Photo by: Riot Games
With an overwhelming consensus, the LEC pundits bet on Fnatic to take the semifinal series against Origen today — a sound prediction, given the two teams’ recent performance. Fnatic rallied in the second half of the season to finish third, leaving the bitter memories of a 1-5 start to the split behind. Once in the playoffs, they steamrolled both Vitality (3-0) and Splyce (3-1) to make a strong argument for not just third grand final, but a third title in a row.
At the same time, Origen’s playoffs since they were last on the stage was a whitewash. The calm and composed team that dominated LEC alongside G2 Esports were gone, and G2 ripped them apart in three games. Few had faith in Origen today — not casters, not analysts, not fans.
Four games later, Fnatic were out and Origen had won a rematch against G2 in the grand final for themselves.
Games 1 and 2 were pure bot lane craziness. Traditionally known for classic, aggressive AD Carries, Marin “Rekkles” Larsson locked a Sona/Taric bot lane — an uncharacteristic champion duo for him and lane partner Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov. In response, Origen snap-locked Blitzcrank and Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez had the time of his life to put his team on 1-0 lead.
Deciding it’s not for them, Fnatic gave the Sona/Taric over to Origen but picked another left-field lane of Twitch/Annie, going to their aggressive, late-game roots. What happened instead was a schooling for how the double support bot is played. Together with a monstrous Jarvan IV by Barney “Alphari” Morris, Origen went to match point after defying the game-long gold lead for Fnatic.
Fnatic finally picked to comfort in Game 3 and steamrolled Origen to give hope to their fans, but the joy was short-lived. Early game dominance from Origen starved Rekkles’ Kai’Sa for items, while Patrik “Patrik” Jírů’s Ashe grew larger under the patronage of Mithy’s Tahm Kench. The Spaniard also walked away with the MVP award for the series after Origen put an end to Fnatic’s campaign in LEC and their hopes for MSI qualification.
Origen’s semifinal victory also ends the championship streak of the six-star general Joey “YoungBuck” Steltenpool. With four champions at the helm of G2 Esports and back-to-back titles with Fnatic last year, YoungBuck was looking for his seventh domestic title. While he remains the most accomplished coach in Europe, the Dutchman will have to wait for the next split to try and extend his trophy cabinet.
Origen will face G2 Esports for the LEC title Sunday, Apr. 14. The winner will punch their tickets to MSI and join LCK champions SK Telecom T1, who defeated Griffin for Korea’s crown earlier today.