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

Saturday, April 11, 2015

EU LCS Playoffs Preview : Unicorns of Love vs SK Gaming

Photo courtesy of Riot eSports

by Reece "SabrewoIf" Dos-Santos 

Order vs Chaos is the name of the game as SK Gaming faces one of the three teams to deal them a blow during their otherwise perfect split.

Time and again, the Unicorns of Love have shown that their creativity and use of "the element of surprise" is not to be trifled with. Kikis’s Udyr pick against Gambit has done a good enough job at displaying this to full effect. For the mythical creatures of friendship, statistically Fnatic was the better draw of the two as UOL are the only team to 2-0 them. However to get to Fnatic, they would have had to go through H2k, the only team to 2-0 UOL. So when it evens out, drawing SK isn't too bad. Read More...

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Preview of EU LCS Spring Split 2015 playoffs: H2k vs CW

By Anel “Musinlol” Musinovic

EU LCS playoffs begins at 17.00 tonight with H2k facing Copenhagen Wolves which will be followed by Gambit and Unicorns of Love.

H2k Gaming vs Copenhagen Wolves
Odoamne, loulex, Ryu, Hjarnan & KaSing vs Youngbuck, Airwaks, Soren, Freeze & Unlimited

The last time H2k and Copenhagen Wolves faced off in a Bo5, the Wolves sent H2k packing in a clean 3-0 sweep to keep their LCS spot. However since then they've lost their star player, Febiven, to Fnatic and acquired a new fresh support, mid laner and coach in KaSing, Ryu and Prolly. Needless to say, the change has worked amazingly for them. They've looked better and better as a team and the week that they've had is playing into their favor to develop even better strategies, etc.
     Finishing in 3rd with a 12-6 record and looking the stronger of the two, H2k will once again be going in as favorites against the 8-10 Copenhagen Wolves. Hopefully to a different outcome than the last time.

Pick and bans:

In pick and bans, H2k should focus on getting a winning match-up for Odoamne. Even though I think Odoamne could go even in a losing match-up against Youngbuck, it could work out well. I explain why in the “Player to Watch” section, so you'll have to wait for a minute to find out. 

If they want to go with a comp where they try to pick winning lanes they could also try to bring out the Nidalee, Rek’Sai or Lee Sin to have even more early game pressure. We know loulex is probably one of the biggest Lee Sin advocates and still prefers him in the changing jungle meta. The pick could work well vs a Kennen - who Copenhagen Wolves have previously played. 

They could also go with a scaling comp with the likes of a Kog’Maw and Lulu in the mid lane but I would like to see an aggressive early game comp because of their superior map play.

If H2k want to play the Sivir that they've brought out eight times, with seven of them being successful, they should try to ban out Freeze's signature Draven who has a good match-up vs Sivir. Even trying to ban out three adc’s could be a good great idea because Freeze hasn't found a single win on other champs besides Graves, Kalista & Draven.

Copenhagen Wolves:

For Copenhagen Wolves, I find it a bit more difficult because there's a lot you want to ban against H2k and the recent Jarvan nerfs might have hit them hard.

Airwaks has had eight games on Jarvan and managed five wins from them, but with the recent nerfs he has been trying out different picks such as Sejuani and Fizz - with the Sejuani being a bit better for the team in my opinion.

Getting the Sejuani pick will be important and if banned it doesn't mean that much because it leaves up other picks for his teammates. It's likely that he's practiced other tank junglers such as Nautilus, Zac & Gragas. Otherwise, he can fall back on more early game pressure junglers in Lee, Rek’Sai & Nidalee. Last time, in the promotion tournament vs H2k, he did play Gragas so he should have that as a pocket pick if needed.

The bans I would go for in Game 1 would be Leblanc, Ahri & Sivir. I’m unsure about the two mid lane bans because I feel like Ryu can shine on other champs as well but is really good on those two specifically. Also they could let the Sivir go through and pick up Draven if open. With those two assassins banned though they could go for their Cassiopeia, they’ve won three out of three games with her.

Player to watch from H2k Gaming: Odoamne

Even though the great addition of KaSing seems to be what has made them a better team I would like to go for Odoamne. Youngbuck has a lot to prove with the pressure he's been getting from the community.
     He leads the team with his shotcalling and is able to do pretty good calls when doing fine himself, but when getting behind I feel like Youngbuck can make Copenhagen Wolves’ shotcalling suffer. Also the extra pressure from community can make him believe that if he doesn't put up a great performance the wolves might be looking for other options. Therefore I would like to see a top lane pick from Odoamne that can bully Youngbuck into mistakes, deaths or just falling behind in experience.

They both have five games on Maokai despite Odoamne having way more success on it with a 100% rate while Youngbuck is sitting on a 20% win rate on him. H2k will know that could be a contested pick and might just give it over to Copenhagen Wolves and pick up the Gnar who they've played in two out of the last four games.

Gnar can be a difficult champ to play because of the rage but can be incredibly strong in teamfights and is a really good lane match-up against Maokai. Odoamne also has a 80% win rate in five games on Gnar so it is likely that he will try to pick that up.

Player to watch from Copenhagen Wolves: Soren

Soren has improved massively this season. He seems way more confident when he plays and it shows in his performance. He's been compared to other great danish midlaners and he will be one of the key players against H2k. He has had a strong Cassiopeia winning all three of his games on her.

If his main champs get target banned I'm guessing he would go for Xerath but it will be interesting to see if he has picked up recent champions such as Diana which could be great in teamfights which the Wolves have been favoring a lot this season.

Predicted score: H2k Gaming 3-1 Copenhagen Wolves

The game will be played April 4th at 11 PM EST & 17:00 CEST over at

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Friday, April 3, 2015

EU Playoff Preview: Gambit VS Unicorns of Love

by Reece "SabrewoIf" Dos-Santos

For one team, this season has been the height of consistency - never pulling away and always remaining middle of the pack with a 1-1 record against all but two teams. For the other, it was an uphill battle against what looked like another dreary season, but they ended up in their best position since 2013. For both, it was a season of hope after impressive showings at IEM’s San Jose and Cologne respectively.

The Unicorns of Love stampeded into the European scene with probably the fastest growing fan base ever seen in a recently promoted amateur team. After their victory against TSM in San Jose, Power of Evil left with 10 times the amount of Twitter followers he had entered the tournament with. While the Unicorns haven’t quite pulled off the Cloud 9/Lemondogs effect of entering the scene and winning in their first split, they've put on a hell of show and could easily become one of EU’s best and biggest brands. What’s best about watching the Unicorns is simply how fun and energized they look; the enjoyment they’re getting from their experience is easy to see in their work ethic and reflects in their results. Especially in comparison to teams like Meet Your Makers and Elements who spent a good deal of time in a bubble of despair - a bubble that led to unmotivated and zombie like repetition of basic mistakes, mistrust in calls and underperforming.

Gambit, on the other hand, has been on a recovery mission after being one of EU’s biggest names and slowly falling away into irrelevance. Just as the above mentioned teams, Gambit also started off the season in an already established bubble of despair following a terrible 2014. Although IEM success provided a good recovery point, things still started off badly and looked to be a repeat of past EU LCS results. Needless to say. however, after the benching of NiQ and the picking up Betsy, this is the healthiest Gambit squad we've seen in over a year. Diamond finally seems revived and while not quite at the level he used to display, he’s still showing signs of the same spark before he dulled. For Gambit fans it’s a relief to see a squad that, despite failing to show up at IEM Katowice, looks like it can challenge for top spots and remain stable and healthy.

The Unicorns and Gambit stand 1-1 in their EU LCS series against each other with neither wins really providing a picture of how this match-up might turn out. The first win for the Unicorns being in Week 1 and the first of Gambit’s five game slump. In this match-up, Power Of Evil was allowed to play his signature Syndra and made great use of the soon-to-be-deleted item Deathfire Grasp to seize control and carry his team. In addition, every kill in the game bar one happened on Gambit’s side of the map. The only Unicorn that didn't completely outclass his match-up was Vizicsacsi.

One the flip side, the Unicorns had just gone 2-0 in Week 8 and therefore destiny required them to balance out and go 0-2 in Week 9 where they faced Gambit for a second time. While this match was more contested and actually had map-wide kill distribution, the game fell completely into Gambit’s hands as Power Of Evil’s new tank meta Cho’Gath pick didn't quite work out how it does in solo queue. This, and then the loss to the Giants to end the week, doesn't bode well for the Unicorns coming into playoffs but they aren't a team that has shown any tilting tendencies and I still expect their A game to be on.

