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Worlds 2022 is heading to North America for the first time since 2016, and the League of Legends European Championship’s third seed, Fnatic, is coming back to it for the sixth time in a row and 10th time overall. Fnatic’s goals here are the same as always: Compete with the best teams in the world and lift the Summoner’s Cup at the end of the tournament.

This European organization had a tumultuous 2022 year that saw them almost missing this prestigious event for the first time since 2016, but in the end they managed to learn from their mistakes and squeak into the event.

Fnatic starting roster breakdown

Top: Martin ”Wunder” Nordahl Hansen | Signed in December 2021, formerly a member of G2 Esports

Jungler: Iván “Razork” Martín Díaz | Signed in December 2021, formerly a member of Misfits Gaming

Mid: Marek “Humanoid” Brázda | Signed in January 2022, formerly a member of MAD Lions

Bot: Elias “Upset” Lipp |Signed in November 2021, formerly a member of Origen

Support: Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov | Signed in November 2017, formerly a member of Unicorns of Love

How they got here

The year didn’t start as well as expected for Fnatic. Their much-hyped super team lost during spring playoffs in a 3-0 sweep against G2 Esports in the lower bracket finals. Fnatic kept their roster unchanged heading into the summer split with the goal of dominating the LEC and winning a domestic title for the first time since summer 2018.

During the summer split, however, Fnatic showed the same struggles that kept them from winning the spring championship. The team went on a four-game losing streak between Week 3 and Week 5, and they ended up in real danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in organization’s history. It all came down to Week 9, when Fnatic had to win against Astralis, Team Vitality and Misfits Gaming to secure playoffs and have a chance to qualifying for Worlds 2022.

Ending the regular season as the fifth seed meant Fnatic were heading into the lower bracket of playoffs; each series was a do-or-die setting for them. Fnatic first faced Excel Esports, who were hoping to keep their regular season form and upset the favorites. After two close games, Fnatic were down 2-0, but the former Worlds semifinalists managed to reverse-sweep XL and advance to face a troublesome Misfits Gaming for the last LEC spot at Worlds 2022.

Many were expecting a close game between the two teams after Misfits had a close 3-1 loss in their upper bracket matchup against the defending champions, G2 Esports. But Fnatic proved to be the better team from start to finish and won the series in very convincing fashion 3-0 to secure their tickets for Worlds.

Fnatic then continued their lower bracket run in the next series when they had to face MAD Lions in a game that mattered for Worlds 2022 seeding since both teams were already qualified. They once again showed no mercy in a 3-1 series victory that featured an impressive win in 19:37 in Game 1.

Sadly for Fnatic, they had their LEC title dreams crushed once again in the lower bracket final, where they lost to Rogue 3-1.

Players to watch

Upset and Razork were key in securing playoffs in Week 9 for the organization and put on impressive performances through the summer playoffs.

Upset’s play during Week 9 was nothing shortly of spectacular. The bot laner posted a combined KDA (kills/deaths/assists) of 12.3 and dominated the Rift on his now-signature champion Zeri. He continued his top form in the summer playoffs and earned the biggest Average Gold Differential at 15 minutes with 616 and the biggest creep score differential at 15 minutes with 15. Upset will need to continue to create gaps against his opposing AD carries in order to set Fnatic up for success early at Worlds 2022.

Razork’s second half of the split was once to remember for the Spanish jungler. His performances in the last weeks reminded every Fnatic and European fan of the former Mifists Gaming jungler that impressed everybody last summer. Razork became a central point of Fnatic and their early game strategy on champions like Trundle and Poppy.

The early game pathing of Razork often helps unlock Upset and Hylissang. Additionally, his rotations on the map were a vital point in securing win conditions and applying pressure on enemy teams. Razork’s synergy with the rest of the team members was impressive and made from a weak mid-summer split Fnatic a forced to be recognized.

How Fnatic can succeed at Worlds 2022

Fnatic find themselves in the play-ins stage for the first time since Worlds 2017. They were drawn in the easier group alongside wildcard regions mainly. Beyond Gaming, DetonatioN FocusMe, Evil Geniuses, LOUD and Chiefs Esports Club compete their group.

Based on previous years, Fnatic should have no problems winning this group. Advancing to the main event should be doable, too, as they’ll avoid facing the best team from their opposing group. However, considering that the games are happening in a single-game format this might become a problem. Fnatic have historically shown weakness in single-game matchups.