This piece aims to give a more in-depth recap of both Day 2, Week 3 of the European League Championship Series (EU LCS) and Day 1, Week 3 of the North American League Championship Series (NA LCS) of Summer 2016.
This was a very chaotic day with some highly anticipated games in both regions. To summarize, established teams showed everyone why they have been successful in the past while newer teams struggled to breakthrough with any victories. Possibly the most hyped matchup of the day was between TSM and C9, which went to a hard fought 3 games.
Unicorns of Love 0-2 G2 Esports
The first series of the day was expected to be a quick one in favor of G2. On the contrary, though, UoL started off game one explosively by taking advantage of G2 mid laner Luka “Perkz” Perković’s aggressive play. The duo of Fabian “Exileh” Schubert and Kang “move” Ming-su worked in perfect tandem to secure what should have been an insurmountable five kill lead at 12 minutes. But, against all odds G2 were slowly able to crawl back into the game and eventually take over the game with their superior top lane champion in Maokai. Because of the late game scaling of G2’s team, they were able to win the game, despite being down gold most of the game.
Game two was another very chaotic one. Initially starting in the favor of G2, the game turned around for UoL at 20 minutes when snuck an extremely early Baron. Even more impressive, they were able to do this without losing a single player. With Baron at such an early point in the game UoL had everything they needed to take a lead, but one misplayed team fight was all G2 needed to take the game back over. G2 aced UoL and proceeded to win the game in a dominant fashion.
Team ROCCAT 0-2 FC Schalke 04
The outcome of game one for ROC lived and died on the back of Karim “Airwaks” Benghalia’s play. Though he played well in the early game to snowball ROC into the lead, it was also his play, along with a few other members of the team, that later tilted the game in the favor of Schalke. A great example of this is when he jumped into the enemy base to secure a kill on Shalke’s support while his mid laner was not even there. Granted he was able to do so, he gave up a killing-spree and baited his team into a bad situation because of it. In summary, the game consisted of ROC making a good play followed up by Schalke taking advantage of a major mistake. This happened enough times for Schalke to come back and win the game 6-15 in kills.
Game two started in a completely different manner, with Schalke taking an early four kill lead, to the benefit of marksman Rasmus “MrRalleZ” Skinneholm. MrRalleZ was able to take advantage of his big lead and snowball his team ahead. The only problem that Schalke could have potentially faced would have been a lack of magic damage, but because of how far ahead they were the whole game, ROC did not get a chance to tank up in time. ROC put up a good fight with an impressive performance by marksman Pierre “Steeelback” Medjaldi all game, but unfortunately for them he could not solo carry the game. The game ended at 36 minutes with a 19-7 score in favor of Schalke.
Splyce 0-2 Fnatic
Game one started with a quick first-blood going over to marksman Martin “Rekkles” Larsson when FNC invaded on Splyce’s greedy jungle start. Along with an early dragon, FNC acquire a large lead in a game in which SPY needed some kind of advantage. The lack of an initiator on the side of Splyce made choosing fights very difficult. The only scenario in which SPY had a clear advantage was when sieging, but FNC never gave them a chance and instead forced a fight at Baron after having a clear health advantage. At 35 minutes, Splyce attempted a desperate teleport play on mid lane but were unable to make it work, losing two inhibitor towers in the process. With a 13k gold advantage, there was very little Splyce could do to stop FNC’s second Baron, which they used to clean up the ensuing fight and win the game.
SPY reset for game two only to make a massive blunder when trading their first tower. Martin “Wunder” Hansen was put significantly behind in both gold and levels in the long run due to this mistake, which then meant he could not participate in the fight bottom lane in which FNC took out the duo lane of SPY. The next 10 minutes saw a trade of kills from both sides, but it was FNC that eventually came out on top when SPY overstepped their bounds and were collapsed on in the bot lane, leaving the kills 7-4 in favor of FNC. The game came to a close when SPY made the fatal mistake of pushing up to FNC’s tier two mid tower without the presence of Wunder and with no flanking wards. FNC took advantage of this and attacked from both sides of the lane, cleaning up SPY with relative ease.
Team Vitality 0-2 H2k-Gaming
In game one, H2K’s objective control was clearly superior to VIT’s, but what ultimately decided the game was the way in which each team chose their fights. By picking their fights carefully and waiting on marksman Aleš “Freeze Kněžínek to land Enchanted Crystal Arrows, H2K was able to incrementally and methodically win the game. The MVP of H2K could go to any one of the players on the roster, but it was jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski’s play on Elise that controlled the game. Staying true to his title as the First-Blood King, Jankos ended the game with an impressive score of 4/1/6 and a 77% kill participation.
