This year’s EU LCS Summer Split final is going to be an important one. Why? Because this is the first time that Schalke 04 has made it to the EU LCS finals and for once, they have a chance at making it to the World Championship.
However, it isn’t going to be easy. They’re going to be facing off against Fnatic, an experienced champion and World Championship qualifier. Fnatic has dominated the EU LCS since its creation and it’s the only non-Asian team to win a World Championship (Season One).
That being said, it’s going to be hard for Schalke 04 to take down Fnatic. After all, Fnatic has never been an easy opponent for anyone but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be impossible. Schalke 04 has been playing better and better against top-tier opponents such as Team Vitality and Misfits Gaming.
They have the skillset and the players to take down Fnatic but it goes both ways. Fnatic has taken down teams with players better than Schalke 04’s lineup but they’ve never played a team as unique as Schalke 04.
Therefore, this match is going to be one of unprecedented results. No one knows what’s going to happen yet but it’s definitely going to be an entertaining one. Schalke 04, a giant-slayer, will be taking on Fnatic, the ultimate boss, and only one team can advance. Let’s get started.
How has Schalke 04 Been Playing?
Schalke 04 has been playing extremely strong League of Legends for the past few weeks, not just in the playoffs. They took down Splyce, a previous World Championship contender, in a close five setter and then proceeded to destroy Team Vitality, the second place team, with a fast 3-1 victory.
This goes to prove that Schalke 04 has been playing out of their minds. Going into the Regular Season, Schalke 04 finished out the last few weeks 7-2, losing the two matches in extremely close margins. They have the momentum and it certainly showed during playoffs.
Despite playing Splyce, a team that they’ve had trouble with several times over, they managed to show that they could hold their grounds and by doing so, Splyce were the first to blink. They couldn’t hold their lead and Schalke 04 came back to win the series 3-2.
Using their momentum from winning against Splyce, they managed to swiftly defeat Team Vitality, shocking fans everywhere. Now, Schalke 04 is going to look to face Fnatic feeling better than they’ve ever felt.
How has Fnatic Been Playing?
Despite finishing the Regular Season with a shaky 4-2 record in the last few weeks, they didn’t show any weakness during their playoffs. During the 2016-2017 season, they faced adversity with the team Misfits Gaming, the only team that could take them head on every single time and win.
This time, they destroyed them in a 3-1 victory without any opposition from the opposing side. Of course, a large part of this had to do with them having the first place seed so they only had to win one match to reach the finals.
Overall, they’ve been playing more solid than usual. Their players have been coordinating better and they’ve been looking to make more macro plays rather than looking for picks on the map. This has been a key factor into helping Fnatic win a large portion of their matches.
Combine this with the fact that Fnatic’s entire roster have players with enormous talent and you have a team full of autonomy and playmaking potential. They aren’t a team that require the entire team for something. They’re a team that only need a few to make any impact on the map and they made sure to use this to their maximum effectiveness.
In the Regular Season, a large portion of their wins were thanks to the individual talents of players such as Caps and Rekkles and they made sure to prioritize this in the most recent matches that they’ve played.
They’ve been playing fairly solid against most teams but at the same time, they’ve been known to slip up at times without explanation and this can be costly, especially against a team such as Schalke 04 who has been playing better against the teams that have been known to dominate the EU LCS.
Analyzing Schalke 04’s Lineup
Schalke 04’s lineup may not be anything huge but they make it work. The synergy is there and the communication has been more than impeccable. Their timing on macro and micro plays have proven to be extremely effective in more ways than one and they emphasize team over individuality.
However, they still have some talent which needs to be addressed. Some players on Schalke 04 have made more of an impact than other players and this is something that needs to be addressed. After all, these are the players you should be looking at whenever the match starts on Sunday because these are the players that will make a victory for Schalke 04 possible.
Upset (AD Carry)
Upset has been the fundamental piece to Schalke 04’s current success in the EU LCS. Not only does he have a wide range of champions that he excels on, there are very rare instances in which he can actually lose on the champions that he’s perfected.
For example, on both his Lucian and Kai’sa, he’s only lost one match on both of these champions. Meanwhile, the matches he’s won, he’s won without any opposition from the other AD Carry. He literally takes over the Rift by himself and makes himself the one piece that is extremely important to the game.
During their match against Team Vitality, in game one and two, Upset played his signature Ezreal. On the champion, he racked up fourteen kills and eighteen assists total while only suffering three deaths total throughout the match.
When they took down Splyce, his Kai’sa was extremely important to the perfect function of the team. Without it, they would’ve most likely never even taken a game off the squadron of stacked players. However, it was thanks to Upset’s Kai’sa that they were able to clinch the win.
