H2K vs. Fnatic
Prior to the weekend, there’s been some light trashtalk to hype up the Quarter Final match between H2K and Fnatic, when Konstantinos "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou, Martin "Rekkles" Larsson, and Aleš "Freeze" Kněžínek had a spirited discussion about their achievements and such on Twitter. When it was time to put the trash talk to rest, it all went wrong. Due to technical issues, the match was cancelled, scheduled to be played later in the week, once the issues get fixed. As I write this, the matches have been played already.
In the Pick and Ban, H2K got rid of Kassadin, Irelia, and Gnar, to Fnatic’s Rek’Sai, Shen, and Lucian. As Blue Side, H2K first picked Ekko, Fnatic responded with Sivir and Braum. Then, H2K picked Taric and Tristana to answer Fnatic’s bottom lane picks. In response, Fnatic got themselves a Lissandra and Gankplank, leaving H2K to pick Elise and Vladimir. Fnatic finished their comp with a Nidalee for Lee "Spirit" Da-yun, which was kinda stupid, because they could have picked it way earlier, letting someone else counterpick, everyone knew that the two Jungle champs seen in this game were always going to be Nidalee and Elise.
H2K had a lead for the whole game, especially when looking at the number of kills. To give some credit to Fnatic, they did manage to keep up in gold. Despite that, it looked as if Fnatic just pushed a button and went off, getting a 10k gold lead in what looked like minutes. With a Lissandra, Fnatic were supposed to TP flank the side lanes. That practically never happened for some reason and the champ itself got schooled by Vladimir. While definitely not true at all times, conventional pick and ban wisdom says that you don’t leave your jungle as last pick, leaving your mid laner to get countered, unless you have some kind of secret strategy. Fnatic didn’t, they simply picked the remaining jungler out of the two they were likely to play, the worse one too.
Starting with Picks and Bans once again, Fnatic were on the blue side this time. Their first ban was Ekko. H2K responded with Shen, leaving Fnatic to ban Gragas. H2K got rid of Rek’Sai once again, and Fnatic reacted by taking away Elise. To conclude bans, H2K banned Irelia. Fnatic’s first pick was Gnar. In response, H2K got themselves Sivir and Nidalee, to the surprise of exactly nobody. Fnatic reacted by picking up Graves for the Jungle and Braum. Then, H2K went for a Gankplank and Taric, waiting for Fnatic to show their whole hand before they pick their mid lane champion. Rekkles quickly picked himself a Lucian, while YellowStaR picked a Lissandra once again, and getting slapped with a Vladimir once again.
The early game went tragically for Fnatic. At 21 minutes, they were down more than 5k gold, with one less tower and trailing by 8 kills, having failed to kill a single H2K player. Their plan of following Gnar and Lissandra’s TPs to eliminate opponents seemed to be going wrong once again. H2K’s jungler on Nidalee did some proper work against Fnatic’s Graves. Who knows, they might have been able to counter that with an Elise, however, they banned it and left the second most desirable jungler up. I don’t know what they were thinking, to be honest. At around the 35 minute mark, H2K finally close out the game, going 2-0. At that point, they had a 16k gold lead, in part due to the 10 towers, 18 kills (against Fnatic’s 2), and 4 dragons, as well as a Baron.
Starting with Picks and Bans once again, the Blue side H2K team got rid of Kassadin first. Fnatic answered with Rek’Sai. Then, Irelia got removed by H2K, followed by Ekko from Fnatic. Gnar and Elise was removed once again, to conclude Bans. H2K took advantage of Shen being open to snap it up, leaving Nidalee to be picked by Fnatic, supplemented by Gankplank. H2K reacted by taking Sivir and blind picking Vladimir, even though Febiven is known for his great Cassiopea. As predicted, Fnatic pick up Cass for the mid lane and Lucian to go up against Sivir in the bottom lane. Rounding out their comp, H2K snapped up Hecarim and Taric. Fnatic used their last pick to get Trundle for YellowStaR. Looking at the comps, H2K had a great comp for mid to late game fights, able to just dive and kill backlines, while Fnatic was determined to win all lanes, having counterpicked their opponents.
While Fnatic tried to go ham in the beginning of the match, they weren’t very successful. They just kept up in gold or had a small lead, when H2K made a great play bot lane with Hecarim and Shen, killing three people and following it up with a play in the mid lane, where Hecarim and Viktor killed a poor Cassiopea. Despite making plays all over the map, Fnatic managed to keep up in gold; however, the momentum was definitely on their opponent’s side, with Fnatic only reacting to H2K’s plays. As often happens in situations like this, the blue side team started connecting on their plays more and more, eventually winning the game as a result with a big lead.
G2 Qualifies for Worlds
Following their win in the Finals of the 2016 Spring Split and the first place finish in the Summer Split, ensuring their spot in the Semi Final, G2 Esports accrued enough points to qualify for Worlds already, with the Semi Final and (maybe) Final left to play. In case they win the Summer Split, another team will gain a chance to qualify by points. With Mateusz "Kikis" Szkudlarek having left the team in July to play for Fnatic and failing to make it to the Semi Final, replaced by Dae-han “Expect” Ki, I’m glad to see that the top lane drama didn’t cost G2 Esports anything, while the selfish-looking Kikis had his Worlds dreams more or less ruined for now. It might be childish of me, but I’m glad for G2. Congrats, boys, see you in Worlds.