Showing posts with label EU LCS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EU LCS. Show all posts

Saturday, May 30, 2015

What We Learned from EU LCS Summer Week 1

by Reece "SabrewoIf" Dos-Santos

1. Origen are as good as they were made out to be.

Origen-ally I was sceptical about how xPeke's team would adapt to top tier competition that they haven’t yet been exposed to as a group. I thought that against some of the best EU has to offer, they might have some flaws exposed which they could later build upon. Instead what I received was a 2-0 trash of a week where Origen brushed away the likes of Giants Gaming and then proceeded to steamroll H2k - what I believed to be EU’s second best team and practically guaranteed worlds squad.

While Mithy is no Forgiven and opted against declaring himself as part of the best bottom lane in EU…by far, the duo pair of him and Niels has been crazily effective with the rookie marksman picking up the first MVP award of the summer split. But with so much attention on the oppressive dominance in the bottom lane duo, the good work and Peke, Soaz and Amazing are not to be overlooked. Aside from the occasional positional hiccup from Soaz, the top three members all held down their roles spectacularly showing that they’re still able to exhibit a top level of play. This will be especially warming to the top half trio as they all shouldered their fair share of doubt towards their ability to perform near the end of their last splits on Fnatic and TSM respectively.

I’m now excited to see how Origen fare up against some of the wilder teams in the LCS, as both H2k and Giants are quite tame and telegraphed in their style compared to the likes of UOL or Fnatic who aren’t afraid to shake the table.

2. The Copenhagen Wolves are still consistently inconsistent.

This team is about as consistent as my solo queue MMR, which by the way could be mistaken for an analogue radio wave. On their best days they can pool together a dominating performance and completely clean house against the best teams in EU, the next day or even literally half an hour later, they’re a mess of basic mistakes that can’t retain any control against a team that hardly looked like they knew why they were winning.

Although Freeze’s pure mechanical ability has been a shining point in lost moments along with areas of inspiration from Soren, the team needs heavy focus on regaining their flow and recovering from a loss of tempo if they want to be challenging for any of the spaces in the top half of the table this split.

3. Forgiven ruins the flow of any team he graces.

Although a tad bit harsh, there’s no way to express this without flat out saying it, Forgiven has proven to me that his playstyle appears to be unadaptable for everyone who tries to tame it. While the benefits of his presence are more than evident in having one of the best skilled ADC’s the west has to offer, it seemed like Gambit this week put themselves into a Piglet/Team Liquid situation where they tunneled on the acquisition of a world class talent and tried too hard to pool themselves around making it work. What Gambit need to avoid is the situation that has followed Forgiven like a dark cloud and it’s the internal collapse of teamwork, trust and synergy due to the clash in personalities. While SK Gaming held on for the best part of a split, it was too much for them as was with the Wolves. Personally with the history of how emotional Diamond and Edward can be, I’m a little worried as to how the team will recover if they don’t pull off a momentous upswing like last split.

4. The right Elements may have finally been blended together.

What an upgrade! This team looks to be with the right players in the mix alongside the right mentality. No joke, the KaBuM! incident obliterated the original lineup of Alliance and alongside the embarrassing worlds exit that followed, really tore apart the civil colleague relationship between the team. Only with the purging of the teams members and eventual rebuilding with the return of Tabzz, has the team finally begun to show the spark it showed in the summer of Season 4.

Dexter, Jwaow and PromisQ bring a new fresh feel and dynamic to the playstyle of the team and also seem to mesh with the rest of the team in a much better fashion than the previous trio of Wickd, Shook and Nyph who were simply Mission Impossible, Froggen’s waiter and some guy no one listened to. Rotations were good, the top laner actually looked like a member of the team and Froggen wasn’t giving off the vibe that he believed he was in elo hell.

As to how far this team can go, it’s still unknown as EL’s first game was a stomp over the currently broken Gambit and while they put up a good fight, they were ultimately taken down by the Unicorns. If EL wants to sneak in for a worlds spot, they need to overcome potential rivals for the spaces. Now it looks like they can, and not just on paper.

The question is, will they?

5. Roccat still have many problems that need to be addressed.

Woolite’s positioning has been the cause of many LCS face-desk moments for me and we’re only two games into the split. Whether or not he’s upped his poor positioning game to make up for the loss of his partner in crime, P1noy, is beyond me, but it’s hurting his team’s chances of being anything but relegation zone bound. It’s also apparent that every time Roccat change their top laner, it only seems to make the situation worse. Steve has yet to show why he was worth being selected as Roccat’s new top laner in place of Overpow, who went from the team’s shining star to a quickly ousted unmemorable top laner.

In fact, Steve’s biggest impact upon the LCS so far is the crowd chant of his name which follows a particular pattern of Roccat crowd memes when underperforming, one example being the ward chanting at LCS Wembley last season. On top of this, Jankos and Vander are mere shadows of their former selves and it’s been a very long time since I’ve heard anyone even try and call Jankos the “best jungler in the EU LCS”. Last but not least is Nukeduck, being the one returning Lemondog who isn’t a valuable asset to their new team. Out of the meta and completely out of his depth in most matchups, it’s a surprise Roccat chose only to make a change in the top lane, it’s even more surprising that it doesn’t seem like they’ve made any headway to addressing these issues which have carried on from the last split. In both management and player mentality, something is clearly wrong.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Mid Season Invitational opens with a Dream Match

EU's Fnatic vs NA's Team SoloMid
(aka The battle of Koreans (and also some Europeans and North Americans)

Photo courtesy of Riot Esports

by Jodi "PunkLit" McClure

Opening the 2015 Mid-Season invitational with Fnatic vs TSM is an eSports promoter's wet dream, except instead of Kate Upton you've got Bjergsen and instead of Jennifer Lawrence you've got Huni. But the NA vs EU match up has always ignited viewer passions, and this one delivers in particularly grand fashion since both teams have enormous fan bases and some deep-rooted old school cred. 

Reddit's European fans tend to concede TSM is the stronger team this split, but they argue that in a Best of 1 round robin set up, it's entirely possible to beat a team who has a habit of dropping their first game in a series. And no one needs to be reminded of the last time TSM faced a European team (although if you squint your eyes, you can still see the bits of Unicorn sparkles sticking to their skin.) Hell, even if they lose, the EUs can still claim a win, since two of TSM's star players actually hail from a landmass vaguely attached to them. 

Bjergsen has been god-like in mid, but Febiven is mechanically sound and some would say he's not far from the Great Dane's skill-level. However, Bjergsen has a great deal of Santorin's support, whereas Reignover tends to hang with his top laner. Not that that's a bad thing, since a tilting Dyrus and snow-balling Huni could definitely be a key to a Fnatic win.  

