SK Gaming Threading the Needle against Fnatic

The first week of the LEC was a success. Aside from a few hiccups, game delays, lag issues, and misclicks during champion select, the games themselves did not disappoint. The meta was sculptured in a way that teams thought about unique team comps. The first game in the LEC Spring Split did not disappoint. Even though most teams picked champions to flex into different roles, the first game featured champions in their standard roles.

Fnatic and SK Gaming faced to kick off the year. Their rivalry halted when SK Gaming was relegated back in 2016. When Fnatic and SK Gaming faced off, it was termed “El Clasico” — a term used when Ocelote (from SK Gaming) and Xpeke (from Fnatic) represented their respective teams, kicking off a rivalry between the two players. Their rivalry culminated in 2013 IEM Katowice when Xpeke made the famous backdoor play to defeat SK Gaming. Now with a new lineup, SK Gaming is ready to get back into form.

Near the end of the game, Fnatic pushed SK against the wall and was ready to push mid to win the game. SK had one last chance to defen. Will this play define Fnatic’s new dynasty without Caps? Or will SK Gaming fight back showing the rest of the LEC that they are a new team to be feared?

Let’s break it down.

Fnatic took an early lead in all lanes, resulting in bounties of relatively equal value across all Fnatic players. They had good engage with Sion, Pyke, and Lee Sin, burst damage with Akali, and a Lucian to clean it all up. They pushed SK in their inner-mid tower, granted they could have taken a risk, and captured Baron before doing so. However, SK Gaming had champion ultimates that are ready to use if Fnatic took the gamble on Baron. Pirean’s Lissandra ultimate was up, which has an area-of-effect (AOE) ultimate that would slow Fnatic inside the Baron pit and Dreams’ Braum ultimate that knocks up all enemies standing in its line-of-sight. Another option is Fnatic could utilize a 1-3-1 play, pushing the side lanes into the inhibitor turret, and putting more pressure against SK Gaming. Instead, we saw Fnatic putting pressure in the mid lane.

A key figure in SK Gaming’s comeback is Selfmade, a highly touted prospect going into the LEC Spring Split. Prior to this year, he played for Mad Lions E.C., along with fellow teammates Crownshot and Werlyb, and dominated the LVP SuperLiga Orange. Against Fnatic, Selfmade played with their heads throughout the game, even before this game. Prior to this game, Fnatic and SK Gaming played the official first game in the LEC, which had to be remade due to lag issues from Fnatic. Before the remake, Selfmade initiated ganks in the top and bot lanes with Xin Zhao. In this current meta, Xin Zhao with the Hail of Blades rune is a power pick among pro teams. Hail of Blades grants a 110% bonus attack speed upon attacking an enemy champion for your next 3 basic attacks, resulting in high burst damage. Selfmade abused this against Fnatic, resulting in 2 kills, 1 death, and 4 assists.

During champion select in the remade game, Fnatic banned Xin Zhao from Selfmade. This resulted in SK Gaming picking Sejuani, who has great initiation in team fights and crowd control (CC). Selfmade did not have identical impact with Sejuani as he did with Xin Zhao. Fnatic capitalized on this fact, producing positive KDA ratios across all lanes. However, Selfmade kept Fnatic in check, ganking top and bot, producing 2 kills, 1 death, and 3 assists going into the last moments of the game.

Pushing against the inner mid tower with Selfmade in their minds, Fnatic attempted one last push to win the game. One thing to note is that going into this push, none of Fnatic’s carries are equipped with a Quicksilver Sash (QSS) or Mercurial Scimitar, which grants an active ability to negate crowd control on themselves. However, Crownshot answered Fnatic’s push with an Ezreal W to Q, which burst Broxah to death. Selfmade closed in on Fnatic with Sejuani’s abilities to slow them down, and SK Gaming took down 2 of 5 Fnatic bounties, swinging the lead to SK Gaming’s favor.

After capturing Baron, SK Gaming pushed into Fnatic’s base. Selfmade possibly made the play of the Spring Split, strafing the Fnatic squad, unleashing Sejuani’s ultimate to Rekkles with a narrow window to spare, and SK Gaming got the big upset thus far in the year.

Serral: “Foreigners are playing better than ever before”

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A dawn of a new era developed during BlizzCon last weekend. South Korea defended their Overwatch World Cup championship for the third straight year, Gen.G became back-to-back HGC champions, and Chuck “Cdew” Dewland’s dream of becoming the World of Warcraft Arena World Champion became reality.

StarCraft did not end up on the short stick of those huge achievements.

