League Analysis — Fnatic vs Schalke 04 — LEC Week 8

13 MARCH 2021 — by League Analyst

It is finally here, the last week of the LEC spring season! With three games to go, six teams are fighting to secure the three remaining spots in the BO5's. To start of this super-week, Fnatic is facing of against Schalke 04. The teams are playing for a spot in the playoffs, where to format works as follows:

  • Top six teams from spring participate

What we have to keep in mind this week is that seeding can have a huge impact for the BO5’s. Of course the teams have to win games to go all the way, but having the safety of the winner’s bracket can be a lifesaver if things goes astray.

Playoff format

Coming back to the game at hand, FNC is facing of against a shaky SO4 squad that just managed to break their 7 game loosing streak. And for both teams, winning here is top priority. The time for improvement and growth has come to an end and it’s time to show up and display what you’ve learned over the split. Everything that we’ve covered so far has led up to this point and now, all that remains is the sprint towards playoffs.

Last time the two teams faced off against each other, Fnatic won out in a dominating fashion. But that was 7 weeks ago and much has chanced since for both teams. Fnatic is undoubtedly the big favorite going into the match today but anything can happened and no team can be underestimated at this point in the split.

Draft breakdown

Finished draft shown at the bottom of the breakdown.

Blue Bans:

Ban 1 — Thresh

Once again we see Thresh banned away early on in the draft. The mobility that he offers with the lantern has been highly valued in spring and earns him a ban today as well.

Ban 2 — Caitlyn

The siege machine know as Caitlyn gets a ban as well. Known for her long range and suffocating laning prowess. Her traps provide huge value in tight chokes and can zone off an entire team if utilized correctly.

Ban 3 — Graves

I’ve never been a big fan of Graves bans, mainly because he usually shines when surrounded by champions that allow him to move freely across the map. Targeting those building pieces are more valuable in my opinion if you don’t want to see the pick.

Red Bans:

Ban 1 — Lillia

The most versatile jungler available right now, very deserving of red side bans.

Ban 2 — Twisted Fate

Almost permabanned since week one, TF isn’t allowed on the rift today either.

Ban 3 — Rell

In my opinion the most capable support right now with the strongest kit available in the engage category. This however, means that Udyr is being left up, but the pick was hit by both HP growth and phoenix stance nerfs on patch 11.5, which is the patch being played on this weekend.


B1 Pick — Hecarim

With the nerfs, Udyr isn’t the pick coming in first in the draft. Instead it’s the diving Hecarim that gets prioritized.

R1 Pick — Senna

Senna is a pick that I don’t like when being picked by Fnatic. It simply doesn’t play towards the strengths that the team has displayed in 2021. It also hints towards a Tahm Kench coming in later in the draft, a pick that I don’t think is blindable what so ever in the current meta. So giving away that the pick is coming in so early is a big mistake in my opinion.

R2 Pick — Udyr

Not first picked, but he comes in shortly after. The jungler that has been dominating the jungle for many weeks at this point. How much has the nerfs affected his overall power, it’s hard to say based on numbers alone. Maybe this game can give us a clearer indication of the champion’s power level.

B2 Pick — Seraphine

Seraphine is one of my favorite early picks when drafting, being able to lane into most champions in multiple roles.

B3 Pick — Orianna

With Tahm Kench “already drafted”, S04 is already going for heavy zoning tools and sustain. It’s a very appropriate adaptation and will leave Fnatic with very few options as the game progresses, this is very good drafting theory being displayed.

R3 Pick — Tahm Kench

Not exactly surprising and I’ve already voiced my opinions on the pick, so we’ll move on.

Blue bans:

Ban 4 — Sion

Since Orianna pretty much is uncounterable, toplane bans are the way to go here. The first one being frontline monster Sion.

Ban 5 — Karma

Karma is most likely also meant as a top lane ban. She received some small buffs on 11.5 and is obviously a big moonstone abuser.

Red bans:

Ban 4 — Ezreal

Here comes the Tahm counters, drawing bans to limit how much S04 is going to able to punish the pick’s big weaknesses.

Ban 5 — Miss Fortune

Another big counter to the Kench.


R4 Pick — Zoe

A very strong midlane pick that works with most comps. It could be a crucial piece when trying to burst through the Seraphine sustain.

B4 Pick — Urgot

It’s hilarious how fast S04 opted away from the engage heavy style that Hecarim prefers when the Senna was picked up. Urgot is not a pick that I’ve seen since his on-hit build was nerfed a while back, but he makes a lot of sense when the enemy team will need to engage into him.

B5 Pick — Alistar

Alistar is a bit unexpected in all honesty since emphasis is on Fnatic to make something happened in this game. The pick also provides very little in a lane against Kench. But having a quick trigger to strike back on engages or punish overextensions is always valuable so I don’t mind the pick at all. This also means that Seraphine is going “ADC”, which is very fine in this spot.

R5 Pick — Gangplank

Having drafted themselves into a bit of a corner, Fnatic’s last pick has to give them some type of backline access, and that is exactly what GP provides. It is very good in this scenario, but I doubt that it’s good enough.

finished draft

Pre-game prediction

Being very critical of the early Tahm Kench, I simply have to favor the Schalke draft for this game. The team doesn’t have to do much of anything in grouped scenarios to come out ahead. They have the zoning tools necessary for this game and can sustain with the Seraphine to top off the team against incoming poke. Running into this team is a suicide mission in my mind, and that is exactly what Fnatic will have to do if Schalke is first to any objective this game.

The game will most likely come down to if GP and Zoe can get ahead of the curve and do something about the potent Schalke backline. If that doesn’t happened, I struggle to see a world where Fnatic can come out on top. And if they at any point fall behind, they will have a Hecarim and Alistar diving towards their squishy backline as well.

Key moments

Early kills and huge lane advantages acquired by individual laning prowess. Fnatic quickly showed why they are a team to be scared of. But despite the big early lead and a mountain soul acquired later in the game, Fnatic couldn’t contest Schalke in the late game teamfights. This just goes to show how huge the draft can affect the outcome of a game. Even when being outclassed in most parts of the game, with Schalke players getting solo killed in lane and losing 4 drakes, it didn’t matter what so ever for the outcome of the game.

I would say that Fnatic was the better team on the day, but that isn’t enough in a case like this. Imagine a world where Fnatic didn’t find these huge advantages, the game wouldn’t have been remotely close. I also want to point out the tank Hecarim by Gilius, a good choice that proves that he was aware of his role on the team. Not as a damage threat, but as a frontline that could build space for Orianna and Seraphine.

FNC vs S04 highlights

Post game key takeaways

Another draft diff in the books. Like mentioned earlier, I still believe that Fnatic played better League of Legends today. But drafting Kench like this is simply not allowed.

Schalke identified this very well and responded appropriately, and despite Fnatic desperately trying to save the draft with GP/Zoe, it wasn’t good enough. I hope we get to see a different draft approach tomorrow. The team looks good overall and I’m sure that they can bounce back if they get the tools to do so.

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