Southeast Asian squad Fnatic swept fellow Group B bottom-dweller Royal Never Give Up (RNG) as they continue to jostle for an Upper Bracket berth at the Main Event of The International 2019.
For game one, Fnatic put Abed Azel “Abed” Yuso on Storm Spirit and Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong on Gyrocopter for a strong mid-lategame teamfight composition. Meanwhile, RNG countered with a stronger midgame power spike with Gao “Setsu” Zhenxiong on Pugna and Du “Monet” Peng on Lifestealer.
With Fnatic needing some time to get their heroes in fighting condition, Setsu’s Pugna was predictably taking control of the early fights by dealing huge amounts of magical damage.
Neither of the teams were able to get a decisive advantage in the subsequent teamfights, however, as Fnatic’s cores got their Black King Bars to neuter the Pugna’s damage. Even so, RNG were able to repel Fnatic in a clash at midlane, giving them the opportunity to assault their opponent’s base.
Fnatic would turn things around in that base defense, however, as they wiped RNG and assaulted the Chinese team’s base in turn. With RNG only having buyback on Setsu’s Pugna, they were soon forced to call GG.
Fnatic ran Storm Spirit for Abed again in game two, with Jabz on Wraith King and Djardel Jicko “DJ” Mampusti on Leshrac to put on early pressure on Setsu’s Kunkka and Monet’s Terrorblade.
Knowing that RNG’s hopes rested on a Monet Terrorblade that needed a lot of time to come online, Fnatic demolished RNG’s outer towers early to limit the space he had on the map to farm. While RNG repeatedly struck out to try and relieve the pressure, it was clear that Fnatic was just looking for an opening to break the game wide open.
Fnatic would get the opportunity they were waiting for when RNG engaged them in the mid lane and subsequently got teamwiped. The SEA squad then bore down on their opponent’s base from there, securing the sweep shortly after.
With their win, Fnatic are now in a three-way tie with Evil Geniuses and Natus Vincere for the two remaining Upper Bracket spots in their group. They will play their last series of the Group Stage against a struggling Virtus Pro to try and secure that spot. Meanwhile, RNG will start the Main Event from the Lower Bracket — a disappointing outcome considering their 4-0 resurgence on Day 3 of the Group Stage.
Be sure to check out our coverage of The International 2019 Group Stage for more TI9 action.