You’d be forgiven if nine weeks through Fnatic’s All-EU roster experiment you were left unconvinced. The one-time titans of Europe, former Season 1 champions, who ran through Europe undefeated just a few years ago with a pair of superstar imports, elected to go for a new strategy before Spring 2017 after a few underwhelming splits, signing a roster without any imports to speak of.
After a 4-3 start to the split, Fnatic lost three series in a row, nearly losing its playoff spot to a surging Team ROCCAT. But a 2-2 finish over the last three weeks was enough to hold onto third place in Group A, limping into the playoffs with a 7-6 record and the lowest of low expectations.
Then the playoffs happened, and as usual, playoff Fnatic showed up. First came a shocking 3-0 sweep of 10-3 H2K. Then Fnatic took a game off of eventual champions G2, losing the series 3-1. Finally, Fnatic swept Misfits, the team that finished above Fnatic in the Group A standings, in the third-place match.
From 7-6 to third place, Fnatic’s Spring Split was a whirlwind. And while the team’s roster may look the same as last split on the surface, there are some notable differences.
First off, the team has a new head coach — Dylan Falco, former head coach of Immortals and Team Envy in North America. This isn’t Falco’s first foray into the EU LCS, as he was previously an analyst for H2K.
Fnatic will also be starting the split with Broxah at the jungle. Last split, Amazing started the season at the position, but after three disappointing weeks Fnatic made the swap and brought Broxahup from the Academy team. The 19-year-old Danish prospect shined on the LCS stage, winning 19 of his 35 games with the team and specializing on early game playmakers like Elise (5-5) and Lee Sin (5-4).
Broxah will be joined by veterans in the top lane and the bottom lane,but the other player to watch for Fnatic is his fellow Danish prospect, the 17-year-old Caps. Often called “Baby Faker” (with various degrees of seriousness to that nickname), Caps made some highlight plays in his rookie split, particularly on Ryze (7-2) and LeBlanc (6-2).
Who can forget this play?
Fnatic’s got plenty of reason for hope, but with G2 looming above them in Group A, it’s hard to imagine anything above a second-place finish. The team will open its Summer 2017 season with a series against Misfits on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET, with a second series this week on Saturday against Ninjas in Pyjamas at 2 p.m. Et.