Fnatic finally get a taste for victory after their hard-fought 3-0 win against FunPlus Phoenix in the EMEA Challengers Stage 2 Grand Final.
Fnatic have been crowned the champions of EMEA Challengers Stage 2. The team have won their first tournament in VCT after beating FunPlus Phoenix 3-0. With this win Fnatic have also secured the number one seed for the EMEA region, which will see them earn a bye into the knockout phase of Masters 2 Copenhagen.
While it wasn't exactly a flawless victory over their EMEA rivals, with two of their three map wins going to overtime, Fnatic have proven themselves to be a formidable opponent. One that will certainly be amongst the favourites to win Masters 2 Copenhagen in July.
The victory also means that Fnatic have gone through the entirety of EMEA Challengers Stage 2 without losing a single match.
Alfajer in particular has become the talk of the town since he joined the roster, with his incredible technical ability. Specifically his effectiveness using Raze, whose abilities made a huge difference in Fnatic's victory over FunPlus Phoenix, ultimately earning him the match MVP by the fans.
Fnatic "have gotten a taste of winning now"
This grand finals victory has been a long time coming for Fnatic. The core roster, being James "Mistic" Orfila, Nikita "Derke" Sirmitev and Jake "Boaster" Howlett, had been in three finals prior to their Stage 2 Challengers win, and had lost in all of them. But today saw them finally break their Grand Finals curse, with Fnatic's IGL Boaster delighted by that fact in his post-match interview.
"It feels really good. I thought maybe I was just born to be a second place Andy. But it doesn't look like it does it. Today we got our first, 1st place and I've got a taste of winning now. It tastes so delicious, so sweet. Now we're heading to Copenhagen, and hopefully we win."
And though they were playing in a grand final setting, the occasion didn't seem to plaguing the minds of Fnatic's players as much as one might expect.
"I didn't feel as much pressure today compared to the other days," Boaster said. "I think the first time we played FPX to qualify for Copenhagen I felt more pressure. Today was actually quite chill all things considered."
Where do FunPlus Phoenix go from here?
Despite the 3-0 win it was a close run affair, with both of FPX's map picks, Split and Haven, going all the way to overtime. Although they fell at the final hurdle, FPX showed a tremendous amount of tenacity in just getting to the Grand Final. Having had to run a lower bracket gauntlet against Team Liquid, Acend, M3C, and Guild.
FPX also showed just how dangerous their roster could be throughout the playoffs in regards to the flexibility of their team compositions. And though that flexibility didn't quite pay off for them against Fnatic this time, there is no telling how much of a threat this style of play will make them when they take the stage at Copenhagen.
Especially when they possess the likes of the unpredictable controller, Dmitry "Suygetsu" Ilyushin, as well as the hyper-aggressive duellist Pontus "Zyppan" Eek . Both of them are sure to thrive in a LAN setting come Masters 2. But until then, we shall be eagerly awaiting their first LAN appearance.