Fnatic's carry, Steeelback, was the King of Fantasy League this season with most average points per game, but Turtle was only a single point behind him. Both also topped the charts in kills, although Turtle took nearly twice as many deaths, which is REALLY important when you consider how smart Yellowstar is at taking advantage of players out of position. It seems like this could be an epic match-up. One can't discount the Rekkles factor, though. Despite Steeelback's stellar performance this split, rumors are he's about to replaced, and that has to be an unpleasant weight on his shoulders. Whether or not this bitter pill will affect his work still remains to be seen.  

The new Fnatic has shown a lot of synergy though in their short time playing together, and I imagine they'll only get stronger with Yellowstar's outstanding guidance, but TSM are in their prime right now, performing as a single entity possessing of a hive mind. I'm sure that Locodoco has prepped his team thoroughly for this game, and he didn't win Coach of the Year for nothing! He's been a driving force in his team's success, whereas solid coaching is an area where Fnatic has been sorely lacking.

Not surprisingly, I believe, at least for this time around, NA will have the edge on bragging rights.  

(Shout out to Chase Wassenar for voicing all the intelligent sounding parts of this article.)

Monday, March 30, 2015

ROCCAT Possible Roster Changes Incoming

By Anel “Musinlol ” Musinovic

Whatever genie the unsigned Polish team, Kiedys Mialem Team, uncorked from a bottle in the Spring of 2014 has long since packed his bags. Roccat has had a massively disappointing season, finishing in the danger zone right behind Copenhagen Wolves & Elements, and it's possible they will be forced to consider some roster swaps. 

Roccat came into the 2015 Spring Split with high expectations despite a less than successful run at IEM Cologne. Having acquired former Lemondogs' star midlaner, Nukeduck, and the previous split’s best rookie, Woolite, Roccat's roster looked impressive. Pressure mounted on the team, and they were predicted to have a Top 3 finish, but that was not to be. Despite their best efforts, they ended up 8th, barely holding on above Giants & MYM. Their dismal showing has brought out a great deal of speculation that Roccat might be looking for replacements for Overpow and Woolite.

Ducky has publicly said the following, which could be adding to the rumor that Roccat are looking for fresh blood for either one or multiple positions. He himself has also been criticized. 

Also nuke has expressed his opinion about roster swaps when asked:

Overpow’s Spot in Danger?

Overpow was hyped by the team (and other pros) for his outstanding Teleportplays'. He also had an odd champion pool which was predicted to work great, but has since fallen flat. It's possible he's looking at other options with his recent name change from ROCCAT Overpow to “heszke w meszke.”

Possible Contenders for ROCCAT's toplane


The 17-year-old toplaner who referred to himself as “mini-wickd” is one of the contenders for Overpow's toplane spot. He has previously played on teams such as Reason Gaming, SK Gaming Prime, and Gamers2, who failed to qualify for this split through the expansion tournament. Since then, he has seemingly only played soloq, even though he recently started playing ranked 5’s with the Mousesports' botlane, Xioh and Dan. He would most likely take the chance if he got called up by Roccat,  despite his newly formed ranked 5’s team.


The toplaner, Jwaow just recently got relegated with MYM and the team might not be staying together for the Challenger Series with the backlash they got from the community for the Kor1 incident. Jwaow was previously known as a carry-style toplaner and was picked up by Gamers2 when Ocelote was playing, but with that team not making it after multiple attempts, the Swedish international replaced Mimer in MYM. MYM was already in a bad state and was predicted to take the auto-relegation spot. Despite fine attempts to not make that happen, they lost the tiebreaker to Giants. Jwaow was especially looking good on Maokai, which is quite a contested champion at the moment, and he can pull out other carry-style champions which might be what Roccat is looking for.


The most unlikely contender is Zorozero, who has recently started playing again and is currently in Challenger with over 500 lp. Zorozero might be looking to play again and with Roccat’s recent troubles they might be looking to pick up the former toplane star of Europe. Zoro has previously played with Nukeduck in Lemondogs, and I don’t think that Nukeduck would mind playing with his old buddy again. 

Woolite’s Stay in Roccat also Might be Coming to an end

Woolite was another player that was expected to do well, and coming in as Rookie-of-the-Split from the last split, he looked so promising. He's been too aggressive though, and outright stupid in some games (like the recent game where he threw the game by himself.) Roccat might be looking for a new ADC for themselves, despite it being less likely than the Overpow move.

Possible Contenders for ROCCAT's ADC Position


Rallez, just like Jwaow, was recently relegated with MYM and will possibly be looking for a new team. The once hyped Danish international might be looking to find himself a new spot in the LCS. Rallez struggled with synergy after the departure of Migxa. He can’t be excused this time as he would have VandeR as a support if he joins Roccat. So this time it would be make it or break it for Rallez.


Tabzz just recently got back on Elements as a sub, but might take the opportunity if he got to play with his former teammate Nukeduck. When he was playing for Elements, he was surely a Top 2 ADC, and Roccat might be looking to try to pick him up.

If you have any questions or wants to folllow me my twitter is ->

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Week 7 EU LCS Preview! El Classico Round Two!

Three more weeks, three more games, and for some teams, one chance. Here’s what to watch out for in Week 7 of the EU LCS:
Day 1- Meet Your Makers (2-10) vs Giants Gaming (4-8)
The outlook is quite bleak for MYM who look to be heading down to the challenger scene as the first ever auto relegated LCS team. However, unlike their NA counterpart in Team Coast, the team is still showing signs of life and can realistically climb out of the bottom spot. Taking out one of the teams directly above them is the best way to go about this. Provided MYM can show up here and against the other team at 4-8 overall (Roccat) in their last game of the split, they can at least hope to pull off a tiebreaker or even trump the other two if they can pull off any more upsets. It isn't much to hold onto, but the true sign of a team that should remain in the LCS is the ability to adapt and turn deficits. If Gambit and H2k can do it, MYM can too.
Day 1- H2k Gaming (8-4) vs Gambit Gaming (7-5)
It’s the battle of the six game win streak vs the seven game win streak, a battle of the two teams with the most momentous turn around in EU LCS history since Alliance in spring 2014. Funnily enough, Gambit’s win streak started off with their victory over H2k in week three so what better team to end it than H2k themselves. If H2k win this match they tie second at the end of day one with the loser of El Classico round two, however if Gambit win they tie third with H2k and equal the second longest EU LCS win streak held by themselves, SK Gaming and Alliance at eight. Another win in day two then ties them for the longest held by Fnatic at nine. With all these teams have learnt and the momentum they've built since their rise, this could prove to be an even better game than Fnatic vs SK.
Day 1- SK Gaming (9-3) vs Fnatic (9-3)
Round two of the rightfully-hyped matchup, El Classico ended SK Gaming’s eight game win streak in Week 5 and now they have a chance to get one back on Fnatic and reclaim the first place spot. SK have been humbled in the past two weeks while Fnatic have been struggling to maintain perfect consistency having slipped up a few times to teams at the peak of their form (UOL, CW & GMB). If SK want to be taken seriously at IEM, they should look to fix themselves here. Realistically this game will decide which of these teams finishes in first and is subsequently the best team in EU at the moment. By far.

