I had a look at what was coming this week and I couldn’t help but smile, Week seven of the EU LCS is stacked with quality games and fast developing stories towards the end of the split. Let’s jump right in with one of those stories.
Games to watch:
Every Fnatic game until they lose:
Day 1- Fnatic (12-0) vs H2k Gaming (9-3)
Day 2- Fnatic (12-0) vs Origen (9-3)
It’s looming in our minds, its looming in theirs; can Fnatic go all 18 games undefeated? Who would have imagined that Yellowstar’s “super team” built up from ground would go on to look like one of the most dominant forces in EU’s history? Before the start of spring I was certainly a critic and I was converted quicker than a 10kb RAR file. Yellowstar has definitely proved that he’s a better Korean talent scout than the whole of North America and I’m honestly excited to see what this squad can do at worlds.
Of course first they need to get past the last few hurdles, and this week is the biggest hurdle of the split on paper. Fnatic’s last clash with H2k was amazingly disappointing from the side of H2k; they were dominated and thrown off their usual form. None of the H2k players looked like their usual selves, however if they can hold their footing this time we may be able to see what we should have seen in week 5.
Fnatic’s last game against Origen was near the same effect, Origen didn’t look like the same beast and what was supposed to be a very tightly contested game turned into more of an average win. At this point I’m surprised to say Fnatic’s biggest challenge has been against Giants, although the circumstances of the remade game last week left a bad taste in my mouth.
Regardless, this is H2k and Origen’s chance to give Fnatic a good run for their money, because if Fnatic are allowed to end this week 14-0 they guarantee themselves first seed into the playoffs and put themselves just one best of series away from a worlds spot.
Day 2- Gambit Gaming (5-7) vs Giants Gaming (6-6)
Two solid middle of the pack teams that have put on some of the highest highs and also the lowest lows. Both Gambit and Giants will be looking to secure games like these against the teams that stand in their way of a good playoff space. I would have never considered Giants to be a strong playoff contender at the start of the split, but it really has been magical with the addition of Godfred complimenting their general upgrade in skill. While it’s still the Pepii show, unlike last split the other members of the team are now in a position to back up their star man. It’s now Pepii and the team, not just Pepii.
Gambit on the otherhand have been transitioning in a different way, with Forgiven finally evolving as a player to mesh with his team rather than try to be the stand out star, Gambit has been seeing far more success. While they haven’t quite had as much of an upward ascent as last split, they’ve still managed to climb to a respectable fifth.
While I don’t see either of these teams mounting a challenge on the second or third spot of the regular season, they are still very likely to have a big playoff presence. The only problem is that if they stay in the fourth and fifth positions respectively, a potential game against Fnatic in the semis will be a hard fought one indeed. But Giants have already shown that they can adapt to Fnatic in a second game, so who knows.
Day 1- Elements (4-8) vs Roccat (5-7)
Day 2- Elements (4-8) vs Unicorns of Love (5-7)
These games hold heavy merit for the same reason as the Giants and Gambit game. All three teams want to mount a late playoff spot challenge but it’s also very lightly that two of these three won’t make it. Disappointment has been the name of the game for all three teams, for Elements and Roccat it’s been two consecutive splits of mediocrity. For the Unicorns it was one magical split followed by a GGU/Coast esque fall from the previous high.
Losses are no longer acceptable for these teams this late into the split. If the Unicorns want to make good use of their 70 championship points from spring they’ll need to make sure they pick up games against lower bracket teams like Elements. But on the other hand, Elements now have the ability to play gatekeeper and make life for the Unicorns a lot harder with a surprise win. While it’s hard to imagine one of these teams in the promotion tournament, that’s the way it’s looking. Still, because Giants, Gambit, Elements, Roccat and Unicorns are so close together in the standings, it leaves for a lot of possibilities come the end of the split.
The team in the best position here is the 70 points banked Unicorns who, barring an absolute catastrophe of their last few games, will likely still weasel their way into the third worlds spot gauntlet. But the other two don’t have that safety cushion.
These two games are the last chance for Froggen’s squad to get up and fly, an 0-2 week here is practically a death sentence to the promotion tournament and the end of any consecutive worlds dreams. Roccat are in a similar position having H2k as their second game and the possibility of an 0-2 week screwing their hopes over.
Special upset mention: Day 1- SK Gaming (3-9) vs Gambit Gaming (5-7)
SK Gaming look down but don’t count them out just yet, while a 3-9 score looks damning for them, a week that consists of the Brokenhagen Wolves and Gambit could very easily take them to 5-9 and shoot them back into playoff contention. While I don’t think Gambit will let this one slip, it will be a huge spanner in the works if they do.
Images courtesy of Riot Games flickr page: