League of Legends: LEC Playoffs Preview: Fnatic vs. Team Vitality

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
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Cabochard. League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

Conquerors – Bwipo vs. Cabochard

At this point last year Bwipo only had 2 EU LCS appearances to his name. Now he’s a two-time European champion and a World Championship runner-up. Unsurprisingly this led to extremely high expectations from LEC fans coming into this year, but there’s no reason they can’t be achieved during the season.

While Bwipo struggled alongside his Fnatic teammates in the first half of the Spring Split, he was a key component of their resurgence and played a vital role in the winning streak that concluded the regular season. Although Broxah often places his focus towards the middle and bottom lanes, Bwipo continuously carves out opportunities for himself in the 1v1 or 1v2.

The Belgian top laner may suffer from an average -16 CSD@15 (10th in the LEC) due to the lack of jungle assistance, but his absorption of pressure allows the rest of his team to find advantages elsewhere on the map. Not only that, Bwipo has also picked up 7 solo kills in the top lane so far this season, the joint fourth highest of anyone in the league. The top laner’s ability to soak up pressure could be key in this weekend’s match-up as he faces one of the most aggressive top-jungle duos in the LEC, Cabochard and Mowgli.

It could be argued that Cabochard was the most impressive top laner of the Spring Split with multiple carry performances and 3 Player of the Game awards. The Frenchman leads the charts in GD@15 (1st in the LEC), while also boasting the highest average kills (4.0) and solo kills (8) of any top laner. This is mainly due to the intense pressure applied on the top lane by Mowgli in the early game, looking to snowball his top laner on aggressive picks like Jarvan IV, Jayce and Renekton.

Team Vitality have made a name for themselves as a highly aggressive team with a triple carry threat, and at the moment Cabochard is the most threatening member of the line-up. It is guaranteed that at some point this weekend we will see Mowgli set up a tent in the top lane and look to get Cabochard ahead in the early game, hoping he can snowball his advantage and take full control of the map.

This top lane head-to-head is the epitome of an unstoppable force against an immovable object. Cabochard’s top lane dominance in the LEC will be put to the test against the best European top laner of 2018 and it promises to be an exciting battle between the two.

The Jungle Look – Broxah vs. Mowgli

Fnatic’s slow start to the season can mostly be boiled down to the lack of synergy between Broxah and their new mid laner, Nemesis. It became clear in the back half of the Split that these synergy issues had mostly faded away and Fnatic’s mid-jungle duo became a force to be reckoned with, both in the 2v2 and with roams to the bottom lane.

Broxah makes Fnatic tick. While he leaves Bwipo on an island in the top lane, the Danish jungler maintains full control of the map and looks to shut down the enemy jungle as much as possible by stealing away camps or keeping vision control in key areas, allowing his mid and bot lane to make plays with full knowledge of the enemy jungler’s position on the map.

The greatest example of this came in the second meeting between these two teams in Week 6. Broxah’s Nocturne completely shutdown any potential for Mowgli’s Elise to make early plays around the map by stealing multiple camps and pushing vision into the enemy’s jungle. If Broxah repeats that performance on Friday, then Fnatic will be in a fantastic position to take the win.

On the other hand, Vitality’s new jungler is one of the most frequent gankers in the LEC, often visiting each lane multiple times within the first 15 minutes of the game. This comes as no surprise as YamatoCannon and the Vitality squad are one of the most aggressive early game teams Europe has ever seen and Mowgli facilitates that playstyle perfectly. The South Korean rarely ventures into his opponent’s jungle and instead looks to farm his own camps, then ganking the lanes that are set up for success.

Mowgli’s focus tends to be mainly towards both the top lane and middle lane, particularly in the early stages of the game, however he’ll occasionally look towards bottom lane if the match-up is favourable. The early game focused draft facilitates early roams from Jiizuke combined with Mowgli to create a 3v1 or 3v2 in the top lane.

Undoubtedly, this jungle match-up has the potential to be intense and could be the deciding factor of the series. Broxah’s influence on the bottom half of the map is often the key to Fnatic’s victories, propelling Rekkles and Nemesis into positions to carry teamfights. However, Mowgli is also responsible for a lot of Vitality’s success, snowballing both Cabochard and Jiizuke into positions where they can carry. It could be argued that Vitality come out ahead in both 2v2s, but Broxah’s ability to control the map could influence Mowgli’s early game pressure.