One of the highlights of the past week of pro League of Legends had to be the long-awaited showdown between the “Next Generation” crew of Fnatic and Origen, the team created by Fnatic’s original captain and LoL squad founder xPeke. It wasn’t quite a grudge-match, but it was a test to see who had benefited the most from the parting of ways between Peke and Fnatic at the end of last season.
The result was a firefight between some of League of Legends’ most aggressive players.
Watching Fnatic and Origen clash was, in some ways, like watching a mirror-match. Under xPeke, Fnatic were always a relentlessly aggressive team. Their playcalling always seemed to default to “start a teamfight”, which was glorious when it worked and painful when it didn’t. Even though Fnatic are now playing under support player YellOwStaR, they’re still a team that seems happiest scoring kills first, then taking objectives.
Peke, meanwhile, is much the same as we remember. And few teams in the LCS have been able to match Origen in terms of talent or pace of play this season, as they were 5-1 coming into the week’s games. With strong players across every position and a veteran, hyper-aggressive captain, they’ve shot up the standings in Europe.
But Fnatic appeared to have outgrown Peke in their contest this last week. It wasn’t a massacre. Origen held their own for a lot of their match with Fnatic. But Origen looked an awful lot like the old Fnatic as they fell behind, tried to force a fight to get back on even footing, and then fell farther behind as Fnatic turned engagement after engagement.
It was also just a game that illustrated how ridiculously strong Fnatic’s lineup is this year. Origen has good or great players at every position. Peke, Amazing, and sOAZ have long been regarded as some of the best players at their respective roles. But they were just getting outclassed by the play of Huni, Reignover, and Febiven.
Huni joked-but-not-really that the thing that made Fnatic the best team right now is that “they have Huni”. Given how completely he erased his predecessor, Origen’s sOAZ, from their match, it’s hard to argue with his logic.