One of the organizations synonymous with professional League of Legends in Europe will not be progressing into the most crucial part of the 2023 LEC Winter Split, now sitting in a position it has never been since its start in the league.
For the first time in the organization’s history within the LEC, Fnatic have failed to qualify for a regular season’s playoffs bracket, having been eliminated from entering the 2023 Winter Split group stage and, by extension, the playoffs, in a match against SK Gaming. The team, which welcomed back multi-time champion Rekkles for the 2023 season, now must wait alongside Excel until the start of the Spring Split to continue their season, while Astralis automatically qualifies for the group stage.
“We are sorry that we could not advance past the regular season of the split,” Fnatic wrote in a statement on Twitter. “This outcome is not acceptable for Fnatic, nor is it a reflection of the level of performance our fans deserve to see from us in the LEC.”
Since the start of the Winter Split, despite an immediate string of losses, Fnatic had cemented themselves as a team capable of accruing gold advantages, which were particularly useful to their carries, Humanoid and Rekkles. The focus within their teamfighting across nearly every game, however, made it seem that the members of the team did not find an opportunity to fully synergize over the past three weeks, leading to this ninth-place finish in the Winter Split.
Fnatic faced a similar challenge in last year’s Summer Split, almost failing to qualify for the Summer Playoffs prior to defeating Misfits in their final LEC match. Upon entering the 2022 World Championship via play-ins, Fnatic went on to storm through the competition, entering the group stage as the top seed from their play-ins group and going on to offer the LCK’s T1 their first loss of the year.
Fnatic has promised fans that there will be “further updates to come” regarding the state of its LEC team, though no specific information has been provided at this time. The LEC will continue with the Winter Split group stage beginning next week.