Can you believe it’s already time for Week 4? We start with the same table standings we ended week 1 with but there are some big match ups this week, including another Fnatic-Roccat game, and there’s still all to play for as the teams search for that top spot.
Thursday 6th February 6pm GMT
(7 – 1) Fnatic vs Alliance (2 – 6)
Kicking off the week we have a game between steady top seed Fnatic and the regretfully last-place Alliance. Fnatic had an exhausting week, playing games against tough opponents ROCCAT, Copenhagen Wolves, and Gambit Gaming. All three games proved to be incredibly entertaining, even the loss against Gambit. Fnatic’s style of play (highlighted here by Joshua ‘Jatt’ Leesman) is calculated but aggressive, as the team takes only takes risks outweighed by the potential rewards and capitalizes on enemy teams that don’t have the co-ordination necessary to react to their odd brand of aggression. If you watch Fnatic closely as Jatt has, they excel at turning fights from a 1v1 or 2v1 into a 3v1 or 4v2 in Fnatic’s favour and then pushing this advantage into objectives whether they’ve got the kill or not. This tendency is the origin of Fnatic’s reputation for good rotations.
Conversely, Alliance looked lost last week. I expected them to put up a much better showing against SK Gaming (one of the weaker teams at that point) but it’s not just a single problem that the team are having. Teams are learning to focus Froggen and make his life a misery, both in the laning phase and in the teamfights that follow but Alliance are making it hard for themselves. In the match against SK, Froggen ostensibly won his lane, but failed to roam and work with his team in the transition to midgame, and it cost his teammates. Shook missed many crucial Sonic Waves during the match with SK, leading many of his ganks nowhere and in fact opening up opportunities for Svenskeren to countergank or make definitive plays elsewhere on the map (often at dragon).
Alliance’s pick and ban phase against Gambit was poorly exeuted. They allowed Gambit to first pick Kha’Zix, and Alex put them to the sword by picking up first blood on Froggen and then roaming his way to a 6/2/0 game, getting two kills on a stranded top lane Wickd. They need to focus this week on helping Tabzz and Wickd snowball (or at least, not lose) their lanes and take some pressure away from Froggen, in addition to Shook expanding his champion pool so he’s not banned out so easily. However, we all know this won’t be an easy game against Fnatic, who have something to prove after a loss to Gambit.
Lane to watch: Mid; xPeke vs Froggen – With Froggen being focused by many junglers in previous match ups, expect to see plenty of action in the mid lane.
(2 – 5) Millenium vs ROCCAT (5 – 3)
Millenium were away at IEM Sao Paulo last week and were able to win the tournament with a victory over PaiN Gaming in the final. South American teams aren’t quite yet at the level of the European LCS, but Pain did manage to knock out oceloteWorld, Ocelote’s team, on their way to the final. Millenium will be looking to bring their momentum from the tournament win into a strong start to the week, as they play three times this week instead of the usual two, and meet the hungry players on ROCCAT.
ROCCAT played two games last week, against Fnatic and SK Gaming, but they were unable to pick up a victory in either match. They made some incredible plays against Fnatic and their reaction to YellowstaR’s Flash initiation onto Jankos under their own turret is something that defines them as one of the better teams in this split’s LCS. After bursting down sOAZ’s Mundo, which was no mean feat, they continued a push out of the base against a Baron-buffed Fnatic and picked up 4 kills. Although they lost Celavar to xPeke, a move that potentially cost ROCCAT an inhibitor, just having the decision making to venture out in a chase allowed them to continue battling for a potential victory. Their nail-biting game against top seed Fnatic, in which neither team made a mistake for a very long time, brands ROCCAT as a top-tier team this split– not that their placement on the scoreboard disagrees.
Lane to watch: Jungle; Araneae vs Jankos
(3 – 5) CWolves vs Gambit Gaming (6 – 2)
The Wolves didn’t have much luck last week; they only had themselves to blame after a loss to Supa Hot Crew. They failed to properly respect SHC’s bot lane, allowing Migxa and MrRalleZ to put in a brilliant display and carry SHC to the win. It’s disappointing that Youngbuck didn’t make more of the Trundle vs Mundo match up in the top lane, but they did manage to set up a single 4-man Wombo Combo that opened an alleyway back into the game for them. At that point, it was too little, too late, and a desperation 3-man Baron attempt lost them the game.
Gambit’s performance in Week 3 was almost perfect for them. They picked up two decisive victories: their stomp against Alliance and the uproarious victory over the previously undefeated Fnatic. In that game, Gambit (despite giving up first blood and another kill besides at the start of the game) were able to outplay Fnatic, taking advantage of the weak frontline in Fnatic’s composition.
ROCCAT’s loss to SK Gaming has placed the Russians in second place. Gambit will be looking to get Alex snowballing once again as he has a huge impact on the game once he gets ahead and can capitalize by picking on cowTard, who has died more than any other mid laner in the entire LCS. As long as Gambit doesn’t botch their picks/bans, they should have this match in hand.
Lane to watch: Mid; cowTard vs Alex Ich – I know I’ve picked on cowTard a bit in the past but he needs to beat Alex in lane if the Wolves are to have a chance of defeating Gambit.
(3 – 5) Supa Hot Crew vs Millenium (2 – 5)
Mimer fell under heavy criticism previously for a lackluster performance, but he has since stepped up his play and with an impressive KDA of 19 has shown exactly why he deserves a place in the EU LCS. Supa Hot Crew put on a great performance in Week 3, picking up two victories in must win games against SK Gaming and Copenhagen Wolves, showing that they might not be the pushovers they were previously considered. I’d still like to see improvement from Moopz, whose Gragas play hasn’t been all that impressive despite stealing a dragon. He’s a little too haphazard with his ultimate at times and has the fewest kills of any mid laner in the EU LCS– but he is drawing bans against him.