In the three matches that he played against Splyce on Kai’sa, he totaled sixteen kills and three assists while only taking three deaths to compensate. He’s the player that Schalke 04 rely on to deal damage and display presence throughout fights and skirmishes and Upset does exactly that.
He isn’t afraid to switch things up also. Ezreal and Kai’sa have drastically different playstyles. As Ezreal, you’re expected to snipe out enemies with your skill-shots from a safe distance and if things get too messy, you can easily blink away.
However, for Kai’sa, the ability to dash in and deal as much damage as possible while kiting away from the enemy is what makes her unique from most AD Carries. Upset can switch from two drastically opposite playstyles and play whatever his team needs, providing Schalke 04 the versatility and options that they’ll require if they want to take down Fnatic.
Not only is Upset perfect when it comes to dealing damage and staying safe, he can play almost any way that his teammates want him to play. If they want him to play safe, he can definitely play safe. He showed how effective he can play that style on Ezreal. If they want him to play aggressive, he can do that as well. Just look at his Kai’sa matches.
In the end, Upset can play whatever is needed and that’s the beautiful piece about him. He isn’t like most AD Carries who do what they want and take the status of superstar for themselves. He puts the team first and that’s the first step to taking a win against a team like Fnatic.
Vizicsacsi (Top Lane)
Vizicsacsi has been on the EU LCS for quite awhile now and he certainly has the experience to make himself a valuable player against Fnatic on Sunday. The thing behind this man is that he may not have the prettiest playstyle but he gets the job down.
Right now, he isn’t even in the top fifteen when it comes to KDA but when you look at his match history, he is nearly undefeated on his signature Poppy. Therefore, Vizicsacsi has what it takes to be an effective top laner.
He knows what the pressure is going to be like this Sunday and he knows what to except, especially since he’s going to be facing Fnatic, the team which many consider to be the best in the EU LCS and one of the best in the world.
However, Vizicsacsi’s dirty but effective way of getting things done will be a piece that help Schalke 04 try to close out a win against the European powerhouse. If you need crowd-control for Upset, he’ll do it. You may not like how he does it but he’ll do it.
If you need him to deal more damage, so be it but it may get a little ugly. However, in the end, he follows through, short and simple. He knows his role in fights and in the game itself and he’s willing to sacrifice the pretty side of playing League of Legends if it means they’re able to win overall.
Nukeduck (Mid Lane)
Like Vizicsacsi, while Nukeduck may not have the best stats, he certainly knows his job and what he needs to do. In fact, he’s one of the few players that have properly adjusted to the new mid lane meta where bruisers and mages share the spotlight.
He can pull out an Irelia pick when needed and then switch over to Leblanc the very next game. In fact, this is exactly what he did versus Team Vitality. He dominated Game Two on Irelia, racking up five kills and three assists with zero assists. Then, after a shakier Irelia game, he switched to Leblanc where he totaled eight kills and seven assists while only compensating one death.
As you can see. Nukeduck can switch things up with the snap of a finger. To reinforce this point, he played Cassiopeia the very first game against Team Vitality, a mage that hasn’t seen very much spotlight due to the meta yet he somehow managed to go 11/2/6 with her.
Nukeduck doesn’t seem to have the flashiest stats or the best of highlights. However, what he does have is a strong knowledge of the game and a deep understanding of what his team needs him to do when they need him to do it.
This is thanks to his ability to switch up playstyles in the blink of an eye. He can go from playing a bruiser that focuses down the backline to playing a mage that deals consistent damage from the backline. This is the talent that Nukeduck currently holds and it’s going to be a key into deciding whether or not he’ll hold up against Fnatic’s Caps, a mid laner that has dominated the EU LCS since his introduction.
If all goes well, Nukeduck could be a vital piece to Schalke 04’s victory. However, even if he doesn’t manage to out-lane one of the best mid laners in the game, Nukeduck will still be able to provide utility with his consistent game and that’s going to be important for Schalke 04.
Analyzing Fnatic’s Lineup
Among the EU LCS teams, Fnatic is possibly the only team that has players that can go even with the Korean players. They showed it during the Mid-Season Invitational and the World Championship in 2015 and they also showed it last year.
That being said, they still have a lot of talent that should be the spotlight. With oldies still on the team and players that have been dominating since their arrival, Fnatic is one team whose lineup you cannot ignore.
Rekkles (AD Carry)
Rekkles is the heart and soul of Fnatic’s lineup. Without him, Fnatic would literally be nowhere near where it is today. He’s a world-class player who is feared by Korean and Chinese players such as Bang and Uzi.