Fantasy Forecast-
For the first time in a while, no team is particularly safe. SK and Fnatic have each other to worry about while rising stars H2k and Gambit also clash.  Even the Unicorns who have Elements and Roccat should still be hesitant as the two most hyped teams in the preseason could still pull off a big win if they’ve begun to work on their problems. This week is a pure gamble.

Reminder: Wickd will be starting over Kev1n on EL and Noxiak over Nisbeth on MYM

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

EU LCS Week 6 Preview

By Reece "SabrewoIf" Dos-Santos

The Spring Split is past its halfway point and now, more than ever, each game matters. Here are my picks for what to watch in the EU LCS Week 6.

Day 1- Roccat (4-6) vs H2k Gaming (6-4)

Since the introduction of KaSing, H2k have become a much more competitive team. They've gained the ability to make better calls, gained stronger map presence on a whole and now look much more decisive in closing out games and holding onto leads. This momentum is also helped by the slide some of the bigger teams have been having in terms of living up to their hype. One of those teams being Roccat. It’s been hard to predict Roccat this season as they have all the tools available to be a top tier team; they’re just not falling into place. Roccat can be the team to halt H2k’s KaWin streak but, considering the latter is coming into this off a win over SK, momentum is certainly in H2k’s favour.

Day 1- Gambit Gaming (5-5) vs Copenhagen Wolves (6-4)

Gambit fans finally have something to smile about, the team has been on a good reverse tilt ever since H2k turned themselves around as well. P1noy and Cabochard look great in their positions, Diamond and Edward seem like they've been revitalized and NiQ, prior to his side-lining, looked to be meshing well with the team. Luckily for Gambit fans, the swap in of Betsy didn't affect the team dynamic much and they should feel confident going up against what looks like the strongest Copenhagen Wolves squad in a very long time. Youngbuck, Airwaks and Unlimited are starting to show really good moments while Freeze and Soren have been instrumental in holding the team together in later phases and team fights. The special matchup of this game will certainly be in the bot lane. P1noy vs Freeze won’t disappoint.

Day 2- SK Gaming (8-2) vs Elements (4-6)

The battle of the two "should-be-top" teams in the EU LCS. While one team has lived up to its hype, the other has fallen prey to the same kind of weaknesses they displayed this time last season. Froggen’s super team are no strangers to really slow starts, but with the addition of Krepo in place of Nyph, maybe they have the right Elements to produce a winning formula. Krepo provides a strong analytical game sense, leadership and solid mechanics in a form that nRated brings to SK. If Elements have actually built upon their hardship and learnt the power of teamwork and friendship, this will be the perfect time to show it against a recently shocked SK. While an 0-2 week isn't necessarily a panic siren for them, poor momentum could easily make it a third consecutive loss.

Fantasy Forecast:

H2k owners should feel very confident considering Giants and Roccat aren’t the toughest looking competition on paper right now. Unicorn owners should be wary of SK Gaming and Fnatic owners of the Wolves but generally those two remain solid picks. Be mindful that this is a week that could halt the Wolves' hype train but it could be a very profitable week for their carries. While it seems impossible for Elements to lose against MYM, it also seemed impossible that they’d be 4-6 this far into the season so never say never.

Reminder: Krepo is Elements’ starting support over Nyph and Betsy will continue to start over NiQ on Gambit.


By Reece "SabrewoIf" Dos-Santos

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

3 Players to Watch in the 2015 EU Challenger Series!

By Anel “Musinlol” Musinovic
Origen, Gamers2, Dignitas EU (Former SKP), Reason Gaming, mouzesports & LowLandLions get ready to face off in the 2015 EU Challenger Series. Players to watch are starring, Sencux, Hiiva & Morsú.

Chres “Sencux” Larsen
Dignitas EU - Midlane

Sencux has previously played for Reason Gaming & 4EverZenzyg, with their famous intro song. Less notably, he has also been playing a lot of LANS in Denmark, which went decently well for him. If you don’t know Sencux so far, you are potentially about to, he has been playing great lately.

They have lost their jungler Obvious because SKP at the time were not willing to buy him out, which lead to him going to Gamers2 and taking Beansu with him a day before the first qualifier games. They were left without a jungler or toplane so Sencux reached out to Wunderwear, who is a toplaner he has played with on previous teams. He wanted a jungler that could fill out the shotcalling position which lead them to pick up Brokenshard and to round out the team they have with Crazycaps & Zytan.

Sencux himself is one of the best midlaners in the challenger series and compares himself to xPeke when he is on his game. Sencux is a good player and definitely on the road to become a great midlaner but if he matches up with xPeke he still has to prove himself. He thrives on playing assassin champs such as Zed, Ahri & Leblanc. He's also been playing champs as the likes of Lulu & Xerath in previous matches.

It will be a lot on Sencux's shoulders to carry Diginitas EU to victory, but he can be helped by his AD Carry, Crazycaps. Not saying that the other players are worse but I see these two being in a position to carry. Sadly they lost their first game unexpectedly in the EU Challenger Series to LowLandLions with great play from Morsú, despite Crazycaps racking up 13 kills and Sencux sitting at 5. They will be trying to regain their footing against Mouz (Previously n!fac).

Aleksi “Hiiva” Kaikkonen
Gamers2 - Support

Hiiva will be trying to overcome the giants Origen after failing once, but might have a cheesy strat prepared against them to surprise. The Finnish international is known for his Blitzcrank & Zyra play but can also play other supports. He can create some scenarios in the game with his interesting and potentially cheesy play, and who doesn't like to see a Blitzcrank.

I believe Hiiva can, with his strong ADC, Jebus, be the force for Gamers2 who is going to be carrying them to victory. His ADC was previously considered for the Gambit ADC spot, but after some problems it didn't work out. Hiiva and Gamers2 are definitely top 3 and will be facing LowlandLions tonight over at Riot Games.

