EU Challenger Series Week 1 Analysis
It might have been Week 5 on the LCS, but the Challenger Series is just starting. Six teams from all across Europe are competing against each other with the goal of joining the LCS in the 2016 Spring Split. These teams are Denial Esports, Dignitas EU, Ex Nihilo, Gamers2, Mousesports, and Overclockers UK. They play games that aren't broadcasted on Tuesday, and broadcasted ones on Wednesday. After playing one two games against each team in the split, the playoffs begin with the top 4 teams. The winner gets an automatic spot in the EU LCS, while second and third place have the chance of joining by winning a best of five against either the ninth or eighth place LCS teams. How good is this young blood? Are they really ready to join the big leagues of the EU LCS?
Overclockers UK vs Gamers2 Game 1
Overclockers UK (Formerly known as Reason Gaming) kept mostly the same roster as the last Challenger Series, using Konrad "KonDziSan" Sopata, as their Jungle, and under a new organization. Gamers2 released their former mid laner Jérémy "Eika" Valdenaire, and acquired Millennium's former mid laner Luka "PerkZ" Perkovic. Their former ADC Mohammed Karim "Jébus" Tokhi signed with with the NACS team Renegades as their starting ADC, and Gamers2 replaced him with former Team Coast and SK Gaming mid laner Jesse "Jesiz" Le. After his departure from Team Coast, Jesiz switched to ADC, which was the role he mained before he went pro.
The first game between the two resulted in a victory for Gamers2, after a rather sloppy game. Overclockers UK's biggest issue with this game was their comp of Ekko, Gragas, Twisted Fate, Urgot, and Malphite. It looked like they were going for a lockdown, Twisted Fate like comp, but they made a bad call in picking Malphite. Malphite doesn't really belong anywhere in this meta, but especially not as a support, when Nautilus can do everything he can do but better. The Malphite pick means that they guarantee TF follow up, which allows TF to target a priority pick, but as WildTurtle showed, if you're good enough, you can flash out of the Malphite ult. They could use TF's Gold Card to lock down a priority target, then chain the CC, but what if TF can't get to the priority pick? With Naut, you can ult the target, TF can Gold Card, and you get what you want. The Urgot pick was also a questionable choice, especially on a team with so much magic damage. Urgot does do a lot of damage, but it isn't consistent enough. Something like a Sivir would have been much better, and was available. Yes, Kalista does beat Sivir in land harshly, but Urgot wasn't going to do much better. Sivir also works perfectly in a TF comp, and with Ricochet, Sivir can do plenty of physical damage to the entire enemy team.
Gamers2 also had a rather poor comp, which didn't really seem to have a clear goal. You have Nidalee and maybe Vladimir for poke, but Hecarim and Alistar want to engage, and Kalista's low range makes her poke rather poor. Vladimir also gets more from a teamfight, and his ult allows Kalista with Runaan's to do even more work. A Sejuani would have done this team comp much better, especially since Nidalee didn't seem to do much the entire game. The rest of the comp looked solid, so there isn't much to say there.
Overclockers had such a lead early game, being 6 - 0 and point. Gragas punished SmittyJ's Hecarim for overextending, got Ekko first blood, and Ekko would go to assist bot in getting ahead. This was a game Overclockers should have won, but ultimately didn't because they had a much weaker comp, who had poor teamfighting ability.
I think every player on both teams played at least decently, as nobody looked too terrible, besides SmittyJ. SmittyJ was constantly overextending without warding and getting punished for it. He gave many kills to Ekko, who would help get his bot lane ahead, and almost was enough to give the team the win. Even in team fights SmittyJ looked poor, and always seemed a step behind his team.
I do think this game had 3 shining players, 2 of which surprised me, and those 2 were PerkZ and Jesiz. PerkZ helped keep them in the game, and despite TakeFun, getting a lead on him in kills, PerkZ never seemed that far behind. The other is Jesiz, who actually appeared to be a good ADC, and helped turn around the game with PerkZ. I do think his laning could use some work, since he missed a lot of creeps he shouldn't have. His teamfighting was solid, and I can't wait to see what he does next week, as I do think he has potential. The other standout was Kubon, who destroyed SmittyJ in lane in,extended his lead, and without a doubt proved to be the best member of his team.
