EU Challenger Series Summer Playoffs Preview - What to expect, who to expect
The 2015 EU Challenger Series Summer Split is coming to a close and the top 4 have not looked this even in a long time. As opposed to the last split there is no “Origen-like” team that is stomping through the scene without competition, to predict the top 4 becomes a rather muddy experience because of this.
It is very possible for every team to get the desired 1st place and a spot in the next split of the EU LCS.
So with seemingly one of the closest brackets in EUCS history coming up, this article will explain the participating teams and their individual strengths and weaknesses, perhaps helping you to find a team to support.
5 Danes, 1 favorite
While they might not be a team as promising as Origen, in this split Dig.EU definitely goes into the playoffs looking like a strong team.
After ending on a disappointing 4:6 record last split, the EU division of Dignitas has done nothing but improve, adding former MYM support Nisbeth and the outstanding jungle talent Obvious from N.Faculty. The now full danish team has been able to achieve an impressive record of 8-2, locking them into 2nd.
When talking about Dig.EU the first name to always be mentioned is Sencux. His incredible play has set him apart from every other CS midlaner, solidifying him as arguably the best player in this split. He is usually put on high DPS midlaners like Azir and gets a lot of support from the jungler Obvious. Sencux was good last split and is still just as good, but it’s the rest of the team that has improved. Dig.EU was considered a one threat team, which was mainly carried by Sencux, but since they have changed 3 of the original members. One of the biggest additions maybe being Nisbeth and Kobbe as the new botlane. Kobbe has proven to be able to pick up the slack and cleanup fights after Sencux deals the initial damage, aswell as being able to straight up carry if Sencux ever has an offgame, for example Game 1 of Dig.EU vs Ex Nihilo.
Wunderwear has fixed a lot of the issues he had previous split and has developed into a potent tank-player, which is just what the team needed.
Dig.EU doesn’t come without flaws, while boasting incredible individual skill and smart and controlled teamfighting their team has often failed to hold up in rotational play and vision control.
Recent struggles in 2 defeats against Gamers2 as well as rather close games against last place team Ex Nihilo have shown weaknesses in the squad.
In spite of these weaknesses, individual improvement on the returning players, a potent support staff and great roster choices put Dignitas in a good position to take first.
If you like teams with a high individual skill ceiling and mid-centric-gameplay, Dignitas EU is the team to support.
A well oiled machine
You don’t need the best 5 players to be strong team. The importance of teamwork and synergy has been shown time and time again by other teams.
Mouz seems to be one of them, starting a roster that many didn’t expect to do well in CS with 2 out of the 5 players coming from the last placed team of the spring split as well as the Midlaner Julian “Xioh” Dumler having little experience in competitive play.
But they proved themselves. Mouz has the best teamfighting in the CS.
While they might not win their individual lanes, as a unit Mouz is incredibly potent after the laning phase ends, preferring to play teamfight based compositions around champions like Sejuani, Maokai or Sivir.
Their drafts have been great, baring some off meta picks by their jungler Daniel “Dan“ Hockley, and have set them up to play their unique style.
While the story of Mouz’ recent success is definitely not about individual skill, their toplaner Mauno “Beansu” Tälli has shown great performances, many now regard him as the best top laner in the CS. Thanks to his impressive teleport usage, his flanks have won Mouz many games.
Mouz comes with flaws, the biggest one probably being the one dimensional style. Outside of their typical teamfighting compositions Mouz has found little success. This coupled with some odd picks in the jungle position has led to multiple losses in the regular season.
Furthermore teams have punished their individual players more, leading to multiple azir bans targeted towards Xioh and teams snowballing early game leads.
Nevertheless Mouz and their support staff have achieved a well deserved spot in the playoffs and can definitely teamfight their way to a top 3 finish.
If you like watching games ending in a handful of explosive fights, great coordination and innovative picks then Mouz should be the team of your choice.
