Normally, you don’t want to be on the red side in League of Legends. For several reasons, from draft priority to map geometry, blue side is simply stronger. That’s certainly been the case in the EU LCS this split, where blue side teams had a win rate of over 60 percent.
So it was a bit surprising in Friday’s quarterfinal between FC Schalke 04 and Splyce when both teams with map selection chose red side to start the series. That certainly worked for Schalke in game one where they pulled off an incredible backdoor to win.
Needing a quick answer, Splyce chose red side in game two and used the draft to their advantage, hiding a pocket pick until the very last selection. The champion they used it on? Vayne.
Vayne is one of League’s scariest hypercarries. Her combination of damage, invisibility, and self peel make her a major threat in the late game. The problem is getting to that point.
Splyce certainly had some trouble getting Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup’s Vayne going. Schalke took tower after tower as Elias “Upset” Lipp’s snowballed on Ezreal, his signature ADC champion. And Kobbe had to deal with a lot of threats looking to blow him up.
Despite giving up tower after tower, Splyce managed to hold off Schalke’s Baron attempts, which kept Kobbe in the game. He came back from a 1-3 item deficit to start winning teamfights.
At that point, Splyce’s team composition was just too strong. With top laner Andre “Odoamne” Pascu on Sion, another surprise pocket pick, the team could just run at Schalke and let the Vayne pour in damage from the backline.
With the win, Splyce have tied the series at one game apiece. More importantly, they showed that a week of preparation has paid off in the form of some pocket picks and strategies that should make the rest of the series very interesting.