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The West disappoint in Worlds 2019, but let’s not give up hope

Fnatic Defeated

League of Legends Worlds 2019 Groups stage is already halfway through, and Western teams are leaving lots to be desired. North American teams seem to be struggling the most when matching up to international teams, whereas the European teams just look like themselves. Fnatic and Splyce, Europe’s second and third seed, seem to be slumping in their matches. As for Clutch Gaming and Cloud 9, their matchups seem one-sided for their opposition. The only shining stars are Team Liquid and G2 Esports, who have had their own issues, but otherwise are doing fine. With the results looking worrisome for two-thirds of western teams, let’s take a look at what happened to the worst offenders.

Fnatic crumbling

Fnatic has a lot of expectations set upon them this Worlds. Last year, they made it to the grand final, which is the first time a western team has made it to a Worlds final since season one. Furthermore, Fnatic has a history of making it to the quarters and semi-finals. It is safe to say Fnatic is a prestigious European organisation we expect lots from.

However, Fnatic at this Worlds tournament seems to be slumping. Heading into their game with RNG, Martin “Rekkles” Larsson spoke of how Fnatic don’t feel like themselves. This seems like Fnatic lacking self-confidence. So far, Rekkles has not played a single traditional marksman at worlds, given that the bot lane carry role is open to mages. Furthermore, Rekkles’ recent solo queue history has more mages than ADC champions. With the long history of Rekkles being one of Europes finest ADC players, this seems strange to say the least.

Fnatic invested Rekkles into mages, which doesn’t seem to be working for them.

At the moment, Fnatic playing this new style doesn’t seem effective. It has its issues in the Regular Summer Split, and it seems these issues have only exemplified at Worlds. In Summer, Fnatic changed their game plan to give Rekkles an ADC and it worked out well. Maybe this is the solution for Fnatic heading into the second half of the Worlds group stage. If it isn’t, then Fnatic has a history of coming back after losing most of their games in the group stage. In 2015, they went from 3rd to first in their group, and in 2017 they made it out after being 0-4. Let us not count Fnatic out just yet.

Cloud 9 and Splyce: What’s going on?

Cloud 9 and Splyce both appear to be in the same boat. Both teams are clearly experienced, know what they are doing and have a clear strategy – but don’t seem to be getting any momentum.

Starting with Cloud 9, they have tried introducing Robert “Blaber” Huang to the starting roster in order to create a strong early lead against G2 and Griffin. Their early game strategy was clearly a ploy to win them an early advantage, which can be used to quickly close out a game against teams they are not expected to beat. However, both games in which Blaber started have resulted in a loss. It was a clever idea to utilise him the way C9 planned, but the execution was not there. Perhaps they should go back to Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and change things up that way. Otherwise, C9 doesn’t look too bad and can easily turn this around.

Sneaky second-highest Damage per minute stat-wise on day 4.

Meanwhile, Splyce’s mid-game decision-making is finally hurting them. In Europe, the problem existed but was not heavily exploited. Now, however, their group seems to understand their flaws. This is a group that is, in theory, the easiest for a western team to advance from. Splyce’s gameplan has been opened up by their Far East opponents. However, the overall gameplan hasn’t looked too bad at times, and their drafting has been great. This break may be what the team needs to crack down and nail their obvious midgame flaws.

Worlds 2019 Group Stages recommences tomorrow at 2pm BST. Can the Western teams, who we know have plenty to give and everything to play for, turn things around in Worlds 2019? We will find out soon!

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