May 2 2014 - 1:44 pm

The LCS offseason is in full-swing after chaotic day of rumors and transfers

The League of Legends offseason got moving today into full gear yesterday, as teams began the transactions that will decide their fate in the upcoming League Championship Series Summer Split
Samuel Lingle
Dot Esports

The League of Legends offseason got moving today into full gear yesterday, as teams began the transactions that will decide their fate in the upcoming League Championship Series Summer Split. From rumors of a new "super team" to the dissolution of a favorite squad, a lot happened in one 24-hour period.

Here's everything you need to know.

...

Ninjas in Pyjamas released their League squad, Europe’s top Challenger team, infusing the potential player pool with free talent. NiP was considered the favorite to make it through the Spring Promotion series and qualify for the League Championship Series, but suffered an upset loss to the last ranked LCS team Millenium in a close 3-2 series.

The move came amid rumors that another “super” team would follow in the footsteps of Alliance last season, filling its roster with hand-picked stars—in this case, it would be the best players from NiP joining players from other LCS squads.

NiP mid laner Erlend “nukeduck” Våtevik Holm and support Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez seem to be spearheading the “super” team talk. If the rumors are true, they'd be joined by Copenhagen Wolves marksman Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou and superstar mid laner Alexey “Alex Ich” Ichetovkin of Gambit Gaming, as reported by Richard Lewis of EsportsHeaven.

The team could potentially compete under the NiP banner, though sources seem conflicted on whether that will be the case. NiP did not retain Holm or Rodriguez’s contracts and is keeping mum on the issue, promising to announce more on their League future soon.

The biggest news is Ichetovkin’s potential transfer. The Russian has competed with his four Gambit Gaming teammates since 2011, when they burst onto the League scene as Team Empire and began dominating Europe’s best. But this past season was Gambit’s worst, as the team placed fifth in LCS and nearly fell to relegation. Ichetovkin, one of the game’s biggest stars in the mid lane, could be seeking a change of scenery. The proposed lineup swaps him to top lane, giving him a new look at the game.

Since NiP failed to qualify for the LCS, the new team would need to spend the split in the Challenger series to have a shot at the top division. But that would exclude them from the important Summer Split, which qualifies teams for the ultimate goal: the Season 4 Championships. It seems unlikely a star like Ichetovkin would give up a chance at worlds, but Lewis’ source believes he may want a break from the rigorous LCS schedule to spend more time with his family.

One potential solution would be to acquire an LCS spot from an existing team. But earlier this year, Riot instituted rules to prevent such a thing after NiP attempted to acquire the defunct Lemondogs spot in the Spring Split. Both NiP and the super team’s Holm separately deny trying to acquire a spot in such a way this season.

The proposed team’s jungler is tabbed as either Cloud 9 Eclipse’s young prodigy Tri Tin “k0u” Lam or NiP jungler Johan “Hulberto” Johansson, but there are issues with either selection.

Lam is too young to play in the LCS, so the team would either need a sub or be forced into Challenger.

Johansson presents a different obstacle. Section 3.2 of the LCS rules states that no team may compete in the LCS with more than two players from a starting lineup of a different LCS team in the past two splits and Challenger series. With Johansson, Holm, and Rodriguez all on NiP’s prior roster, the new squad would be required to play under the NiP banner. Again, without a spot in LCS.

Another potential obstacle may be the contract status of Tzortziou. The Copenhagen Wolves standout is still under contract with the team, though teammate Joey “YoungBuck” Steltenpool confirmed they are working out the details of his contractual release.

NiP’s other talent is in limbo. Marksman Aleš "Freeze" Kněžínek is now a free agent after what he describes as being “backstabbed” by his former teammates. Kněžínek had the chance to join last year’s version of the “super” team, LCS squad Alliance, but declined to stick with NiP. Now, the players he showed loyalty to are leaving him behind.

Morten “Zorozero” Rosenquist, long considered one of Europe’s elite top laners, was a top candidate in American powerhouse Counter Logic Gaming’s search to replace the departed Zach “Nientonsoh” Malhas. He turned down an offer to join the squad to finish his final year at school, OnGamers reported.

“One of the reasons is that I'm not satisfied with my motivation and gameplay lately,"

he told OnGamers. "Another is that I miss my friends and family. Last of all, I also miss the element of having a daily scheme. Don't get me wrong the past year where I have been playing has been wonderful.”

CLG looks to be turning towards Korea now for their new potential top laner. Shin “Seraph” Woo Yeong, a substitute on Najin White Shield, will fly in for a tryout, where the team will test his communication in English and chemistry with the team.

Rosenquist isn’t the only one leaving League behind. Supah Hot Crew benched their support, Maxime “Migxa” Poinssot, and he subsequently left the team, citing a lack of motivation after reaching the LCS.

“I was in Esports for the human experience, especially for travelling, and I have to say that my best time in esports was my amateur time when I was travelling with my french team, TCM,” Poinssot said. “We had almost no pressure because there was only few money, we were friends so we had a lot of fun[…]  and it was ten times more interesting than staying in a gaming house every day playing twelve hours LoL per day, having consistent pressure on you.

