With a 12-6 record, G2 Esports finished second in the 2021 LEC Summer Split, while Fnatic were locked in 5th place.

Heading into the 2021 LEC Summer Playoffs, this put G2 Esports in the upper bracket and Fnatic in the lower bracket with no second chances.

In Round 1, G2 Esports lost to MAD Lions 3-1, and dropped to Round 3 of the lower bracket. There, they met their archrivals, who edged past Vitality and Misfits 3-2 to reach this stage.

Since only the top three 2021 LEC Summer Playoffs seeds qualify for the Worlds 2021, it was down to the wire for two of the biggest esports organizations in Europe. Only one — Fnatic or G2 Esports — would return to the Worlds stage this year.

Fnatic surprised by drafting jungle Jarvan in Game 4 against G2 Esports in the 2021 LEC Summer Playoffs

Fnatic vs G2 Esports Round 3 2021 LEC Summer Playoffs Game 4 draft
G2 Esports vs Fnatic, Game 4 draft
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

Going into the fourth game of the series, Fnatic were down 1-2 after only managing to win game two. It was do or die for the team, yet, despite all the odds, they boldly locked in Jarvan IV in the second half of the draft.

After League of Legends patch 11.15 meta junglers Lee Sin and Viego were banned, and Xin Zhao was taken by the opposing team, there were few options left in Diana, Volibear, and Nocturne.

Instead, Fnatic surprised by locking in Jarvan, a champion that was only picked once throughout 2021 LEC Summer Split by Schalke 04’s Thomas “Kirei” Yuen, which ended in a loss.

Former top laner turned jungler Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau on Jarvan had no kills or assists within the first ten minutes of the game. In contrast, his counterpart Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski on Xin Zhao was up 2/0/0. Beyond the early game, however, is when Jarvan as a champion started to shine.

As the front line of his team, Bwipo on Jarvan opted for consistent, solid play over flashy ones. He comboed well with Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov’s signature Pyke, and locked up targets for his backline.

The ultimate goal was to disallow G2 Esports to scale on late-game champions Gangplank, Orianna, and Vayne. Fnatic achieved this by steadily wearing down their opponents in just 23 minutes to even up the series 2-2.

FNC Adam’s top lane Darius sends his team to Worlds 2021

Fnatic vs G2 Esports Round 3 2021 LEC Summer Playoffs Game 5 draft
G2 Esports vs Fnatic, Game 5 draft
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

If you thought off-meta jungle Jarvan was risky, think again.

Down to a best-of-one where Worlds 2021 qualification was on the line, Fnatic surprised a second time on red side. Seeing G2 Esports commit to Camille for top laner Martin “Wunder” Nordahl Hansen, Fnatic boldly selected Darius for Adam “Adam” Maanane, a counterpick matchup that’s typically seen only in solo queue.

As expected, Darius versus Camille delivered an explosive early game. Trading blow for blow, Adam and Wunder attempted to mechanically outplay each other.

The 19-year-old rookie even managed to outmaneuver and solo kill Wunder’s Camille at top at the 7-minute mark despite being even in kills and gold.

Maintaining the gold lead, Fnatic had three elemental dragons under their belt, and were in full control of the map by mid to late game. Without needing Baron, they knocked on the doors of G2 Esports’ base as five in the mid lane.

It was once again Adam’s Darius who opened with an opportunistic Apprehend onto Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle’s support Gragas, which instantly triggered the chain of Noxian Guillotine resets as Fnatic pushed forward all the way to the Nexus.

Qualifying for Worlds in his first split in the LEC, the young Adam finished with a 6/2/7 KDA on Darius, and was praised for his outstanding performance in this series.

2021 LEC Summer Split Fnatic
Credit: Fnatic Twitter

The 2021 LEC Summer Playoffs continue on August 28 at 11 p.m. GMT+8 as Fnatic take on Rogue in the lower bracket semifinals. League of Legends fans can catch all the action live on LEC’s Twitch channel and YouTube account.

READ MORE: LEC Summer 2021 Playoffs: Schedule, results, qualified teams, where to watch