In a life-or-death, playoffs-or-elimination match at the League of Legends World Championships, Fnatic and Royal Never Give Up delivered a performance that left players on both sides emotional when it ended.
There’s nothing in the world like Worlds. The 2019 iteration of the annual World Championships is the ninth in the history of competitive League of Legends, and has produced moment after moment already. Both Group A and Group B required tiebreakers to determine playoff seeding, but Group C was the first to feature a win-or-go-home match to close out play.
Fnatic and Royal Never Give Up both entered the final Group C match with 3-2 records. RNG had won the previous head-to-head match, but while they lost both matches to Korean juggernauts SK Telecom T1, Fnatic had split their series against SKT.
Despite losing that first head-to-head, Fnatic dominated across half an hour of play, beating RNG in gold earned and kills. Fnatic’s ADC journeyman Martin ‘Rekkles’ Larsson had a standout performance on Xayah, with five of Fnatic’s 11 kills, while assisting on four others.
After claiming the victory and bowing to the crowd, the Swedish veteran let the emotions pour out of him.
For Rekkles, this win represents a huge weight being lifted from his shoulders, as he finally gets his win over RNG’s AD Carry Jian ‘Uzi’ Zi-Hao. In their previous international meetings, Rekkles fell twice to the legend from China, losing 3-1 at Worlds 2017, and a heartbreaking 3-0 at MSI 2018. At MSI it was tears of defeat from Rekkles, but now it’s tears of joy.
The same can’t be said for Uzi and RNG, who for the first time won’t make it to playoffs of Worlds, having made it to the quarterfinals all three of the last three years.
A heartbreaking day for the Royal Never Give Up team, but a delightful day for Fnatic fans and for European fans as well. With the Fnatic win, all three LEC teams in Fnatic, G2 Esports, and Splyce will all advance to the knockout stage, and compete in playoffs on the home stage.
For the remaining regions, it comes down to Group D taking place on October 20th, with three teams sitting at 2-1. North America’s last remaining hopes of qualifying for playoffs lie with Team Liquid, led by Yiliang "Peter" ‘Doublelift’ Peng, who looks to end his Worlds curse and make playoffs for the first time.
Korea is looking to go 3/3 on playoff teams, as DAMWON seeks to join SKT and Griffin in the knockout stage. Invictus Gaming will look to avenge RNG and join FunPlus Phoenix in the quarterfinals.
Make sure to follow along with Dexerto’s Worlds 2019 hub for updates on all the action.