Early Days: Thoughts After Week 1 Of EULCS By Havana.
The first week of the EULCS has concluded, and after ten exhausting games over two days recaps and questions can now finally be answered or asked. What can be said for more a region who has had its talent white-washed away and left with only little standing veterans, new players who raised many eyebrows and the fight that will be for the title of the spring split. These are my thoughts from the EULCS.
Growing Trends in Berlin.
What can 'XPePii' do to bring his team away from the depths of relegation? Photo courtesy of lolesports.com
I hope that Giants and Splyce brought along some extra energy for the rest of the split, with both of these teams starting off zil-two and won't be looking to climb the rankings anytime soon. Giants Gaming started off the split with a composition rounding out with Kennen on Peter 'Atom' Thomson, ensuring it was a recipe for disaster for a top laner who has no previous experience whilst on stage, and showing his solo queue mentality to the European audience. At times, you could see the hesitation to engage onto H2K, forcing for a quick and painless defeat from the get-go. If Giants want to further improve, they only have a small window of opportunity to set the line straight and build synergy. This includes multiple things and having a standard shot caller. From a team that only spoke Spanish whilst in game to bringing on board for players that can't speak the native tongue is harsh. Isaac 'xPePii' Flores Alvarado can only bring so much carry to the table and for now his poor performances to start off could set the tone for a relegating Giants team.
Splyce Gaming. Oh dear. The Danish squad looks to be in trouble already. An improvement in the second game against Elements only showcased they could be heading down the same paths of Giants Gaming. Splyce screams potential and has an upper hand of experience of going through the challenger scene to make ways to the LCS. With the likes of Jakob 'YamatoCannon' Mebdi, a seasoned player and analyst, this surprised me the most. P&B (Picks and Bans) was sloppy and electing for Varus against strong early game against Unicorns provided that work needs to be done. I'm hopeful that Splyce can return to the form they played as Team Dignitas EU and showcase the hard carries that made them into the EULCS in the place at first. Also the use of 'Wunderwear' puns by casters needs to increase, because they are awesome.
Woes for finalists.
Can the new lineup of Fnatic produce wins? Photo courtesy of lolesports.com
We all know the story of Fnatic. After the loss of 'Huni' and 'Reignover', it was the next turn to prepare a batch of Korean Top-Jungle partners. All was according to plan for Fnatic to start the split, obliterating a confused Origen with precision map outplay and carefully crafted P&B. To note, this was the very first game and both teams would have weeks upon weeks to prepare for this. It was a walk in the park for Fnatic and disappointing to see an Origen outfit outclassed. Lewis 'Noxiak' Felix, a support who showed his ropes on SK Gaming introduced Poppy support to the world. The first time was a hit, the second a miss. It is quiet rare to see the exact same lineup two games in a row in any competitive scene as it comes to appose many hinters to how they will play, but Fnatic stuck with a winning formula to be punished by the ever prepared and presumed viewers of Vitality. Fnatic has only had over a month to prepare and group, but I don't see the works of another synergy working for Fnatic. Yeong-Jin 'Gamsu' Noh doesn't have the required mechanics and flashy decision making to fill the shoes of Seong 'Huni' Hoon Heo that is going to be keys for success towards finals and world stages come later the season, and the same says for Lee 'Spirit' Da-yoon. Lee does have the experience from LCK and LPL, but can he overcome the language barriers with Yeong-Jin to lead Fnatic to a streak of wins? Only time will tell, Luis 'Deilor' Sevilla is a master and is credited highly for his works of talents but can he do it again to form an impeccable synergy that can face up to not only Europe but the world?
Origen was also a team who failed to register a single win in the opening week of the Spring Split. With the additions of Tristan 'PowerofEvil' Schrage it could only presume that after a smooth IEM San Jose that Schrage could transition into a new experienced team. Origen looked captain-less of a ship without Enrique 'xPeke' Cedeño Martínez to calm the storm when it hit. It also comes into the question of when to substitute in Martinez and when is the right moment. If Origen wants to be the prime contenders as many critics and writers who have them atop of power rankings then they need to put themselves into gear, starting with polishing the shot calling without 'xPeke' and placing the duties to Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider. 'PowerofEvil' has the potential (yes the p-word again) to make himself a world-class mid laner and with the stacked roster behind him, along with experience of players Paul 'SoaZ' Boyer and Alfonso 'Mithy' Aguirre Rodriguez they can only go upwards from here or twist down into destruction. Origen will bounce back and become a force. Will they? Most certainly.
Origen needs to place the shotcalling to Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider. Photo courtesy of lolesports.com
A good start is always a great start.
I fell in love with Danil 'Diamondprox' Reshetniko again. For about the third time. After the execution of Gambit Gaming was made, I thought it would be the last I would see of 'Diamondprox' on the competitive scene. Thank gosh' for Unicorns of Love for giving him a spot on a roster and as we can already see, he isn't taking it for granted. Unicorns on paper looked an average mid-table team to begin with, with the additions of Pierre 'Steeelback' Medjaldi who has MSI experience with Fnatic and Hampus 'Fox' Myhre from doomed SK. Unicorns of Love have figured the required ambitions and ways around on the 6.1 patch, having both games played and stuck to a composition that helped them win both games. Medjaldi is already back to traits from Fnatic, playing his signature Ezreal and Myhre's known Zed. Personally, I believe Unicorns has been flown underneath the radar on many predictors; something that has happened before (they made it to the finals of spring) and has again. The roster is well stacked with experience, and with a trait that comes with the Unicorns standing foundation members they will perform highly against the top contenders in a never say-die attitude that only few players in Europe possess. Also, Diamond, never change. I'm expecting bigger things from Unicorns.