Overclockers UK vs Gamers2 Game 2
Once again, I feel that Overclockers started off with a bad pick and ban. And, again, it seems like the team comp is very confused on what it is supposed to do. You have Cassiopeia and Rumble, 2 champions who excel in teamfights, but then you have Tristana and Janna, who just want to sit there and take towers. Rek'Sai works for either, and is just a good pick regardless. The composition lacks focus, and without a focus, it didn't really have a good chance against Gamers2's composition. They have an obvious team fight composition, having Sivir, Gragas, Azir, and Annie. Riven was mainly to counter Rumble, but Riven still is a decent in a team fight. Gamers2 knew what they were going to do, and their comp reflect, and ultimately won because of that.
The laning phase looked decent, with nobody getting a huge lead on the other for the first 10 minutes. Red tower went down, but that was expected with a Riven in lane against a Rumble. If anything, the Riven felt mostly ineffective in the lane, as Kubon's Rumble kept nearly even CS, and SmittyJ's Riven. First blood went to Celaver's Tristana, getting a kill on Hiiva's Annie. Rek'Sai and Rumble tried to gank Riven around 13 minutes into the game, which failed because of a missed Equalizer, and a counter gank by Gillus ended with a Rek'Sai's death, equaling the kills.
The game is quiet after that for another 10 minutes when Gamers2 tries to get the dragon, succeeds, and results in killing Rek'Sai who was too close to the pit. Gamers2 then knocks down mid tower, and tries to knock down tier 2 mid tower, but an overextended Annie, and a Equalizer to force the team to retreat, gets Annie killed, making the kills even once again.
The game is quiet again after that, Gamers2 gets Baron, and nothing exciting happens until Gamers2 tries to get the final mid tower, where a fight breaks out, killing 3 members on each side, but allowing Sivir to get the tower and the inhibitor. A few more picks are taken, but the game eventually ends when Gamers2 tries to get the top tower, and a huge teamfight happens, where Gragas and Annie died on Gamers2 side, but all of Overclockers UK died.
Final Opinion On The Series:
I feel that Gamers2 has potential, I honestly do. I think they showed that their players have individual talent, even SmittyJ looked a lot better in game 2. They also seem to have a lot of trust in each other, and good synergy. They looked they were trying to play the game as methodically as they could, but they weren't really sure how too, which resulted in a lot of deaths, and them just brute forcing their way through objectives. I think if they worked a bit more on their shotcalling, I think they could be a good team, and a good competitor in the challenger series.
Overclockers UK on the other hand, I'm not really sure what to say. They seem have to good individual skill, and their synergy looks really good, and their teamfighting isn't that terrible. Their botlane did manage to do a bit better, not by much, but better in both games. I want to see what they do during their next games, when they have good picks. Right now, they need to build good team compositions, then I will give more of an opinion.
Dignitas EU vs Denial Esports Game 1
Dignitas EU kept almost the same roster as last split, but they replaced former support Erih "Voidle" Sommermann with Nicolai "Nisbeth" Nisbeth. They had to play against Mousesports to keep their spot in the EUCS, but they won that match 2-0. Denial Esports is a new team in the EUCS, coming in through the qualifier, formed by former Elements top laner Mike "Wickd" Petersen. Its original roster consisted of a few familiar faces, such as Wickd, former Copenhagen Wolves Academy mid laner, Sofyan "CozQ" Rechchad, and former MYM ADC Rasmus "MrRalleZ" Skinneholm. The team also brought a few new faces in their jungler, Joachim "betongJocke" Rasmussen and their support, Daniel "Wendelbo" Wendelbo. During the time before week 1 of the Challenger Series, and after the qualifier, Team ROCCAT picked up MrRalleZ, and Denial Esports picked up Team ROCCAT's then ADC Pawe? "Woolite" Pruski.
Dignitas EU had a really strong team comp, that was obviously looking for fights. Rumble, Gragas, Azir, Sivir, and Nautilus is almost the perfect team fighting comp. Denial Esports' comp looked a bit off. It didn't really seem to have much of a focus. Corki can take towers, but Ahri, and Maokai aren't good at it. It could be a team fight comp, but then why would you pick Corki over something like a Jinx? It doesn't really work as a poke comp either. I also don't think Wickd should have played Maokai. Maokai just isn't Wickd's style, especially when he is known for only really showing up on carry style top laners.
This was a long and bloody game. First blood went to Dignitas EU, when Wickd tried to Twisted Advance on Azir, but Azir flashed over the wall, talking Wickd with him, and Wickd was caught between 4 of Dignitas EU members. Wickd shouldn't have been this greedy, even CozQ realized that chasing was a bad idea, and walked away. After that, a low health Azir stayed in lane, overextended by a step, and Thresh and Rek'Sai collpased on him with Ahri, securing a kill for Denial Esports. A second kill got secured for Denial Esports right after by another beautiful collapse by Rek'sai and Thresh onto Rumble.