Bram “Morsú” Knol
LowlandLions - Toplane

LowLandLions were written off totally but with a win against Dignitas EU, they have maybe brought themselves back. Morsú was the key to Victory with his great performance on Jax, his splitpush was just too much to handle for the Dignitas side. He will be trying to do the same in today's upcoming game against Dignitas EU again.

He is a player that is known for carrying in previous teams such as Team Coast Gold and tactics against teams with Morsú in them has always been "shutdown Morsú and win the game." He played in the Challenger Series previously but fell short just like Sencux. It can be problematic but shows the quality of the player. He likes to spiltpush often, and can bring out champions such as Fiora which is his main champion. He played it in the qualifiers to success despite coming up against a Jax. Look for this player to pick champions that can 1v1 in the toplane and try to find his way to victory from there.

To round off the article I would like to say that I have not put in Origen players for the sake of the article, because you could easily put in 3 Origen players in the list.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

EU LCS Week 4 Preview- Games to Watch

by Reece "SabrewoIf" Dos-Santos 

Week 4 of the EU LCS is about to begin, these are my picks on what will be the games to watch:

Day 1- Giants Gaming (2-4) vs Gambit Gaming (1-5)
Coming out of their first win of the split against H2k, the seemingly tilting Gambit squad should be going into this game with renewed confidence and their heads held high. If they can sustain the momentum and avoid being put behind early they should be able to give a good game to Giants. The lane to watch will more than likely be top lane since both Cabochard and Werlyb are key components in their team’s victories. Jungler interaction with the top lane will definitely be a swinging point in this matchup

Day 1- Unicorns of Love (3-3) vs Roccat (3-3)
This match has a lot of weight in being the match that decides who is biggest challenge to the top three in Fnatic, SK and Elements. As it stands UOL are 1-2 against the top three taking a game off Fnatic while Roccat stand at 0-3 against the top competition. On the flip side however Roccat have yet to lose against any non-top three team while UOL slipped up to the Wolves last week. In terms of skill and potential I’d have these two at the same. Being arguably the two most hyped teams going into the split, this will surely be a hotly contested match.

Day 2- Copenhagen Wolves (3-3) vs Fnatic (5-1)
Of all the matches in day two I picked this one because the Wolves have recently shown a sturdy resilience and a refusal to be defeated early. Soren in particular has had a really good time in some of the Wolves’ games. The matchups of Freeze vs Steeelback will be interesting to watch as well as seeing who can leave a bigger map-wide impact between Reignover and Airwaks. This game can go the way of the Wolves if the right conditions come into play, a victory here could also really help turn some heads to them being a dark horse for the playoffs. But Fnatic will be looking to shut out any more surprises after their loss to the Unicorns last week.

Fantasy Forecast:
If you have any SK or Fnatic members it’s in your best interest to slot them into your team with high scoring games on the outlook for both. Elements owners should also be rather happy with what should be fairly easier games on the cards for them too. While a shock result for the Wolves against Fnatic could happen, their week also starts against SK so be mindful. Unicorn and Roccat owners will be hesitant as both heavily impact the other’s weeks. Giants owners should also be mindful as while SK seems like a sure loss, Gambit might go either way. Any H2K and MYM owners should avoid fielding those players/teams as it looks to be fantasy drought for them this week, hard games as well as lineup changes and internal conflict come to mind.

Reminder- KaSing is now H2k’s starting support over Voidle.


by Reece "SabrewoIf" Dos-Santos 

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Rebranding Festival

by Louis "Guichex" Lemeillet

Roster swaps are common in the off-season, but this was the year of identity changes. Alliance became Elements, Evil Genuises became Winterfox, Curse and Curse Academy respectively became Team Liquid and Gravity. Even LMQ became Team Impulse. New names have also made their way into the scene with the qualification of H2k, Team 8, Giants and Unicorns of Love, and some of the biggest EU talents regrouped into the challenger team, Origen. With all this, it appears quite normal that casual followers of the LCS might be a bit lost in the new season, but it might also hurt the brands and general viewership of the series.

How the heck did this happen?

Part of this major branding issue lies within the GoodGame story. To recap quickly, GoodGame owned both Alliance and EG brands, but the new Riot rules don't allow two teams with the same owner. Therefore, after GoodGame was bought by Twitch, Alliance went on to be Elements and EG reemerged as Winterfox. Did Alex Garfield, owner of GoodGame, decided to sell those two teams after selling his company to Twitch in order to spend the rest of his life watching eSports from a hammock on a beach with a mojito in his hand? Well, yes and no, since the new team owners (Maelk and Guitar) are both former employees of his. 

EG and Alliance have "given away" their LoL teams but kept their other professional teams under the same banner. Dota 2, Counter-strike, Smite, Starcraft, HotS, and other teams will be kept under one and one name only, while the over-mediated League of Legends teams will be under a different name. In the end, Alliance and EG will be hurt to some extent as their fans lose brand recognition and possibly some sponsorships. In some ways, it's a good thing, since Alex Garfield could have easily become one of the most powerful figures in the eSports landscape, owning dozens of teams. But it will reduce further infrastructural development in the Western Scene. Money comes from sponsor, and without them, you can't offer players the necessary environment to perform at their best level.

Multi-gaming structures, which have teams bringing in a lot of cash because of their mediatization and fame, allow some expenses to be redistributed to their minor gaming teams. Therefore, the latter have better infrastructures than others and theoretically win more titles on a minor league scale. Being number one in less popular games, and having a presence in LCS, even if you're not top two, still brings extreme fame among a very wide target audience and might bring more sponsors than just having a top two team in the LCS. The staff costs would also been reduced to some extent, as you don't have to multiply the number of executives, even if you're running teams in various eSports scenes.

Among all this, you're hurting to some extent the long-term possibilities of the brand. Evil Geniuses were already on their way to become the multi-gaming structure with the greatest “hall of fame” in western eSports history. Now they're shooting themselves in the foot by giving away their LCS spot. Even if Evil Geniuses have no problem attracting the best world players in the next years, it will probably hurt them in the long-term if Winterfox performs extremely well during those years. With LoL being the most popular eSport game at the moment, people will remember EG failing where Winterfox succeeded. It's quite an overly simple view, but I believe giving away both Alliance and Evil Geniuses might have been a mistake GoodGame didn't have to make. Even after being bought by Twitch, they could have kept the ownership of that one team among the two.

