Royal Never Give Up outlasted a pesky Fnatic squad 3-1 in the quarterfinals of the League of Legends World Championship on Saturday at the Guangzhou Gymnasium in Guangzhou, China.
While Fnatic fans were certainly given some hope in this series after watching Misfits almost knock off SK Telecom T1, this European team didn't have similar luck Saturday. That's not to say that Fnatic didn't have moments of brilliance, however.
Fnatic opened both Games 1 and 2 with leads and generally looked to be playing up to RNG's level. The Europeans ran their game through AD carry Martin "Rekkles" Larsson, who once again played above the level of most of his teammates. He may have picked up the first blood in both games, but there simply wasn't enough follow-up from the rest of his team. A Game 1 fight around 25 minutes gave RNG the lead and allowed the Chinese squad to push for an easy victory.
Game 2 was the one that really got away from Fnatic, however. After Rekkles got the first blood using Vayne, the signature champion of RNG AD carry Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao, mid laner Rasmus "Caps" Winther quickly followed suit with a few nice plays, including snatching a kill from a one-on-three mismatch. With these two playing so well, it was no real surprise that Fnatic amassed a 10,000-gold lead and looked to be on its way to tying the series up to make it interesting.
Inexplicably, however, Fnatic didn't fully ward the Baron pit, which allowed Liu "mlxg" Shi Yu to steal the buff. The steal gave RNG the momentum it needed to pick up the 2-0 lead with a 44-minute win.
Similar to how Game 2 got away from Fnatic, Game 3 got away from RNG. With Uzi going off on his Kog'Maw, finishing with a 19/2/5 KDA (kills/deaths/assists), it seemed virtually impossible for RNG to lose. Thanks to Fnatic top laner Paul "sOAZ" Boyer's splitpushing Gnar, however, Fnatic stalled this game long enough to slowly squeeze away the victory in over 50 minutes for the longest game of the day.
Fnatic certainly seemed to take a good amount of momentum into Game 4 and picked up an early lead in terms of gold and kills in the final frame. As the late game approached, however, RNG simply became too much for the Europeans to handle. Uzi was pumping out damage by the pound on Twitch, which eventually crescendoed in the form of a late-game ace at 40 minutes that gave RNG the opportunity to finally lock up the series win.
While Fnatic did manage to pick up the win in Game 3, it was clear all throughout this series that RNG was simply the better team. Had RNG drafted a bit more damage in that game to go with Uzi's monster performance, the series would've surely ended in a swift sweep. That is something that the team will need to keep in mind for its semifinal series against the defending champion SKT at 3:30 a.m. ET on Oct. 28.