Looking ahead towards the EU LCS Spring Playoffs 2016 – The Teams (6-4)
Disclaimer: This article is meant to be very short and cover basic concepts only. If you are really interested in EU LCS and want to know more about a specific team, this article may not be for you. This one is just a heads up for people who may not have watched many games or just have not looked into strategy of teams so far.
Looking ahead towards the EU LCS Spring Playoffs 2016 –
The Teams Part 1
With the end of the regular season on March 18, the top six teams in Europe are now getting ready for playoffs. While G2 and H2K managed to secure a spot in the semifinals already, the remaining four teams Vitality, Origen, Unicorns of Love and Fnatic will have to battle for the remaining two spots first. In the following each team will be looked at in ascending number of their regular season finish. The final percentages at the bottom represent my personal prediction given the matchup and each team's style.
6th Place - Fnatic
Fnatic has had quite a rough split. Their new team seems to be hit or miss a lot of the time. In their worst moments one could argue that they do not deserve a playoff spot at all while in their best moments they look like they are able to beat anyone. One thing they clearly lack is consistency. In the regular season they lost a game to every team besides Roccat and Giants, who finished 9th and 10th respectively. However they have also beaten every team at least once except for UOL and Vitality. Being seeded 6th means though, that unfortunately they will have to face Vitality again in their first Best of 5.
Fnatic's play style has been very slow during most of the spring split. They have the lowest first blood rate in the league, they very often lost the first turret and the first dragon and kept relying on later stages of the game to come back and win. Yet towards the end they had some cleaner wins where especially their early game looked better. Especially at IEM Katowice they played much better than anyone expected and reached the finals after beating CLG, Qiao Gu and Royal in three Best of 3's.
The approach of their coach Delior seems to be the same as it has been a year ago in the spring of 2015. Given enough time Fnatic focuses on one style and tries to become as good as possible with it. However the competition this year appears to be stronger than it was a year ago. Therefore it should be doubted whether Fnatic can do the magic playoff run so many fans are hoping for.
Chances to make Semifinals: 20%
If they can find a team comp that Vitality has no answer for Fnatic can beat Vitality and move on. However in a normal scenario with common picks and standard strategic play Vitality should be able to win convincingly.
Chances to make Finals: 5%
If they beat Vitality they have to face G2 in the Semifinals. They would need to have another team comp ready to once again surprise their superior opponents. Therefore I think that Fnatic making it to the finals is pretty unlikely.
5th Place – Unicorns of Love
For the majority of the season the Unicorns were considered a team on it's own ground. While they always seemed to be significantly worst than the top 3 teams G2, H2K and Vitality, they looked better than everyone else in the league. Like Fnatic they looked quite inconsistent and finished six out of nine weeks with a score of 1-1. In the end their loss to Origen in week 8 along with another loss against Elements in the same week is what cost them their number 4 spot. Their first match will be against Origen, one of only two teams that won both games against UOL this split.
The infamous chaos style is gone for good and nowadays the Unicors play a much cleaner style of League of Legends. Although one could argue that they lost some of their progress after Diamondprox had to leave the team because of visa issues. For the team Steelback has become the main carry with Vizicsacsi making a name for himself, too. While both may not be the very best in their position they usually hold their own very well against stronger opponents and even manage to win their matchup a lot of times. They have the longest average game time in the whole league and will often avoid losing early and come back later in the game as a team.
Their comebacks often happen when their opponents over commit to an objective like baron or a tower or by catches and flanks through the jungle. UOL will often play with two teleports which can give them a big advantage once the laning phase is over.
Chances to make Semifinals: 40%
The match against Origen should be a very close one. A few weeks ago UOL would have been the clear favorite but Origen looked a lot better recently and moreover have won both games against UOL so far. That said Unicorns should have the edge if the games last really long since their decision making lategame seemed superior to Origen's. OG on the other hand have winning matchups in pretty much every lane and should be able to win the series overall from there.
Chances to make Finals: 5%
Even though Unicorns managed to win once against H2K that win was more because H2K showed a lot of disrespect and not because Unicorns were the better team the whole game. In a best of 5 series I expect both G2 and H2K to keep their focus up high and not lose more than maybe one game to the Unicorns. UOL needs some insane outplays as well as some major errors from either of the top teams if they are to win a whole series against them.
4th Place – Origen
e difference between expectations and reality has been massive throughout the split for Origen. With a team that has finished top 4 at worlds and won an IEM very convincingly shortly after they were the biggest favorite to win the split. However lack of synergy with new mid laner PowerOfEvil and lack of practice for the whole team have taken its toll and Origen became a mediocre team that struggled for the whole split.
When recently they decided to field their old star mid laner xPeke again things took a turn for the better and in the last two weeks Origen went undefeated and claimed 4th spot in the end of the regular split. The team now resembles the squad that had been very impressive in 2015 is looking to get back on track completely. With decisive shot calling and increased confidence through the return of captain xPeke the team may become a dark horse in the playoffs that will probably do better than a lot of fans expect them to.
However not all issues for OG have been fixed. Even last split when they were very successful it was quite apparent that only the bot lane seemed to play on the highest level consistently. Soaz to a degree, but mostly Amazing and xPeke had some problems for a long time and with PowerOfEvil seemingly not being an upgrade for the team's performance yet, these issues still prevail.
Chance to make Semifinals: 60%
If Origen took practice seriously for the last weeks they should have a slight advantage against Unicorns of Love in their first playoff game. Mechanically they look better in almost every role and if they retrieved their synergy from last season they should be able to avoid those key errors UOL often relies on to come back into the game. Their huge experience will also be very important in high pressure playoff games and can give them the necessary advantage. However one bad game or even a bad decision during a game could bring up a lot of negative energy from a frustrating split and in my opinion OG is very vulnerable to tilting if things take a turn for the worse.
Chance to make Finals: 20%
While OG will not be a favorite against either H2K or G2 depending on the matchup, but they are not completely without a chance either. A strong performance in the quarter finals will boost their confidence even more and nobody can doubt the capability of these five players to win if they are in good form.