Welcome to the third week of the European LCS. Last week we saw Roccat and Alliance take the week by storm both posting strong 2-0 results, with Roccat beating Gambit Gaming, while Supa Hot Crew fell to bottom of the table, losing both of their games to a strong pairing of Roccat and Fnatic. Without further delay, let’s jump into the matches!
Thursday 30th January – 6pm GMT
(4 – 2) Gambit Gaming vs Alliance (2 – 4)
After Alex Ich and the rest of the Russian old guard fell short against Roccat in the second-place tiebreaker last week, they will certainly be aiming for a stronger showing this week, especially in their game against Fnatic on Day 2. With the surprise pick of Shen in the jungle, Diamondprox continues to show his versatility. His Stand United ganks linked up well with Darien, Edward and Alex Ich, and it was hard to argue against Gambit’s mid-game power. However, with Gambit only having picked up the first tower in 2 of their 6 games, and only picking up a total of two towers over both losses, maybe its time for the Russians to start prioritizing pushes in order to snowball their strong team cohesion.
On the other side, Alliance’s hype train has finally started to move out of the station after a good win against a busy Millenium team last week. They broadcast effective plays, with Tabzz and Nyph picking up first blood despite a gank from Araneae, and Froggen’s impressive farming ability showing once again as he rolled to 200 farm in ~20 minutes despite the early focus of Pantheon’s Mandrops on mid lane. The pan-European superteam isn’t totally out of the woods yet; questionable shot calling is still costing them favourable engages in the mid game. Nonetheless, Alliance’s team’s synergy is growing week by week, and they’re finally starting to live up to the team we all want them to be.
(5 – 1) Roccat vs Fnatic (5 – 0)
The second match is between the top 2 seeds of the EU LCS as we come into week 3, after Roccat’s display against Gambit Gaming placed them above the Russian team for the first time. Jankos’s play in the jungle has drawn plenty of praise with great play on Eve in week 1 and Olaf in week 2 in addition to his versatility on Pantheon and Lee Sin picks. His timing is immaculate when it comes to ganks (and counterganks), and with a focus on dragon throughout the game we can expect to see plenty of fighting from the Polish squad. Vander’s aggressive Thresh play in week 2 put Edward in his place– maybe there’s a new Thresh Prince in town?
What is there to say about Fnatic that hasn’t already been said? After a hugely successful season 3 they’ve picked up their favored young phenom AD carry Rekkles, and they have been stellar so far this year. With the 3 top spots for KDA and the top 2 for gold per minute going over to Fnatic, how do you stop these European giants when they can carry from any lane? YellOwstaR seems completely renewed in the bot lane as a support, and sOAZ demonstrated why he won the best top lane award in his duel with SHC’s Mimer. Not to be forgotten is Cyanide’s excellent team play throughout each game.
(1 – 5) Supa Hot Crew vs SK Gaming (2 – 4)
Both teams struggled to make an impact last week with losses in both of their games. SHC arguably had the harder opponents, being matched against Roccat and Fnatic, but there are no easy games at this level, and the teams will have to step up if they hope to make their way up the standings. SHC have a strong Marksman in MrRalleZ, who had a great showing against Roccat earlier in the split, but the team was unable to snowball this lead into a game win. I’m personally still waiting for Mimer to impress, and I’d like to see Impaler focus bot lane really hard to get MrRalleZ going, but against the experienced duo of CandyPanda and nRated they could still struggle.
SK underwent a huge overhaul coming into season 4 with the departure of captain and star player Ocelote, as well as Kev1n’s team change and Hyrqbot’s retirement. Te team has still managed to take games off Copenhagen Wolves and defeat SHC in week 1. In that game, CandyPanda went on a rampage, with a KDA of 17 as freddy122 and Jesiz refused to die even once. They’ll be looking to repeat that performance, though they probably won’t be given Kassadin this time. They have enough experience to realise that things won’t be as easy the second time around.
(3 – 3) Copenhagen Wolves vs Fnatic (5 – 0)
Copenhagen Wolves come into this week going 1-1 last week and sitting in the middle of the pack with a 50% win ratio. CowTard had a good game on Kassadin against Millenium (though he took a very long time to get going) and the team is steadily improving with a relatively new roster that is improving their synergy every week. They have strong carries, but there is a lot of pressure on Amazing to get the team rolling, especially as CowTard has struggled to play against some of the stronger mid laners in EU. We’ll have to keep an eye on the mid lane for this matchup.
