Week One EU Summer Split
League of Legends is back! After an exciting MSI and a ton of roster changes, the EU teams are ready for Summer Split to start. Before we jump into a preview of what’s to come this week, I want to point out a couple things that are going to have a large impact on this week of professional play. First off, there’s the new “match system”. Instead of having each series be a single match, the EU LCS is switching to a best-of-2 system. In this format, if a team wins both matches in a series, they gain 3 points. However, if each team wins one match, they are each awarded with 1 point. Ranking is decided by points, so this new format rewards consistency heavily. The second big change is the recent meta shift. While matches this week will be played on the 6.10 patch, it’s no doubt that patch 6.9 shook League of Legends to its core. With huge AP itemization changes and a few reworks, champions that were once unplayable in competitive play are now viable. And of course, the addition of Elemental Dragons adds a whole new strategy of when to fight for a drake vs when to let the enemy team get it (an Infernal Dragon vs a Mountain Dragon, for example). Anyhow, here are some matches we looked out for this week. Match of the Week: Origen Vs G2 eSports The obvious standout for series of the week goes to Origen vs G2. Both of these teams have been standing strong in the EU circuit recently, and these teams have a long history together. Last season ended with an Origen/G2 Final that did not disappoint. Even though G2 won the EU Championship, they were embarrassed during MSI. Not only is G2 looking to show Origen that they deserved the title last year, they also need to prove to themselves that MSI was a fluke. Perhaps one of the most interesting headlines about this series, though, is that these teams basically traded bot laners during the offseason. Origen picked up infamous FORG1VENGRE (ADC) from H2K, in addition to the ex-G2 support Hybrid. G2 now has the well known duo Zven and Mithy, who have done incredible things for Origen. Both duos have something to prove, so this lane matchup is going to be the one to watch for this series. In the midlane, Origen’s PowerOfEvil faces G2’s Perkz. PowerOfEvil is one of the strongest mid laners in EU when it comes to mechanics, but his decision making can sometimes be questionable, so it’s important he focuses on playing smart for this series. Perkz, on the other hand, is an all-around player. While he doesn’t have the mechanics that PowerOfEvil has, Perkz is consistent and confident. Especially with the recent changes to midlaners, this matchup is sure to be exciting. In the Jungle, G2’s Trick will find himself counter-jungling Origen’s Amazing. Trick, a player from South Korea, is the most recent EU Split MVP, and for a good reason. His performance with both Graves and Kindred in the Spring Split finals left him with a respectable 3.5 KDA. (On a side note, Origen needs to do whatever they can to keep Kindred out of Trick’s hands. With the buffs to Bloodrazor in the 6.10, Kindred is even more deadly in the early game.) Amazing has his work cut out for him. Perhaps the greatest advantage that Amazing has is his diversity of champions. He plays both AP and tank junglers, so he can be flexible when it comes to champ select. The key to success for Origen comes with getting Amazing’s best champ, Gragas. With Gragas’s displacement, it would help counter the Kindred pick if it somehow manages to slip through the ban stage. Finally, the top lane boasts G2’s Kikis and Origen’s sOAZ. Both players have been playing in the professional circuit since 2011, so this matchup comes down to more than just experience. sOAZ had a forgettable Spring Split season and is sure to be looking for redemption. While he mainly plays tank champions, he may try to surprise G2 and pull out a Quinn or Fiora. Kikis’ champion rotation is mainly tank champs, with his favorite being Poppy. Poppy is definitely one of the most contested champions in the game right now, so if she gets through the ban phase, she will definitely be a first pick. Overall, this G2 vs Origen matchup will likely be the most talked about match when the week is over. Match Results: G2 Esports Victory Team Vitality vs Fnatic Fnatic is one of the oldest and most loved organizations in all of eSports, and with that age comes great results. While last split wasn’t necessarily the greatest year in Fnatic’s history, it was mainly due to the new roster. After losing big name players like Huni, Reignover, and Yellowstar, the team basically had to start from scratch. Now that the team has had a split to meld together, they’re looking at a much better season. On top of that, Yellowstar is back in a Fnatic uniform (which fits him nicer than a TSM one. He was a mess over there.) Yellowstar has always played a key role in Fnatic’s playstyle, and the team has actually never missed playoffs with him on their roster, so things are looking good for Fnatic. In sharp contrast, Team Vitality finds themselves in the position Fnatic was last season. With the recent additions of Mightybear in the Jungle and Police at ADC, the team will have to spend the first few weeks of this split getting used to each other in competitive play. Unfortunately for Vitality, these two positions are all about coordination with the rest of the team. Furthermore, this is Mightybear’s first professional League of Legends season ever. While it’s quite an accomplishment to go straight from player to pro starter, it also means that nerves are an incredibly real factor for this series. The matchup to watch in this series is definitely Nukeduck against Feviben. Nukeduck is insanely gifted mechanically, with his peak ELO being 3125 during Season 5. Ahri and Twisted Fate are his highest played champions, and neither of them are highly contended in this meta, so he should be able to play the champ he’s feeling most comfortable with when the team comp is being decided (I’m going to guess he goes with Ahri). On the other side of the Rift, Feviben is going to try his hardest to make sure Nukeduck is a non-factor. Feviben is also a very mechanic-oriented player who likes to play champs like LeBlanc, Azir, and Zed. With Azir still being a huge threat in the meta, it’s likely that if he’s not banned, we’ll see Feviben in the mid lane with Azir. This will be the lane to watch this series. Match Result: Tie H2K vs FC Schalke 04 This match is about new beginnings vs experience, and it is sure to be an entertaining one. Perhaps one of the most exciting things to happen during the offseason was the creation of FC Schalke 04. eSports are growing, and the fact that the club FC is investing in a future with eSports shows that people are taking it seriously. While Schalke is basically Elements with a new mid laner, it doesn’t take away from the excitement that this is a new team. H2K, on the other hand, is the most unchanged team in the EU this season. They only lost FORG1VENGRE, albeit a major loss for the team, but H2K is looking to win it all this season. After coming off a disappointing playoff series during the Spring Split, H2K is making sure they don’t make the same mistakes. They’re coming into this series with a chip on their shoulder, and FC Schalke 04 is in their way. The matchup to watch during this season has to be in the bot lane. FORG1VENGRE was a huge part of H2K’s team, and a lot of their team comps revolved around him. They’re going to have to figure out a way to make the new ADC Freeze feel welcome. (For those who don’t pay attention to the NA, Freeze previously played for Renegades) For Schalke 04, MrRalleZ and sprattel hope to control the bot lane and take the game for themselves. We’ll most likely see a Lucian ban (this will be the last patch that he’s too broken in), so expect to see champs like Ezreal, Caitlyn, and Sivir in this series. Match Result: Tie This season promises to be one of the most unpredictable in EU history. For coverage on League of Legends all season, stay tuned to RealSport.