League of Legends LEC Playoff Preview: Fnatic vs. Splyce

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
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Broxah, Fnatic. League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

Jarvan IV and Rek’Sai – Broxah vs. Xerxe

So far during LEC playoff games, no jungle champions have seen more play than Jarvan IV and Rek’Sai, and there’s no doubt that will continue heading into the second round of matches. After Team Vitality fell victim to Fnatic’s Karthus compositions in games 1 and 2, it’s improbable that Splyce would allow themselves to succumb to the same fate and should opt to expend a ban on the Deathsinger throughout the series. While some may consider a rotating Jarvan-Rek’Sai match-up to be boring, the face-off in the jungle is much less about mechanics and more about their impact on the early game through intelligent pathing, vision control, and enemy tracking.

Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen is no stranger to success in the LEC Playoffs following back-to-back triumphs in 2018. This year it’s a much different story however, as he and his team head into the culmination of the Spring Split as 2nd, or even 3rd favourites to lift the trophy. Nonetheless, this is unlikely to deter the Fnatic roster as they’ll look to reclaim their crown in Rotterdam on April 14th.

A key component to their success in defending the title is Fnatic’s dependable jungler, Broxah, fresh off the back of being awarded the Player of the Series in their victory over Team Vitality in round one. Following their dramatic turnaround in Week 6 of the regular season, no player has shown a greater improvement than Fnatic’s jungler, as he consistently takes full control of the early game and sets up his team for success. This was no different in the win over Team Vitality as Mowgli looked completely outclassed throughout all three games as a result of Broxah’s strong performances from the jungle.

His opponent on Friday is vital to his team in a similar fashion, keeping his team safe through vision control and smart pathing, rather than looking to make plays across the map. Andre “Xerxe” Dragomir is currently taking part in his fifth consecutive EU playoff tournament, but he hasn’t reached the final since Spring 2017 when playing for Unicorns of Love. The Romanian jungler will undoubtedly want to remedy that by continuing his impressive form over his last few games when facing Fnatic this weekend.

Splyce are a late game team, that’s no secret, but you can’t get to the late game without a secure, composed early game – that’s where Xerxe steps in. Ensuring his team don’t fall behind or suffer from enemy roams is where Splyce’s experienced jungler specialises, maintaining full control of vision and objectives throughout the early stages, keeping the game in a manageable state to reach the late game and dominate through superior teamfighting and shotcalling.

Obviously these junglers are very similar in the fact that they play rather passively in the early game, looking for counter-gank opportunities, rather than playing aggressively. Where they do differ, however, is where they tend to focus on the rare occasions that they do set up ganks for their laners. On Fnatic’s side, Bwipo is mainly left on a top lane island while Broxah focuses on winning the mid lane 2v2 to facilitate roams towards the dragon area and bot side of the map. Whereas, Xerxe likes to get a slight lead for Vizicsacsi in the top lane, before reverting to the south side of the Rift for control of early game dragons.

Without question, this match-up is likely to have a huge impact on the outcome of Friday’s series and both players will have to be on top form to guide their teams to Rotterdam. It’s likely to be an explosive clash, as Broxah will look to snowball the game out of Splyce’s control, while Xerxe will want to pacify Fnatic’s aggression and steer his team into the late game.