A look at the newcomers of the EU LCS
With the EU LCS starting only a matter of weeks ago I have noticed a large amount of the player base not being familiar with certain teams or players. With this article I will take a look at some of the new comers into the EU LCS and will try and provide as much background information as possible to their play-style and how they mesh together as a unit.
The three completely new teams coming into the EU LCS are H2k, Unicorns of Love and GIANTS! Gaming. All three of these teams showed interesting performances in their qualifiers into the LCS and were incredibly hyped coming into the spring split.
The bulk of the H2k roster(Odoamne, Hjarnan and Voidle) used to play for Cloud9's European challenger team Cloud9 Eclipse. In this C9E roster they showed some strong results within the challenger scene but when it came down to the really important matches such as their LCS promotion games against Super Hot Crew the team failed to show up. After joining H2k and getting a new jungler in the form of Loulex and with their old mid laner Febiven the team managed to score a spot in the 2015 spring split via the LCS expansion tournament. After he showed some impressive skills in the expansion tournament Febiven was quickly snatched up by top European organisation Fnatic. With this loss of one of their key members H2k were on the look for a new star mid laner to keep the team at its previous strength. H2k ended up with the Korean player Ryu who has been drifting through several European teams over the past few months.
Looking at his games in the expansion tournament Odoamne is your typical European top laner, a huge fan of Irelia and top lane mages such as Lissandra and Kassadin. Expect Odoamne to be a driving force behind H2k and for him to have a strong laning phase that will lead into being the huge bruiser that his team needs him to be in team fights. Along with this laning and team fighting skill Odoamne's synergy with H2k jungler Loulex allows them to consistently win 2v2's up in the top side of the map.
Loulex plays a more supportive role rather than a carry role in the H2k roster. With him providing constant support to his solo laners throughout the game he is the back bone behind the huge play makers that are Ryu and Odoamne. Favouring junglers who can provide an equal amount of dive and peeling ability such as Lee Sin and Jarvan IV you can expect Loulex to either be backing up Odoamne in a dive of the enemy backline or he can be seen peeling countless enemies of off Ryu or Hjarnan.
Ryu is probably the most familiar name in this H2k roster with him gaining fame in the Korean OGN with his mid lane skills rivalling that of Faker's. After getting cut from the KT Bullets squad Ryu was passed through several EU teams with him showing below average results with each one. Despite this rocky Ryu should be able to develop his communicating ability and synergy within the H2k roster and will look to be a force to be reckoned with after a few weeks with the squad. Expect Ryu to play very team fight centric mid laners such as Orianna or Lulu to supply H2k with a strong front and back line.
With H2k having two big play makers in their line-up Hjarnan is relied upon to be a consistent force who will always find a way to reach the power spikes that his champion needs. With him favouring very strong wave-clear related ADC's such as Sivir and Corki you can expect to see Hjarnan being H2k's backup plan if they fall behind in the early game and need to extend the game out a bit.
The second most familiar name on this H2k line-up would be Voidle. A player who has previously played in teams such as Gambit Gaming and Ninjas in Pyjamas Voidle has more than just proved himself as a support and is often seen as one of the strongest pieces of H2k's roster. Voidle's champion pool is far and wide as he has shown he can play almost every support champion to their highest level. You can usually expect Voidle to be playing a very peel heavy champion such as Thresh or Janna as he is the rock behind the H2k risky carries.
The second brand new team to the EU LCS is GIANTS! Gaming. This organisation previously had a roster in the EU LCS back in the 2013 Spring Split but they were relegated after only one split. With their newly revamped roster with some new young blood this GIANTS! Roster seems strong and ready to make a mark on the EU LCS.
Werlyb is one of the stronger members of the GIANTS! Line-up with a very large champion pool and a large amount of recognisable skill on Jax Werlyb is a huge attribute to his team. With him showing his strong laning ability up against Odoamne in the Expansion Tournament it is clear Werlyb will be a driving force behind GIANTS! Success if they find it. You can expect Werlyb to be playing his trademark Jax if it's not banned away from him or see him defaulting onto typical top lane tanks such as Maokai or Renekton.