"[B]ecause every LCS player knows that he will get benched if he doesn't perform.”

H/T Esportsheaven, OnGamers | Photo via Ninjas in Pyjamas

Jan 21 2017 - 10:20 pm

G2 Esports and H2k-Gaming on top after EU LCS opening weekend

Last year's top teams haven't missed a beat.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via Riot Games

G2 Esports and H2k-Gaming picked up exactly where they left off as the 2017 European LCS season got underway.

Both G2 and H2k, who had the most championship points in Europe in 2016, won both of their first two matches of the 2017 Spring Split as they look to win out in their respective groups.

In the biggest match of the weekend on paper, G2 beat Fnatic 2-1 in a thrilling series to the delight of the crowd in the LCS studio. The first game was a cagey affair, with G2 securing all of the objectives and getting a relatively comfortable win, but the second game was far closer.

The game was level for most of the first thirty minutes, until Fnatic managed to take Baron. From there the team's advantage slowly developed despite G2's best efforts. Fnatic broke down G2's defences and left the Nexus exposed, before this daring flash play let Fnatic in the backdoor to win the game.

Fired up by the audacious play, G2 Esports fired back in game three. Though Fnatic were able to secure more kills than G2, 20-14, G2 once again took almost all of the objectives. They wore down Fnatic with repeated attacks on the Nexus until Fnatic could no longer withstand the pressure.

G2 also defeated Roccat 2-0, finishing the week top of Group A.

H2k-Gaming went just one better than G2 in Group B—not only did they win both of their initial matches, they also did without dropping a game. The 2016 World Championship semifinalists defeated Origen in the first game of the season, before knocking off fellow World Championship competitors Splyce.

Misfits and Unicorns of Love were the only other victorious sides on the opening weekend, over Giants Gaming and Vitality respectively.

Jan 21 2017 - 10:55 pm

Contractz shines as Cloud9 topples TSM

Cloud9’s rookie jungler made a big splash in his LCS debut
Xing Li
Dot Esports
Photo via Riot Games

Cloud9’s Juan "Contractz" Arturo Garcia didn't just make an impression in his LCS debut. He blew away all expectations, and showed himself to be a force to be reckoned with.

Contractz was the last cut from the Players to Watch list we wrote before the League Championship season. We weren’t sure how much priority Cloud9 would give him, especially with so much talent elsewhere on the roster. Still, we felt uneasy--someone not on the list was almost guaranteed to break out.

We just didn’t know that it would happen in the very first series.

In a rematch of last summer’s LCS Finals, Cloud9 and TSM clashed on the rift. And despite the star power that this matchup brings, much of the focus was on Contractz. He was a major focus for C9, almost a win condition in themselves.

Let’s see how he did it.

Jungle Priority

Due to the changes Riot made to the jungle in the offseason, priority has risen for junglers. More experience and more ganks means a good jungler can more easily carry a game. Cloud9’s coach, Bok “Reapred” Han-gyu talks about priority all the time.

Priority is a League term that indicates which lane has a strong matchups and should be a focus for jungle ganks. The player or lane with priority gets earlier picks and more attention from the rest of the team.

In a bit of a role reversal, C9 picked jungle to have priority in game one. That meant C9 players actively played around Contractz’ Kha’zix and made plays to get him ahead. In one telling instance, AD carry Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi burned his Ashe ult so that Contractz could invade and secure red buff.

Contractz rewarded that allocation by killing TSM ADC Jason “WildTurtle” Tran for First Blood. Cloud9 picked a risky comp that required Contractz and mid laner Nicolaj Jensen (playing Fizz) to snowball. Aided by some questionable team play from TSM and baffling itemization from WildTurtle, they accomplished that.

How would TSM react in game two?

A Lee Sin God

Cloud9 continued to give Contractz priority by first-picking Lee Sin for him (only one jungler, Rengar, was banned). This time, he lived in TSM’s red side jungle, playing around pressure from Jensen and top laner Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong.

A well-executed gank gave C9 First Blood again, this time on Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. C9’s duo lane kept their own red-side safe, allowing Contractz to clear and run to the top lane to kill Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell.

For much of the series, Cloud9 exhibited superior team play and coordination, and Contractz was at the center of big plays. He is an aggressive, carry-oriented player and C9 enabled that aggression extremely well. Even when TSM jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and the rest of the team was there, it was often C9 making the right moves, faster. Following a decent TSM dive in the bot lane, Contractz responded with kill after kill.

It’s still very early in the season, but this team has come together very fast. Their communication was superb as was the shot calling. TSM had poor performances from Turtle and Svenskeren, but this victory was still more about C9's macro-oriented team play, rather than individual performances. They will have chances to come back, just like C9 will have to keep their play high by continuing to aid their jungler.

Contractz just dominated what was the best team in NA. Keep this performance up, and he’ll find himself on another one of our lists: the end of split awards.