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EU LCS Week 7: The Midpoint


Eulcs week 7_the midpoint

As we approach the midpoint of the season, just a mere five weeks remain in the regular season, with teams scrambling to keep above water and avoid relegation. The first few weeks have been an exploratory mission to get an understanding of the Season 4 changes in a competitive light. With all the chips down on the table and the Top 2 placements being an achievable goal for EVERY team (and the fear of relegation is real for every team as well), expect fierce competition from all participants.

Rather than doing a full assessment of this week’s match-ups, let’s look at some of the larger implications during these high-pressure weeks.

Standings Wk7

 

Roccat   #1 ROCCAT:   10 – 4

Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11
CHWLogo_std(6-8) GambitLogo_std(9-5) Fnaticlogo_std(7-7) Alogo_std(5-9) SHC_XDlogo_std(7-7)
SHC_XDlogo_std(7-7) Milllogo_std(5-9) Sklogo_std(7-7) CHWLogo_std(6-8) GambitLogo_std(9-5)
  Alogo_std(5-9)     Milllogo_std(5-9)
  Sklogo_std(7-7)     Fnaticlogo_std(7-7)

Team ROCCAT sit at the head of the table, having an incredibly consistent play style that has been cultivated over the past four weeks. A huge part in the success of ROCCAT is their ability to not bide into conformity, but embrace innovation. With diverse champion pools drawing out several plausible bans, ROCCAT truly has the ability to play whatever composition they please.

Going in their current trajectory, it is highly likely that ROCCAT will remain a team in the top 3 position, and with consistent results that keep teams guessing, there will have to be a major flaw in the design of ROCCAT’s play to bring the behemoth down.

Team to look out for: Sklogo_std SK Gaming

SK has been the only team to take two wins off of ROCCAT, nullifying ROCCAT early in the game and forcing them into unfavorable trades. With the European “meta” favoring much longer games, teams tend to strategize build incomes for a 3-item team fighting on an even stage, making fights volatile and ferocious if a bad call is made around an objective. SK capitalizes on ROCCAT’s ideology of the “mid game focus” and work to create a gold disparity that cripples the abilities of these farm-centric carries.

  #2  Gambit Gaming:   9 – 5gambit

Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11
Milllogo_std(5-9) ROCCATlogo_std(10-4) Alogo_std(5-9) Sklogo_std(7-7) CHWLogo_std(6-8)
Fnaticlogo_std(7-7) Sklogo_std(7-7) Milllogo_std(5-9) SHC_XDlogo_std(7-7) ROCCATlogo_std(10-4)
  CHWLogo_std(6-8)     Fnaticlogo_std(7-7)
  Alogo_std(5-9)     Alogo_std(5-9)

Aside from the element of surprise that Gambit brings to the table, their play is crisp and teamfights immaculate. While some of the build decisions by players are questionable, the true strength of Gambit is to transform five Muscovites into a single fist (metaphorically speaking).

Click to view clip

“Which is larger, 5 or 1?” – Robert Baratheon

The pattern of Gambit Gaming is to slack off near the beginning of the season, and then kick it into full-gear in the last few weeks, to prepare themselves for the bracket stage of the LCS. The level of focus in the final weeks is where Gambit look their best. Alex Ich and crew are likely to retain their spot at the top, if not throw off ROCCAT in the final week.

Team to look out for: ROCCATlogo_stdROCCAT

Gambit happens to be the masters of improvisation, which is similar to ROCCAT in the spirit of innovation. Yet, ROCCAT has taken two victories over Gambit (with one game being a freebie while 4 members of Gambit awaited in Russia). If there’s a team to beat that solidifies their dominance in Europe, ROCCAT is the team to beat. And with both teams facing on both Super-Weeks, the amount of focus on these particular matches should be one of the highlights of the Super-Weeks to come.

Fnaticlogo (1)   #3 Fnatic:   7 – 7

Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11
Alogo_std(5-9) CHWLogo_std(6-8) ROCCATlogo_std(10-4) SHC_XDlogo_std(7-7) Alogo_std(5-9)
GambitLogo_std(9-5) SHC_XDlogo_std(7-7) CHWLogo_std(6-8) Milllogo_std(5-9) Sklogo_std(7-7)
  Milllogo_std(5-9)     CHWLogo_std(6-8)
  Sklogo_std(7-7)     ROCCATlogo_std(10-4)

Fnatic started off the season on fire, winning their first 7 games and showing a dominant form, but after the final day of the third week, arch-rival Gambit put a blemish on Fnatic’s scorecard. From then, the downward spiral of xPeke and friends carried itself until the current date; with 7 consecutive losses. One of the major flaws in the Fnatic line-up is their desire to force a second AP Carry in the top lane against beefy, sustain-heavy tanks.

So where does that leave Fnatic now? With the spread between first and last being a mere 5 games, it is entirely possible that Fnatic could hit rock bottom, or ascend to the top once again. Fnatic has defeated every team once, and lost to every team once.

