With one team so far ahead at the top of the standings, the European League Championship Series (LCS) is mostly a race for second place. And with one day left in the season, today’s battle between Origen and H2k Gaming decided the winner.
Origen secured the second seed heading into the playoffs after surviving a close match against H2k. The win moved Origen to 12-5 on the season, guaranteeing them an important bye in the first round of the playoffs. The 10-7 H2k now has the third seed clinched, putting them into a first round match against the last remaining team in a close battle for the playoffs positions in the middle of the standings.
The match was entertaining. H2k picked a team centered around a solid bottom lane of Kalista and Thresh while going for a bit of early game power with Twisted Fate in middle and Fizz up top. But Origen, picking a more conservative scaling team with Viktor in the middle, Lulu in the top, and Shen at support, managed to secure a few early kills after a misplay in the top lane.
Origen took advantage of superior mechanics to make sure H2k couldn’t gain an early lead despite their global map pressure with Twisted Fate. But some mistakes in the mid game allowed H2k to draw even, taking advantage of poor Origen map movements, leading to an even game where no outer turrets remained. That set up a cat-and-mouse battle around Baron.
But that was right in Origen’s wheelhouse.
“We wanted to just bait Nash towards the end, force them to come to us in a deathball,” Origen support player Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez said after the game on the analyst desk. “They honestly had no chance then.”
At the 30-minute mark, Origen secured Baron, but couldn’t break through to a bigger advantage. Then, 39 minutes through the game, they managed to catch out H2k mid laner Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook, who nearly escaped thanks to a Thresh lantern from Raymond “kaSing” Tsang. When the rest of H2k then funneled towards Baron, Origen pounced on them. They took four kills and the objective and used it to easily secure the mid inhibitor and eventually the game, with H2k unable to repel a bottom-lane push.
Origen took advantage of the zoning power and insane damage of Viktor, with mid laner Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez putting up a 5/1/9 KDA game. But it was top laner Paul “sOAZ” Boyer who really shone with a 4/1/11 KDA line on Lulu while keeping his carries alive with his ultimate.
The victory caps off an impressive season for a team that only recently entered the LCS. Of course, calling Origen a rookie team would be a bit of a misnomer. Their entire roster has LCS experience save Jesper “Niels” Svenningsen, and three of them lots of it: Cedeño-Martínez, Boyer, and Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider are all LCS champions. Boyer and Cedeño-Martínez won three of them as members of Fnatic.
Even so, the team feels they’ve exceeded expectations, Boyer and Rodriguez said after the match. Before the Split, they set their goal at making the playoffs so they could ensure a run at the Riot World Championships. As a new team in the LCS this season, Origen did not earn any Championship Points in the Spring Split, important towards qualifying for a berth at Worlds.
But clinching that second seed puts Origen in the dance: It secures at least 40 points for the team this Split, which clinches them a spot in the Regional Finals. That’s likely enough points to give them the second seed in the regional, meaning they’d need to win two best-of-five series to reach Worlds. A solid performance at the playoffs can improve their standings, but even falling in the finals only grabs them 70 points, behind Unicorns of Love and tied with H2k if H2k loses its first round playoff match. As such, the only way Origen can guarantee a berth at Worlds before the regional is to win the entire split.
To do that, though, the core of the old Fnatic must challenge the newer, shinier version. And despite Origen’s success this season, taking on the now 17-0 juggernaut at the top of the standings may be too much.
Origen will finish out their regular season tomorrow against a potential playoff team, ROCCAT. But the bulk of their season is done. They’ve secured the second seed and a playoff bye, and shown that these old timers can still play. Whether we see them play at Worlds is a different matter, but so far, so good. Origen’s done everything they could have hoped to in their first season in the LCS.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr
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