Not much happened for another 15 minutes, with Denial getting 2 more kills, and Dignitas getting a kill and 2 dragons. When third dragon spawned, Denial pushed Dignitas down their lane, and went to grab the Dragon. They did manage to secure the Dragon, but lost Maokai, Rek'Sai, Corki, and Nautilus in the process. When the team fight began, Denial looked very divided, and unsure with what they were going to do. Ahri, Rek'Sai, and Thresh looked like they were trying to escape. Corki got caught out by Gragas, and when he used Valkyrie over the wall, he ran into a Rumble. Maokai went in to try to help Corki, and the rest of Denial went in to assist. The best thing to do here would have been to let the Corki, and maybe Maokai die as well, while the other three escaped. A Corki with almost no health wasn't going to be of much use against Dignitas EU's team comp. Staying and trying to a win fight when you were that low was a bad call.
Things were quiet once again until the next dragon appeared, and a fight begun. Dignitas managed to secure the dragon, but Nautilus died for it. Denial Esports then chased after the rest of Dignitas, but an overzealous Thresh flashed over a wall, and got killed by Rumble and Sivir. Denial should have taken their one kill and walked away, or at least respecting an ahead Rumble and Sivir. Another team fight happened mid less than 5 minutes later, which started by Ahri getting a kill on Sivir, but once again, Denial didn't respect the power of Rumble, who would turn the fight around, helping kill everyone in Denial besides Rek'Sai.
Another dragon, another team fight. Rek'Sai goes too deep in, trying to get Sivir, but the majority of the team is there to peel him off, and kill him, while Rumble uses his Equalizer to zone the rest of the team away from him. Despite this, Denial continues this charge. CozQ Ahri ults in, and does a decent amount of damage to Nautilus, but has to retreat, only to end up dying to Azir soldiers. Maokai Twisted Advances Sivir, despite Rek'Sai being dead, and the majority of Dignitas EU having the ability to blow him up, which they do, but an overzealous Corki Valkyries up as Maokai dies, and then proceeds to die himself. This was a fight Denial should have backed off once Rek'Sai died. Ahri and Maokai should have never dove in, and Corki shouldn't have jumped in front of a dying Maokai.
Dignitas tries to bait Baron, and Denial falls right for it, but not exactly how Dignitas EU had expected it to happen. Denial manages to kill off a stranded Nautilus, and a Rumble who had no business being in Denial's jungle without backup. Azir goes into help, manages to nearly kill Ahri, Corki, and Thresh, but is killed while the three have extremely low health bars. Rek'Sai overextends again, thinking he has backup, and tries to get Sivir, only to die and Sivir getting the tier 2 mid tower. Gragas tries to dive Maokai, only to fail and die himself. These deaths allow Denail to get Baron. Dignitas EU shouldn't have gone so deep into Denial's jungle, and let Nautilus die. Rek'Sai should have been way more careful.
Another team fight breaks out in bot lane, where, once again, Rek'Sai goes a bit too deep trying to get Sivir, gets no backup, and dies for it. Thresh tries to protect his carries, and while his carries survive, he dies. Azir and Nautilus die on Denial's side. There really isn't much to say about this fight, other than Rek'Sai shouldn't have went too deep.
Denial and Dignitas do the Baron dance, with only Nautilus dying, but it went on for a while. When Denial realize that they can't take the fight since Nautilus has respawned, they try to outrotate Dignitas EU, and get mid tower, which they managed to do, but Gragas had just caught up to them, and beautifully ulted 4 members of Denial back into their team, which killed both Thresh and Wickd. Denial shouldn't have stayed as long as they did, but you could argue that two deaths for the tower would be "worth" if it wasn't 50 minutes into the game and death timers were over a minute. That screw up would let Dignitas EU get their fifth dragon, and the baron.
Dignitas manages to get the mid inhibitor, rotate top, and try to force a fight which fails, and gives Denial 3 kills on Sivir, Gragas, and Rumble. Denial uses this time to push down mid, get the inhibitor, and take down a Nexus turret, at the cost of Ahri. Sivir respawns right after, kills Maokai, and Rumble teleports to kill Corki. With the carries and Maokai down, Sivir, Gragas, and Rumble force there way through Denial's base, and takes out their Nexus. Once again, Denial overextends, and stays far too long.
