Fnatic came out victorious against Gambit Gaming after a close, 42-minute game on Friday.
With Fnatic tied for first with a 3-0 record and Gambit tied for last at 0-3, the teams faced each other in a match that saw Gambit play an aggressive style that fell short of their strategic opponents.
In the pick and bans phase, Gambit didn't ban the Ryze that Huni excelled on in his last game, but instead first picked it for Cabochard. In response, Fnatic picked Cho'Gath for the top lane and took Azir from Betsy. In the end, Gambit's lineup was aggressive and tanky, while Fnatic's was more poke-heavy.
Within the first few minutes, fights in the jungle led Diamondprox to give his life to a turret in order to deny his opponents First Blood. There was a lot of belligerence in the lanes, with the groups poking at each other repeatedly in the early game. Fnatic even looked to contest Gambit's first dragon before the 10-minute mark, but thought better of it and backed off to take a slight CS advantage. This meant that First Blood was shed relatively late, at the 14 minute, when Fnatic took down Cabochard in the top lane.
Seconds later, Fnatic managed to get another kill against the enemy support player, then took a third kill in the mid lane. Gambit answered with a turret, then put themselves on the board with a kill against YellOwStaR. Gambit took their second dragon at the turn of the 18-minute without any protest from their enemies, but Fnatic won the trade with a second turret (versus one) and a fourth kill in the bottom lane.
The pace of the game slowed down heading into the mid game, with the players farming their way into power spikes that saw Betsy (on Ahri) get considerably more aggressive but Fnatic maintain their CS and gold leads.
The groups traded one-for-one in the bottom lane 22 minutes in, which Gambit strategically used to equalize the turret count (3-3). A minute later, they caught Rekkles for another kill, which they used to grab their third dragon buff. After another one-for-one in the mid lane, the kill score moved to 6-4 (still in favor of Fnatic).
Gambit managed to destroy a fourth turret at the 27 minute mark, but at the same time, Fnatic went in for the Baron and actually managed to kill the monster before Gambit had time to come in or trade anything for the buff. Instead, Fnatic evened the turret count and started to knock at the enemy door. But a bold engage by Gambit took a kill and pushed their opponents back, extending the game.
Gambit snagged their fourth dragon, pushing back effectively though they were down 7k in gold at the 33 minute. Both groups seemed hesitant to engage, keeping a small distance as they danced in the mid lane and around the Baron. The fight that determined the lead, finally, started in front of the Baron pit and saw Fnatic trade four-for-one.
Now up 10-6 in kills and with a second Baron buff, Fnatic met their enemies again in front of the dragon pit. Desperately trying to deny Gambit a fifth dragon, Fnatic poked back their enemies then secured their first dragon at the turn of the 38 minute. They used their momentum to barrel down the mid lane and take the inhibitor turret, but were denied the inhibitor.
Gambit's aggression proved to be their Achilles heel, letting Fnatic punish their mistakes behind the dragon pit. With 42 minutes on the clock and the kill score at 14-6, Fnatic grabbed the win and continued their undefeated streak.
Farnia Fekri is a staff writer for theScore eSports. She's loco for cocoa. You can follow her on Twitter.