Players that look underwhelming in LCS usually perform way better in CS,
That’s a big part of Denial’s storyline. Starting as the fabled “Wickd’s team” and qualifying for CS through the ranked 5s ladder, Team Denial has mostly been plagued by an unstable roster.
Originally starting Mr Rallez as AD-Carry, who was arguably the best player on the team, Denial looked like a safe contender for a top 3 spot. But Rallez departure to the LCS team Roccat and with Betonjocke’s disappointing performances the team looked to be in a grim state.
But the team turned itself around, adding the talented challenger jungler Kirei and the experienced AD-Carry Woolite to their roster. The former has proven to be an incredible addition, providing the early pressure the team needed that Betonjocke never provided.
After these additions Denial seems to be extremely skilled individually with a gigantic upside.
And that’s where most of Denial’s success comes from, individual skill. They are slowly coming together and look stronger every week but they are not as coordinated as Dig.EU or Mouz, even though they have the stronger roster than latter.
As a team, Denial is shaped by Wickd. The compositions they play only work because of his very own and unique style on every champion, he leads the charge. While Wickd seemed more of a liability on Elements, he has full control of Denial. He gets to play the way he wants and the team adapts. This has worked out really well for Denial recently.
The other player to highlight is Kirei who has been added recently and already established himself as a top 3 jungler in CS. While Denial often got far behind in the early game before his addition, they now look way stronger early on due to his great gank timers and pressure.
Nevertheless, Denial still has a lot of early problems and simply get out-rotated way too much, but still manage to shine against most other CS teams.
If they don’t stagnate and keep improving they look like heavy favorites who might end up dominating the rest.
Denial is a team with a lot of known faces and high individual skill. If you like that coupled with weird builds, revenge storylines and a team that constantly grows you should become a Denial fan.
At the end of a long road
A lot of challenger scene fans hate Gamers2, not the roster but the organization, and who can blame them?
Gamers2 has a history of shady practices and wasting talent. Every single lineup they had always looked promising and raised expectations, just to disappoint shortly afterwards. After removing 4 out of 5 players from last split they look like a changed team.
The Gamers2 lineup from last split was infamous for heavily tilting and inconsistent performances, now that they have changed nearly the entire team it finally seems to work for the org that is as old as the Challenger Series itself.
And it should. All the additions they made are top prospects: Perkz, Jesse and Hybrid are praised talents with the potential to perform in LCS.
But the real coup was the acquisition of Mateusz “Kikis” Szkudlarek, adding a top 4 jungler in EU to their roster. Needless to say that Kikis is far ahead of his competition and made his entire team look far more coordinated. The veteran player has brought to G2 what they needed, consistency and direction.
But Kikis isn’t the only star on this team. Their midlaner Luka “Perkz” Perkovi? has been a promising prospect for a long time. He has grown more and more consistent putting up amazing numbers on Azir and having some of the highest DPS numbers in the CS. His rivalry with Sencux for being the best midlaner in EUCS has been one of the best storylines this split and it will be concluded in the playoffs.
The question will be if Perkz can continuously perform or if he will fall back into his old rut of inconsistency. His performance will determine how well G2 can do.
Their new support player Glenn ”Hybrid” Doornenbal is an often overlooked talent who excels at creating engages on champions like Nautilus or Thresh, giving the team much needed proactive play.
Consistency or lan nerves are the only issues Gamers2 currently face, their amazing form has lead to them finishing 1st in the regular split, beating favorites Dig:EU 2:0 in the last week.
Your hopes are probably the safest with Gamers2, it’s a long standing organization with a history and tons of storyline potential.
If you want to see some of the best up and coming players, paired with fan-favorite lcs veteran Kikis, then Gamers2 is your team to support.
No matter which teams you support, these playoffs are shaping up to be good and you shouldn’t miss the action. The playoffs begin on the 4th of August at 18:00 CEST with Denial vs. Dignitas EU.