The main issue with Denial this game was going too deep and hard for something when they shouldn't have. They overextended, and stayed places far too long than they should have. Dignitas EU never really pushed any of their advantages, and almost lost the game because of that. Despite Denial being behind, it never felt like it. They put off next to no pressure when they were ahead mid-game.
Dignitas EU vs Denial Esports Game 2
I liked Denial Esports comp more this game, with a clear focus for on teamfighting, although I still don't like Wickd on Maokai. I also didn't care much for the Janna pick, as Nautilus was up, and does more in a teamfight. On the other side, I didn't like Dignitas EU's comp. It is a TF comp, so it is looking for picks and to fight, and I don't like Corki for that. Hecarim was perfect for the comp, but I also think Nautilus would have been better as well. I just think a TF comp needs the team working with it, other than just TF and Hecarim.
The first blood this game was Thresh, who died in a 2v2 fight to Kalista, who would die to Corki moments later. The game would continue at a slow pace for 15 minutes, with Dignitas getting 2 more kills. The first kill was onto Kalista, who had no vision in the river, hopped past her minions, and got hooked by Thresh. Rek'Sai then tunneled after her, knocked her up, and she was dead. Better warding and being more careful would have easily stopped this death. The other death was, once again, onto Kalista. She took the long way around, didn't see Rek'Sai, got knocked by Rek'Sai, and killed by Corki. Woolite's positioning at its finest. The next fight, was a very small one, which happened when Obvious tried to force a kill, got killed for it, but Thresh managed hook Janna, who was killed by Corki's rocket and Phosphors bombs.
The first big fight happens in the mid lane 26 minutes into the game. Denial Esports tries to make a play happen, but Twisted Fate's Wild Cards and his Red Card chunk Woolite down to a 1/3 of his health, and when Denial tries to retreat, Hecarim teleports behind then, and ults 2 members, but gets knocked back by Janna's ult. Denial decides to take the fight, manages to kill Rek'Sai, but Janna is in the front line, and gets killed by Twisted Fate. Denial still sticks around, and Kalista, Azir, and Gragas are killed by Twisted Fate and Corki. Maokai would die right after, and this fight gives Dignitas EU Baron, and was the game changing fight. Denial should have backed out of this fight as soon as they could. Both carries were really low, and they were already behind.
Rek'Sai overextends top lane, and is killed by Kalista and Janna. Denial does get dragon off of this, but it won't mean too much, as a few minutes later, the game would end. The game ending fight would take place while Dignitas EU is trying to siege top lane tier 2 tower. Azir tries to play a play, using his ult to force Corki into the tower, but majority of the team wasn't there, and Azir is blown up right away, with Janna dying right after. Its already too late, the rest of the team were already fighting, which results in every member of Denial dying, and the game ending with Dignitas' Victory.
Final Opinion On The Series:
I think both teams have a lot of potential, but they need to figure some issues. Dignitas EU needs to work on applying more pressure, as they could have done it a lot more in Game 2, and especially in Game 1. I also think Obvious needs to play a bit more careful. But overall, the team looks solid, and has individual talent.
Denial Esports arguably has the highest skillcap out of all the teams, but they need to fix serious issues. They need to stop overextending, not be greedy for a kill, and learn how to communicate. They looked like they had none, for example, Wickd trying to get Azir game 1, and CozQ trying to kill Corki at the end of Game2. They need better communication if they want to make it to the LCS, and stay in the LCS. They also have no idea how to play from behind. They were 2K behind, and were trying to make plays like they were ahead. They need to respect that they are behind. Also, Woolite needs to learn how to position better, and to stop playing Tryndamere so much in SoloQ.
Mousesports vs Ex Nihilo Game 1
Mousesports is another team returning from the last split, but since they changed three of their team members, they had to go through the qualifier, only losing games to Dignitas EU. The spots in the challenger series are held by the players, so you must keep 3/5s of your roster if you want to keep your spot, which is why Mousesports had to go through the qualifier. The returning members of Mousesports are Tarik "Sedrion" Holz and his support, Patrick "MounTain" Dasberg. The new members are top laner Mauno "beansu" Tälli, jungler Daniel "Dan" Hockley, and mid laner Julian "Xioh" Dumler. Ex Nihilo is another new team to the Challenger Series, and just like Denial Esports, Ex Nihilo has some familiar faces in former ROCCAT top laner Marcin "Xaxus" Maczka, former Super Hot Crew and Coast jungler Matthew "Impaler" Taylor, former Lemondogs ADC Andy "Crazycaps" Walda, and former MYM support Lewis "NoXiAK" Felix. The only member who hasn't played in the LCS is mid laner Dan "godzukee" Vo. Ex Nihilo originally lost in the qualifier, and originally weren't supposed to play in the EUCS, however, due to reasons we aren't 100% aware of, Copenhagen Wolves Academy could no longer participate, allowing Ex Nihilo to participate. There have been many rumors on to way Copenhagen Wolves Academy couldn't participate, most of which involve a lot of shady things, but I will try my to best to appear unbiased, and I won't say anything about it.