During their match against Royal Never Give Up in the 2017 World Championship, it was Rekkles who kept them in the game versus the Chinese powerhouse. His mechanics and playstyle alone kept Fnatic’s ship from sinking and he hasn’t faltered in his game level since that day.
The entire Regular Season, it was Rekkles’ shot-calling and late game team fights that helped keep Fnatic at the top of the ladder and when they played Misfits in the semifinal match of the Spring Split playoffs, Rkkles’ Sivir and Tristana propelled them to a victory.
Rekkles excels under pressure. He feeds off of it and with him playing a vital part in Sunday’s EU LCS final, Rekkles will show up. I have no doubt about it. He’s been playing some of the best League of Legends we’ve seen this season, and there’s nothing stopping him right now.
Caps (Mid Lane)
Caps made his debut on the international stage with Fnatic and he didn’t disappoint. He seemed like the next Febiven of the European region and with the plays he was making, many fans thought he was going to dominate the next season. They were right.
The thing that differentiates Caps is that Caps doesn’t know how to just play one strong pick. He can play multiple and excel at every single champion he plays. Just take his match against Misfits, for example.
No one expected Caps to pull out a Vayne mid and despite the fans’ hesitation towards such a decision, Caps proved everyone wrong by shredding through the Misfits Gaming roster and showing up at a critical moment to take down a push that would’ve won Misfits the game.
He also pulled out a Wukong mid which later helped them secure the match against Misfits Gaming. Caps has a wide arsenal of mid laners he can choose from, some more unorthodox than others but he’s proven time and time again that people should respect his decisions. If Schalke 04 doesn’t respect his presence, they’re going to have to face the consequences.
Last year, Broxah was introduced to the Fnatic lineup and now he’s been playing like a veteran on the team. Broxah has shown extreme talent and resilience on the lineup, showing up for Rekkles and Caps when they need aid while rotating between jungle presence and securing objectives.
In the last two games versus Misfits Gaming, Broxah secured three kills and twenty assists while only dying once. Meanwhile, in the opening match versus Misfits, he acquired four kills and eight assists with zero deaths to compensate.
His ability to switch between ganking and looking for objectives has made him a very cosmopolitan player they knows all the aspects of the game. Finally, he knows how to use his champion perfectly in the game. If he needs to protect the AD Carry, he’ll do just that. If he needs to look for the backline, he has no problem with committing.
Broxah has the perfect mix for Fnatic. With the team playing extremely fast-paced and always looking for early leads, Broxah’s ability to switch up at the last second has made him a viable asset. Schalke 04 will find it hard to deter Broxah in the finals and this will be a player that will be extremely hard to overcome if Schalke 04 wants any chance at winning.
What Do they Need to Do to Win?
Both teams have good shots at winning but Schalke 04 is going to have to work harder than Fnatic to secure any shot at taking the throne. This is because Fnatic has had more experience playing on the big stage and they know exactly what they need to do in order to win.
For Fnatic, they’re going to have to look for an early lead and then use it to snowball their lead, a playstyle they’ve been using throughout the entirety of the Regular Season. Their most important players that they can use to acquire leads will be Caps and Rekkles with Broxah being the player who will make this happen.
As for Schalke 04, they’re going to have to be able to transfer the momentum they had from beating Team Vitality and Splyce and transfer it into their play versus Fnatic. Upset is going to have to make sure that he can show up like he did in the past playoff matches and if he does so, Schalke 04 will stay in the game and might bring it to five sets.
The EU LCS has never failed to provide an exciting final for its viewers and it looks like this year won’t be any different. After all, they’ve shown time and time again that their teams can play to the very best ability.
Schalke 04 has been playing some of the best League of Legends in the entire existence of their franchise. They took down two world-class teams to reach the finals, Team Vitality and Splyce while Fnatic breezed through the competition as usual, showing that they’re still a powerhouse after eight seasons of play.
However, no set results are out yet. Schalke 04 hasn’t faltered when they played Fnatic and in some instances, it’s been Fnatic that blinked first. At the same time, Fnatic has stood up to fish much bigger than Schalke 04 in their career.
Sunday is going to be a match no team will forget for a very long time. If Schalke 04 wins, they’ll be getting their very first ticket to the World Championship. If Fnatic wins, then they’re going to continue their legacy as being one of the best teams in the world.
There’s a lot on the line here for both teams. No one wants to lose and if both teams play how they’ve been playing these past few weeks, it’s going to be a match where both players win in a sense. However, in the end, only one team can come out victor. Will it be Schalke 04 or Fnatic?