Considering how dominant KongDoo Uncia looked against both Fnatic and RunAway, group D’s competition had become a brawl for second place. Considering both Fnatic and Flash Lux suffered crushing defeats in their debut matches, a win in this matchup was vital for both sides.
For Fnatic, a victory would mean parity with RunAway’s 1-1 record, as both would have already suffered their mandatory loss to Uncia. For Flash Lux, even winning today would lead to rocky playoff chances, as they had yet to play KongDoo’s monstrous lineup, and had already fallen 3-0 to RunAway.
Even though both squads had been completely outclassed in their debut matches, Fnatic went down to tournament favorites, while Flash Lux were bested by a middle of the table roster. With both the difference in competition, and previous tournament results taken into consideration, Fnatic were the heavy favorites coming in.
Flash Lux came out of the gate looking good on Ilios, but seemed to crumble once behind. The amateur squad started out with an early lead on Lighthouse, thanks to Kim “Veil” Ho-Wook’s deadly Tracer. Using Veil’s ability to get surprising solo kills, Flash Lux managed to get to 99% control, before being wiped out. Once Fnatic did take control, it was a smooth path to success, as Flash Lux were reckless with their ultimates.
Fnatic continued their dominance into the second round, thanks to Casey “buds” McIlwaine’s Widowmaker. By consistently eliminating the Genji that was assigned to keep him in check, buds was given free reign to take shots at the rest of his opponents. With the unchecked threat of their sniper constantly looming, Fnatic managed to completely dominate on Ruins, and take the map 2-0.
Game 2 came down to the wire on King’s Row, due to a mix of stellar offensive plays, and lackluster defensive ultimates. In terms of good offense, both squads managed to pull off devastating ultimate combos, thanks to great Pharah play from Hafþór “Hafficool” Hákonarson and Byung “Fleta” Sun Kim, as well as team-wide graviton surges from buds and Kim “Modern” Su Hoon.
Unfortunately for them, both sides’ Zarya players had much less effective ultimates on defense, which contributed to the opposing side’s strong pushes. In Fnatic’s case, buds’ mei seemed less practiced than his Zarya, as he often found himself dropping a blizzard, only to cut off his own line of sight with unnecessary ice walls. As for Flash Lux, successively wasted graviton surges and sound barriers from Modern and Choi “Unis” Seon-Min ended up making their team easy prey for Fnatic. In the end, Fnatic managed to pull off a full push with eight seconds to go, while Flash Lux were stopped just 1.8 meters short of forcing a time bank round.
Fleta continued to impress on Volskaya Industries, as he tore through Fnatic using his favorite Pharah pick’s aerial salvos. Although the North American squad did manage to force a time bank round, Flash Lux were both quicker and more coordinated in both of their offensives, resulting in a convincing win.
After a sloppy series from both sides, Fnatic finally managed to pull it together on Route 66. In their attacking round, Fnatic bulldozed through the first and second checkpoints, but were held at the third, due to well coordinated ultimates from Flash Lux. Although their attack was mostly unremarkable, Fnatic managed to pull together their first commanding win in their final defense. For the first time in the series, Fnatic were measured in their use of ultimates, and were playing their comfortable defensive style. Faced with a rejuvenated Fnatic squad, Flash Lux spent their entire turn on attack in front of big Earl’s. With Flash Lux failing to reach the first checkpoint, Fnatic won the map 2-0, and the series 3-1.
Although they did manage to win, Fnatic’s struggles today could be a bad sign for them. Considering their playoff hopes rely on beating RunAway -who looked completely dominant in their win over Flash Lux- in their final match, Fnatic’s struggling form in their first two games doesn’t bode well for their chances.
On Flash Lux’s end, this loss means a guaranteed trip to the relegation tournament, unless they can somehow topple KongDoo Uncia’s seemingly unstoppable roster.
Cover photo via OGN GLOBAL (twitch.tv/ognglobal)