League of Legends: How every LEC team should improve in the offseason

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

Fnatic – Top Lane

Two teams in a row with top lane issues, but granted Fnatic’s are less severe as they reached the World Championship knockout stages and are clearly capable of competing with their current roster. Nevertheless, the rules are the game are to pinpoint weaknesses for every team and in Fnatic’s case, it’s Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau.

When Bwipo first burst onto the European scene initially replacing Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, then shifting back to top lane in 2018, he was a fan favorite and one of EU’s strongest players. This fact was cemented by Fnatic’s impressive Worlds run which saw them finish runners-up after a 3-0 loss to Invictus Gaming at the end of a very successful season.

Moving into 2019, and the team will unsurprisingly be disappointed with the results. After being outclassed domestically by G2 Esports, Fnatic almost crashed out of the World Championship in the group stages after a dreadful first week that was somehow salvaged by a miraculous Week 2 which saw the team go 3-0 on the final day. Yet, the miracle run ended there with their first-round knockout series resulting in a 3-1 loss to eventual champions FunPlus Phoenix.

Most teams would be satisfied with those sort of finishes at the end of a season, but not Fnatic, and they’ve already started making changes ahead of their attempts to challenge G2 Esports in the 2020 season. First, head coach Youngbuck left the team for Excel Esports this week. Is Bwipo next?

Although many would claim that Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov should be first to be shown the door at Fnatic due to his 50% carry, 50% int playstyle, perhaps Bwipo would be a more fitting departure as he often tips the balance when it comes to inting. Being left on the weak side of top lane lends itself to being dove, losing CS, and potentially being solo killed throughout the laning phase, but Bwipo does it with such finesse that it’s often hard to know where to draw the line between being forced behind and just straight up intentionally feeding.

This all-in playstyle that the Belgian has become renowned for in 2019 is perfectly depicted by his stats in the Summer Split. Highest average kills, highest average deaths, most solo kills, and highest first blood percentage – Bwipo sets the tone when it comes to a win lane, win game attitude amongst top laners.

But more often than not, it seems like the 20-year-old acts as a detriment to his team rather than a carry top as he’s frequently caught overextending, losing trades, or attempting 1v1s that are destined to result in his death.

Bwipo’s most successful season on the Fnatic roster came with League of Legends veteran Paul “sOAZ” Boyer close behind, waiting to pounce on any mistake and reclaim his starting place. Now, the pressure’s off, and that could be having an effect on Bwipo’s performances both domestically and internationally.

The signs are there and whether the next Fnatic head coach chooses to bring in a substitute top laner, replace Bwipo altogether, or do nothing at all is what the offseason rumor mill is all about.