The same happened with Curse, who had to sell Curse Academy but voluntarily rebranded their main team and “shared it" with Team Liquid, another powerhouse in the eSports landscape, a move I felt was even worse than GoodGame's. Curse is an extremely popular brand along gamers, owning multiple websites which each of us has heard about at least once: the main Curse website with all the popular addons, MMO-Champion, Reign of Gaming, etc. And no, Liquid doesn't appear in the Curse sites. Why would you voluntarily relinquish a sports team which would bring further traffic and revenue to your websites? 

I understand Curse wants to partner Curse Voice with multiple players/teams, something they couldn't do while also sponsoring a team. I also understand Victor "Nazgul" Goossens and Steve “LiQuiD112” Archancet's idea of merging Team Liquid's fame to Curse's potential. Nevertheless, I believe Curse.Inc will suffer a great loss. Why do LG, SKT, Samsung and other huge international companies sponsor Korean teams? Because they know the success of the teams will bring additional revenue to the brand. Sponsoring a sports team for a company has always been some kind of wishing-well where you're throwing money in hoping for further success. Curse.Inc will be relinquished as mere sponsor like any others and will clearly suffer from this as Team Liquid will greatly benefit in terms of fame and mediatization. 

What year is it?!

Even if players didn't swap that much, the casual followers of the LCS might feel a bit lost during the first weeks of the series. Along with learning a crowd of new teams who entered through the expansion tournaments, they'll have to grasp even more with the Alliance, Curse, LMQ and EG rebranding. In fact, I'm a little lost between the swaps, the new teams and aberrant news like Alex Ich joining Team 8 as a sub. It feels like it's the end of an era and I don't know if I'll get as hooked during Season 5. Time will tell but I believe I'm not the only one in that situation and many people might go on and look for something new. Oh wait, what's that new game again? Heroes of the Storm?

The Challenger scene will be quite hurt too, as many of their big names made it into the LCS, leaving behind a few teams with an uncertain future and a bunch of newcomers who might have a lesser skill level. H2k, Coast, Unicorns of Love, etc. grew a fan base during their time in Challenger Series, and those fans follow them to the LCS now. The “lesser competition” will take some time to get back on their feet and to offer the same level of games we had last season. Of course, as all couldn't make it back into LCS, EU & NA will each have one “super-challenger” with Origen and Fusion, but it might not be enough to attract viewership if they just stomp everyone else.

In the end, it's not something major and the LCS format changes already foreshadowed that Challenger Series would be hurt to some extent. For Riot, the changes were necessary to stay on top and answer consumer's desires, and it'll not result in a loss for them. They might lose a bunch of people watching LCS but the additional viewership brought in by new teams, and the more cohesive 10-team format, will quickly make it look as a bad dream. Also, a great deal of eSports followers are more following players than teams, therefore the rebranding of teams and the new hole in the Challenger Scene will not impact them at any point. Only Alex Ich's fans might still have trouble bringing their jaw upwards, trying to believe what they just read.

So wait...who's this team again ?

The fact that all those rebranding happened at the same time as the LCS bringing in two additional teams also left us with another major issue, although it might be just disturbing me: the too-much diversity in team names.

Unicorns of Love, Elements, Copenhagen Wolves, Team 8, Fnatic, Counter Logic Gaming. Not one of those names has a similarity with the others. People, and I can understand that, are just coming up with what's in their mind and what they find “cool.” Or at least that's how I imagine it. And to some point, apart from following the basic branding rules such as: easily readable for anyone, not too long, in english; that's all you gotta do. Yes, I'm looking at you Origen. Do you seriously expect casters to pronounce it with the rolling “rrr” sound on stream?

I must say, even if SEA is not like this anymore (maybe apart from the animal emblems), at least I loved their names. Saigon Jokers, Taipei Assassins...that was some NBA/NFL cachet right here. Of course, I can't expect for all teams to rename themselves, it'd be utopic. But I believe that, as I already wrote for fashion, the lack of uniformity in names is something that will not help mainstream sponsors take your business seriously. It looks unorganized, like a brainstorming session where everyone is throwing their ideas in and no one ever agrees. And come on, it's not like the video gaming and fantasy universes were too small to find any good ideas. Direwolves, ogres, centaurs, ents, tressyms, griffins,'s full of great names! Why do that instead of naming it “8”? I know I'm seeing this with some bias as I have a marketing background, but still, Team 8 doesn't bring anything to my mind when I'm reading/speaking it. At least bend turn that number 90° to the side, and you'd have Team Infinity. There I can imagine things: infinite potential, to infinity and beyond, etc. There you call values in the minds of followers and companies alike, and you can develop great storytelling and communication around it.

As I said, it's more of a personal matter to me here but to some extent I tend to believe some companies might look at this with the same eye as mine, and between one team with a generic name and one with a great storytelling, well the choice is perfectly obvious. You take the one you can do the most with in terms of communication and marketing campaigns. Even Elements looks somewhat childish and silly, but they still bring something to the table like “Froggen is the air” and “The Elements coach will be named The Avatar!” or whatever. It brings something imaginary which can be promoted. But at least Team 8 is still better than the “Team eSports,” an atrocity I witnessed in some CS:GO tournament.

Branding and naming is a very wide topic and might appear as rather plain for a lot of people but, for that reason, it's one of  the most difficult exercises for marketing professionals, and it's a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. I know it's difficult for Riot to have a real and legitimate impact on naming decisions, and it's also none of their business, but with the number of teams growing and the rebrandings, the start of Season 5 will result in some kind of immense jiggery-pokery for the viewers and might hurt brands and Riot alike in the long-term. 


by Louis "Guichex" Lemeillet

Saturday, December 20, 2014

EU LCS Expansion Tournament: H2k vs Giants Gaming

By Reece "Sabrewolf" Dos-Santos 

With the demons of past failed LCS attempts behind them, H2k took to the stage against Giants Gaming; both teams coming off back-to-back 3-0 sweeps against their first round opponents.

Pick/ban phase

Interestingly, because of how the teams chose to be set up, Giants remained on red side for the whole series. What they aimed to get out of this strategy, however, will remain an enigma.

H2k was relentless in their ban strategy of taking out the threat of xPepii by removing Xerath, Leblanc and Syndra in all three games. Giants, on the other hand, opted to try and adapt their banning to remove one key component of what dismantled them in the previous game: banning Febiven’s game one Jayce in game two and Voidle’s game one and two Janna in game three.

Pick-wise, both teams displayed good variety of picks and compositions. H2k played a poke strategy with Corki and Jayce in game one before moving on to more team fight orientated compositions in games two and three. The only person that played the same champion in all three games was Rydle on Thresh, a champion that worked quite well for him in the series, especially in game three.

