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Fnatic opened the 2021 League of Legends European Championship Spring Playoffs with a win against SK Gaming. After an unimpressive regular Spring Split, the team’s fifth-place finish put them in the losers bracket against SK. They defeated SK in a must-win series to kick off their playoff run. Fnatic were the favorite team going into the best of five series given the experienced players on their side. SK on the other hand had four players with no LEC Playoffs experience.

Fnatic Playoff Buff Activated?

Image via LEC

Fnatic have always stepped up their performances, especially on big stages. With the playoffs, players returned to the LEC studio for the first time in almost a year. Fnatic played a much-controlled game today, especially in game 3 of the series against SK.

The Fnatic roster have a total of 184 LEC and LCS Playoffs game experience, and there is no doubt that we get to see a different side of the team now. The team also needs this playoff buff if it hopes to make it through the losers bracket all the way to the Playoff finals.

How Fnatic defeated SK Gaming

The series between Fnatic and SK came down to bottom lane dominance and overall team fight execution. Given the incredible performance of Fnatic bot lane duo especially in 2 v 2, SK had a lot to worry about. Although SK have a very strong bot lane duo in Erik “Treatz” Wessén and Jean ‘Jezu” Massol, they could not keep the pressure up. The first game of the series went in favour of Fnatic after a clutch performance from Yasin “Nisqy” Dincer’s Orianna.

Game two of the series featured a shocking turn of events for all viewers. Fnatic started the game extremely well and had a 10,000 gold lead into the mid game. It seemed almost impossible for SK to even find a way back into the game let alone win. However, SK’s Jezu made an insane play near the baron pit that killed three Fnatic members and kept his team in the series. Asides from Jezu, Janik “Jenax” Bartels put in a huge Gnar performance with seven kills and five assists on the champion.

Unfortunately, SK could not replicate the miracle performed in game two in the next two games. They had an awful start to game four of the series. Fnatic picked up three kills in less than 60 seconds at the beginning of the game. Despite Fnatic’s win against SK Gaming, they had a lot of shaky moments as they almost gave up huge leads especially in the last game. Fnatic failed to capitalize on their early game leads, and it felt like a team with more skilled players than SK would have been able to punish them. Jenax tried his best to carry SK to one more game against Fnatic with his mind-blowing outplays, but he could not do it alone.

Can Fnatic Win the LEC Playoffs?

While Fnatic are certainly not the favorite team to win the LEC Playoffs, they do still have a shot at winning. Although their overall gameplay today is still not convincing when compared to the likes of G2 Esports or Rogue, they are a risk-taking team with an element of surprise. Fnatic showed that they are willing to slow down on team fights at times to play a more controlled game when needed. However, there is still a lot of work to be done for the team in the Playoffs.

LEC Playoffs continue on March 27, 12 p.m. ET as first seed, G2 take on Schalke 04.