EU LCS Saturday: Battle for first

EU LCS Saturday is all about tiebreakers and first place.

Photo via Riot Games

The last day of the EU LCS 2018 Summer Split featured a battle for pole position in the playoffs. Fnatic were locked into a playoff bye but weren’t quite guaranteed first place in the region. G2 and Schalke were hot on their heels with just a game separating the three teams.

The fact that so many teams were so close in the standings meant we expected to have some tiebreakers to sort out playoff positioning. Here’s what happened in another crazy day in EU.

Splyce beat GIANTS

Splyce have stumbled a bit down the stretch, not looking like a real playoff contender. But they flexed their muscles against a GIANTS squad that has been trouble for other top teams in the region. 

Taking LeBlanc for inconsistent mid laner Yasin “Nisqy” Dincer, Splyce wanted to see if he could carry. Mission accomplished. 

That solo kill gave Nisqy a lead he wouldn’t relinquish, and strong lanes around him meant that Splyce easily snowballed the game. Importantly, he shut down the opposing Akali, who’s been a powerful pick in the region.

With the win, Splyce can head into the quarterfinals with a bit more confidence in their ability to play around mid.

H2k upset FC Schalke 04

The first huge upset of the day came when H2k faced off against Schalke. Schalke were perhaps the hottest team in the league with a 10-1 record in their last 11 games. H2k, meanwhile, had nothing to play for but pride: Until today they had managed only one win all split. When Schalke got first blood on a nice top lane play, the game felt over.

The problem was, nobody told H2k that. Instead of playing meekly, they pushed back in the top side of the map, getting some kills—and, more importantly, objectives—of their own.

After nuking Schalke mid laner Erlend “Nukeduck” Holm, Schalke took a series of turrets to open the map for their Akali. This time, the slippery assassin was able to accomplish what she does best: Splitpush.

H2k did a good job keeping jungle control, which led to a free Baron. Schalke simply didn’t have the vision with which to fight, and they never found an opportunity to sink their engage tools together. That meant a second shocking win to the side of H2k and a major hit to Schalke’s hopes at a playoff bye.

Misfits vs. ROCCAT

This was a weird game to try and predict. On paper, Misfits are the favorites. They are a playoff team with a shot at a bye, while ROCCAT ended up just outside the postseason field.

But in reality, Misfits have really struggled down the stretch. Yesterday’s loss did little to quell doubts over Misfits’ ability to play against standard comps or to fix their mid lane issues.

So when they pulled out LeBlanc for maligned mid Chres “Sencux” Laursen, it likely caused a lot of breath holding from their fans. Those fans may have been relieved when Misfits got first blood with an assist for Sencux. Despite missing nearly every skill shot, they managed to run down ROCCAT jungler Jonas “Memento” Elmarghichi in his jungle.

But just like in yesterday’s game, Misfits failed to use their advantage to snowball the bot lane. The red side team isn’t supposed to be able to pull off dives like this:

Misfits did find some picks to extend the game, but ROCCAT had them running all over the map. With the upset, Misfits are now out of contention for a first-round bye. And with how they’re playing right now, there doesn’t seem to be much hope that they’ll make it past that first playoff match.

Fnatic vs. Unicorns of Love

This match should have been straightforward. Fnatic are one of the best teams in Europe. Unicorns are one of the worst. All Fnatic needed to do was win and they get first place. UOL had nothing left to play for. And then Fnatic got out to an early kill and drake lead. Game over, right?

Wrong. Unicorns hung in the game behind a carry performance from Fabian “Exileh” Schubert. Fnatic just couldn’t kill his Irelia.

As the game stalled out, both teams tried to execute splitpush comps. Both had great success pushing side lanes, but UOL had one thing on their side: A surprise Baron attempt.

That was just a bizarre failure of execution from Fnatic. They knew UOL were in the area and heading to the pit. But their engage and teleports were late. UOL lost Exileh in the escape, but with Baron, they were able to push to Fnatic’s base.

After some back-and-forth teamfighting, a second Baron spawned that Fnatic actually stole. But unlike UOL earlier, Fnatic couldn’t escape. They were nearly aced contesting the objective, which allowed UOL to storm to victory.

What a wild day of upsets this has been in the EU LCS. With Fnatic’s loss, G2 had an opportunity to tie them for first place in the region. 

Vitality vs. G2

This EU LCS Saturday has been absolutely nuts. Upset after upset have thrown the region back into chaos. So basically it’s a return to the EU LCS of old.

In the latest match, a strong G2 squad fought to tie Fnatic for first place vs. a Vitality team that had some recent jungle issues.

So, of course, Vitality won. And it was nearly a perfect game—the only blemish was an outer turret they gave up while sieging an inhibitor. Oh, and they gave up an Infernal Drake, but it’s a good thing they had two of their own. G2 simply couldn’t match Vitality’s early-game aggression. Notably, jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski couldn’t keep up against new Vitality jungler Mateusz “Kikis” Szkudlarek’s Kindred.

Falling behind against a team with two ADCs is usually pretty bad. But Vitality had another trump card: pre-nerf Zoe. Yeah, she’s ridiculous.

With that catch, Vitality were able to take a Baron that basically ended the game. Now, they’re in a three-way tie with Schalke and G2 for second place—and a playoff bye. You know what that means: Tiebreaker matches!

The tiebreaker format is different for this split: The three teams will play a double round-robin tomorrow to sort out second place. If they all tie, even more tiebreakers will be on the way.