EU LCS Breakdown; Who Will Emerge Out of the Pack?

Six weeks of action is in the books and only a third of the spring split regular season remains. With only 6 games left for each team, the grasp over the top spot in Europe is still unclear as to which team has the tightest grip. Heading into week 7, three teams are tied at the top of the standings. There is no front-runner. There is no favorite. The race for the top spot in Europe is underway and nobody is in pole position. I’ll give a brief rundown of where teams stand and dive in a little deeper on the potential playoff teams. Here’s a look at the teams and where they stand after 6 weeks.

 

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The Bottom Four (7th-10th)

The European LCS is as wide open as it has ever been, but there is a clear gap between the six playoff teams the four teams that are locked in the cellar. ROCCAT and Giants Gaming are a lock for 9th and 10th place based on their play this season. Neither team has shown that they have what it takes to climb into playoff position and they would need lots of help to move up in the standings with only 6 games remaining. What’s the good news for ROCCAT and Giants? No Challenger team in Europe looks good enough to beat them. That’s not a compliment to those teams, but a knock on the Challenger series in Europe thus far.

Elements and Splyce will be battling for that 7th spot and a long off-season with no playoffs and no promotion series games to play. Even though there is only a two game difference between Elements and Splyce and the likes of Origen, it might as well be 10 games. Elements lack talent on their roster and can not string together wins. Splyce has continuously had poor early games each week and has been very inconsistent with their strategies. Splyce’s coach, YamatoCannon, has not molded the team into the team he visioned and they will have to end this disappointing split with mostly likely a 7th or 8th place finish. The bottom four are basically set, but their fight to avoid relegation is very much alive.

 


The Middle Pack (4th-6th)

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In the middle of the pack, we find ourselves the 2015 spring split and summer split champions Fnatic, as well as the two teams they beat in those finals, Unicorns of Love and Origen respectively. Origen sits in 6th place with a very mediocre 6-6 record. They were the favorites coming into the spring split, but the transition from xPeke to PowerOfEvil is not going as smoothly as they expected. That and Soaz continuously underperforming has resulted in the drop off from 2015 Origen to 2016 Origen. The rest of the team seems to make multiple mistake game in and game out as well. Despite all their struggles, Origen is still in the title race. They have proven to be a good best-of-5 team and will be a tough opponent in the playoffs no matter what. Their goal for the remaining 6 games should be to improve on every level and gear up for an epic playoff run.

The rulers of the 2015 European LCS have not been as good as they have hoped to be, but a 7-5 record has them poised to make a big push in the last 6 games in order to climb up from the 5th spot in the standings. The mid-season support swap from Noxiak to Klaj has not led to more success and has not fixed their inconsistency issues. Febevin has been the biggest disappointment for me on this team. He has not performed at the level we expected from him and seems to shrink when his team falls behind. Rekkles will also need to step his game up for Fnatic to move up in the standings in the last 3 weeks and make a deep playoff run.

Unicorns of Love were partying with the top 3 a week ago, but was sent to detention by Vitality last week. UOL are only 1 game back from the 3 teams in first place, which means they could very well end up at that top spot at the end of the season. Fox has played exponentially better this split then when we last saw him with SK last season. Steelback has been a monster in the bottom lane as well. And even with using 3 different junglers this season, the Unicorns have a very real chance to emerge at the end of the tunnel with an LCS title in their hands. They will need to improve their play against the top teams, but they have the ability to pull it off.


The Crowded First Place Spot (1st-3rd)

h2kbroThree teams sit at a 9-3 record and have a share of first place after 6 weeks. H2k, Vitality, and G2 Esports are all in prime position to make a run for the top spot. H2k was picked at the beginning of the split, along with Origen, to finish at the top of the EU LCS. H2k’s talent level has helped them live up to expectations thus far and climb to the top spot. They avoided falling apart with Ryu’s visa issues and now have a great shot to finish at the number one spot because of their remaining schedule. H2k will play the bottom four teams, Fnatic, and UOL in their final 6 games. H2k is 5-1 against those opponents this season and should be able to take home a minimum of 4 wins. Forgiven and Odoamne have been playing at an elite level this season and will need to continue that momentum for H2k to break their “3rd place curse” from 2015. I expect H2k to finish first or second when these next 3 weeks conclude in Europe.

Vitality is the biggest threat to H2k for the top spot on the table at the end of the season. They are the hottest team in the league and have defeated 4 out of the 5 playoff teams in their last 4 games. They also play the bottom four teams in their last 6 games along with Fnatic and a big matchup against G2 Esports. Vitality and H2k split their season series at 1-1 and could very well go to a tiebreaker in order to determine which team will end the season with the number one seed. Kasing and Hjarnan have been great in the bottom lane this season once again and Shook has turned his career around and is having his best season since 2014. Vitality will have to avoid any upset losses in the coming weeks for them to have the best chance at ending the split with the one seed. Anything worse than 2nd would be a disappointment for this team at this point.

G2 Esports don’t have the luxury of playing every bottom 4 team in the last 3 weeks, but they do have matchups against 3 of them. Games against Origen, UOL, and Vitality will make it very difficult for G2 to keep up with H2k and Vitality in the final 3 weeks. G2 has gone 1-1 in their last two weeks, but will need to get back to their 2-0 weeks that built their impressive record over the first half of the split. Perkz has been sensational in the mid lane and lived up to the hype surrounding him from the Challenger scene. Trick has been very proactive in the jungle and has helped his lanes snowball any advantages they can create. G2 Esports does scare me a little bit, but they should finish in the top four unless they collapse in the final 6 games.


At this point, the race for the number 1 seed in Europe is wide open. Who will seize their opportunity and take their team to the top of the table and earn their team that all important bye week for the first round of the playoffs? With the teams from 1st to 6th being close and competitive, the first round bye will prove to be a very important prize. I’d be scared to run into a rolling Origen or Fnatic in the first round where they have experience and have had success in the best-of-five format. The closing 3 weeks of the European LCS will be an exciting show to watch, so make sure you don’t miss out and enjoy the action.

By: Jeff “Gravy” Miskin

Twitter: @BigBagGravy