Mousesports picked an interesting comp, going for the third TF comp we've seen this week. Besides me not really liking the comp, I see what it does, and how it is supposed to work. TF will do normal TF things, where he ults into bot lane, gets kills, snowballs bot and so on. Late game, it doesn't rely on TF ult, and focuses on Sejuani Ult, Thresh, and Maokai to lockdown necessary targets. Kalista was also an interesting choice, but she can become a hyper carry late, and with 3 tanks, its needed. I think Gnar, Sivir, and Nautlius would have been better picks, but I can understand what they were going for. It isn't what I would have went with, but it works. Ex Nihilo had a comp I actually liked. It is very team fight focused, with Gragas, Sivir, and Alistar. Fizz and Viktor can be used for a lot of team comps, but they work really well with a team fighting comp. I honestly prefer their comp a lot over Mousesports comp.
First blood went to Ex Nihilo. Alistar pulverized Thresh, who tried to escape, but lack of vision in the tri-bush allowed Gragas to come in, block Thresh's escape, and Thresh was killed. The next kill went to Mousesports, when Fizz overextended without vision, and was ganked by Sejuani. Viktor is the next to go down, as he overextended, was ganked by Sejuani. These early deaths on both sides were because if overextending without vision. Viktor did have vision, but he was really overextended, and without any built in escapes, he was doomed when Sejuani showed up. He tried flashing over the wall to escape the Twisted Fate, but Sejuani ulted him slowing him down, and was ultimately killed. Better plays would have been to have deeper wards, clear the wave then go back immediately, or just not push that hard, although it is excusable on a champion like Viktor, who pushes really hard.
The first team fight that really occurs happens around dragon, but after Ex Nihilo had already gotten the dragon. Twisted Fate ults into the front line, which might have been okay, but Sejuani misses, or "Xmithie's" her ult. Alistar gets a good pulverize, and the rest of Ex Nihilo deletes Twisted Fate, ending the team fight. Honestly, it might have been the better call not to fight, with Ex Nihilo having more damage at the moment, but maybe it could have worked if Sejuani didn't miss her ult.
The next teamfight once again happened at dragon, but there was a lot before it that was important. Maokai tried to gank Viktor, and while they got him locked down, the rest of Ex Nihilo showed up to push them back, but were saved by the rest of Mousesports. The main issue was that Twisted Fate was down to around half health, as he took a lot of damage from Viktor. Ex Nihilo then goes to get dragon, which they succeed in getting, but a homeguard teleport from Maokai locks down Gragas, while Sejuani ults Gragas and Alistar. Sivir and Viktor stay far behind, and manage to kill the Twisted Fate, but the rest of Mousesports manages kill Fizz, Alistar, and Gragas. Sivir and Twisted Fate could have done a bit more in this fight, but the tanks were CC'd so hard, that they wouldn't have been able to peel for them. Better positioning of the team could have been a lot better, as Viktor was alone on the top side, using his death ray when he could. Moakai died a little bit later,when Gragas, Alistar, and Fizz killed Maokai, as he lacked vision of the bush. This could have been easily fixed by warding. Twisted Fate dies a little later on in a 1v1 against Viktor, where Twisted Fate positions poorly, walking too far to the left, and gets killed by Viktor because of it.
The next teamfight happens a few minutes later, when Ex Nihilo tries to siege mid tower, but don't have vision Sejuani. Sejuani gets an amazing ult off, stunning 4 people on Ex Nihilo, and while Kalista was late to the fight, they manage to kill the entire team of Ex Nihilo, and only losing Sejuani in the process. Sivir dies almost immediately, but Ex Nihilo stay around and try to fight it out, but with Sivir dead, they stood no chance. Even when only Fizz and Viktor are alive, Fizz gets greedy and tries to do more damage, but he dies for it, as well as Viktor for just staying under tower instead of totally retreating. Ex Nihilo should have respected the power of a Sejuani ult, and they should have retreated as fast they could once Sivir was blown up. This fight would give Mousesports Baron, and essentially be the fight that gives Mousesports the game, when it easily could have been avoided, and could have been disengaged.