Game two by VIT was much more competitive with a back and forth struggle. Though VIT had strong Dragon control throughout the game, all it took was a few silly mistakes to throw the game into the hands of H2K. Both teams made key mistakes that better teams would have punished them for, but when VIT made their mistakes it seemed to push them off kilter, with each mistake leading into a bigger one. This was until the players of VIT were caught out and forced into a disadvantageous team fight. The lack of a real front line also made the game extremely difficult to win, even had they held out longer.
Giants Gaming 2-0 Origen
Game one of the series was a very messy one by both teams. When one team looked like they were going to run away with the game, a player on that team made a crucial mistake and let the enemy team take the lead. What started as an even, back-and-forth game of pick-offs by both teams almost completely blew wide open when Glenn “Hybrid” Doornenbal was caught out by GIA 38 minutes into the game. This subsequently led to OG acquiring an Elder Dragon and then throwing the game at GIA’s nexus towers. The one player to consistently play well, and most likely the deciding factor in GIA’s win was Nubar “Maxlore” Sarafian. Though his final score of 0/4/14 does not show it, his ultimates won them team fight after team fight.
The second game between these two teams can be summarized in one phrase: punishment of over-aggression. At first, GIA overstayed their welcome on top side and were collapsed on by OG, only for OG to throw away their advantage five minutes later in a risky tower dive on mid lane by Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider. The game finally came to an end when Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez was caught out in top lane at 46 minutes, when three of OG’s inhibitors were down.
Cloud9 1-2 Team SoloMid
In game one, C9 got off to a bad start with misplays by both Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong and Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen that led to successful ganks by TSM. Though it was the jungle and top lane of TSM that benefited the most from these ganks, it was C9’s misappropriation of resources when ganking Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell that led to TSM’s huge lead in the mid game. In the time that C9 killed Hauntzer, TSM pushed the top tier two and inhibitor tower, and acquired two kills when C9 came to defend. This gave TSM full control of the game, which they used to take every dragon and a Baron. With a gold lead and Zilean’s ability to completely deny single target burst on any champion, it was TSM’s game to lose, which they didn’t.
Where some teams would have fallen apart after such a crushing loss, C9 came back in force. Switching up the support, C9 brought in Andy “Smoothie” Ta to replace Michael “Bunny FuFuu” Kurylo for game two. With the help of William “Meteos” Hartman, Impact kept Hauntzer down all game, at one point having two completed items to Hauntzer’s zero. Realizing this, TSM tried to completely avoid the matchup and group up top lane to force down towers, only to lose two of their own towers. The key moment in this game occurred 22 minutes into the game when Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen was picked off by Smoothie’s Bard, making it a 4v5 at Baron. TSM knew that if this Baron was given up without a fight, that they would lose. Despite their efforts, the gold advantage was too high for TSM and C9 took the Baron, finishing off the game at 26 minutes with a 6-20 score in their favor.
In game three of the series, Svenskeren and Vincent “Biofrost” Wang controlled the pace of the game and acquired a large gold lead off of the mistakes of C9’s players, namely Impact. Though it was Impact’s death bot lane that created the circumstance that allowed TSM to take an inhibitor tower, C9’s subsequent reaction to TSM’s decision was what caused it to go down, which then later caused huge problems for C9 at Baron. If it wasn’t for those mistakes at 17 minutes, C9 would not have been under pressure from two sides of the map and would have been able to play the Baron at 34 minutes with more patience. C9 eventually decided they were tired of bleeding out and made a last ditch effort to take a Baron while TSM took Elder Dragon, but unfortunately for them, TSM came in just in time and aced C9 and ended the game with a 9k gold lead.
Team Liquid 2-0 Phoenix1
Coming into this series, both teams were aching to get a win. Despite both teams having terrible records, it was clear in game one that Phoenix1 was the new team in the NA LCS. Similar to their play in the last series against Team EnVyUs, P1 went for very aggressive, and at times blind, plays in order to acquire kills. The lack of calculation cost them dearly as fight after fight TL pulled ahead in gold and objectives until they broke the final inhibitor at 28 minutes and finished off the game with an 11k gold lead. Both Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett and Kim “Fenix” Jae-hoon performed nearly flawlessly, with 6/0/7 and 5/0/7 scores respectively.
Game two looked like it would be no different than game one when TL performed an almost flawless tower dive onto the bot lane of P1, netting three kills. Thanks to some good aim by Brandon “Mash” Pham on Jhin, P1 was able to lock down the players of TL and pick up two kills on their retreat. In general though, the second game demonstrated how much better TL is than P1, getting solo kills and consistently making better map plays. P1 made a last desperate attempt at team fighting at their inhibitors, but were simply too far behind to win, despite the element of surprise. Team Liquid closed out the game at 26 minutes with a huge gold lead of 15k.
What are your thoughts on week three of the EU and NA LCS? Has a team surprised you yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or on our Twitter – @GAMURScom, and be sure to follow us for all of your eSports needs.
Emil Isaakov is a writer for GAMURS. Follow him on Twitter for the latest coverage of League of Legends and general eSports news!