Fnatic were second as they entered Day 8 (Oct. 17) as Invictus Gaming beat them previously. Considering their power level in the group, both teams were assured either first or second place, with neither 100 Thieves nor G-Rex offering adequate resistance. Before their faceoffs in the final games of the day, Fnatic were 4:1 and iG were 5:0. Fnatic needed to beat Invictus Gaming twice to reach first place: first through the final game of the group to tie iG, and then through the ensuing tiebreaker.
Invictus Gaming and Fnatic’s first encounter went to Fnatic’s favor as their team fight oriented composition disabled their opponents’ pressure opportunities. The European team’s Aatrox-Urgot core (on Caps and Bwipo) was devastating in skirmishes, and they needed the assistance of Broxah’s Xin Zhao and Hylissang’s Braum to reach their power spikes as they were in losing matchups against RooKie’s Ryze and TheShy’s Fiora.
Invictus Gaming drafted a 1-3-1 side lane pressure centric composition and needed to set their winning conditions before Aatrox and Urgot became beefy, but Fnatic held full tempo control, had constant vision in the river, and secured significant leads in the jungle, mid lane and bot lane — with Bwipo’s ability to manage pressure from TheShy’s Fiora helping deny the 1-3-1 possibility. iG’s composition went into irrelevance as the game shifted towards team fights, and as they lacked a proper front line.
In addition, Rekkles (on Tristana) turned JackeyLove’s Kai’Sa into a nonfactor as the two of them were left in a 1v1 situation which was extremely advantageous to Rekkles (with iG’s Baolan forced to follow Hylissang wherever the latter roamed), and as he denied his opponent’s attempts at catching up. The matter culminated in a Baron Nashor fight around the 2X-minute mark where Fnatic dominated their opponents, who were fumbling in the dark and were under-equipped to deal with them.
Their second encounter was less controlled as outplays were plentiful, with both teams throwing their lot on Summoners’ Rift. Fnatic’s Broxah (Lee Sin) initially played around their hyper-scaling and safe bot lane pick (Ezreal) and the roaming compliant Rakan, and iG’s Ning (Gragas) responded with securing ganks in the solo lanes.
The matter resulted in several bloodbaths and highlight worthy moments (from Broxah's Lee Sin outplay over Ning at 11:50 to Duke's 1v5 2:0 reversal in an otherwise good Fnatic team fight at minute 21), and the game was dead even until the European team caught a split Invictus Gaming squad headed toward the Dragon's pit, with the bot lane completely out of position, for a 3:0 at the 24-minute mark. They then kickstarted a war of attrition against iG, with the Chinese squad unable to recover tempo and falling in a 5:1 last stand before minute 36.
Fnatic’s seeding as the top Group D squad eventually allowed them to dodge a major bullet, as Invictus Gaming drew top Group C seed KT Rolster and, should they win, may face Royal Never Give Up or G2 Esports in the semifinals. Instead, they face EDward Gaming, and they may meet either Afreeca Freecs or Cloud9. Tune in starting Oct. 20 at 06:00 CET / 13:00 KST / Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. PT to watch the 2018 World quarterfinals live on the event hub!