Into the Games

One thing that was noticeable to me across this series was the performance of the bottom lane of Giants. While the action in the bottom lane was often overshadowed by the standout performances of H2k’s top half, Adryh and Rydle put up a very good laning phase in all 3 games. Adryh’s Sivir in game one had a 20 minute CS lead six minutes in, in game three they also heavily bullied out the bottom lane of H2k to the point where Hjarnan’s Sivir only managed to get back into the game off the back off the performance of the rest of his team. Despite the consistent lead in Giants’ bottom lane, there was simply nothing the pair could do when faced with the absolute demolition that Loulex, Odoamne and Febiven put up.

Game one saw three consecutive counter ganks from Loulex on the middle lane as Fr3deric tried his hardest to shut down Febiven but subsequently he ended up just pushing himself and xPepii further behind. Giants made a little comeback with 4 kills and the first dragon but the next three went to H2k and Febiven and Loulex slowly choked the Giants out. 

Game two saw a similar story of Giants’ falling behind on a solo lane early on. Odoamne took complete control of the game on Irelia getting a huge cs lead and 4 kills early on. Febiven’s Orianna also played a heavy part in their team fight presence in backing Odoamne who went nuts decimating the Giants in any way possible. One thing that was a slight let down for H2k was Loulex’s tendency to over commit and go in to deep without the proper protection in order to set things up for his team.

While these attempts proved non detrimental in any way, a team in a better position than Giants would have been able to easily pick on these small positional missteps. The biggest error for H2k in game two was over chasing a good fight they could have used to push into the base, gifting two unnecessary kills to xPepii’s Ahri.

Similarly in game three, Loulex’s presence across the map in the early stages was heavy and the H2k solo lanes quickly took control of the map. Odoamne’s Irelia had Werelyb’s Maokai in his back pocket for the whole game and Febiven’s Ahri was a huge threat; however due to H2k’s tendency to make missteps and positional errors, particularly on Loulex’s front, the game took a lot longer to close out than it  should have. H2k’s dragon control was also very lax allowing Giant’s to pick up three, but the fact that this simply did not matter at all proved how far ahead and how oppressive the solo lanes of H2k were throughout this series.

If I had to pick an MVP throughout this series I’d have to give my vote to Febiven, he had a super commanding series knocking xPepii down and keeping him down across all three games. He remained a constant deadly threat and made team fighting very difficult for the Giants.

With this H2k finally live up to their growing hype since the days being Cloud 9 Eclipse and earn their way into the EU LCS as its 9th team.

by Reece "SabrewoIf" Dos-Santos

Breaking Down IEM IX Cologne and Looking at Semifinals.

By Anel “Musinlol” Musinovic

With Cloud9 winning IEM San Jose, it is soon time to start IEM Cologne. Here is a bit about the teams that have the potential to win, the casting crew, what is at stake and when it’s going to be played.

Gambit Gaming - The IEM Legends
Cacochard, Diamond, NiQ, P1noy & Edward

A new Gambit at IEM will be trying to replicate the previous success of the old five players from Gambit. The former five: Darien, Diamond, Alex Ich, Genja & Edward, were also under the name Moscow 5 and won IEM Season VI Global Challenge Kiev & World Championship. IEM Kiev was the first LAN event Diamond ever had attended. After coming under the Gambit Gaming organization, the team followed up by winning IEM Season VII Global Challenge and placing 3rd-4th in the World Championship. The next IEM would have the exact same outcome for Gambit, IEM Season VIII Cologne was won with a 2-0 over Fnatic & again they placed 3-4th in the World Championship. Therefore, there is a lot of pressure on the new guys to perform.

A quick mention that their previous organisation won’t be participating in the tournament, Moscow 5 again sadly has Visa problems for their new five players. So Diamond & Edward sadly won’t have the chance to face their old organization.

Toplane - Cabochard : Since the departure of Darien, Gambit has been trying to to fill the toplane role with Kubon but, after a relatively short stay, they switched him out with Cabochard who had previously subbed for them when Darien couldn't get a visa to play. He quickly got picked up by NiP after subbing, but after they failed to qualify for LCS, Cabochard got picked up by Gambit. Cabochard is known for his confidence through laning phase, which makes him vulnerable for ganks. If they can play well with his style of play, he should be one of the better toplaners going into the next season.

Jungle - Diamond : Diamond has been with Gambit for a long time and experienced their IEM success and he'll be trying to replicate it with new teammates. Diamond is known as the innovator and has been one of the players to look at when you define how to play jungle. He is still considered as a elite jungler of EU and will hopefully, for the spectators, come out with something new again. He joined the old Gambit boys by Edward knowing him, despite being 1800 elo which was low for professional players. He is known for exceptional Lee Sin play and for popularizing Evelyn jungle with various builds, most notably the old bluepot start which would allow him to have insane early pressure.

Mid - Niq : NiQ spent several years playing for multiple Polish teams, but after failing to qualify for LCS EU with Denial he himself approached Gambit after Alex Ich's announcement of leaving the team. He had big shoes to fill and has shown himself to be a solid player for Gambit despite having a bad split. He seemed to favour Nidalee in the midlane in the EU LCS. Also, expect to see his favorite champ, Fizz.

ADC - P1noy (Krislund) : He is mostly known under the name Krislund, but changed his name after being confirmed for Gambit because he wanted to have something that represented himself since he is half filipina. He ddidn'thave a good relationship with his father so he changed the name to p1noy because it meant that he was filipina which came from his mothers side.

He is an versatile adc who has played a ton in the Challenger Series, but he's also subbed for Gambit in the Relegation Tournament. He can play both play aggressive and passive well and will most likely be aggressive with his support, Edward. He also shown that he doesn't fall under pressure; he played his first match with Gambit in the Relegation Tournament and showed up big.

Support - Edward : Edward, the man who was previously known as Gosu Pepper, is a huge playmaking support. He is known as the “Thresh Prince” for good reason. He has always been the player to flash in for a kill or for trading the flash of the opposite adc. He would often do this on Sona as well. He has previously been praised as the best Sona and was picking her very often. He describes his playstyle as “see hero, kill hero” which we have seen in the EU LCS multiple times. He has also been trying to innovate the support champions, spamming Vel’koz in soloq and busting out Gragas in competitive play quite a few times.

Roccat - The 5 players with a storyline for IEM
Overpow, Jankos, Ryu, Woolite & VandeR

Roccat are here because Fnatic couldn’t participate without a full lineup. Despite that fact, Roccat are seen by many as the favorites of the tournament and with new strong additions, they are likely to win. They have been praised by many for being good in scrims which has lead to a lot of hype around them at the moment.

