Aug 15 2014 - 4:11 pm

Fnatic head to World Championships, fourth-straight LCS final

The first two matches of the League Championship Series playoffs, which decides what three European teams will head to the League of Legends World Championships in Korea later this year, ended in one-sided romps
Samuel Lingle
Dot Esports

The first two matches of the League Championship Series playoffs, which decides what three European teams will head to the League of Legends World Championships in Korea later this year, ended in one-sided romps. But the semifinals today between Fnatic and ROCCAT at Gamescom changed that trend.

Fnatic, the defending LCS champions, will head to the finals to seek their fourth straight LCS title after surviving a tough series against ROCCAT, ousting the Polish team with a 3-2 score.

The victory sends Fnatic to the Season 4 World Championships where they will represent Europe as one of three teams from the region who will challenge the best players in the world. ROCCAT has one more chance to join them, the third place match tomorrow against the loser of SK Gaming and Alliance.

Fnatic entered the semifinals as the favorite, after a late season surge saw them shoot up the standings. But one of ROCCAT’s strengths has always been preparing for a specific opponent, and they came to the match ready.

The Polish team stole the first map by building a lead off a few picks from the signature Thresh play of support Oskar “VandeR” Bogdan, whose Thresh hooks allowed the team

But Fnatic would take the next two games off strong performances from their two star players, Enrique "xPeke" Cedeño Martínez and Martin “Rekkles” Larsson. Game four was nearly theirs as well, as the team held a lead deep into the match, but ROCCAT managed to twist things around thanks to mid laner Remigiusz "Overpow" Pusch’s chase play on Kassadin, setting up a huge 10/2/7 Tristana game for marksman Paweł "Celaver" Koprianiuk.

The fifth and deciding game went much the same as the two Fnatic wins. The team managed to pick Kog’Maw for Larsson, who had already put up 7/1/7 and 7/0/7 lines with the champion in games two and three. Surrounding him with Lulu, Orianna, and Nami, all champions with the ability to protect the carry, Fnatic leveraged their MVP--and the MVP of the entire LCS season--into a victory.

ROCCAT tried to counter with Remigiusz on Fizz, presumably to dive Larsson, but the pick seemed completely ineffectual in both games they picked it. Remigiusz surrendered a huge CS lead to Rodriguez in both games and failed to make an impact in team fights.

Larsson delivered on the promise of his record setting regular season, posting a 28/6/24 KDA line through the five game series. Fnatic seems to realize the talent lurking in their bottom lane, considering their most successful compositions are based around boosting his power.

For ROCCAT, Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski staked his case as the best jungler in Europe. He secured multiple first bloods while posting a 22/9/30 KDA, the top in the series excluding Larsson.

“I expected [ROCCAT] to be good. They were very good, especially in lane swaps. They did what they had to do,” said Borat “YellOwStaR” Kim, the Fnatic support, after the match. Kim is now the first player ever to qualify for all four World Championship events in League of Legends, and depending on the rest of the playoffs, may be the only one.

“We are really ambitious. The dream of every one of us is to win [the World Championships], but it’s going to be super hard obviously,” Fnatic captain Rodriguez added. “For now we will go practice as hard as we can and focus on group stage first.”

Of course, Fnatic has a date with the winner of SK Gaming and Alliance set for Sunday. The winner may not earn an all-important spot in the World Championships, but they’ll still take the LCS title. A title currently held by Fnatic.

Fans of Fnatic will certainly want their team to win their fourth straight LCS title. But with the notoriously talented but inconsistent Fnatic team, you never know.

“That’s why we trained [the fans] in the LCS split,” Kim said. “It’s like a rollercoaster!”

Screengrab via Riot Games/YouTube

Jan 21 2017 - 10:20 pm

G2 Esports and H2k-Gaming on top after EU LCS opening weekend

Last year's top teams haven't missed a beat.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via Riot Games

G2 Esports and H2k-Gaming picked up exactly where they left off as the 2017 European LCS season got underway.

Both G2 and H2k, who had the most championship points in Europe in 2016, won both of their first two matches of the 2017 Spring Split as they look to win out in their respective groups.