This will be Fnatic’s second game of the day, the team having only played a single game last week due to Millenium being away at IEM Sao Paulo. They will certainly have taken note of Shook’s repeated Assault and Battery initiations on to CowTard in the midgame to take him out of teamfights and may focus early ganks onto mid lane to snowball xPeke. A fed xPeke is beyond scary! With Rekkles having only played two champions so far in the LCS, Jinx and Caitlyn, will we see ADC-focused bans or picks to try and force him onto less of a comfort champion?
Friday 31st January – 6pm GMT
(2 – 4) Alliance vs SK Gaming (2 – 4)
This is a game that both teams want a win in, in an attempt to recover from a lackluster start to the season. With both squads sitting on 2-4 coming into the week, a victory here– especially with SK playing again later in the day against the robust team Roccat– will set them up to challenge the top spots and attempt to guarantee their safety for the next LCS split. Picking up their first wins last week, Alliance showed that they are a team to be reckoned with, but they’ll need to keep their heads up if they end up losing to Gambit Gaming on day 1. I feel that Shook needs to pick a champion with strong CC (like Vi) in order to help snowball Froggen’s lane, while Nyph and Tabzz need to work on their early game so they’re not zoned by SK’s duo lane as they have been in previous matches.
(1 – 5) Supa Hot Crew vs CWolves (3 – 3)
This will be a new match up for this LCS, but the two qualifier teams have met before in the League Championship Series Qualifiers where the Copenhagen Wolves beat a weak SHC. Youngbuck’s Nasus, Amazing’s Lee Sin and Forg1ven’s Lucian put SHC to the sword with a dominant performance that left little chance for a comeback. With three deaths in bot lane at the five-minute mark, CW immediately set about controlling the rest of the map, winning them a 4k gold lead by the 15-minute mark that stretched to 7k at 20 minutes. Supa Hot Crew does have a new ADC in MrRalleZ, and he has put in a performance that has earned him a KDA twice that of his teammates going into week 3. SHC need to get their bot lane going if they hope to make a mark on CW.
(2 – 4) SK Gaming vs Roccat (5 – 1)
Roccat have shown that they are a team to be feared in the EU LCS. As mentioned earlier, they took a game off Gambit on their way to second in the standings; looking at Overpow’s performance last week, as he died only once in two games, you can see why. With unconventional champions such as Mordekaiser, great teamfight synergy between Xaxus and Overpow, and so far being able to take the first turret in all but their first LCS match, SK will have their work cut out for them attempting to rock the boat against EU’s rising stars. SK’s focus in this game needs to be on not dying while they grow together to become a cohesive unit. They have racked up 109 deaths so far this split, the most from any team in either the NA and EU LCS, and Svenskeren has died almost as many times as all of Fnatic, (31 compared to the 32 collective deaths of Fnatic). He was benched by NiP in 2013, but I don’t think that was a wise decision, as he’s shown some signs of returning to being the jungler he was for Copenhagen Wolves in the first split of season 3, especially in the mid game in SK’s match against Millenium. He needs to prove he can do as well on other junglers, as Vi can easily be taken away, especially by Roccat who have banned her in 4 of the 6 games they’ve played.
(4 – 2) Gambit Gaming vs Fnatic (5 – 0)
Easily one of the most anticipated games of the week, and one Riot are making us wait for, this classic match will be the final game of the week. Fnatic won the mind game in the first week with sOAZ’s surprise pick of Trundle wreaking havoc in the top lane and Gambit’s giving away an unnecessary first blood after a great ward from Fnatic spotted a sloppy invade. xPeke played brilliantly in the mid lane, completely preventing Alex Ich from snowballing on LeBlanc, and Fnatic constantly engaged Gambit while they had a numbers advantage. It was solid play on the part of Fnatic, and they continuously capitalized on Gambit’s mistakes and Edward’s reduced play while sick.
Gambit has looked a little rusty despite their strong showing in Battle of the Atlantic, but their cohesion has definitely improved with team practice. After dropping a game to Roccat last week there are cracks showing in the iron armour that will need to be sealed if they hope to challenge Fnatic for the number one spot.
What do we think, readers, can Fnatic enjoy the 3-0 week that’ll set them up for an early lead? Can Gambit go 2-0? How can SHC get their season back on track?
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This article was edited by ShiraShira.