The next fight is more of a small skirmish, but did result in Twisted Fate and Alistar dying. Alistar flashes forwards, and headbutts Twisted Fate into Ex Nihilo, which deletes Twisted Fate. but Mousesports reacts quickly, and kills Alistar before he can get completely safe. It kind of counts as a win for Ex Nihilo, as it removes someone with Baron Buff. Twisted Fate shouldn't have been so far forward when he didn't need to be. He is squishy, and while he is decent at taking towers, he should respect what an Alistar can do.
The next fight occurs around Baron, and starts when Fizz catches Twisted Fate out, and the rest of the team goes to collapse on him, but Maokai and Sejuani show up, with the rest of Mousesports on their way. Twisted Fate flashes over the wall, away from the danger. Alistar gets hooked into Mousesports, and gets ulted by Sejuani, and Gragas ults trying to keep his carries save, but it only further pushes Alistar into the enemy team. Kalista uses her ult, flashes over the wall, and sends Thresh into the enemy team, knocking them up, and allowing for the rest of the team to clean up, although they only manage to kill Sivir and Fizz. Viktor and Gragas do manage to escape, although Gragas gets too close to the pit and dies, allowing Baron to go to Mousesports. Ex Nihilo shouldn't have been greedy for that one kill when they are already nearly 10K behind. They should have been happy with pushing Mousesports off of the Baron, going for that kill is what caused that fight to happen. The team also could have followed where Viktor was going, instead of trying to go south, which allowed for Kalista to flash. Better pathing could have kept the team alive, but in the heat of a fight, taking notice of everything little thing is hard. They just shouldn't have gotten greedy and playing like they can take fights.
The final fight happens a few minutes later, when 4 members of Ex Nihilo try to pick off Sejuani and Kalista, who were alone top. The main issue is that while they were bot, Mousesports had the wards in Ex Nihilo's jungle, which spotted them coming top, which allowed Mousesports to move their way top. As soon as Ex Nihilo was spotted top, Maokai teleported there, and Twisted Fate and Thresh were already on their way. Sivir gets caught by Maokai, hooked by Thresh, and Twisted Fate kills her pretty quickly. Fizz gets ulted by Sejuani, which makes Alistar stay to try save him, which gets Alistar killed. Fizz gets caught by Maokai and Thresh, who manage to kill him. This allows Mousesports to push their way into Ex Nihilo's base, and takes their nexus, killing Viktor in the process. Ex Nihilo played like they were ahead, tried to make picks, and lost because of it. They should have realized that their jungle was probably warded. The actual fight was over as soon as Ex Nihilo engaged. There was no way that they would win this fight once the rest of the team showed up.
Mousesports played the game pretty cleanly, especially late game. They put pressure where they needed to, and looked solid overall. Xioh had some misplays, with his ult onto the enemy team, and trying to fight Viktor, but I think he can improve. I also want to harp on Dan for missing that one Sejuani ult, but that was only once, and we already have Xmithie for that.
Ex Nihilo, in comparison, has a lot more to work on, especially in playing from behind. They were trying to make fights when they couldn't, and Mousesports punished them heavily for it. They also made poor calls this entire game, even when they had the lead. I think they have individual skill, but don't look good at all as a team.
Mousesports vs Ex Nihilo Game 2
Mousesports took another Twisted Fate comp, but I actually really liked the comp this time. They had the Sivir, so Twisted Fate could easily run up with his Gold card, to initiate, and he could use his ult to pick off whoever was left. I also like the Zac and Maokai pick, as they can lock down people for TF, so he can Gold card to further keep the target down. Zac's ult also allows for the enemy team to get divided, which allows for even more picks by TF. I might have replaced Janna with Nautilus, but she works here. She can help disengage fights they don't want, and with the rest of the comp helping the Twisted Fate, having one member that doesn't fit in perfectly is fine. Ex Nihilo's comp I didn't like. They had a Vayne, who doesn't need to be protected as much as something like a Kog'Maw, but Shen and Rek'Sai want to engage, leaving only Bard to protect, and Bard doesn't exactly have the greatest peel. Vayne isn't good this tank meta. There are better hyper carries, most of which have better laning phases. The comp doesn't even look like it is assisting Vayne, having a front line who wants to get away from her, and dive the enemy. I also think Ekko is weird in this comp as well. An Assassin, and a hyper carry, with a team that wants to dive? Ekko has decent dive, but a lot of his damage comes from his ult, which is also his only escape, so if the enemy team doesn't blow up quickly, he'll die easily. The team also lacks any kind of real wave clear, so if they are going to be really bad at being sieged, and sieging ,and if they ever lose an inhibitor, they won't be able to keep the super minions away.
