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Fnatic claims EU LCS crown against Schalke 04

Fnatic's flag waves on stage during the European League Championship Series finals in Madrid. Provided by Riot Games

Fnatic claimed its seventh European League Championship Series title as it defeated Schalke 04 3-1 on Sunday.

Schalke 04 kicked off the series with an impressive showing in Game 1. Picking a surprise Skarner for jungler Maurice "Amazing" St├╝ckenschneider, the team was able to play around the pick to decimate Fnatic from the very start of the game. Amazing demonstrated the champion's strengths, showing off why it was a poor decision to leave the champion open during the draft phase. Constantly buying room for his bottom lane and AD carry Elias "Upset" Lipp, Schalke 04 was able to quickly find a convincing victory to kick off the series.

However, while Schalke 04's jungler found success, the team made a critical mistake; allowing Fnatic's AD carry Martin "Rekkles" Larsson to constantly beat the enemy in the 2-vs-2 matchup without intervention. While Schalke 04 focused on the top side of the map, Fnatic made the conscious decision to allocate resources to its MVP rather than spread itself too thin across the entire map. The team picked self-sufficient lanes for the top and middle, allowing Rekkles to draw pressure.

Although Fnatic found itself down in the early game time and again, the team was content to play with scaling carries and bring things back, capitalizing on the smallest of mistakes. Schalke 04's inability to shut down Rekkles and mid laner Rasmus "Caps" Winther proved to be devastating. As Schalke 04 deviated from its strategy and played into FNC's teamfighting, the team found its chances of victory slipping away.

Fnatic played calm and collected throughout the entire series -- despite consistently falling behind in the early game, the team played expertly around its carries and win conditions. With star player Rekkles coming up huge time and again, Fnatic simply had to wait for the right scenario to close out the series. In a neck-and-neck Game 4, this strategy worked perfectly as Fnatic waited until the optimal time to fight. Despite losing the initial engagement, the team took a 31-minute teamfight with ease, finding a massive quadra kill for Rekkles that resulted in Fnatic closing out the game.

Fnatic's victory is huge for the team, as it not only secured it a seventh EU LCS title, but it granted it Europe's No. 1 seed moving into Worlds 2018, with Team Vitality locking in the second seed. Schalke, meanwhile, will now turn to the EU gauntlet where it will battle it out with G2 Esports, Splyce and Misfits for the third and final seed.

--Chase Geddes