European heavyweights Fnatic are now 0-3 in Worlds 2021 after the end of the first group stage round-robin.
After previous losses to Hanwha Life Esports and Royal Never Give Up in its opening games, the LEC’s Fnatic slid to 0-3 after a loss to PSG Talon. While the first two losses were largely expected, the team’s third loss against what should be the weakest opponent in the group is a damning indictment of the team’s chances of advancing to the Worlds 2021 playoffs.
After a quiet opening eight minutes to the match, Fnatic’s lineup found themselves in a deficit. A single teamfight, triggered by an overextension by Bwipo into PSG Talon’s jungle, netted the PCS champions three kills and a 1,500 gold lead. Fnatic stemmed the bleeding, trading in subsequent skirmishes to prevent themselves from falling further behind before going on to garner their own gold lead by the 20-minute mark.
Unfortunately for Fnatic, heading towards the late game with a slim lead was not enough against PSG Talon’s better scaling composition that included Gankplank and Sylas. Adam “Adam” Maanane’s Kennen struggling, Fnatic was soon unable to initiate fights with the Frenchman struggling to dive into the enemy backline without being instantly taken down.
Fnatic held on for over 40 minutes, largely thanks to a clever, undetected baron secure while substitute bot laner Louis “Bean” Schmitz’s Jhin intimidated PSG Talon. The side also managed to grab an ocean dragon soul thanks to a Kennen solo kill onto PSG Talon mid laner Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang.
These efforts proved fruitless as a final teamfight, in which Maple’s Sylas healed back from the brink of death on multiple occasions, finally allowed PSG Talon to close out the game and pick up its second group stage victory
Fnatic looks out of sorts at Worlds 2021, struggling without its starting bot laner and underperforming in other lanes.
There’s no doubt that Fnatic has been rocked by the sudden departure of starting bot laner Elias “Upset” Lipp. The German was forced to head home after a family emergency and his chances at returning to the tournament are looking slim, that is if Fnatic is to even make it to the knockout stages without him.
The situation could, remarkably, be worse. Substitute Bean has looked surprisingly comfortable on the Worlds stage despite having never even competed in the LEC and has arguably been one of their better performers.
With the other members of the squad perhaps underperforming out of the negative mental impact of such drastic changes to their preparation, they may take some inspiration from Fnatic’s own group stage run back in 2017.
The side also began their campaign with a 0-3 start on that occasion, infamously going on to progress with only a 2-4 scoreline after beating Immortals and GIGABYTE Marines in additional tiebreaker matches.
Upset’s sudden absence has been a source of drama for Fnatic’s Worlds 2021 run and individuals like Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek have questioned whether there actually is a “family emergency” that is forcing the player home. While Upset didn’t name names, he insisted that Fnatic’s official statement was true in a post on Twitter:
Though it’s unclear what is forcing Upset home, it’s evidently serious enough that he was willing to sit out of the largest League of Legends event of the year. There’s no question that Fnatic is missing him, but it’s likely he’s dealing with something serious.