Toplane - Overpow : Overpow was for the early of the EU LCS split highly praised and hyped but did not perform exceptionally well in the midlane in the split. He was good at times but really passive in the midlane with many strange picks such as Mordekaiser. He has been praised for being aggressive & having instant tp’s since his role swap to toplane. Many didn’t feel like the removal of Xaxus was a good idea, but Roccat seems to feel happy about putting Overpow top. The question stands if he will be living up to the hype and showing dominance in his lane.

Jungle - Jankos : Jankos was praised as the best jungler in Europe after a good summer split. If you go back and look at his games when he was in the challenger series he wasn't a good jungler, but he's really developed a good understanding of the jungle and mechanical skill over time. He has immense early pressure every single game and has an incredibly high rate of first bloods. He also prefers champs such as Lee Sin & Elise who has great kits for early pressure.

Mid - Ryu: This IEM tournament is going to be an important one for Ryu, with LCS soon coming and teams locking in their rosters. This “tryout period” at IEM for Ryu will be the dealbreaker, with players like Nukeduck waiting in the wings if he doesn't perform. He is known for Ahri and Fizz but mostly for his Orianna which he has mastered completely. He is so good at holding his ultimate in fights so he can zone out the enemy. Despite Roccat consisting of four Polish players they talk in English so Ryu can have a chance of understanding them. It will be interesting to see how Roccat will cope with the language barrier.

ADC - Woolite : Replacing Celaver will be the former Copenhagen Wolves' adc, Woolite. He is one of the products of Copenhagens continuing adc production. He was the shining light for CW and, with a strong support, they could be contesting for the strongest botlane in EU. Woolite is an aggressive player and will suit VandeR well. He'll be a strong replacement for the underwhelming and defensive adc, Celaver.

Support - VandeR : Vander can also be called VandeRlife, because he was definitely a playmaking support who was top two in the LCS. His Thresh is his best champion and was often banned away from him. It will be interesting to see the pairing of Vander and Woolite vs Doublelift and Aphromoo in the semifinal. He has been on the show First Blood and seems to be a really smart player.

Dignitas - Addition of two Koreans 
Gamsu, Crumbzz, Shiphtur, CoreJJ, KiwiKid

Dignitas are going into this tournament despite being behind CLG, Curse and EG, but Curse and EG didn’t have the opportunity to show up so Dignitas, with the depature of Scarra, ZionSpartan and Imaqtpie, have the chance to show off their two new Korean players.

Top - Gamsu : Gamsu is a Korean who has played with Alienware Arena in OGN Winter and also been a sub for Samsung Blue. Without knowing much about Gamsu, I am looking forward to seeing what this new player can offer to the Dignitas lineup. He has also been playing under the name loopercorn in SoloQ in NA. 

Jungle - Crumbzz : Crumbzz, for me, is an very underrated jungler in NA. He is often solid and is extremely versatile since he has played top, jungle & mid competitively. He has also been great on the analyst desk the few times he has been there. He is trying to become the shotcaller for Dignitas which is a very underrated skill. Shotcalling is very important but many seems to forget it when they rate the player. He has previously shown good performances on Elise, Vi and Lee sin. Something I think he has under his sleeve is a Kayle and maybe a Nocturne jungle pick since he has played it once before.

Mid - Shiphtur : Shiphtur came to Dignitas as a “star signing.” People had enormous expectations and in his very first game he did get a pentakill on Leblanc. This was followed by many good performance and Dignitas climbed the ranks. Their performance dropped as the split went on and they didn't do too well in play-offs. He shines on assassin champs and Ziggs.

Adc - CoreJJ : CoreJJ has been streaming a lot on twitch while playing under the name DubuKiD. Many have said that he hasn't been doing too well in soloq but that obviously isn't a big deal when you look at competitive which is a different environment. If you haven’t seen his stream I would suggest it. He is, in my opinion, a very entertaining streamer.  He previously played on Bigfile Miracle with Fusions' new midlaner, Huhi. Other than that, I don’t know much about him but will be watching him closely at IEM.

Support - Kiwikid : With the news that Dignitas was not going to be fielding Imaqtpie, people speculated if Kiwikid was still going to be on the roster. With his roleswap from toplane, he has been kind of underwhelming so far. If he could show up at IEM with huge plays on champions like Thresh, he would minimize the backlash from the community next split.

Counter Logic Gaming - Mystery
ZionSpartan, Thinkcard, Link, Doublelift, Aphromoo

Counter Logic Gaming with the most votes are going to be looking to please their fans. Fan favorite Scarra will be leading the team as head coach. 

Toplane - ZionSpartan : ZionSpartan was also one of the new signings. He is this carry style toplaner who could even pull out a Nasus pick against a Maokai for instance. CLG has a history of turning toplaners into how they want them to play though, but let's hope we can see Zion in a sidelane doing what he does best. He has, in recent vlogs, seemed really happy and has had a great attitude so it seems like he is getting along with the other players.

Jungle - Thinkcard : He has previously subbed for CLG when CLG was bootcamping in Korea. This time he is subbing as well because Xmithie had visa problems. He tried to qualify for LCS with LoLPro but wasn’t showing up in the series at all himself. He isn’t really about fancy Lee Sin kicks or anything like that but is warding the map and being the second support in that sense.

Midlane - Link : Link has been under a lot of criticism and a great way to shut them up would be to come out strong at IEM. He has also been trying to roleswap to jungle but CLG felt like keeping him mid would be the best solution available for them. He will probably be playing farm/poke heavy champions despite of a lot of assassins being strong right now.

ADC - Doublelift : Doublelift is the front of CLG and the one CLG fans value most. He also has a unique story behind him. He was kicked out from home at age 16 because he wanted to be a pro gamer, and had to live with Travis Gafford. The glory days of Doublelift seem long gone and retirement has been an area which has been discussed. He often has Vayne bans against him but always plays the meta adc otherwise. Often he can get caught off guard and be in a bad position in teamfights. With that said, he does make a good botlane with Aphromoo. He has a reputation of trash talking opponents, but for himself, I hope he doesn't trash talk Woolite because I see Woolite getting the better of him.

Support - Aphromoo : Aphromoo is the star of the botlane but often doesn’t get enough credit because his duo partner has such a big name. He is one of the most lovable guys in the scene and has grown as a player since his role swap from ADC to Support. Rush hour as the botlane pairing is called, will have a hard time against the new botlane of Roccat I believe.


Semi-finals are going to be hard to predict since we haven’t seen many of the teams in action and all of them have new players, but I believe that we might see an EU final here.

