Fnatic vs KOO Tigers
This semifinal is going to be a real treat with both teams coming in very evenly matched. Fnatic has really stepped up their game after a lackluster week one and are looking like a team that can go toe to toe with the Korean powerhouses. While KOO enter the game coming off a dismantling of KT during their quarterfinal, where they played like the KOO of old. With both teams entering this pivotal match at what appears to be their best I am looking forward to a great set of games, and hopefully our first full five game series. I’m going to give a quick rundown of the lane matchups and my prediction of who will win this series.
Huni is a microcosm of his team as during the first week with some uncharacteristically bad play and some mind boggling decisions. Taking the criticism to heart Huni brought it back and for the rest of the tournament he was his usual play making self, busting out a pocket Riven pick that was incredibly potent. I look for Huni to continue his top level of play and he will need to if he’s going to have an impact against Smeb.
Entering this tournament I knew Smeb was a god when it came to top laners, but I didn’t know he was this much of a god. When he went up against Ssumday I thought it would be even and maybe Ssumday would come out ahead, holy crap was I wrong as Smeb just decimated Ssumday over and over again with incredible Fiora play. If Fnatic make the same mistake of giving Smeb any champion he wants into almost any matchup he wants they will suffer the same fate as KT Rolster. Smeb is a very big part of KOO’s success as is Huni so look at the top lane to see where the match can be tilted.
Reignover’s play throughout worlds has been inconsistent but during the quarterfinals he really stepped up and gave his patented consistent and solid play. Reignover hasn’t been the one to make the flashy plays but he has done his job and done it well enough. Reignover will need to continue his solid and guiding play if Fnatic is to win this series.
Throughout the LCK season Hojin had been a pretty mediocre jungler but during worlds he’s gone from mild mannered Clark Kent into full on Superman. This dude has been playing at such a high level throughout worlds and he really showed it in KOO’s quarterfinal match by outplaying score at almost every turn. I expect Hojin to continue this high level of play and continue to be a big reason KOO has seen a resurgence in their play.
This guy has raised his level at every step of the way, from starting out with a small champion pool in his rookie split, to killing Faker 1v1 at the Mid Season Invitational, to just taking over as best mid laner EU in his second split and not to dominating on the worlds stage. The most impressive part of Febiven’s play has been the fact that even when Fnatic was losing Febiven was still going god mode and trying to carry the game and almost succeeding multiple times. Even with Kuro playing out of his mind this tournament I still see Febiven as the better and he’s quickly climbing up the ranks of mid laners and knocking on the door of top three in the world.
The originator of the mid lane Viktor hype Kuro has played out of his mind this tournament, with some of the best play of his career he really has made the jump into the upper echelon of mid laners. His Viktor was on full display in the quarterfinal match vs KT as he just put out insane amounts of damage each time he got his hands on his signature champion. While I think Kuro is on the rise to the top, Febiven is already there and if Kuro can keep Febiven in check KOO will have a much higher chance of advancing to the finals.
Seeing the growth if Rekkles over his years of play has been really impressive, starting out his career by making a name for himself on hyper carries like Vayne Rekkles then went into a phase where he was considered a cleanup AD player. Meaning he would always be safe and pick off people who were already low from his team, he used to sacrifice damage to be safe and eventually enemy teams would exploit this. This year he changed again and has become the complete AD player and it’s really shown in his play, alongside Febiven Rekkles was the only other player to play well even in Fnatic’s losses. Rekkles will need to be that good when it comes to KOO as he is a big lynchpin for Fnatic’s play.
One of the original AD players who’s been around the scene since season two, including multiple worlds appearances. With that wealth of experience Pray has been on his “A” game all tournament long and hasn’t had any weaknesses that I could see. He’s done what his team has needed, played the champions his team needed and done it perfectly. I expect nothing less as Pray goes up against Rekkles, and while his skills may not be what they once were Pray is still a force to be reckoned with.
Entering this tournament Yellowstar was one of the best supports in the world, while that opinion hasn’t changed too much it is getting questioned as his play has been less than stellar. Even in Fnatic’s wins Yellowstar’s play has been lackluster and not up to the quality we have come to expect from Fnatic’s captain. If Fnatic want to secure this win and advance to face SKT in the finals Yellowstar will need to bring his absolute best play.
Another support player who entered worlds as one of the best in the world, Gorilla has lived up to that billing with some impressive support play. With strong roams, vision control and duo laning Gorilla has been the total package. I don’t expect Gorilla and Pray to back down from the challenge that is Fnatic’s bottom lane and I hope to see some high level 2v2 laning occur.
KOO Win 3-2Photo Credit: Riot Esports Flickr