For me, the match-up’s to look out for are in the Mid lane and the Jungle. If Power Of Evil and Kikis can pull away from Betsy and Diamond it's more than likely that the Unicorns will be able to trample Gambit. However, if those two lanes don’t go as planned, I worry for the Unicorns’ ability to comeback as I believe Gambit have the raw skill advantage in both the bottom lane and the top lane. But, on a whole team synergy level, the Unicorns are one of, if not the best teams in the EU LCS. They’re a team with full trust and belief in each other, and such a tight level of synergy is arguably the most dangerous element in professional League of Legends gameplay.

Love hurts.

Looking forward to the semi-final place these teams are fighting for, I also think it’s the Unicorns of Love that hold the advantage in a match-up against SK Gaming. The fact that SK are an objective based team and can be easily uprooted and overturned by disruptions to their game flow falls greatly into the Unicorns’ hooves. The fast paced and sometimes spontaneous shifts in game play, often started by Kikis, are a perfect combat strategy to EU’s strongest team. This was proved in Week 6 when the Unicorns handed SK one of their 3 losses in the split.

Gambit on the other hand has trouble making a comeback when teams outmuscle them in the earlier stages. Failure to secure dragons, barons and any more than 5 towers is also a dangerous habit among their losses. SK are the only team to 2-0 Gambit this split and I can’t see that trend changing in the playoffs, SK play Gambit’s game better.

Game prediction: Unicorns of Love 3-1

I believe in dark horses, and horned ones too.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Roccat Cool Off Supa Hot Crew, Advance to Face Fnatic

By Matt “It’s Pure Luck” Lee

It had been a rough Summer Split for Roccat following their surprising performance from the Spring, in which they finished in third place. It was a split full of ups and downs that saw them start off with a dismal record of 1-7, only to claw back to .500 at 10-10 after Week Eight. But they couldn't keep up the momentum they had gained and Roccat dropped six of their final eight games to finish the season in sixth place with a record of 12-16. Heading into playoffs, they were dangerously close to the dreaded relegation matches. 

Now they needn't worry about it anymore.

Roccat managed to eliminate the young and upstart Supa Hot Crew in fairly easy fashion, taking the Best of Five series in four games. With the win, not only does Roccat avoid the possibility of being sent to the LCS promotion tournament, they keep their dreams of qualifying for the World Championship alive and will now have two cracks at achieving it. Supa Hot Crew, meanwhile, have to beat Millenium next week in the fifth place match if they want to dodge participating in their second straight promotion tournament. It would be a disappointing finish for a team that showed so much improvement from the Spring Split where they finished in seventh place.

And yet, watching this series, it looked as if Roccat were the third seed and Supa Hot Crew the sixth. Roccat seemed to come into this set of games incredibly well prepared, and it showed right away in the picks and bans of the first game. They let Kassadin slip through during the banning phase, seemingly knowing that Supa Hot Crew would first pick it, and Roccat was ready as they opted to run the Morgana and Elise pick comp to retaliate. It paid off massively for them. Jankos was able to put out a ton of lane pressure early, and at 8:05, they were able to drop the top turret of Supa Hot Crew. Just a bit over two minutes later the mid turret also fell, along with a dragon for Roccat.

Perhaps the biggest moment of this game came at 15:40. Roccat were able to turn an attempted initiate from Supa Hot Crew back around and pick up first blood when the fight was five versus four in favor of SHC. That fight illustrated the power of the team comp Roccat assembled, despite being one person down while it happened. Vander managed to get a black shield onto himself and avoided being knocked into the air by the Nami ultimate. At just about the same time, Jankos managed to land a cocoon on Mimer to prevent the Renekton dive into the team. From here it goes horribly wrong for Supa Hot Crew as Xaxus teleports in, and they start to scatter a bit in panic knowing their initiate didn't go as planned. Roccat immediately annihilate Selfie with a dark binding chained into an Alistar head butt and pulverize combo. Following this fight, despite only having one kill, Roccat already had a 4.5k gold lead at just over sixteen minutes. Supa Hot Crew was never able to recover from this point. Roccat methodically put the game away in slightly over thirty-five minutes to take a 1-0 series advantage.