Diamond is love. Diamond is life. Video courtesy of LoL esports YouTube Channel.
I didn't think Konstantinos 'FORG1VENGRE' Tzortziou-Napoleon (that name is to die for) was much of a Corki Player. It doesn't seem right that an AD carry who wants to duel is playing more-so a team orientated carry. Any who, H2K looks a million bucks. A few upgrades and a downgrade make H2K prime leaders already, but with the additions made its Europe's small super squad made up. Sang-wook 'Ryu' Yoo is playing with confidence not seen since KT Bullets, Marcin 'Jankos' Jankowski got a first blood and Neil 'Pr0lly' Hammad is being the lovable Pr0lly we all know. What a great TV show this would make. I don't have much to say for H2k other than they have only rostered together for less than a month, and that month has already brought experienced minds together. If these guys go 18-0 I wouldn't be too doubtful to say many would predict it. Come three to four weeks time all pistons will be at full speed and the H2K hype train will be stopping at teams stations around EU.
To my surprise.
Vitality clawed back to a 1-1 week after a slow start. Photo courtesy of dailydot.com
Team Vitality is like most other rosters this split experienced and well known. However, I don't see the 'KaSing effect' showing its magic so far (maybe he is still wearing off the Jet Lag from coming back from TSM.) Vitality walked all over Fnatic, but were caught off-guard by Roccat. Personally, this roster may have the dynamic duo of Petter 'Hjarnan' Freyschuss and Raymond 'kaSing' Tsang, but lack the essential depths of the remaining roles. Both Erlend 'nukeduck' Holm and Ilyas 'Shook' Hartsema lack champion pools for 6.1 and have signature champions that they will want to lean to (Lulu and Lee respectively) which can be costly and predictable. On the flip side it can also warrant bans that can free up for the versatile Lucas 'Cabochard' Simon-Meslet. I'm still sitting on the fence for Team Vitality, can they work as one to achieve the high goals they have set or will they crash and burn? Tsang can only hover his wand to an extent before it loses its touch. Things looked promising in game two; but was it an over performance from a squad that is most likely going to show inconsistency and many flaws through the split? Also Is 'Shook' burnt out from the consecutive splits of failure?
Inclined to photoshop in Emperor and Trick here. Photo courtesy of lolesports.com
Carlos Rodríguez 'Ocelote' Santiago finally made it back, and boy did he bring a squad with him and also a buddy to share his scarfs with. G2 Esports may start releasing scarfs as merchandise for all the fanboys that are coming for them. They hit the jackpot with two proven Koreans (unlike 'Gamsu' and 'Spirit') in Kang-yun 'Trick' Kim, a previous used substitute for CJ Entus and mechanical goddess Jin-hyun 'Emperor' Kim. Already we see the aggression of Kang-yun who can now be reasoned to the rise of popularity of Graves Jungle in queues (damn you) and Jin-hyun for following the aggression. I'm going to use the p-word again and spread my love to G2, who will sell many scarfs if they continue to play like the first two games. I also praise Santiago for sticking to the roots of G2 with Luka 'Perkz' Perkovi? and not looking into the tasty amount of European Mids. Perkz showed a great depth in his champion pool in the challenger scene and can play nearly every champion viable to the meta or composition that suits. Mateusz 'Kikis' Szkudlarek made a nice transition to top lane, but can he keep it up? G2 does not rely on solo laners to win them games this split. How will the communication barriers hold up for both Korean exports? Can they work ways around when versing top of the ladder teams in traffic-communication times?
Crowd-pleasers that every LCS needs.
Roccat are still in shock from the departures of key players that helped them develop into the organisation they are today. However, they will not go down without a fight against EU and its former players who are all still present on teams. Again, likewise to all teams that have made roster changes Roccat has gone with experience and potential, with no real superstar outside of a season three Simon 'fredy122' Payne and Eduard 'Edward' Abgaryan. For a crowd pleaser, Eduard is the only known active support left to throw out Taric in competitive play and also hosts a wealthy record while playing him.(shoutout to season two supports, you guys rocked) The real question that needs an answer is how far can Mohammad 'Safir' Tokhi take a team now that he has found a spot on an LCS team, and to what extent can Tokhi and Abgaryan skill-wise match together against well stacked and experienced bot lanes of EU.
I love this guy so much. Photo courtesy of lolesports.com
STEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. If I could shake my hand with anyone right now, It would be Steve. Likewise to 'Diamond' my manhood experience frequent bursts when he makes a play or two. The play-style of Elements has changed once again and after the departure of 'Froggen' the lest we can say is that Steve can fill in the shoes of a lovable player. Elements however have some big queries that need to be filed and how they can develop players that have small champion pools (Yes Derk 'Gilius' Demir is an awesome Lee Sin) will need to provide with more firepower to avoid relegation. Rasmus 'MrRallez' Skinneholm moved from Roccat to another possible doomsday likewise to Meet Your Makers. However, I don't see Elements moving past the relegation zone unless some crazy shenanigans occur and we see a similar pact of what happened with Dignitas being at the top of the standing half way through a split. For now though, we can always spam 'Steve' in twitch chat and cheer on as they hold their fists high while the ship slowly sinks. Rookies Jeremy 'Eika' Valdenaire and some-what rookie Hampus 'sprattel' Abrahamsson need to step up to the plate and hit a few home runs to get wins on the board for Elements. Can they do it? Who knows.
This is an experimental article that puts my thoughts to paper about the EULCS. Considering on complying together my thoughts too for NALCS. These are all open for discussion and are no way right or wrong.
Matthew 'Havana' Eccles is an aspiring League of Legends fan who has turned to writing in spare time to share his knowledge and visions from watching League for four years. You can follow him on twitter at @mattheweccles3.