Halfway through the LCS, Alliance is dominant
With week six in the books, we’re now midway through the three-month League Championship Series season. It’s the perfect time to discuss the seasons of the eight best League of Legends teams in Europe.
Though even with fourteen games in the books, the picture is muddled. It’s still anyone’s game.
1. Alliance (12-2), 5.49 KDA, 1730 GPM
Alliance is finally putting the super in super team. This was the result expected of a lineup filled with many of Europe’s top talents. It just took them a full season, and some solid coaching, to emerge as not just a contender, but a superpower. Right now Alliance looks as dominant as Cloud9 in past splits of the North American LCS. While many teams keep it close against Alliance, they just seem to have a knack for playing things out in a way that sees them win.
2. SK Gaming (9-5), 3.97 KDA, 1687 GPM
SK Gaming put up the best record in the Spring Split and so far they’re putting together another solid season. But while teams like Alliance and Millenium have taken steps forward, learning how to better take advantage of the mechanical skill packed on their rosters, SK Gaming looks more limited in potential. They are 0-2 against Alliance and have dropped one game to each of their closest competitors, Millenium and Fnatic. It even took a few miracle Nidalee spears to avoid a similar fate against Supa Hot Crew.
SK Gaming is consistent as one of the most solid teams in the league, but they need to find a higher gear if they want to challenge Alliance and make noise at the World Championships. If they’re not careful, they may find themselves struggling to to keep ahead of Millenium and Fnatic.
3. Millenium (8-6), 3.97 KDA, 1642 GPM
Millenium was a huge disappointment last season, despite a roster with the mechanical talent to make an impact in the LCS. Apparently, they just needed jungler Markus “Kottenx” Tingvall to help show their true potential. They’ve put together an impressive season thus far thanks to outstanding objective control combined with impeccable individual plays, like Tingvall’s kick this week that secured a victory over SK Gaming.
The team is particularly proficient with poke comps, taking advantage of their mechanical aptitude to rack up kills. But they still need to add more consistency to their game if they want to keep up.
4. Fnatic (7-7), 4.91 KDA, 1664 GPM
The defending champions, Fnatic, are extremely consistent in their inconsistency. Last season also saw them sitting at a 7-7 record at the midway point. But the way they got there was a lot different - a seven game winning streak followed by a seven game losing streak. This season Fnatic has managed to win and lose a game every single week of the season.
In some ways that makes this 7-7 seem somehow worse than last season's mark; Fnatic has not shown the ability to string together wins against every team in the league. Last split their losing streak looked like a problem to be fixed, a break from usually superlative form. This split’s 7-7 record sometimes looks like Fnatic’s real identity. There are signs of a turnaround - their 4.91 KDA ranks second in the league. But their objective control lags behind some of their competitors, like Millenium and SK Gaming.
Fnatic has managed to flip the magical switch that turns them into monsters in the past, but will this finally be the season where they can’t find the trigger?
5. Supa Hot Crew (7-7), 3.18 KDA, 1613 GPM
This year’s cinderella team, Supa Hot Crew opened the season with a 2-2 Super Week that looked even better than the overall result, considering it took a miracle play by SK Gaming to survive Supa Hot Crew’s onslaught. But since then, Supa Hot Crew’s put together some puzzling results. Week four, with Millenium and ROCCAT on the schedule, was the perfect chance for Supa Hot Crew to secure a top three position, but they dropped both games and are now mired in the middle of the standings.
Since then the team has replaced support Bram “WeWillFailer” de Winter with the mechanically sound Raymond “Yerrow” Tsang, a move that seemingly trades leadership for individual talent. If they can figure out how to work Tsang in the lineup, they may be able to rise in the second half.
6. ROCCAT (5-9), 2.84 KDA, 1542 GPM
Last split ROCCAT burst onto the scene, running to first place in the league through week seven before trailing off and ending in fourth with a 15-13 record. Many wondered if the Polish performance was a fluke, a combination of narrowly pulling out close games and taking advantages of specific pieces of the metagame.
This season, those questions seemed answered as ROCCAT opened the split 1-7, looking out of place and confused in the current League environment. But in weeks four and five, the team fought back, putting up a 4-0 record to return to respectability. This week ROCCAT went 0-2, but these losses were against Alliance and SK Gaming, the top two teams in the standings, and ROCCAT even jumped to a lead against Alliance before failing to close the game out.
It finally seems that ROCCAT has a handle on the current metagame. That could be enough to keep them out of relegation and slide into the playoffs, but they’ll need to maintain their momentum to keep that going.
7. Gambit Gaming (5-9), 2.51 KDA, 1517 GPM
This season has to be a frustrating one for fans of Gambit Gaming. Legendary mid laner Alex “Alex Ich” Ichetovkin left the team before the season, which lead to early struggles. If that wasn’t bad enough, Riot Games forced Gambit to play two matches at Wembley Arena with most of their lineup missing due to visa issues. The resulting 0-2 week could easily lead to the team’s relegation: it’s the only week this season where Gambit has not secured at least one win, and one of the losses was to ROCCAT, their most direct competitor for that relegation position.
Still, it’s clear that Gambit Gaming’s league leading ways are over. Even with Ichetovkin on board last season, it looked like other teams had finally reached their level. Without Ichetovkin, and with the rest of the Europe region improving, Gambit will need more drastic changes to keep pace.
8. Copenhagen Wolves (3-11), 2.51 KDA, 1542 GPM
One of last season’s lowest tier teams lost their best player, marksman Konstantinos "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou, and it shows in the standings. While Pawel “Woolite” Pruski is proving he’s a solid carry in his own right, the Copenhagen Wolves just don’t have the firepower to compete with the rest of Europe. While they've managed to nip at the heels of Gambit Gaming and ROCCAT, the Wolves need to improve all aspects of their game if they want to fig their way out of relegation.
The European LCS will be back in action Tuesday with the start of the second Super Week, where every team will play four games packed into a tight schedule. Teams won’t have the same level of preparation they normally do. That mean’s there’s potential for massive shifts in the standings.
During the last Super Week, each of the current top three teams posted 3-1 records. Will this time be different? Will someone stop Alliance's reigns? Can Fnatic finally turn to form, like they did during the second half of last split? Or will Millenium or Supa Hot Crew or even ROCCAT climb the standings? That's why League's top competition is so interesting - every week matters.