In Game Two, Supa Hot Crew attempted to adjust and this time they banned Elise away from Jankos and grabbed Morgana themselves after Roccat first picked Maokai. Early on, things were looking great for SHC. They managed to pick up three kills in the first ten minutes and Impaler was far more active on Rengar than he had been on Kha’Zix the previous game. Yet, as well as they looked early on, the game turned around at just under twenty-one minutes. Holding a slight gold lead of five-hundred at that point, SHC tried to go to the well one too many times. Twice already they had snuck MrRalleZ up to the top lane along with Impaler to get multiple kills on Roccat. The third time wasn't the charm as they had poor ward coverage in the river and never saw Jankos was there along with Celaver and Vander. They were able to kill Vander, but Jankos had a great cataclysm that prevented any members of Supa Hot Crew from getting to Celaver, who picked up a double kill.  All of the sudden, Roccat had the gold lead and the baron buff. They wasted no time with baron as before it had worn off, they pushed bottom lane and won one final fight, ending the game before it was even twenty-six minutes old.

Game Three saw Supa Hot Crew pick up their first and only win of the series in what was a long and drawn out battle. Once again, SHC looked good early as MrRalleZ was able to get a few picks on Twitch for the second game in a row. It might have been nerves due to their season being on the line, but Supa Hot Crew did almost nothing with this early lead. At the 28:40 mark, Jankos and Xaxus picked off Mimer top lane, but in return, SHC was able to pick up the dragon. Fifteen minutes later, despite having picked up the only baron of the game and four of the six dragons, SHC was only ahead by one outer turret and their gold lead was starting to mean less and less. And after a baron steal by Jankos in the forty-seventh minute, it looked as if Supa Hot Crew could be in real trouble as their lead dwindled away. It got worse for the Supa Hot Crew in the fifty-sixth minute. Selfie had a poor Orianna ultimate that only hit Xaxus, and Roccat won the resulting team fight as well as another baron pick up. Selfie would ultimately redeem himself, however. In the final fight of the marathon game, he hit a three person shockwave that allowed Supa Hot Crew to pick up two important kills and push through the nexus turrets for the sixty-seven minute win to avoid being swept.

It was far from a convincing defeat, and Roccat quickly adjusted for game five, as they smartly banned Orianna away from Selfie. One has to question the picks by Supa Hot Crew on the turn after Roccat first picked Maokai; by taking Ryze and Tristana they left both Elise and Morgana open for Roccat who immediately locked them in. Once again, Jankos was helping with an early turret push, this time down in bottom lane as they took down the first turret of the game. Kasing committed a big no-no as he was caught window shopping and Overpower managed to pick up first blood on him right after the turret fell with a long range Ziggs ultimate.

As the game went on, it just felt like Roccat was dictating the terms and the pace; they were being proactive and Supa Hot Crew was being reactive. The fifteenth minute mark of the game is the perfect example of this. Supa Hot Crew sent three people top to get a kill onto Xaxus while Roccat took dragon followed by the bottom lane outer turret. Supa Hot Crew didn't even manage to take the top turret down, and now the gold lead for Roccat swelled to almost 4.5k at sixteen minutes.

It wasn't until the game was in the twenty-first minute that it began to spiral out of control. Despite Celaver having a trinity force on Corki, which is stronger than a mid-game infinity edge Tristana, SHC took a fight in the river near dragon and lost three members. Roccat went on to do baron and managed to get two more picks growing their gold lead to almost 7.5k. The strength of the comp Roccat was running was on display while they were pushing and sieging turrets down mid. Even the beefier targets like Braum and Dr. Mundo were easily dropped if they were hit by a cocoon or dark binding.

Roccat did make a few mistakes as they were trying to close the game out. Impaler managed to sneak a baron steal and Jankos was picked off carelessly in mid. It allowed Supa Hot Crew to cut the gold deficit to around six-thousand, but in the end, it was too little, too late. Once again the cocoon and dark binding chain crowd control combo caught onto Mimer as Roccat was trying to break through the last defense of SHC, pushing down the middle inhibitor. After a chaotic fight where the remaining Supa Hot Crew members desperately attempted to defend the nexus turrets and the nexus itself, Roccat was able to destroy the nexus and take the series 3-1.