The jungler for the team is Fr3deric, a player who has shown a liking to Pantheon and Jarvan it is clear that Fr3deric knows that if given a small early game advantage his solo laners Werlyb and Pepinero will take that lead and run with it. You can like I said expect Fr3deric to pick champions like Jarvan IV or Pantheon who have a strong early game presence and can supply his team with a strong back line diver in the late game team fights.
GIANTS! Star player is Pepinero a fairly new mid laner who has shown some very impressive skills on AP assassins such as Leblanc and Ahri. When GIANTS! Find victory it is often Pepinero who is behind it. With impressive performances in the expansion tournament against other top European challenger teams Pepinero will gain an advantage in lane and use these mobile assassins to apply pressure around the map to get his team mates ahead. If Pepi can keep this strong assassin play-style up against the top EU teams he will be a force to be reckoned and will bring GIANTS! Victory in the EU LCS.
Adryh is an ADC who during the Expansion tournament showed that he had what it takes to be a top European ADC. With two amazing Jinx games and some impressive team fighting on mobile ADC's such as Lucian and Ezreal Adryh really showcased his diverse ADC skills that are volatile to the way GIANTS! Play the game. You can expect Adryh to play far more safe ADC's such as Ezreal and Sivir as with his highly aggressive mid and top laner he usually has to fend for himself during team-fights and these safe ADC's allow him to do just that.
Rydle is a player generally known for his time spent on Ocelote's team Gamers2 but after a few poor performances Rydle was removed from this roster. After his removal Rydle found his way onto GIANTS! In late 2014. with this new-found thirst for glory and chance to prove himself Rydle showed the European League of Legends scene that he was a strong support and that Ocelote was wrong. With him only playing Thresh and Alistar in the Expansion Tournament it is clear that Rydle heavily favours hard engage supports and you can expect to keep playing these maybe picking up supports such as Leona or Annie.
Unicorns of Love
Out of the three new teams coming into the EU LCS Unicorn of Love are probably the most popular, with their wacky jungler and expert mid laner showing their skills at IEM San Jose the team beat top North American team Team Solo Mid and got themselves an established fan base in a matter of days. With them being the only one of the three new teams that actually qualified via the LCS Promotion Tournament UOL are the most hyped and the team expected to deliver the best results.
UOL's top laner Vizisacsi plays the role of the main tank in the team. With him prioritising picks such as Maokai, Gnar and Irelia it is clear Vizi wants to be a huge late game monster who will cause trouble for every member of the enemy team. As well as preferring these heavy tank top laners Vizi has also been known to pull out some pocket picks, the main one of these being his Poppy. You can expect Vizi to like I said play these incredibly tanky team fighting top laners and expect him to potentially pick up champions such as Sion that have been popular over in Korea.
The jungler for UOL has made a name for himself for being the guy that picked jungle Twisted Fate against Team Solo Mid (game 1 at IEM San Jose for anyone who wants to watch it) but he is so much more than that. Kikis has showcased a very varied champion pool including such junglers as Kayle, Wukong and Xin Zhao and has shown that he can perform at a top level with all of these champions as well as having strong performances on more meta junglers such as Jarvan IV and Rek'sai. Kikis is a bit of a wild card within the UOL roster so you can expect him to pick some off-meta champions to surprise the enemy.
After his impressive performance at IEM San Jose against TSM's Bjergsen Powerofevil has been incredibly hyped among the League of Legend's community. With him favouring high burst damage mid lane mages such as Ahri, Leblanc and Syndra expect POE to be making some huge plays within the EU LCS and to be giving some of the top EU mid laners a run for their money. With this heavy focus on high damage mid laners it is common for Kikis to provide POE with early ganks so that he can snowball these high damage champions to the point at which they become unstoppable.
