Fnatic's Sivir sweep

by theScore Staff Aug 16 2015
Thumbnail image courtesy of Robert Paul / theScore eSports

In part because of the strength of Viktor's Gravity Field in stopping Sivir in her tracks, the bounty hunter has seen less play recently. Fnatic understood the problem and made sure to ban Viktor every game to snatch up the Sivir as early as possible.

Yesterday, I outlined the difference between Sivir and Kalista style teams. Despite a reasonably powerful jungle and support duo in Reignover and YellOwStaR, Fnatic excel best in rotating between lanes. They know how to use Sivir. Despite H2K being the clearest Sivir archetype in the European LCS, Fnatic easily fit the bill.

Instead of just going for structures against the Unicorns, Fnatic picked Sivir for the "run very fast approach." They strove to collapse on picks with some of their favorite Olaf compositions and look for ways to end the games as quickly as possible. Game 2 likely disappointed them at 31 minutes.

Fnatic demonstrated today that beating the Unicorns of Love is all about avoiding the entanglements of their inconsistent nature and playing your own game. UoL went for some more standard compositions in Games 1 and 2, but then fell on a Devourer Kayle in Game 3. It didn't phase Fnatic. They ended Game 3 with a Rekkles Pentakill.

There's a reason top LPL team LGD Gaming banned Olaf in the games they played against Edward Gaming this morning, and Reignover demonstrated it beautifully. With the right support and additional movement speed from Sivir, Olaf is unstoppable and can simply hack through an enemy lineup. Sivir also buffed the positional advantages of Huni's own carry picks in Riven and Rumble. Even with Rekkles finding Pentakills, today's games were about getting the Korean duo into position.

It's nice to see Fnatic continue to perfect what works in the return of the Olaf composition. Sometimes taking the most vulnerable member of your team and turning him into a battering ram is an effective strategy. Picking Sivir and rushing structures to end the game early compensates for some of Fnatic's regular season pitfalls when they fell behind second and third place teams Origen and H2K Gaming. A gold buffer from early structures and objectives makes Fnatic untennable when Unicorns stagnate and try to scale.

The Sivir comp is not really about the Sivir player or his Pentakill

Unicorns of Love, despite marked improvements with H0R0 so far, are a hard gauge. It's impressive to see Fnatic demolish their foes from the last European finals, but I don't know any analysts who questioned the 3-0 victory. Unicorns of Love have a weak early game relative to Fnatic, and that's where opposing teams have abused Fnatic the most.

One of the most difficult things for a would-be Fnatic-beater is the draft. Deilor's poker-style approach to picks and bans sometimes baits teams into reactionary picking. After YellOwStaR's strong Shen support in Game 1, the repeated first pick Sivir in Game 2 prompted UoL to early pick it, leaving open the more devastating Alistar.

Aside from a few changed mid lane bans from UoL in Game 3, Fnatic got exactly what they wanted each game. Origen have received some criticisms for their drafts, so it may be hard for them to dig through the team's approach, but they likely won't make the same mistakes as UoL.

Against Fnatic, the Janna ban does make a lot of sense. YellOwStaR has been devastating with Janna, and Janna fits with their "more and faster" Olaf and Sivir compositions. There just seems to be so much YellOwStaR can do with other powerful picks. In the past, however, Fnatic has banned more supports against Origen's Mithy. If Origen respond by also taking Janna off the board, the interaction makes things more interesting.

As even the LCS broadcast recognized today, YellOwStaR is where everything in Fnatic happens. He's just now qualified for his fifth Riot Games League of Legends World Championship in a row. His teammates have praised him highly, saying "he doesn't tilt," and his shotcalling and maturity often lead them to victory. His mechanics top the region. YellOwStaR's vision control covers up for some of the team's other weaknesses.

Reignover will make movements in the jungle without his lanes exerting enough pressure. UoL didn't challenge this today, but other teams can. If any team in Europe will, it's Origen. Mithy already managed to shine against kaSing, but it will take both him and Amazing to control YellOwStaR. Keep him pinned, control the jungle, and prevent Huni from splitting in the mid game.

Fnatic's increased early pressure in this set might warrant a Sivir ban, but there are more counters than just Viktor. To beat Fnatic, you have to be creative — just creative within reason. Next week's event in Stockholm will see Fnatic go 24-0 this season in Europe, or Origen will find a way between the lanes. Either way, the result will be well worth writing about.

Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore eSports. You can follow her on Twitter.