It wasn’t like the finals before. There were no walkouts, no screaming crowd and no confetti. It didn’t feel quite like a final; the atmosphere was so different that it might as well just have been another week of games. But the games — the sheer quality of League that was being played — never wavered, as the teams put on some of their best games all split.
In Europe, G2 won their repeat match against MAD Lions in a dominant 3-1 series that sent them to the finals again. This was a very familiar matchup. Prior to Sunday, out of the 14 splits Europe has had, Fnatic has been in the finals for nine of them, and has won seven. G2, on the other hand, has been in seven finals and won six of them. The only final not won by one of these teams was all the way back in 2014 Summer, when Alliance, an org which is no longer in League of Legends, beat Fnatic. Also interesting is out of all of those finals, Sunday was just the third final they actually played against each other.
It was immediately clear that G2 had come to stomp Fnatic. They won game one in just 26 minutes, on the back of an 8-1-4 game for midlaner PERKZ on Azir, as well as impressive games from Wunder and Jankos on Ornn and Jarvan. The concerning part of the game for Fnatic, and the part that likely felt very good for G2 supporters, was that it never felt close. Even when the kills were close to even and the gold was close to even, it felt like you were just waiting for that moment when G2 hit the gas, won a team fight and just won the game.
It was the same story in games two and three. G2 leapt ahead and never looked back, and Fnatic floundered trying to keep up with them. G2’s surprise Lulu Kogmaw bot lane seemed to stump the Fnatic lineup in games one and two and PERKZ played as well as he ever had, going 23-2-21. Bwipo, Fnatic’s Top Laner, struggled in all three games, which allowed Wunder and Jankos to get leads that Fnatic’s bot lane had no hope of matching.
In just three short games, G2 absolutely dismantled the lineup that had looked like they were kings of the world just last week. Interestingly, in both series played against G2, the MAD Lions put up more of a fight than the seven-time champions; a 3-2 win and a 1-3 loss. If MAD can keep some of that form and improve going into summer, they might be legitimate contenders for a title in a few months.
But for now, G2 stands atop the podium for the third split in a row, proving once again that they are, at least for now, the greatest lineup that Europe has ever produced. If the Mid-Season Invitational is still held, which right now is looking more and more unlikely as the coronavirus pandemic spreads, they’ll get a shot at their second MSI trophy in a row.
In North America, things were a little less routine. Evil Geniuses lost the lower bracket final to Fly Quest, which meant Fly Quest would get to face the ever-terrifying Cloud9 on Sunday. Fly Quest put up a fight in game one, finding enough kills and skirmishes to give themselves a chance, but Cloud9 refused to lose another final. They’d come in second in six finals since their original victories in 2013 Summer and 2014 Spring, and the win was a very long time coming.
On the backs of Licorice and Zven, and with solid performances from the whole team, Cloud9 refused to even consider the possibility of a loss. They dominated games two and three, even when they continued to give up first blood, relying on a vindicated Zven who played as he had all split: absolutely dominantly. He erased the memories from his less-than-stellar game five finals loss last year when he was still on TSM, and helped Cloud9 to write a new chapter of their history.
For Fly Quest, the loss should be sad, but not unsurprising. Fly Quest came into the season almost as a meme; the only thing anyone really knew about them was that they were planting a lot of trees. But once they put Solo into the top lane, the team really began to look like contenders even against Cloud9, who is now undisputedly the most dominant roster in one split ever. Time will tell if they can keep that form going into Summer and, hopefully, MSI. For Fly Quest, if they continue to train and work with Solo, who went from not even being on a team to finals, the sky is the limit in Summer.
But for now, Cloud9 are the champions, for the first time in years. They overcame their demons at a very good time and cemented their status among the best North American lineups ever.
And, thanks to their support staff, they even got confetti.
Ashton Stansel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.