Surprise champion pick gets Unicorns of Love into LCS

Relegations and promotions for the League Championship Series (LCS), the competition where teams decide the fate of their League of Legends professional careers in a single series, ended yesterday

Image via Riot Games

Relegations and promotions for the League Championship Series (LCS), the competition where teams decide the fate of their League of Legends professional careers in a single series, ended yesterday.

Through two days, all four LCS teams up for relegation managed to secure their spot in the league. Counter Logic Gaming even came from behind 0-2 to sweep three games and avoid relegation.

It looked like Millenium, the sixth place team from Europe this season, would join the returning squads. They were up 2-0 against Unicorns of Love, the team they hand-selected to challenge in, a right they earned as the highest ranked team in relegations. Those two wins broke up an 11-map losing streak dating back to week 10 of the LCS regular season and playoffs. Millenium’s mid laner, Adrian “Kerp” Wetekam, lead all mid laners in kills during the season and he seemed back in form with a 20/6/10 KDA line in the first two games.

Then the wheels fell off. Unicorns of Love stormed back to win three games in a row, plummeting the talented Millenium squad out of the LCS. The Unicorns became the first new team to earn an LCS spot for the 2015 season.

Railing off three straight wins was impressive, even against a team that entered relegations on a seemingly huge 11 game slump. But the way they did it was more surprising, on the back of an LCS unicorn, so to speak: Poppy, a champion that’s never before played in the LCS.

Long feared as a powerful hyper carry, Poppy has never seen LCS play due to a variety of reasons. Her wave clear isn’t strong, and she has huge mana problems. But if you get to the late game with her, she’s nearly unstoppable thanks to her ability to ignore most of the enemy team with her ultimate and her incredible damage scaling. Today’s metagame, focused on late game hyper carries like Tristana and Kog’Maw, is the perfect place for her to shine.

Unicorns of Love top laner Kiss “Vizicsacsi” Tamás pulled out his secret weapon when the teams backs were against the wall and carried the game, going 8/0/7 while leading his team to their first win in the series.

Millenium banned Poppy in the fourth game, afraid to face the unfamiliar weapon another time. But it didn’t work. A reinvigorated Unicorns of Love dominated Millenium in a one-sided romp, mid laner Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage posting a 11/0/9 KDA on Orianna.

The final game Millenium picked towards their patented pick composition style, taking Blitzcrank and Twisted Fate in hopes of catching Unicorns of Love out around the map. It didn’t work. The Unicorns were ready, taking advantage of Millenium’s aggression and quirky champion picks to build a lead and take the series.

Millenium placed last in the Spring Split, but had high hopes entering Summer after the addition of jungler Markus “Kottenx” Tingvall seemed to rejuvenate the team. Filled with mechanically talented but enigmatic players like Wetekam and Jakub “Creaton” Grzegorzewski, Millenium’s potential was always high but that potential outpaced results.

The team may be relegated, but they will have one last chance to regain their spot in the LCS—the expansion tournaments. Two more teams will enter the LCS thanks to Riot Games expanding the league from eight to ten teams. Millenium will be favorites entering the event, but with a 2-14 record in their last 16 official matches, they’ll need to up their level of play to survive against teams like H2k and Ninjas in Pyjamas.

Unicorns of Love will come to the LCS as unlikely entrants. Ranked behind H2k and SK Gaming Prime, few expected them to be the team to dethrone an LCS stalwart. But that’s just what they did, and with a creative new champion pick.

Of course, they may not be able to use her when the season starts. League of Legends lead designer Ryan “Morello” Scott famously posted that if Poppy ever saw competitive play, she’d be nerfed into the ground. Your move, Scott.

Image via Riot Games