UOL's bottom lane is a very consistent pair of players who wont be making any big plays but they will always provide their team with what they need to achieve victory. This pair of players is Vardags and Hylissang. Vardags play-style revolves around safer ADC's such as Corki and Sivir where he will be outputting constant damage throughout a fight but will never be their huge damage dealer like POE. On the other hand you have Hylissang who during team fights will be the team core piece of engage playing champions such as Thresh or Leona he will be the man looking to start fights and be the initiator so POE or Vizi don't risk getting caught out.
Following these brand new teams coming into the EU LCS several teams have made roster changes that have featured some brand new faces to the EU LCS and some faces from the past. Please note I will not cover roster changes that have had a player that played in an LCS team last split join a different team e.g. Rekkles or Woolite.
Of all the teams still remaining from the last LCS split Fnatic has undergone the most changes. With them picking up four new members two of which being Korean Fnatic has gone through a massive change that has fans questioning if they can even be called Fnatic anymore.
Fnatic's two new Korean imports are Huni and Reignover. Reignover is a jungler who has competed in both Incredible Miracle teams over in Korea and had two impressive performances on Elise against Najin Black Sword and Samsung Blue at OGN Winter 2014. Reignover brings a far more aggressive play-style to Fnatic unlike their previous jungler Cyanide who would spend most of the game playing a more supportive role to Peke and Soaz so that they could carry going into the late game. Unlike Reignover Huni has no previous competitive experience but after his first few weeks in the LCS he has shown that he is no weak link. Having to fill the shoes of a pro player at the calibre of Soaz Huni really has something to prove in this Fnatic roster. With his favouring of top lane mages it will be interesting to see what happens when Huni gets these taken away from him and he has to start picking less comfortable champions.
Arguably the biggest pick-up for Fnatic has been them acquiring the mid laner of H2k, Febiven. During his time on H2k in the challenger scene Febiven showcased his skills time and time again. During his time performing in the challenger scene one thing seemed to be holding Febiven back and that was how he seemed to choke when important matches came round. With his amazing performance in the expansion tournament it is quite clear that Febiven has gotten over his nerves and is ready to use his potential to its full. You can expect Febiven to play high damage assassins such as Ahri, Leblanc or Zed as he loves to jump in, kill one person and get out.
The last pick-up by Fnatic has been European ADC Steelback. Steelback had a brief stint in the challenger scene alongside SK Gaming Prime where he showed some above average performances. Much like Huni Steelback has some huge shoes to fill as he is the replacement to top European ADC Rekkles. Since Fnatic's top and mid laner like to run these high damage champions Steelback has been seen to favour far more wave clear related ADC's such as Corki and Sivir so he can farm up safely and then use this farm to apply pressure throughout the game. You can expect Steelback to keep playing these heavy wave-clear ADC's such as Corki and Sivir and expect him to pick up champions such as Graves or Caitlyn.
SK Gaming's new players are ex-SK Prime player Fox and returning player Forg1ven. With their old mid laner Jesiz having constant poor performances SK Gaming decided to make a change within their roster and that came in the form of them replacing him with their B team's mid laner Fox (previously known as WatDeFox) the same goes for SK Gaming's old ADC Candypanda, after constant under-performances they decided they needed some change in their squad and this came in the form of ex-copenhagen wolves player Forg1ven who had been on a 6 month break during the 2014 Summer Split.
With this new mid laner comes far more capabilities for SK Gaming as their old mid laner Jesiz would constantly default onto passive mages such as Ziggs and Orianna where as their new-found player Fox has shown himself to be a very capable assassin player with many good past performances on mid laners such as Leblanc, Ahri and Kassadin. With this new blood in their roster expect SK to run a heavy damage assassin in the mid lane far more to allow their top laner Fredy to play a wider range of top laners.