It’s hard to say for sure, but Roccat seem to have found their rhythm at an opportune time. They looked much better than the team we saw struggle all summer to close out games where they had leads. In this series, they were quick and decisive in what they wanted to do when they were ahead, and Supa Hot Crew was never able to rise to their level. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

European LCS Week 10 Power Rankings

by Matt “It’s Pure Luck” Lee

Welcome to my European LCS power rankings! While it’s perhaps a bit late in the season to start doing this as we head into our final week, it’s one of the most enjoyable debates that can be had when talking about the LCS.  First let’s take a look at the criteria teams will be judged on:

It’s not just your record that determines your ranking. Just because you have a better record than another team does NOT necessarily mean you are better in my eyes.  The proverbial “eye test” is incredibly important. Are you winning games narrowly or convincingly? Did you go 2-0 in a week where you trailed in both games but the other team made massive mistakes and it allowed you to come back? How a team looks is very important.
Results from the past few weeks.
General trends of a team’s performance vs upper-echelon opponents in the league. Playing well vs the top tier teams is obviously more impressive than crushing the bottom three constantly.
A team’s performance historically. This will weight a bit less, but a team like Fnatic will get more of a pass when they are struggling a bit than someone like the Copenhagen Wolves will.

With that defined, let’s take a look at the rankings!

1) Alliance (18-6) – This one really won’t come as any surprise. After a minor setback in losing four straight during Weeks Seven and Eight, Alliance has come back very strong and won four in a row. The win over red-hot Fnatic was particularly impressive as Rekkles and friends had been destroying everything in their path on the back of an eight game win streak. It wasn't the cleanest of wins as it took fifty-two minutes, but they played it safe, knowing a win all but guaranteed them the top spot in the final standings.

2) Fnatic (16-8) – Fnatic saw their eight game win streak snapped vs Alliance on day one last week. It didn't faze them much, though, as they took down a good Millenium team on the second day. One could make a case for Fnatic being in the top spot and they might have a point. They sit at 9-1 in their last ten games and they weren't narrowly winning these for the most part. Fnatic had been decimating their opposition ever since Week Seven. Ultimately, Fnatic posting a 1-3 record vs Alliance gives Alliance the slight nod.

3) Millenium (13-11) – Millenium have been playing fairly well lately, picking up four wins in their last six games after scuffling a bit during Super Week.  As usual for them, the catalysts continue to be Kerp and Creaton. Creaton has been outstanding the last three weeks, posting a KDA of 10.25. Kerp has continued to show his Twisted Fate pick is to be feared, and he even managed to pull out a surprise pick in Zilean last week and played it very well.  If Millenium continues to progress their style and show they can play more than a pick based team at a high level, they have a very high ceiling with the talent that is on the team.

4) Supa Hot Crew (14-10) – Much like Millenium, Supa Hot Crew sits here with an outside chance at possibly grabbing that two seed and getting a bye in the playoffs. More than likely though, they will end up fighting it out for the three seed. The upcoming game between SHC and Millenium on Thursday could very well decide who does grab that spot; a loss by the Crew there would drop them to 1-3 vs Millenium on the split. While MrRalleZ tends to be considered the best player on this team, you could make a case that the most important is Selfie in the mid lane. We saw it this past week as he had a terrific KDA of 13.5 in playing Ahri both games. Consistent play from him should see positive results for SHC in the future and at the least a shot at Worlds in the third place game.

5) Roccat (11-13) – Roccat continue to be one of the most (if not the most) puzzling teams in the European LCS. They managed to pull their record back to .500 after they had an impressive run between Weeks Four and Eight, where they won nine of their twelve games.  And then in Week Ten, they promptly managed to go 0-2, and it was to two teams very close to them in the standings, Millenium and the Supa Hot Crew.  Celaver and Xaxus in particular have had a difficult time this split. Celaver currently has the sixth best KDA among AD carries in Europe, while Xaxus is seventh among top laners. Jankos has been a bright spot for the team, and as he goes the team tends to go. His teammates will need to step up if they wish to avoid facing relegation in the promotion tournament.

6) SK Gaming (12-12) – SK finally ended the free fall they had been in by defeating Roccat last week, though it wasn't easy for them to close that game out. That game itself showed where the confidence level of SK is right now; they had a massive lead early on and gave Roccat every shot to get back into it. They simply have not looked like the same team from the first six weeks of this split, or the one from all of spring. They sit at 3-7 in their last ten games; many of them decisive victories for their opponents. Looking even further into it, two of those three wins came in Super Week vs Gambit and the Copenhagen Wolves, both of whom are a mess. Many claims around SK the last split and even early on in this one were that they didn’t have great individual talent and mechanics, but great teamwork through the mid and late game. It might be the time where the lack of mechanical ability in comparison to their opponents is catching up to them.

