NA vs EU heading into the 2015 Season. Which region will prevail?
When taking into consideration international results, it's no secret that historically the EU region has outclassed the NA one. Europe's Fnatic won the Season 1 Championship and placed 4th during the Season 3 Championship, while former powerhouse teams, M5 and CLG.EU earned a 3rd and 4th place finish respectively during the Season 2 Championship. Granted all 3 European teams failed to get out of group stage this year but compared to Europe's past results at Worlds, NA's past results are very lackluster.
The highest an NA team has placed at Worlds is during Season 1 when Team SoloMid managed to get a 3rd place finish. Aside from that, all NA teams failed to advance from the position they were seeded in during both Season 2 and Season 3. Team SoloMid and Cloud 9 managed to break that curse by making it out of groups this year but both teams fell to the Samsung Organization.
However, putting aside international competition NA has been improving as a region rapidly ever since Season 3. While the EU region has also improved, it hasn't improved at the same pace as the NA one. Thanks to that, North American teams have been catching up to the European ones and that is exactly why 2 of the 3 NA teams made it out of groups this year and no EU team did.
Thanks to the recent IEM San Jose and IEM Cologne tournaments, we got a glimpse of how strong some of the teams are. It is safe to say both regions are very close in terms of power but which region will prevail and perform better at worlds this year? Down below, I will share my predictions for the upcoming Spring Split of both the NA and EU LCS. After that, I will discuss how every NA vs EU match-up will go if we put the #10 seed from EU vs the #10 seed from NA and so on.
NA LCS Spring Split Predictions:
1. Cloud 9
2. Team SoloMid
3. Team Liquid/Curse
5. Curse Academy
6. Evil Geniuses
7. Team Impulse
8. Team Coast
9. Team Eight
10. Team Dignitas
EU LCS Spring Split Predictions:
2. SK Gaming
3. Gambit Gaming
4. Unicorns of Love
5. Team Roccat
6. Copenhagen Wolves
7. Meet Your Makers
9. Giants Gaming
Head to Head match-ups:
Fnatic vs Team Dignitas - While normally I would call this match in favor of Fnatic, the EU Squad has lost 60% of its roster (if not 80%). Team Dignitas is in a very weak state at the moment but without a finalized roster for Fnatic, I have to call this match-up in favor of Team Dignitas.
Giants Gaming vs Team Eight - While the Giants squad looked mechanically solid in the expansion tournament, some of their games were very sloppy. They made it into the LCS so they shouldn't be completely underestimated but I think the teamwork and synergy that Team Eight showed during their games vs Complexity would outshine the Giants in a direct match-up.
H2k vs Team Coast - This match-up is a coin toss but if I had to give the edge to any team, it would be Team Coast. The H2k players are mechanically very talented but Team Coast's players have more experienced and in my opinion Impaler outshines loulex in the jungle.
Meet Your Makers vs Team Impulse - As with the first match-up, I'm going to have to call this one in favor of Meet Your Makers. While their rosters looks to be a downgrade from last year, Team Impulse' roster still hasn't been finalized. Not to mention they will lack synergy at the start of LCS. MYM on the other hand has kept 3 of its players which means they won't have a huge lack of synergy.
Copenhagen Wolves vs Evil Geniuses - On paper, the current EG players outclass their CW counterparts, however without a top laner or a support players, I have to give the win to CW.
Team Roccat vs Curse Academy - This is actually a very hard match-up to call. While Roccat is more experienced as a team, Curse Academy has 3 former LCS players and they easily qualified for the LCS. In my opinion Curse Academy has the upper hand in this match because they are better player for player and because Roccat's top laner Overpow is still adjusting to the top lane. However, it is still a very close match-up and it could go either way.
Unicorns of Love vs CLG - UOL proved that they are not a joke at IEM San Jose when they swept the North American powerhouse TSM SoloMid. Despite losing 0-3 in the finals against Cloud 9, UOL has shown that they have a lot of potential and even now they are a force to be reckoned with. CLG showed improvement from their Summer Split performance at IEM Cologne but in my eyes it wasn't enough. So I'm giving the win to UOL.
Gambit Gaming vs Team Liquid/Curse - Just recently Gambit Gaming won IEM Cologne and showed us a glimmer of hope that they can rise to the Top 3 in the upcoming season. Team Curse on the other hand has 2 new foreign players and will most likely have growing pains during the Spring Split. With that in mind, I have to give the win to Gambit Gaming. Both teams have the potential to be really good but at the moment Gambit has the edge in a direct match-up.
SK Gaming vs Team SoloMid - TSM's performance at IEM San Jose was disastrous and a little worrisome for TSM fans. I would have given the win to SK Gaming in this match-up, however they have 2 new players which is 40% of their team. Forgiven and Fox are both very skilled players but it is too soon to judge how SK will perform as a team. With that being said, I will give the win to TSM but if this match-up were to happen, I expect it to be close at the very least.
Alliance vs Cloud 9 - These teams are really really REALLY close in terms of power. I'm giving the match to C9 but only because both teams recently performed at IEM San Jose and C9 won the tournament. In-fact they defeated Alliance in the Semi-Finals. Alliance could definitely beat Cloud 9 too but as of right now, I would give the edge to C9.
Based off my match-up predictions, it is clear that the regions are very close in terms of raw power. However, I think North America slightly surpasses Europe. Will the NA region prevail over EU at worlds next year? If the NA teams continue to improve at the pace that they have been improving at since Season 3, then yes. However, that all depends on the teams and the players from both regions.