EU LCS 2016 Week 1 Preview
Hey there, it’s been a while. Welcome back to Europe and the European LCS, the second best region in the world. Because face value Worlds results are all that matter right?
Like last season I will try to deliver a weekly preview of each LCS week detailing which games are the games to watch, what to expect and how to deal with it. This week’s will be more of a prediction based piece since I have no prior weeks to look upon. Reddit still loves predictions no?
Games to watch:
Day 1: Fnatic vs Origen
Because who doesn’t want to watch a rematch of last split’s finals?
But of course it won’t be a direct rematch, for Fnatic the situation is the same as this time last year: new season and a predominately new squad. With the carry core of Febiven and Rekkles, the new Fnatic poster boy, still intact; Fnatic fans shouldn’t be too worried about a slow starting spring. The team showed a real spark of potential earlier at IEM, especially in game one, despite falling short against Qiao Gu. As Spirit, Gamsu and Noxiak have time to settle in, Fnatic fans will likely begin to see more of the same table topping joy.
Potentially their biggest obstacle to that joy however is Origen.
Origen sit in a better position than Fnatic having been able to win their IEM placement and only making one roster change, the addition of the ex-star Unicorn: Power of Evil to be a rotating mid laner with xPeke.
So with a worlds semi-final placing set still in place, it’s hard to imagine Origen doing badly outside of internal implosion of some sort. Still, this is no time to grow egotistical. At least for the top ends of the table, I feel EU has strengthened on a whole and there are more threats than in the previous split.
Fnatic have appeared as the first game of every single LCS split thus far and have only lost once. This is likely the time to see that counter go to two. I don't think Fnatic have had enough time to hit their potential.
Day 2: Vitality vs Fnatic
Well I just talked about Fnatic, so let’s go over Vitality: the team that came together like a Fantasy LCS squad.
Gambit had finally thrown in the towel after a slow a steady decline, backed out gracefully and promised a return. In their place came Vitality and they needed players. Thus they completed a rather nice collection of top quality Free Agents.
Their selection was so good in fact I may dare to call this squad a potential super team. Hjarnan and KaSing have already proved to be a vastly competent bottom lane pairing on H2k, the latter being the driving force behind the teams rise to glory last spring. Cabochard put up many strong showings during his time at Gambit and is considered by some as one of the best top laners in Europe, Nukeduck took a while to get into the swing of things after his return to competitive play but by the end of summer he started to shine and quickly became the main man behind Roccat’s victories. Lastly, Shook was a part of the Alliance squad took Europe by storm in season 4. Unfortunately he was also a part of the Elements and Copenhagen Wolves lineups that sunk so we haven’t seen him in a good environment for what seems like forever. But hopefully now with an experienced and well-rounded roster behind him once more, Shook may regain his past form.
This roster is a fighter for top 3 in Europe, every member of the team has been on a top 3 team in the past with the exception of Cabochard, but credit where its due, Cabo was still a major part of almost all of Gambit’s victories, a recent example being the 10/0/4 Fizz game against Mousesports in Gambit’s last showing, the 2016 promotion Tournament.
Prediction: Honestly no idea
It’s a matter of which of these teams has gelled together faster and more efficiently, while Fnatic feels like a better team overall, sleeping on Vitality is a mistake.
Day 2: H2k vs Origen
As we’ve also already looked over Origen lets focus on H2k.
Despite the controversy surrounding H5k, TSM and Svenskeren, the team still managed to put together a strong looking roster and rope back their coach Pr0lly, who originally didn’t resign with KaSing.
The new team of Jankos, Vander and Forgiven joining Odoamne and Ryu was held in high esteem by many who campaigned for H2k to be voted into IEM. They got in and somewhat repaid the faith placed in them with a few good performances, the main one being the second game against Ever where Forgiven decided he really wanted to win. Ryu’s Fizz also stayed undefeated now at 9/0.
Like Fnatic, the team had a spark and that spark with time will likely become a blaze of glory for H2k. The question is whether or not the team has properly utilised its time since IEM and worked on its synergy. With time, this team like Vitality could easily become one of the top 3 contenders in Europe. In fact, this split I see “top 3” as an outdated expression as this time I believe there to be a “top 4”. If all four stay on form, Origen, Fnatic, H2k and Vitality will make the top end of the EU LCS very fun to watch.
Jankos and Vander’s return to form as well as the maintenance of Forgiven’s form and morale will be the key factors In H2k’s survival. They all have nick names for a reason.
If the First Blood King, Vanderlife and God-Given all rise to prominence again at the same time, this could potentially become the scariest roster in Europe.
I don’t think H2k are ready to take out Origen yet, but who knows I might be wrong.
Special upset mention- Day 1: Splyce vs Unicorns of Love
The Unicorns of Love are a weird one to call this split, but ultimately, despite everyone appearing to be sleeping on the squad, this would seem to be their game. However if they’re not aptly prepared this could easily slip out of their hands, Splyce aren’t a bad team. They remained the front runner for most of the challenger series last split and received an upgrade in their jungle. Like the Unicorns, they’re also another dark horse team that could surprise people under the right conditions.
Some would say the Unicorns aren’t looking too good with IEM as example, but that IEM performance was with Gilius.
Gilius for the Unicorns of Love is like that first girlfriend you liked but things never really worked out with, but the one you also rebound to for comfort everytime your new relationship doesn’t work out, before moving on again and repeating the cycle. Evidently, Gilius and the Unicorns aren’t good for eachother.
With Diamondprox now on a boat that isn’t slowly sinking further and further into deep water, the roster actually has a lot of hidden potential.
I have no doubt that if the Diamond of old can be reborn anew, he’ll really stand out and his performance will go a long way to helping his team of secondary carries become front runners.
A perfectly in sync partnership of “Fox and Prox” will be essential to UOL’s success if they want to continue their trend of sliding into the top half of the table.
Honestly if you want easy points, focus on Unicorns of Love and G2 members for week one. This is a risky strategy as its potentially quite short term but with the former facing Splyce and Giants and the latter facing Elements and Roccat, I don’t believe there’ll be much worry.
Fnatic and Origen members are a risky trip as they face each other, then Fnatic face Vitality and Origen take on H2k. Potentially the hardest week for both, but also with the potential to give really good and high scoring games.
I don’t know about you guys but I have 4/5 of the Unicorns roster in 3 leagues. I believe in Horned Horses
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All feedback is worth hearing.
Images courtesy of Riot Games’ flickr page