7) Copenhagen Wolves (7-17) – The Wolves are not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but the chances are minimal, as one win by Roccat or one loss by the Wolves puts Roccat in the playoffs and sends the Wolves to the promotion tournament.  They had managed to put two decent weeks back to back in Weeks Eight and Nine, going 3-1 in their four games. Last week however, the wheels fell off the wagon. They were dispatched fairly quickly by Millenium in a game that only took 31:23, and then were defeated by Alliance in what was possibly the most lopsided game in the EU LCS this year.  The Wolves can avoid the dreaded eighth place finish if they beat Gambit this week, or if they win one game and Gambit lose at least two.

8) Gambit Gaming (5-19) – While Gambit was definitely on a downward trend toward the end of the spring split, it would be hard for many people to say they saw this coming. They sit two games behind the Wolves for the seventh place spot with only four games left, so it’s likely Gambit end the season in last place. The twist of fate there would be the possible date vs Ninjas in Pyjamas and Alex Ich in the promotion tournament. The team as a whole simply does not look to be LCS caliber at this moment. The benching of Darien hasn't helped at all, and Diamond looks even worse since he was put back into the starting lineup. In fact, Diamond has a line of 3/17/7 since he was reinstated as a starter. At this point in time, it’s hard to imagine Gambit will retain their spot in the LCS with the way they are playing.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

An Interview with Joey "YoungBuck" Steltenpool

Interview and Foreword by Andy L. Bloodvayne

   The age old adage, "third time's a charm," definitely holds true for Dutch professional League of Legends pro, Joey "YoungBuck" Steltenpool. After flirting with the LCS on his previous teams, Mousesports and Samurai in Jeans, the charismatic top-laner finally acquired a roster that made it into the 2014 spring season of the EU LCS with the Copenhagen Wolves.  
   YoungBuck's team, PrideFC, was picked up by the Wolves with current teammates Unlimited and cowTard, as well as familiar EU LCS faces Shook and Rekkles. For the lack of a better word, their roster shred through the amateur scene, taking first in tournaments such as DreamHack, Gamescom, and the amateur tournament for IEM Cologne. When the team lost both Rekkles (to Fnatic) and Shook (to Alliance,) they acquired Amazing and FORG1VEN, two members who would later be considered breakout stars in the most recent season of the EU LCS.
   Though finishing with a 13-15 record at the end of the season, the standings were incredibly close - with first through sixth place being separated by just a handful of games. YoungBuck delivered an impressive performance during the Spring Playoffs, including an extremely tight series with both Alliance and Gambit, but ultimately the Wolves fell into the sixth place slot, becoming the final team to enter into the Summer Promotions (to be held later this week.)
   While his team's LCS slot is on the line, YoungBuck has tasted the big leagues, and he's determined to train harder than ever to preserve his seat and prove that his team is more than capable of taking on the EU LCS juggernauts.


Hi YoungBuck. I'd like to thank you for taking time out of your schedule to do this interview. Everyone at LCS Central is a big fan of yours. I want to start off by congratulating you on finishing up the Spring Split of the EU LCS. Regardless of how you finished, you and your team made it to the end and looked impressive against favorites like Alliance and Gambit Gaming.

Before entering the LCS, it's almost an understatement to say that you and your team dominated the amateur scene, taking first at DreamHack Summer, Gamescom, and IEM Cologne; how has the transition from the amateur circuit to the LCS been like? Did a part of you expect your dominating performances to transfer over against the professional teams?

- We did expect to be a top tier team and especially to be the best new team in LCS but we ended up being a mid-tier team, which wasn't bad but was far from what we expected. The transition wasn't easy and I think the biggest part was that playing tournaments in challenger scene allowed us to peak at the right moment whereas LCS is all about consistency, which we definitely lacked.

What's been the hardest thing to overcome (as a team/as an individual) in these past few months?

- We had a lot of problems with throwing games even though we had huge leads in the early game, it took us several weeks to plug the holes but even now they still happen from time to time.

How does your role as captain come into play and how does it affect you? I know you mentioned that you take care of things like scheduling, but is there more? Do you feel any extra pressure to be a guiding light for your team when morale is low? Do you play a part in shot calling?