Millenium’s second game of Day 1 pits them in a game with Supa Hot Crew who will be riding high after a 2-0 last week. Millenium need to be wary of Supa Hot Crew’s bot lane after MrRalleZ and Migxa took Copenhagen Wolves to the cleaners last week. Personally, I’m looking for Kev1n to get rolling in the top lane and then becoming a tanky beast to get into MrRalleZ’s face in the early teamfights.
Lane to watch: Top; Mimer vs kev1n
Friday 7th February 6pm GMT
(4 – 5) SK Gaming vs CWolves (3 – 5)
With two wins in three games last week, SK gaming have boosted themselves up to 4th in the standings. With just two wins separating them from 8th place Alliance, though, they’ll need a victory here if they want to catch up to ROCCAT. CandyPanda’s Vayne was truly a pleasure to watch last week, especially his perfectly timed flash to save himself from certain death after Overpow’s Gragas appeared from the jungle, but just how much longer can he be relied on to carry the team?
I’m not sure exactly what SK were doing against Supa Hot Crew last week as they continually underestimated Pantheon’s ultimate in the mid game. I personally want to see more from Jesiz and freddy122. They both have the capability to carry games, especially from Freddy who currently has the most kills of any top laner in the EU LCS.
Lane to watch: Bot; CandyPanda & nRated vs Forg1ven & Unlimited
(3 – 5) Supa Hot Crew vs Gambit (6 – 2)
Supa Hot Crew face off against Gambit for the second time this split, having lost hard in week one. They managed to wrest First Blood, the first dragon and the first tower from Gambit Gaming but ultimately went on to lose the game despite Moopz picking up 393 CS. I think they are missing something when it comes to Kassadin bans, and it might be because Moopz can’t play the champion. They’ve first banned Kassadin in 6 out of the 8 games they’ve played, and in the one game he wasn’t banned (against SK in Week 1) he utterly stomped SHC. I’m not sure if its wise to force Moopz to pick up Kassadin, especially as he’s been banned in 59 of the 64 LCS games so far this split, but having to ban Kassadin every game is costing SHC tactically.
This is certainly an easier week for Gambit this time around. However, as has been said repeatedly, there are no easy games at this level and with SHC’s and Gambit both focusing heavily on Dragon, this match up will be defined by objective control. Bot lane is my featured match up for this game, as I think MrRalleZ and Migxa have the ability to bully Genja and Edward, and it will be interesting to see whether Diamond focuses bot lane in order to nullify the threat and then try to convert this dominance into pressure on dragon. Bans against Gambit last week were split between Fnatic focusing Alex and Alliance taking away Mundo and Lee Sin, on top of the obligatory Kassadin ban.
Lane to watch: Bot; MrRalleZ & Migxa vs Genja & Edward
(7 – 1) Fnatic vs ROCCAT (5 – 3)
Is it my birthday, or has Christmas come early this year? Fnatic against ROCCAT was probably game of the week last week and i’m looking forward to a similar spectacle with back and forth teamfights. Overpow’s Pantheon had a weak laning phase against xPeke’s Orianna in the last outing but more than made up for it later in the game. With both teams gunning for first place in the split, and Gambit also in the mix, neither will want a loss especially ROCCAT who could see themselves fall to mid table.
ROCCAT had a bit of a wobble last week with a loss against SK when they dropped their objective heavy playstyle. They picked up 7 of 9 dragons in Week 2 but didn’t get a single dragon against SK Gaming, and were then beaten into a pulp by CandyPanda’s Vayne. They might want to consider a ban for Annie, as they’ve lost to Annie every time they’ve faced her.
Lane to watch: Mid; xPeke vs Overpow – Has Overpow got any other picks up his sleeve besides his beloved Kayle, or is it worth revisiting Mordekaiser?
(2 – 6) Alliance vs Millenium (2 – 5)
The final game of the day is a bottom of the table scrap between Alliance and Millenium, both teams desperately needing wins. They have met each other in the LCS once before with Alliance coming out on top.
Alliance have a lot to prove to criticism coming in on every member of the team, however; I feel Nyph needs to play Leona to attempt to get some confidence back for the team. He showed great synergy with Wickd and Shook when it came to teamfights and the aggressive front line allowed Froggen and Tabzz some freedom at the back and the team was able to shine as a group. Against a Millenium team coming back to Germany with the confidence of a tournament win in their back pocket, Alliance won’t be counting their gold until the nexus is down.
Millenium’s final game of the week will bring them level on games with the rest of the league and will allow us to see a true picture of the league standings. I was surprised that Millenium lost the previous match against Alliance as I personally believed they played better throughout most of the game but they made a couple of mistakes that lead to Alliance getting back into the game. I wasn’t convinced by kev1n’s Shen, despite going 1/0/3, because he lacked the staying power and damage of Mundo or Shyvana that would’ve allowed them to cause problems for Alliance’s back line.
Lane to Watch: Mid; Froggen vs Kerp – If Millenium can’t shut down Froggen, or at least stop him farming, then he can cause problems later in the game.
How do you think the standings are going to look at the end of Week 4? Will Fnatic still hold the top spot or can they be toppled? Are Alliance only able to perform on even numbered weeks? Leave your comments and predictions below in the comments section and don’t forget to tune in at lolesports.com.
This article was edited and written in part by ShiraShira.