Legacy of Greatness
“The History of Fnatic is the most successful organization in European League of Legends of all time.”
Martin “Deficio” Lynge
Hands down Fnatic has been the most dominant European team since the dawn of competitive League of Legends. Arguably the best Western team. Fnatic have claimed 7 of the 12 total EU LCS Championships ever played, have countless accolades placed upon their players, and are one of only 4 teams to ever have lifted the Summoner’s Cup.
This legacy of greatness started all the way back in Season 1 when Fnatic became the first ever team to win a World Championship. But that wasn’t all. In that first year alone Fnatic also went on to win IEM New York and place 3rd at IEM Cologne. In Season 2, despite a significant cooling off of their momentum leading them to fail to qualify for Worlds, Fnatic would ultimately place 2nd at both IEM Cologne and the IGN Pro League Season 5. As the year went on Fnatic’s tournament placements continually improved. This upward trend served as the fuel Fnatic needed and pushed them to a win at DreamHack Winter 2012.
Season 3 saw the creation both of the LCS and of Fnatic’s European dynasty. In the first ever EU LCS Spring Split Fnatic would end the regular season in 1st place with a 22-6 record and go on to win the first ever EU LCS Championship. Fnatic would continue their Spring momentum all the way to the Summer Split and solidified themselves at the top with a second consecutive EU LCS Championship title and a 3rd/4th place finish at Worlds 2013. But it wasn’t just championships that Fnatic delivered. The 2013 Fnatic roster of Paul "sOAZ" Boyer, Enrique "xPeke" Cedeño Martínez, Lauri "Cyanide" Happonen, Bora "YellOwStaR" Kim, and Johannes "puszu" Uibos forever immortalized themselves as one of the best rosters ever for both Fnatic and the EU LCS.
Fnatic’s dominance had no end in sight. After eclipsing their competition in the first season of the LCS Fnatic would go on to win three of the next four splits. By the end of the 2015 season Fnatic had won five EU LCS Championship titles. The crazy thing was there had only been six splits played up to that point.
The Best in the West
Fnatic’s true magnum opus came during the 2015 Season. Season 5 Fnatic is widely thought of as the best iteration of Fnatic the world has ever seen. The additions of Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon and Kim "Reignover" Yeu-jin in the height of their careers to the already rock solid trio of Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, Yellowstar, and Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten led the team to even greater heights. Winning both Splits was expected of Fnatic at this point. And they delivered. They also delivered a record breaking undefeated 18-0 regular season before taking the Summer Split Championship. Only dropping two games in their Finals series against Origen the entire Split. Fnatic was untouchable at this point. Merely taking two games off of them in a losing series was seen as an accomplishment for Origen.
Fnatic continued on their war path in Worlds 2015 as well. Being seeded as EU’s first place team enabled Fnatic to auto seed into the group stage. With Baron steals, Pentakills, and AD Kennen picks galore, Fnatic demolished their group and went into Quarterfinals with a 4-2 record. Western teams have a history of doing poorly against both Chinese and Korean teams at Worlds and other international events. Except for Fnatic that is. Fnatic would go on to eliminate EDG in their Quarterfinals match 3-0. Despite their best efforts, however, Fnatic would lose their Semifinals match against Korea’s Koo Tigers 0-3. They once again placed 3rd/4th at Worlds, only this time side by side with their EU counterparts Origen.
The Dynasty Falls
Despite the record breaking success of the roster both domestically and internationally, Fnatic’s 2015 roster broke apart in the off season. After the dreams of 2015 dissolved into the reality of 2016 Fnatic would not relive the glory of their past successes again. Not for a very long time. The next two years that followed were a less than stellar time for the organization. Though a lot of teams could find pride in ending three of their past four splits in 3rd place, and even some in placing 5th/6th as Fnatic did in Summer 2016, Fnatic could not. They were supposed to be the Kings of Europe. But someone else had that crown now. In their eyes Fnatic had nothing. By the end of Season 6 Fnatic failed to qualify for Worlds for only the second time in org history. Something had to change. And fast.
Going into 2017 Fnatic decided to go back to their roots. After releasing all international imports and picking up an all EU squad, Fnatic focused their efforts on building long term success. Though their season 7 performance was not bad by any means, two 3rd place finishes domestically and a 5th-8th place finish at Worlds 2017 was not enough for Fnatic. There were glimmers of hope though. Throughout the split Fnatic began to show signs of life. Signs that the Fnatic of old was not quite dead yet. Another MVP award given to Rekkles here. An outplay by rookie midlaner Rasmus "Caps" Winther there. These signs of life were accelerated at Worlds 2017. As EU’s 3rd place team Fnatic were forced to play through the Play-In Stage in order to get to Groups. With little effort Fnatic made it out of their Play-In group and into one of the most memorable and volatile groups of Worlds. After a terrible first week’s performance Fnatic dug in deep and managed to force two separate tie breakers to stay alive at the end of the second week. In a harrowing series of games Fnatic managed to beat the juggernauts of Gigabyte Marines and the top NA team to advance to Quarterfinals. Though their Worlds journey would stop there, Fnatic’s series against RNG was a close 1-3 loss. Fnatic had found their footing once again.
Return to Greatness
Which brings us to this year. 2018 Fnatic has mirrored the Fnatics of years past. They have successfully dominated the EU LCS both splits, won both the 2018 Spring and Summer Split Championships, and are headed into Worlds as the EU LCS’ 1st place team. An especially impressive feat considering that Fnatic’s team captain Rekkles agreed to benched himself for the majority of the Summer Split due to the infamous meta changes culminating in patch 8.11. Instead of learning to play bruisers and mages like his contemporaries did, Rekkles took a break from pro play so that Fnatic’s top lane sub Gabriël "Bwipo" Rau could play those champs bot lane instead. Rekkles came back towards the end of the Summer Split to great success but Caps and the gang were more than competent without him. Both play styles worked for Fnatic. Both remain an option for them going into Worlds.
Hungry for More
“FNATIC is by far the best western team in this tournament. I think they can make finals this year”
Bok "Reapered" Han-gyu, Cloud 9 Head Coach
Fnatic seem poised to rise to the top of this year’s World Championship. While other incumbent teams in other regions like TSM and SKT have continually done poorly domestically and failed to qualify for Worlds, Fnatic has found their second wind. Through glimpses into the scrims between the Worlds teams Cloud 9’s Coach Reapered has painted an exciting picture of Fnatic. With the raw talent of their roster, their history of succeeding on the Worlds stage, and being seeded into what the fanbase calls “the group of life” it's looking like a good year for a Fnatic comeback. You can bet it will be one hell of a tournament so go ahead and set your tables League fans. Fnatic is hungry. And it's time to eat.