- I'm just the guy who schedules scrims and has the final say in important decisions outside the game. I do a lot of champion select work but I don't do much shot calling inside the actual game, which is mostly done by Unlimited.

Considering that being a professional League of Legends player is stressful (with scrims, spamming solo queue, theory crafting, etc.), is there anything you like to do in your free time to unwind and relax? What makes Joey Steltenpool happy when Youngbuck has exhausted himself?

- Working out in the gym makes me happy and it's my number one way to clear my mind. It also helps that it's one of the rare moments in a week where I'm on my own just doing my thing and not having to put much thought into the game.

Let's get back to the LCS. While you could say that you were a “middle of the pack” team, as per usual, the final score between the teams was relatively close. Why do you think the adage, “Every team in the EU LCS can beat each other,” rings true? Do you think the margin of strength between teams was really that close or do you think inconsistency plagues the EU teams?

- For the first time in EU LCS history the LCS actually has the top 8 teams in it, that means that the level of play is a lot higher and that anyone has a chance to win any match at any given time.

In a recent episode of Summoning Insight, Montecristo mentioned that the top NA teams (C9, TSM, and CLG) are stronger than the top EU teams (without knowing for sure who they are exactly) because they seem to have a better grasp of the meta/strategy and EU's tendency for oddball picks (e.g. your Heimerdinger), do you agree?

- I think the top 3 teams of NA can compete with the top 6 in Europe but only C9 could break the top 3. Individual levels on EU teams are all around very solid whereas most teams, even CLG and TSM have individual weaknesses.

How has the 4.5 patch treated you? Did the various changes make a dent in the tanky top lane meta? Ryze has had a resurgence and Soaz's Lulu has seen better success, do you see any other possible AP champs that may pop up in competitive play?

- I like the new meta and the variety in picks for top lane a lot, the one champ we might see a comeback from is Vladimir, I love playing him and will play him every game in which the match-up is favorable.

Returning to the last few weeks, how were preparations going into the playoffs? You mentioned that you were all confident going into your match against Alliance (took the first game and had a sizeable lead in game two), what particularly were you confident about?

- We knew everything about them since they weren't hiding their picks or strategies and it showed off in the first map, we just allowed ourselves to make stupid mistakes in the heat of the moment that lost us the other two maps.

What about Gambit? Did you foresee them dropping into the 5th place match considering they normally place top 4 at online events? How was it preparing for them?

- It was very unexpected. We went through a lot of playoff scenarios to start scouting our opponents but not a single scenario had us facing Gambit in the 5th/6th place decider match. Being number five in Europe doesn't say that much since the top teams are just too close to each other in skill level to really call one team better than the other with the exception of Fnatic being the best.

The EU Spring season is now officially over and your team placed sixth, which means you will play in the Summer Promotion tournament against Denial eSports. Have you guys started thinking about that match yet? Any particular reason you picked Denial?

- They had a very weak performance on LAN which suggests that they are inexperienced and might crumble under the pressure. On top of that they also have individual weaknesses that we can exploit and lack the team-play that challenger teams like NiP and C9 do have.

In your opinion, what was the most important thing you learned after your first season in the LCS?

- The most important thing is to have a team that works as a unit especially outside of the game. If five people are on good terms then any problem can be solved easily. Individual skill levels are so close that they often aren't a deciding factor in wins. Teamwork and synergy is almost everything.

To close out this interview, do you have any advice to the aspiring amateur teams that are hoping to make it into the LCS?

- Train hard and consistently and be ready to make sacrifices because the LCS comes with a lot of them.

Again, I'd like to thank you for the interview and congratulate you on a job well done. I'm sure you'll prove to everyone that the Copenhagen Wolves deserve to keep their LCS spot in the upcoming Summer Season.

Victorious YoungBuck hugs ex-teammate Rekkles after a win against Fnatic.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Fnatic: Taking the Erratic Road to Victory

EU Spring Split Champions, Fnatic, could be the poster boys for those cheesy inspiration photos you find hanging in cubicle-laden offices, with words like 'Dedication,' 'Determination,' and 'Perseverance' peppered beneath their faces. During Season Four, the teen idol team was like a runaway mine cart, careening wildly along a track that ran from soaring peaks to hellish pits in the span of just two months. But they had seen the sunrise from the top of the mountain, and they knew it was where they belonged.