First blood, once again, goes to Ex Nihilo. Twisted Fate is under tower when Bard uses his Magic Journey, and Rek'Sai tunnels in, and the three man gank is more than enough to kill TF under his tower, with nobody on Ex Nihilo dying in the process. The next kill happens a few minutes later, when Maokai is pushed far up his lane, with no vision at all in the enemy jungle, and Rek'Sai burrows under the wall. Maokai does manage to run all the way out to the river, but Ekko shows up, and gets the kill on him. I do like how TF realized that Maokai was dead, and stayed away from the fight, as from what I've seen from other teams, they might have chased after, and got himself killed as well as his teammate.
The first team fight occurs around Dragon, when Ex Nihilo was trying to secure it. It ended up being stolen by Zac, which turned into a teamfight. Zac then ults, which pushes Vayne away from the fight, while Rek'Sai further dives into Mousesports, which ends up killing him, but Bard ult was used right before that to allow Vayne to catch back up, but Rek'Sai ultimately dies. Shen is in the middle of Mousesports, while his team seems to be backing up, and even though he tried to Flash away, Shen died anyway. Ekko did manage to ult onto Sivir, and Zac, but Maokai runs in, gives his own life up, but does manage to keep Sivir and Zac alive. It's really hard to say exactly what Ex Nihilo should have done better, but I think better communication would have done it. Rek'Sai went right in, when the rest of the team looked like it was considering backing away, but even when Rek'Sai died, the team stayed around when they should have backed away. I think just someone saying " I am going to die, retreat" would have been better, and they easily could have done it with Bard ult. The fight was essentially a 4v5 at the point when Bard used his ult. Taking that fight wasn't a good call.
The next kills went to Mousesports. Ekko, Shen, and Rek'sai were going to kill Maokai under tower, and take the tower with him, but a good ward near raptors alerts Maokai that Ekko was coming. Maokai then wards his push, noticed Rek'Sai, and Maokai pulls away from his tower, giving his tower up but keeping his life. While this was happening top, Zac slingshots over the jungle wall into bot lane, hitting Vayne, and ulting to keep her locked down. Twisted Fate ults down to the fight, and kills Vayne. Bard tries to Magical Journey away, the rest of Mousesports does follow him, but a great Bard ult stuns both Sivir and Twisted Fate. Sadly, Janna and Zac were able to keep him locked down a bit, and Sivir and Twisted Fate caught up and killed Bard. I don't think Ex Nihilo should have been willing to put three people top, when they know Twisted Fate can be anywhere on the map, and they have no vision of Zac. Vayne and Bard also shouldn't have been so far up, when once again, Twisted Fate can be anywhere, and Zac can gank from almost any angle. They didn't respect the champions that Mousesports picked.
Twisted Fate gets picked off a while later, and I'm not really sure what he could have done better. Twisted Fate pushed up bot lane, and saw that Rek'Sai was coming. He tried to ult away, but a Shadow Dash from Shen canceled his ult teleportation. After that it was a long chase that ended with Twisted Fate's death. I guess Twisted Fate didn't have to be that far up, but he was trying to counter Shen's split push. Maybe he should have gotten farther away to use his teleport, but Shen was right on him. Its really hard to decide what Twisted Fate should have done better. Ex Nihilo got a dragon out of this chase.
The next fight also resulted in Twisted Fate's death, but this time it isn't as excusable. Maokai got caught out by 4 members of Ex Nihilo, but managed to get under the second tier bot tower, and survived. Twisted Fate ults right near the tower, and walks into the enemy team, trying to stun someone. Shen Shadow Dashes, and the rest of Ex Nihilo collapses, killing Twisted Fate. TF shouldn't have gone forward without any front line, and should have respected what Shen can do, especially since Shen was the reason why he died last time. While he didn't have vision of where Shen was, that should have been more of a reason to sit back.