I don’t dare to predict the scores but I think that Roccat and Gambit are going to be in the final. Roccat has been sounding strong and will be trying their best to win IEM while on the other hand CLG weren’t sure if they were attending the event and have a sub as well. It wouldn’t be IEM Cologne without having Gambit in the final at least, and Dignitas took a while to get going against Aces High, which could be worrying sign.

IEM Casting line-up

Krepo, Deman, Deficio, stvicious, JoeMiller, Dexter & Sjokz

When to watch?

Saturday - December 20th

13:00 to 18:00 CET - LCS EU expansion winners match (BO5)

18:00 to 21:00 CET - Intel Extreme Masters Cologne Roccat vs CLG (BO3)

21:00 to 0:00 CET - Intel Extreme Masters Cologne Dignitas vs Gambit (BO3)

Sunday - December 21st

13:00 to 18:00 CET - LCS EU expansion decider match (BO5)

18:00 to 23:00 CET - Intel Extreme Masters Cologne final (BO5)

The IEM Cologne prize pool is 30.000$ and every team gets a bit of the cut obviously more for the higher placed teams. 

Teams that didn't make it: Also Dolphins of Wall Street & Aces High eSports Club participated in IEM but didn't make the semifinals.

Friday, December 19, 2014

EU Expansion Tournament: H2k going up against Giants for LCS spot

By Anel “Musinlol” Musinovic

With the first two days over, we head into the third day of Round 3 to see Giants and H2k face off against each other.

H2k vs Giants
Odamne, loulex, febiven, Hjarnan & Voidle vs Werlyb, Fr3deric, xPepii, Adryh & Rydle

Both H2k and Giants are this one series away from entering the EU LCS, and H2k are once again coming in as favorites for a LCS spot. Last time against Copenhagen Wolves they did fail miserably but I think they have learned their lesson. They should be showing up strong and not choking.

Giants have shown themselves to be a strong team and yesterday they 3-0’d a underwhelming Reason Gaming. Many will expect H2k to 3-0 but Giants can, in my opinion, take a game and that is why I have given it 3-1 for H2k. Giants' Fre3deric did an amazing job of snowballing lanes yesterday, but against H2k it is going to be a very hard task. H2k has superior solo lanes but the botlane of Giants can match the H2k one, therefore Adryh & Febiven are my featured players to watch.

Giants should not be focus their bans on Febiven, n!fac tried that but that failed since Febiven was dominating no matter what champion he was on. They should maybe be focusing on trying to ban out loulex and especially his Lee Sin.

Player to watch from H2k Gaming: Febiven

Febiven is the star of both the team and the whole challenger scene, so he's the obvious pick for the player to watch. He is an extremely strong midlaner and is considered one of the best in Europe. He has multiple accounts in high challenger and will be coming out strong against xPepi. xPepi has shown himself to be a good midlaner so far but he will maybe have too much on his hands this time.

Player to watch from Giants: Adryh

Adryh has had exceptional games on Jinx so far, which he seems to prefer. No other adcs seem to play Jinx at the time but Adryh definitely makes it work. It might be a champion to ban for H2k. If the Jinx is banned he often falls back on Ezreal or Lucian. In the first round of the expansion tournament, he went 9-0-8 on Jinx & 7-4-10 on Lucian when the Jinx was picked away from him. He also had great games against Millenium. Against Reason he was 7-1 twice on Jinx, and 5-4-10 on Ezreal in the last game of the series. If he can pull out these performances against H2k they might have a chance but it seems very unlikely.

Predicted score: H2k 3 - 1 Giants

The game will be played December 19th at 7:00am EST, 13:00 CET

Thursday, December 18, 2014

EU Expansion Tournament Day One Recap

By Reece "Sabrewolf" Dos-Santos 

EU kicked off their double elimination expansion bracket with Giants Gaming, who eliminated the hyped up Millenium, vs Reason Gaming who are made up of previous LCS players.

Giants executed their pick/ban strategy flawlessly removing Zed and Irelia in all 3 of the games rotating the third ban each time. For games one and two they stuck to the solid 4 champ combo of Pantheon, Jax, Jinx and Thresh while using Leblanc in game one and Azir in game two. The true key to this composition was the sheer dominance that their Pantheon pick displayed in controlling the early game and moving the game to his pace.

First bloods went to Giants in both games and Reason’s Lulu jungle pick in game one was completely steamrolled in its attempts to be relevant, often being blown up before even able to execute an ultimate on a teammate. It was particularly interesting to watch how much Kubon struggled against Werelyb at top and how much extra effort Giants invested into ganking and keeping him down. Most people expected that the giveaway of Gnar to Reason would spell trouble for Giants but they proved this doubt wrong many times throughout the course of games one and two.

Game three of the series showed a bit more life from Reason Gaming who secure first blood on Fr3deric, Kubon on Jax even manages to take a 1v1 kill on Werelyb. However the game once again snowballed out of Reason’s control as Kubon again struggled to maintain any kind of relevance.

The MVP of the series in my opinion is Giants Gaming’s Fr3deric who really set his team’s strangleholds into motion and demonstrated a map wide presence that simply couldn’t be handled by their opposition.

If the series against Millennium wasn’t enough to turn some heads towards Giants as favourites to qualify, I’m sure there will be some heads turning now.

H2K vs FAC
The second series of H2K vs N Faculty displayed the same result of a clean 3-0 crushing any hope of a reverse sweep like seen we’ve commonly in the NA expansion bracket. Unlike Reason Gaming, N Faculty had next to no sign of any kind of life during the series, LCS veteran Xaxus was unable to do anything about his team’s systematic take-down.

H2K went into the series with no particular pick/ban strategy other than removing Syndra and Leblanc from every game. N Faculty banned Xerath, Jayce and Lee in games one and two and Jayce, Ahri, Zed in game three.

The games themselves weren’t kill filled thrill rides and didn’t show off anything too flashy or special, the whole series gave off the impression that N Faculty were playing not to lose rather than to win. Barring game three with dragons, H2K displayed a heavy objective control and slowly drained out N Faculty in all areas before taking the series. There was one point where H2K took two completely uncontested towers in middle in game two, N Faculty were simply nowhere to be seen. Soz Purefect had next to no impact and paled in comparison to Febiven who took the carry seat across the series for H2K.

At times it seemed like H2K were taking the games too slow as they never really made any dynamic decisions or rushed plays. The chessboard takedown of N Faculty showed that H2K never really felt any pressure.

As mentioned above, the MVP of the series would have to go to Febiven who lived up to his hype and completely obliterated his opponent.

Giants vs H2K in the winners match looks to be an exciting series but N Faculty and Reason have a lot to work on in their series if they want to stand a chance against the loser of the winner bracket for the second LCS spot.