Copyright: ESL | Helena Kristiansson
Fnatic who kicked off the tournament with some incredible performances in the Group Stages which saw them race off to 8-2 scoreline as they beat down teams like Ninjas in Pyjamas, Chaos Esports, Team Aster, grabbing first place in Group B and an Upper Bracket berth in the playoffs.
They were matched up against Group A’s 2nd place team, Gambit Esports in the Upper Bracket Semifinals. A win here would guarantee a Top 3 spot at the ESL One: Katowice 2019.
Game 1: Gambit Esports picked an aggressive, lane-dominating lineup to punish Fnatic’s greedy lanes and got themselves off to an early lead. They managed to pick up two early Roshans and were headed towards a straightforward Game 1 victory. This was especially the case when Fnatic bought back on 4 heroes and still lost the ensuing fight.
However, some incredible outplays from DJ on the Shadow Shaman and Abed’s Puck kept Fnatic in the game, pushing it to the later stages and allowed MP’s Lifestealer to catchup and eventually overwhelm Gambit Esports to grab the win and obtain a 1-0 lead.
Game 2: Game 2 saw both teams pick up similar heroes, with the key difference being that Gambit finally had some catch for Abed’s Puck, thanks to their Shadow Shaman, and Doom picks. This time Gambit managed to execute what their lineup was meant to do and kept building up their lead just until they could eventually overcome Fnatic’s defense and break their Ancient.
Game 3: For the first time in the series, Fnatic managed to harness themselves an early lead as they handily won the laning stage and delayed Gambit’s push heavy lineup featuring a Visage and a Shadow Fiend from getting their key items. Unfortunately, a couple of botched teamfights which saw Abed’s farmed Medusa and MP’s Weaver get picked off, handed over the momentum to Gambit Esports.
The CIS team capitalized immediately, grouping up and mowing down towers with the help of their auras. Fnatic just didn’t seem to be able to overcome the damage deficiency and ended up getting mega-creeped. While they did try to hold on to the bitter end, Gambit Esports grouped up and pushed down Fnatic’s Ancient once again to secure the win and move to the Winner Bracket Finals.
Fnatic will now be knocked down to the Lower Brackets, where they’ll face off against the winner of the Chaos Esports Club vs Mineski in a BO3 matchup on Saturday.