Staying alive: Fnatic pulls off hard-fought reverse sweep against Excel Esports, avoids early exit from 2022 LEC Summer Playoffs

Don't count out the boys in orange just yet.

Today, Excel Esports and Fnatic entered the LEC Studios in Berlin with one goal: survival. Both teams were sitting in the lower bracket of the 2022 LEC Summer Playoffs and were on the precipice of elimination from both the tournament and a possible berth at the 2022 World Championship.

Everything was on the line, and when the spells stopped flying and the final victory screen was shown, only Fnatic’s players had their hands raised in triumph.

Fnatic and Excel battled tooth-and-nail in another frantic five-game series to keep their seasons alive. In the first two games, Excel showed great control in the teamfights, as they broke down their opponents in the later stages of the match with well-coordinated fighting with Sivir and Yuumi and the helm. Excel’s AD carry Patrik had two great games to kick off the day and looked like the superior marksman.

With their backs against the wall, Fnatic pulled out Wunder’s Gragas and Upset’s Twitch to spice things up, and their ability to adapt paid off in spades. With a sturdy frontline, decent playmakers, and a Yuumi as the cherry on top, this game marked the first step towards a reverse sweep. From that moment forward, it felt like Fnatic had found their long-lost self-confidence.

Through games four and five, Fnatic ran through their bottom lane as usual, and this time, Upset was able to scale through into the late game and dominate the teamfights on his trusty Lucian. Razork also performed great from game three onward, earning himself Player of the Series honors. His biggest highlight was a clutch Poppy ultimate that not only saved Upset from death but also saved Fnatic from elimination.

Throughout the 2022 Summer Split, Excel maintained its role as a dark horse challenger. They looked like top-three material for the first four weeks, but they stumbled heavily in the second half of the season, sliding from the top of the standings to barely being in the playoff picture.

They hung on long enough to squeak into the postseason with a 9-9 record, while also taking down Vitality in a playoff-deciding tiebreaker match. In the end, this loss is a disappointing end to their run, but they have plenty of aspects to be proud of as they build towards 2023.

Fnatic’s season has been just as tumultuous, with the perennial LEC champions struggling to find consistency with their veteran lineup. One week, they’d look decent with wins against G2 Esports and Rogue, and the next week, they’d lose four games in a row.

Their play hasn’t been close to acceptable for the amount of talent on the team, but they still have a chance to turn around the season with a miraculous lower bracket run. This first win against Excel was a great start, but now, they must focus on their upcoming matchup against Misfits Gaming next week.

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