In the biggest match of the weekend on paper, G2 beat Fnatic 2-1 in a thrilling series to the delight of the crowd in the LCS studio. The first game was a cagey affair, with G2 securing all of the objectives and getting a relatively comfortable win, but the second game was far closer.

The game was level for most of the first thirty minutes, until Fnatic managed to take Baron. From there the team's advantage slowly developed despite G2's best efforts. Fnatic broke down G2's defences and left the Nexus exposed, before this daring flash play let Fnatic in the backdoor to win the game.

Fired up by the audacious play, G2 Esports fired back in game three. Though Fnatic were able to secure more kills than G2, 20-14, G2 once again took almost all of the objectives. They wore down Fnatic with repeated attacks on the Nexus until Fnatic could no longer withstand the pressure.

G2 also defeated Roccat 2-0, finishing the week top of Group A.

H2k-Gaming went just one better than G2 in Group B—not only did they win both of their initial matches, they also did without dropping a game. The 2016 World Championship semifinalists defeated Origen in the first game of the season, before knocking off fellow World Championship competitors Splyce.

Misfits and Unicorns of Love were the only other victorious sides on the opening weekend, over Giants Gaming and Vitality respectively.

Jan 21 2017 - 10:55 pm

Contractz shines as Cloud9 topples TSM

Cloud9’s rookie jungler made a big splash in his LCS debut
Xing Li
Dot Esports
Photo via Riot Games

Cloud9’s Juan "Contractz" Arturo Garcia didn't just make an impression in his LCS debut. He blew away all expectations, and showed himself to be a force to be reckoned with.

Contractz was the last cut from the Players to Watch list we wrote before the League Championship season. We weren’t sure how much priority Cloud9 would give him, especially with so much talent elsewhere on the roster. Still, we felt uneasy--someone not on the list was almost guaranteed to break out.

We just didn’t know that it would happen in the very first series.

In a rematch of last summer’s LCS Finals, Cloud9 and TSM clashed on the rift. And despite the star power that this matchup brings, much of the focus was on Contractz. He was a major focus for C9, almost a win condition in themselves.

Let’s see how he did it.

Jungle Priority

Due to the changes Riot made to the jungle in the offseason, priority has risen for junglers. More experience and more ganks means a good jungler can more easily carry a game. Cloud9’s coach, Bok “Reapred” Han-gyu talks about priority all the time.

Priority is a League term that indicates which lane has a strong matchups and should be a focus for jungle ganks. The player or lane with priority gets earlier picks and more attention from the rest of the team.

In a bit of a role reversal, C9 picked jungle to have priority in game one. That meant C9 players actively played around Contractz’ Kha’zix and made plays to get him ahead. In one telling instance, AD carry Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi burned his Ashe ult so that Contractz could invade and secure red buff.

Contractz rewarded that allocation by killing TSM ADC Jason “WildTurtle” Tran for First Blood. Cloud9 picked a risky comp that required Contractz and mid laner Nicolaj Jensen (playing Fizz) to snowball. Aided by some questionable team play from TSM and baffling itemization from WildTurtle, they accomplished that.

How would TSM react in game two?

A Lee Sin God

Cloud9 continued to give Contractz priority by first-picking Lee Sin for him (only one jungler, Rengar, was banned). This time, he lived in TSM’s red side jungle, playing around pressure from Jensen and top laner Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong.

A well-executed gank gave C9 First Blood again, this time on Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. C9’s duo lane kept their own red-side safe, allowing Contractz to clear and run to the top lane to kill Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell.

For much of the series, Cloud9 exhibited superior team play and coordination, and Contractz was at the center of big plays. He is an aggressive, carry-oriented player and C9 enabled that aggression extremely well. Even when TSM jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and the rest of the team was there, it was often C9 making the right moves, faster. Following a decent TSM dive in the bot lane, Contractz responded with kill after kill.

It’s still very early in the season, but this team has come together very fast. Their communication was superb as was the shot calling. TSM had poor performances from Turtle and Svenskeren, but this victory was still more about C9's macro-oriented team play, rather than individual performances. They will have chances to come back, just like C9 will have to keep their play high by continuing to aid their jungler.

Contractz just dominated what was the best team in NA. Keep this performance up, and he’ll find himself on another one of our lists: the end of split awards.