One of the most talked about roster pick-ups of the pre-season has been SK picking up Forg1ven. With him taking a six month break after being released from the Copenhagen Wolves back in the 2014 Spring Split Forg1ven has been hyped up and is already being called “the best ADC in Europe” by experts from all around the world. Expect Forg1ven to have a very aggressive play-style and for him to play very high damage ADC's with huge carry potential such as Lucian and Graves.
Meet Your Makers
MYM is another team that has opted to bring in a Korean import. This import is ex-SKT jungler H0R0, with several OGN performances since the beginning of 2012 H0R0 is one of the biggest pick ups that any of these European teams have gotten. Following his release from SKT in late 2014 H0R0 came to Europe to play with team Millennium alongside fellow Korean Ryu. After they dropped their LCS re qualifying series to UOL H0R0 looked to cut ties with the organisation and join a team who had guaranteed entry into the LCS. An opportunity for this appeared as European team Super Hot Crew( now known as Meet Your Makers) dropped their jungler Impaler. History has seen H0R0 having an incredible early game presence during his time as SKT's jungler and it is expected that he will bring some of those strong early ganking champions to the EU LCS. Expect H0R0 to play champions such as Rengar and Lee Sin.
MYM's second pick-up is Nisbeth, a support player who is new to the competitive League of Legends scene. After his first few games Nisbeth has shown a reasonable amount of skill on peel related supports such as Janna and Nami and I think people can expect him to keep picking these peel champions so he can help his ADC MrRalleZ carry harder.
Gambit's first showing of their new roster was as IEM Cologne in late 2014, here their top laner Cabochard and their ADC P1noy both looked incredibly strong against North American teams Dignitas and Counter Logic Gaming. Following this tournament these two new Gambit players had a reasonable amount of hype surrounding them. This hype was quickly shut down as they failed to perform in their opening games of the EU LCS.
Cabochard is a top laner who has been quite unknown in the League of Legends pro scene up until he was picked up in mid 2014 by Ninjas in Pyjamas where he showed some above average performances. With Gambit recently dropping their top laners Darien and Kubon they were on the lookout for new top lane talent to re-define what it meant to be Gambit. This search landed them with Cabochard a player whose play-style provides a certain amount of carry potential which takes pressure of his bot and mid laners. You can expect Cabochard to play very dive heavy top laners such as Gnar and Irelia as he is there to provide some relief to NiQ and P1noy during team-fights.
Gambit's new ADC P1noy showed an incredible performance at IEM Cologne against top North American ADC Doublelift. During this impressive performance P1noy was showing some impressive skill with Graves and was proving that he was a worthwhile replacement for the legendary Genja. Coming into the 2015 LCS Spring you can expect P1noy to keep playing high team-fight damage dealing ADC's such as Graves and Corki and maybe expect him to play some Sivir later along the line.
the only addition to the CW is ex-NiP ADC Freeze. Freeze has been playing solidly in the challenger scene for the past year or so where he has shown that he will always be a consistent ADC and will provide his team what they need to win. Coming into CW Freeze has large shoes to fill as their last two ADC's Woolite and Forg1ven have both been looked at as some of the top ADC's in Europe. Freeze has a large champion pool and has been one of the only EU ADC's to bring out champions such as Kalista and Draven. If Freeze wants to bring CW victory he will have to up his mechanical skill and start playing far more aggressive, expect him to keep playing aggressive carry style ADC's such as Kalista and Draven and expect him to pick up Graves as well.
Like CW ROCCAT only have once LCS newcomer in their team, this is of course mid lane star Nukeduck. Nukeduck previously played on the 2013 team Lemondogs during their second place finish run through the Summer Split before joining NiP and then receiving a long term ban that was recently taken away. Historically Nukeduck has been known as heavily favouring assassins and this hasn't changed. With him having played Leblanc three times already in the LCS expect him to play champions such as Zed, Ahri and Kassadin as the split goes on.