The biggest storylines from LCS London
The League Championship Series went to Wembley Arena this weekend for the fifth week of play, and it proved to be an action packed affair for the assembled crowd of more than 10,000 fans.
That crowd made for a fantastic atmosphere, which you can see in this“best of”compilation counting down Baron, chanting “TSM!” as Copenhagen Wolves blasts Alliance, and cheering every ward kill during lengthy vision wars in some other games.
But that wasn’t the real story this week—it was still the LCS after all, League of Legends’ top competition. This week saw one of Europe’s lower ranked teams, ROCCAT, shoot up the standings, while Millenium staved off a rising Fnatic to stay in the top three.
Alliance (10-2): The best team in the West?
The only thing you can count on in the LCS this split is that Alliance will take all challengers. They’re the only team in either region with fewer than four losses, and they’ve shown few signs of slipping up.
The super team looked shaky for much of last Split, but pulled things together entering the playoffs. This season it seems that they’ve fixed any perceived shot calling issues and now enter every game with a solid plan to win, leaving the execution the only thing in question. But that’s hardly a tough question to ask with the all-star players they have filling every position.
Team captain Henrik “Froggen” Hansen looked like a superstar last season, but he’s been joined by teammates Ilyas “Shook” Hartsema and Erik “Tabzz” van Helvert making arguments to be the top players at their positions this split.
This week they shut down their closest rival, SK Gaming, with those three players combining for a 17 KDA. It wasn’t a close game, showing the gap between Europe’s best team and everyone else.
Some may argue that Europe’s level of competition has dipped a bit this season, with players like Maurice “Amazing” Stuckenschneider jumping ship and teams like Fnatic struggling, but the fact remains: Alliance is a rock and right now is probably the only team in the West that’s a lock to show at the World tournament.
Rising ROCCAT (5-7) is on a four-game win streak
Last season’s cinderellas have turned into this split’s punching bag—until last week. ROCCAT was a dismal 1-7 entering week four, but since then they’ve rallied with four straight victories.
Those wins haven’t been too cheap, either; after besting last place Copenhagen Wolves and Supa Hot Crew, they followed it up with wins over rising teams Fnatic and Millenium in London.
That places their current form above every team in Europe save the top two, but they’ll get their chance against them soon. Next week ROCCAT will show if they are really lions when they face Alliance and SK Gaming.
The win streak has moved ROCCAT from a relegation lock into playoff contention and more. They’re only two games away from third place in the league.
Millenium (7-5) ends Fnatic (6-6) surge
In week four Fnatic looked like Europe’s champions, obliterating SK Gaming in one of the most one-sided games of the split before losing to Alliance thanks to a small mistake. It seemed inevitable that they would jump into third in the standings at Wembley by winning games against Gambit Gaming and Millenium.
But Millenium would not go down. Despite a disappointing loss to ROCCAT on the first day of play in London, Millenium would hold tight on third place by taking Fnatic out.
Adrian “Kerp” Wetekam’s Leblanc was instrumental in building an early game advantage that help boost Jakub “Creaton” Grzegorzewski and his Twitch into an unstoppable monster. Millenium’s two carries have long been praised for their mechanics but inconsistent play has held them back. This season they are emerging as regular threats, and it’s made Millenium extremely dangerous.
Like ROCCAT, they face both Alliance and SK Gaming next week. Wins could boost them over SK Gaming and into second place, but it’ll be a tall task even for an on-form team.
Gambit Gaming (4-8) downed by visa problems
It was one of the more important weeks on the schedule for keeping Gambit Gaming out of the relegation zone, and while the players tabbed to substitute for the four members of the team missing due to visa issues put up quite a fight, it was all for naught.
Gambit Gaming went 0-2 while their direct competitor for that sixth spot in the standings, ROCCAT, went 2-0 while besting them. That leaves Gambit Gaming in line for relegation and wondering what could have been in two winnable matches, if they had their regular lineup at Wembley.
The LCS returns to Cologne as well as its regular schedule this week—with European matches on Thursday and Friday and North America on the weekend. But its pit stop in London was certainly an exciting diversion. The LCS is one week away from the halfway point of the season, and so far it’s really anyone’s game. And that’s about all you can ask from any competition.
Screengrab via Riot Games/YouTube