Another fight broke out around dragon, and it was a mess of a fight. Ekko runs in on 3 members of Mousesports, on his own, while Vayne is farming bot, and Rek'Sai is at base. He uses his Zhonya's right away, but after it expires, Ex Nihilo wants to continue this fight, even though Vayne isn't there yet. They try to get a knockup with Rek'Sai, but Janna uses Monsoon to to knock them back. Bard does use his ult on top of the entire Mousesports team, but Vayne still isn't there yet, and their only other major damage dealer is Ekko. Ekko gets locked down by Maokai, and gets killed by Sivir, and Vayne still isn't there. She shows up a few moments later, but is the only damage dealer, and while Rek'Sai and Shen are trying to knockup and taunt the team respectively, after that they have no more CC, and no peal for Vayne. After the knockup and taunt, Sivir runs in, kills Bard and Shen, does a lot of damage to Rek'Sai, who is killed by Zac, while Maokai locks down Vayne, which allows Sivir to kill her too. This lets Mousesports get Baron. This fight was a mess on Ex Nihilo's part. Ekko runs in on his own, while Vayne isn't there. There was no communication, and terrible shotcalling. Why would Ekko engage when Vayne isn't there? I don't get why they would do that, and that mistake ultimately lost them the game. That one bad play cost them the game, and I hope they learn that they can't be doing things like that if they want to win, as any mistake can cost you a game. There isn't much more to say. Poor communication and shot calling, and I guess a comp with not a lot of peel, led to them losing this fight.
Mousesports gets the mid inhibitor of Ex Nihilo with the buff, and Twisted Fate starts splitting bottom. Vayne ults, stealth condemns TF into a wall, and Rek'Sai shows up to help Vayne secure the kill. Again, TF should have been careful, but at least the sending of two people bot allowed Mousesports to get the tier 2 top tower. Right after that, another fight happens. Maokai is trying to back in Ex Nihilo's blue buff bush, but Bard managed to stop his recall, and ults him, allowing Shen and Ekko to catch up. Zac runs in to help, but realizes that this is a bad when Maokai dies, and tries to escape. However, Shen, Ekko, and Bard chase after Zac, and runs into Twisted Fate and Janna, who manage to kill Bard. Vayne also died during this chase to Sivir and Janna, and Sivir would push down the lane, and the rest of her team would meet up with her to get the final bot tower, and bot inhibitor. Ex Nihilo once again got greedy, and were playing like they were ahead. They didn't respect Twisted Fate's ult, and because of that, Bard died. They should have gotten the one kill and backed off.
After taking the bot inhibitor, Mousesports moves to get the final top tower, but they didn't respect the CC Ex Nihilo has, got too close to the tower, and they got dived on. Maokai and Twisted Fate died from this, which wouldn't have happened if they just went a little slower, and let the super minions flood Ex Nihilo's base. They got too cocky, and lost two members because of it.
The final fight happens at Baron, when Mousesports tries to get Baron. Ex Nihilo show up a bit late, kill Janna, but Mousesports gets Baron. A fight starts, Rek'Sai and Ekko dive in, but both die almost immediately. Shen gets a great taunt on Sivir, allowing Vayne and Shen to kill her, but Mousesports moves their attention to Sivir, killing her, but Shen does manage to kill Twisted Fate at the same time. After that, it is a 2v2 with Shen and Bard fighting against Zac and Maokai. The fight never ends, as the minions pour into Ex Nihilo's base, which would have taken out the Nexus, if Ex Nihilo didn't surrender.
Final Opinion On The Series:
Mousesports looks amazing, especially when compared to last split, I think Xioh needs to work on his positioning, but the team looks like it has an amazing amount of communication and synergy. Sedrion looks like a totally different player than last split, and looked like one of the best ADCs in the EUCS. I don't want to sing this teams praises too much yet, as they were playing against Ex Nihilo, a team that never won its way into the EUCS. I look forward to watching this team grow, and I expect good things out of their next games.
Ex Nihilo is littered with problems. Poor communication, bad shotcalling , not knowing how to play when behind. I guess for a team that didn't win its way into the EUCS, this it to be expected, but they honestly looked like they were playing SoloQ out there, not like they were playing with their goal to be joining the LCS. They have a lot to work on, and even more to prove. I hope this team can get into shape, because if they don't, they won't make it to the EUCS playoffs.
These were some good games, better than what NACS had. I hope this week will have even better games, and we get to see some of these teams improve. At the end of these games, Dignitas EU, Mousesports, and Gamers2 are tied for first place, while Denial Esports, Overclockers UK, and Ex Nihilo are tied for last. Despite where they actually rank, I see Dignitas EU, Mousesports, and Denial Esports being the top 3 teams in the EUCS, and the other three being the bottom 3 teams. I think Ex Nihilo will get last place, with Gamers2 and Overclockers UK fighting for a spot in the playoffs. However, only time will tell. We're still early into the EUCS, and anything can change.