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Tasteless: “I’m not saying because it’s cool… this has been the best year for StarCraft II”

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BlizzCon is around the corner, with opening week occurring this weekend with the HGC Finals and the WCS Global Finals underway. StarCraft had a storied history dating back to Brood War then continuing with StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void.

The StarCraft scene has had its ups and downs throughout the years. This year, however, StarCraft is undergoing a resurgence. StarCraft: Brood War was remastered last year. In turn, the Brood War pro scene is as healthy as ever; the Korea StarCraft League and Afreeca Starleague feature legends like Lee “Flash” Young Ho and Lee “Jaedong” Jae Dong.

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Agilities Talks About the Off Season, the Importance of the Overwatch World Cup, and More

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By  Chris Cuevo

Special to VPEsports

The offseason is up and running with the World Cup, Overwatch Contenders Season 3 Trials, and roster moves around the Overwatch League. One of the stops during the offseason is the California Cup. Collegiate teams like UC Irvine, UCLA, UCSD, and UC Berkeley competed for bragging rights as the best Overwatch team in California. UC Irvine took the crown at the California Cup, continuing their championship streak following the 2018 College League of Legends Championship.

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Tokido Returns to the Top in Tokyo Game Show Win

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Ever since EVO ended last month, Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi had a tough time finding consistent success. In the current weather of rising Street Fighter stars, players like Sim “NL” Gun, Cristopher “Caba” Rodriguez, and EVO champion Benjamin “Problem X” Simon are taking over the scene. In the last two events Tokido attended, he did not finish in the top eight. Knowing his constant top-eight finishes in prior events, recent showings were uncharacteristic for Tokido. Going into the event, Tokido sat in third in the Capcom Cup standings. Calm, cool, and collected, Tokido went into the battlefield with one thing in mind — win Tokyo Game Show.

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SoCal Regionals 2018 Recap

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Echo Fox looks to continue their best year yet in fighting games. Players coming off championship wins like Justin “JWong” Wong and Dominique “SonicFox” McLean are continuing their momentum from EVO and Dreamhack Montreal. Even though EVO is behind the player’s minds, the year does not stop for fighting games. SoCal Regionals in Ontario, California took place last weekend for pride and points towards the Capcom Pro Tour, Tekken World Tour, and Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour.

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Echo Fox Secures Top Eight Finishes in Street Fighter and Shadowverse at Dreamhack Montreal

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Dreamhack Montreal is the major event for Shadowverse to be viewed by a mass audience. Echo Fox players, Cure Mango and Gengur, well represented the team throughout the weekend. Justin Wong came out to support the boys this weekend in hopes of taking home first place.

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Team Norway’s ONIGOD on His Journey in Overwatch, His Mission in the World Cup, and His Chances in Signing with an Overwatch League Team

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The US Group Stage of the 2018 Overwatch World Cup kicked off last night. One of the participating teams, Norway, won their match against Switzerland but lost against Brazil later in the night. Norwegian player Stefan “ONIGOD” Fiskerstrand played extraordinarily during those two games as both Widowmaker and McCree. After Norway’s match against Brazil, ONIGOD stopped backstage to talk about his journey in the Overwatch scene, his mission in the Overwatch World Cup, and his chances in signing with an Overwatch League team in Season 2.

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Surefour Talks His Experience in Widow Duels, Overwatch World Cup, and More

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The Overwatch All-Star weekend took place a few weeks ago in the Blizzard Arena, Burbank, California. The first day featured several events, one of the premier events being a 1v1 Widowmaker tournament. Participants in the event include the best sharpshooters of the Overwatch League: Philadelphia Fusion’s Carpe, New York Excelsior’s Saebyeolbe, and Los Angeles Valiant’s Soon to name a few. Possibly the most consistent Widowmaker players of the league, Los Angeles Gladiators’ Surefour showcased his abilities during the event as well. Prior to his final showdown against Carpe, Surefour spoke to the media in regards to the all-star event, this year’s Overwatch World Cup, and more.

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Rebuilding A Dynasty: A Seoul-ful Retrospective

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The Seoul Dynasty were touted early on as the best team in the Overwatch League, with a good chance of winning the inaugural season championship. As the season progressed, though, doubts arose from fans and analysts alike. A particular thread on Reddit questioned the downfall of the Dynasty.

“It’s synergy, pretty obviously, when you watch their games. They look indecisive. They don’t seem to trust their main tanks (Miro doesn’t seem to get a lot of follow-up very often.) They’re not always clear about peeling for Ryujehong. They’re rarely on the same targets.”

Whatever the case may be, the Dynasty was unable to fix their issues, and that led to their collapse. Before the Overwatch League, the Seoul Dynasty was a force to be reckoned with.

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