Fighting their despair, the diligent young men of Fnatic dug deep into their souls - refusing to buckle under pressure or fight and blame each other. They attacked and climbed the sheer cliff ahead of them first with their fingertips, then with their hands, then with their iron fists, taking back what they knew was theirs. And when the dust cleared, it was almost inappropriate that they regained their crown with a surrender - because as this split of the EU Spring series showed, surrender was the one thing Fnatic refused to do.   

Congratulations Fnatic! You earned your win in every sense of the word. 


EU LCS Finals Prediction by Jeremy “Ne0 Jets” Heimann

Fnatic (17-11) vs SK Gaming (18-10) 
                                                                 Season series won 3-1 by SK Gaming

     Fnatic is LCS Royalty. Winners of both the Spring and Summer Playoffs in 2013 and close runners-up at IEM Katowice 2014, Fnatic started the split going 7-0 and looked like the team to beat. Then they lost eight in a row and their place among the top contenders was in serious jeopardy. The team was able to recover and finished strong with a  record of 10-3 coming down the stretch. The team is very experienced in the playoffs save for Rekkles, the boy wonder.
     Rekkles, at the age of 16, was a huge part of Fnatic defeating CLG EU and winning Winter Dreamhack 2012. Rekkles is fearless out on the rift  - making plays that are usually setup by his support Yellowstar. The bottom lane combo has been deadly this season. Former ADC Yellowstar knows the ins and outs of the role and has great  synergy with Rekkles. Mid lane doesn't require much introduction. It is Fnatic's own Xpeke, famous for his back door Kassadin play. He doesn't run teleport mid much anymore, but teams still strive or fail based on how the center of  the map is going. Xpeke led the whole of EU LCS in kills this split with 125 total kills. Patch 4.5 hasn’t been so kind to Xpeke having his most played champion Gragas nerfed hard. Champions I see him aiming to get in champ select are Leblanc, Nidalee and Orianna.
     Top lane Soaz has one of the deeper champion pools and he isn't afraid of anyone. He does his job time and again. His top lane Lulu came up huge in the semifinals and he isn't scared to play anything top. He also likes playing Trundle against tanky tops so whatever Freddy122 comes up with he will have an answer for. In the jungle is Cyanide. He has a lot of games on Elise this season. He also plays Lee Sin and Vi. I don’t expect any target bans thrown his way. He has been a very solid jungler for some time, but he needs to be a play maker more.

     SK Gaming wasn't expected to finish at the top of the spring season. Many predicted them to be near the bottom of the league. They were also pushed to their limits during regulations by Supa Hot Crew. N-rated has been on fire lately in the support role - setting up most of what SK does in lane and in team fights. SK is team-oriented, living or dying with what the team does as a whole and not individually. A weakness I could see is in mid lane, Jesiz. Twelve of his eighteen wins are on three champs: Ziggs, Nidalee and Orianna. He has tried to learn new champs such as LeBlanc, but has had mixed results when he is forced off his comfort picks. A strategy could be to ban those three champs and force him onto something he isn't comfortable with.
     Freddy122 has been a beast with the tanky top meta. He has an impressive five out of five wins on Trundle. Svenskeren has impressive win rates with Eve, Pantheon and Elise. With the recent Pantheon nerfs, I don’t see him looking that way. Eve and Elise will be high priority. I don’t think he would care which one he got as long as it was one of the two. Candypanda’s Vayne gets banned out a lot, but he has nearly identical win rates on Lucian and Jinx. He laughs at the Vayne bans because it does not hurt him or his team at all.

Prediction: Fnatic wins a close series 3-2. Experience in the playoffs will tilt the series.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Tuesday April 15
EU LCS Spring Playoffs - Quarterfinals

11:00am est Alliance vs Copenhagen Wolves
1:00pm est Roccat vs Gambit

Best of 3 Series


Wednesday April 16
EU LCS Spring Playoffs - Semifinals

11:00am est Fnatic vs Alliance
1:00pm est SK Gaming vs Roccat
4:00pm est for fifth place - Gambit vs Copenhagen Wolves

Best of 3 Series


Thursday, April 17
EU LCS Spring Playoffs - 3rd Place
11:00 am TBA v TBA
Best of 3 Series

EU LCS Spring Playoffs - Finals
1:00pm TBA v TBA
Best of 5 Series

*All times are Eastern Standard Zone  GMT -5