva in a good game, finding angles for plays that seemed impossible until he did it. Hylissang looks like an inter in a bad game, committing to foolish plays and over forcing engages. However, both situations tell us the same story about the FNC support: he will always look for a way to win the game. While teams and players are notorious for simply rolling over and slowly bleeding out while doing nothing, Hylissang and Fnatic are the complete opposite. They will constantly look for even the smallest window of opportunity to swing the game back in their favor, with Hylissang leading the charge. We have seen Hylissang play like a beast at Worlds before, and now FNC will need him and his tenacity for victory more than ever if they are to make it out of the group stages.
The Prince: Adam
Adam only started playing professionally this year, and he made his debut on the LEC stage this summer. One common criticism aimed towards him throughout the regular season and playoffs was his limited champion pool. While it is undoubtedly true that Adam does not have the same breadth to his champion pool that other more experienced top laners may have, he makes up for it with his high proficiency on his comfort picks, like Olaf and Darius. In addition to this, FNC played extremely well around Adam, whether providing him with resources when he was on carries or ensuring he was secure on the weak side. While these kinds of picks, level play, and attention from his team got Adam through LEC, it will not be enough at Worlds. However, Adam has had a lot of time to improve since the LEC playoffs and has the mentality and resources to do so, with one of Europe’s best top-laners as his jungler. Now coming into Worlds, keep an eye on Adam. The degree of his improvement and champion pool could make or break Fnatic’s chances of making it out of groups.