With the first two days of the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational in the books, Fnatic has made its case as a true contender at the tournament. After two definitive wins over Team Liquid and Kingzone DragonX on the tournament’s 2nd day, the team has creeped into a tie for 3rd place. But with plenty of games still left to play in the Group Stage, Fnatic could continue to ride the back of its emerging behemoth in the mid lane: Rasmus “Caps” Winther.

         Over the course of the first two days at the Mid-Season Invitational, Caps has proved himself as not only one of the most impressive mid laners, but one of the most impressive players at the tournament. With four games under his belt, Caps already leads all mid laners at MSI in KP, DMG%, GD@15, and KP@15. Although the tournament is still young, Fnatic has already prevailed against some of the greatest teams in the world, and Caps is directly at the center.

         With an immediate turnaround on the second day of the tournament, Caps proved his prowess on the international stage as one of the most versatile players at MSI. After locking in Corki against Kingzone for the first time since Week 7 of the EU LCS, Caps pulled out Yasuo for the second time in as many days in today’s finale against Team Liquid. And although Caps’ Yasuo faltered when faced against Royal Never Give Up, he prevailed on the champion versus Liquid, posting a KDA of 10.0 and a damage share of nearly 24%.

         With these statistics in mind, it’s safe to credit a large portion of Fnatic’s success at MSI to Caps. He’s already proven himself as one of the strongest mid laners at the tournament, and with just one game remaining in the first round robin, Caps has an amazing opportunity to thrust Fnatic directly into a share of at least 3rd place with a win over EVOS Esports.

         And while Caps’ early signs of success on the international stage might come as a surprise, anyone who’s followed the European scene should know that his time to shine has been a long time coming. Throughout the course of the 2018 Spring Split, Caps ranked in the top 5 among all European mid laners in KDA, CS/M, and GD@15, while leading the league in GPM, DMG%. and DPM.

        Of course, with Caps’ success, plenty of comparisons have been drawn throughout the course of the tournament, so far. Most notably,  Caps at this year’s MSI has paralleled closely alongside Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten’s breakout performance at the 2015 edition of the Mid-Season Invitational.

         “I look at [Caps’] performance, and I’m reminded of another Fnatic mid laner who made his name at MSI. It was all about Febiven in 2015”, said Chris “PapaSmithy” Smith on MSI Tonight,  “this is the moment where…[Caps] has taken off…because his star performances have been amazing”.

         And while the comparison between both Fnatic mid laners is certainly present, it’s important to note that Caps has performed even better than Febiven through the first four games at the 2018 MSI in comparison to Febiven’s first four games at the 2015 MSI.

         Although both players finished 2-2 after their first four contests, Caps posted a higher DMG%, KP, DPM, and GD% than Febiven. Although Febiven’s 5.7 KDA edges out Caps’ mark of 3.9 through their first four games, Caps is on pace to surpass that number by the time the Group Stage ends, considering in 2015, the MSI Group Stage only consisted of 5 games for each team, whereas everyone plays each other twice in 2018.

         And now, with 3 days remaining in the Group Stage, Fnatic has cemented themselves as true contenders at MSI. With an enormous victory over Kingzone to kick off Day 2, Fnatic made all the necessary adjustments and prevented themselves from falling in the standings. With a definitive win over the tournament favorites, the European champions put their foot down and showed that they have something to prove at MSI.

         If Caps can continue to put the team on his back, Fnatic’s ceiling is limitless. With signs of improvement from rookie top laner Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau, and production from the team’s always-stellar AD Carry Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, Fnatic is finally looking like a real international contender, and Caps is directly at the center of the team’s immediate turnaround.

        If Day 2 Proved anything, it’s that MSI is quickly becoming Fnatic’s time to shine. This is Europe’s tournament now, and if Caps is able to replicate his performance from Day 2, it’s only a matter of time before he puts the entire region on his shoulders.



Photo Credit: Lolesports, Fnatic