Team to look out for: Fnaticlogo_stdFnatic

The tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is befitting of the Fnatic team. There have been times when Fnatic played calm and composed, showing assertion in their game play to close out games in a convincing fashion. And then there are the bad days, where the volatile and unstable Fnatic plays, experimenting with dangerous elements to alter the state of the game. As it stands, the exploratory attitude of Fnatic has turned curiosity into masochism.

 

  # 3 Supa Hot Crew:   7 – 7 SHC

Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11
Sklogo_std(7-7) Alogo_std(5-9) Milllogo_std(5-9) Fnaticlogo_std(7-7) ROCCATlogo_std(10-4)
ROCCATlogo_std(10-4) Fnaticlogo_std(7-7) Alogo_std(5-9) GambitLogo_std(9-5) Milllogo_std(5-9)
  Milllogo_std(5-9)     Sklogo_std(7-7)
  CHWLogo_std(6-8)     CHWLogo_std(6-8)

The Cinderella story of SHC begins in EU promotional qualifier, where SHC narrowly lost their spot out to SK Gaming. In an interesting turn of events, Lemondogs (#2 EU LCS during Summer Split) were dismantled during the off-season, and ultimately lost their spot in the LCS. SHC returned to the ball with their glass slippers, and enchanted their way into the LCS.

The Supa Hot Crew started off slow, but they have gained considerable momentum in the past month, winning 6 of their last 8 matches. This boost in morale can help bolster SHC to climb even higher; with Gambit and ROCCAT being the gatekeepers to freedom from possible relegation. As long as SHC are able to play consistently for the remaining five weeks, it’s a safe bet that SHC will be playing in the LCS Summer Split.

Team to look out for: Milllogo_stdMillenium

Millenium is at the bottom of the ranks, and has a large number of issues that have still not been resolved coming into the 7th week. SHC has a total of three games against Mil, which could equate to an extra win for SHC to break away from the middle of the pack. While Mil defeated SHC in the 4th week in a one-sided stomp, it’s unlikely that SHC will underestimate their opponents during the next encounters.

 

Sk_logo #3    SK Gaming:   7 – 7

Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11
SHC_XDlogo_std(7-7) Milllogo_std(5-9) CHWLogo_std(6-8) GambitLogo_std(9-5) Fnaticlogo_std(7-7)
Alogo_std(5-9) GambitLogo_std(9-5) ROCCATlogo_std(10-4) Alogo_std(5-9) SHC_XDlogo_std(7-7)
  ROCCATlogo_std(10-4)     CHWLogo_std(6-8)
  Fnaticlogo_std(7-7)     Milllogo_std(5-9)

SK has been one of the “sleeper” teams, one that plays well, but doesn’t get an abundance of attention.  In the most recent week of LCS, SK was able to take a victory from ROCCAT through a crushing early game, which ROCCAT was unable to recover from. The early game of SK is their strongest point, and often they capitalize upon that. SK does have some issues with decision-making and calls when they fall behind early.

Looking at the record, having a 50% win-rate is enough to stay in contention for the top 2 spot, but the up-and-down performance by SK makes it difficult to call them “The best team in Europe”. With 14 games remaining, SK have to channel their strong early game to carry them to victory.

Team to look out for: Milllogo_stdMillenium

In another strange paradox of the 3rd place teams, Millenium has also taken victories over SK (while SK has traded 1-1 with most other teams). Mil is easily one of the weakest teams in the league, and losing twice against a team with a massive losing record hurts SK in the long run. 2 extra wins would have put SK in second place with Gambit, and third win would tie for first. SK should not underestimate Mil in their next encounter.

 

#6   Copenhagen Wolves:   6 – 8    CWolves

Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11
ROCCATlogo_std(10-4) Fnaticlogo_std(7-7) Sklogo_std(7-7) Milllogo_std(5-9) GambitLogo_std(9-5)
Milllogo_std(5-9) Alogo_std(5-9) Fnaticlogo_std(7-7) ROCCATlogo_std(10-4) Sklogo_std(7-7)
  GambitLogo_std(9-5)     SHC_XDlogo_std(7-7)
  SHC_XDlogo_std(7-7)     Alogo_std(5-9)

The Copenhagen Wolves have had some difficulty distinguishing themselves in this League of Parity. CW have a reputation to draw the games out long, with the average game length being over 40-minutes. Over the past 6 weeks, the most recent has been their strongest performance, but the other 5 weeks were discouraging.

At this point in the LCS, CW still have the chance to run away with the league, but it will require a massive effort to improve. CW do not look like a top-tier team, and are only one win above those at the bottom of the standings. CW are playing a dangerous game and could easily be relegated unless they start putting their best foot forward.

 

Alliance  #  7 Alliance and Millenium:   5 – 9Millenium

As we enter into the bottom of the standings, it’s worth remembering that there is only a 5-win difference between first and last place. What this means is that a stellar performance by a lower ranked team and a poor performance by a higher ranked team can catapult the last to first. With two Super Weeks remaining, there is a real possibility that the future of these two teams can turn around. Yet, there are definitive flaws to each of these teams that contributes to the losing record, and may hold these teams back if unaddressed.

Alogo_stdStarting with Alliance, the fabled “EU Superteam” has been less than stellar, with an on-again, off-again performance with a strangely consistent theme. For the first 6 weeks that Alliance played, all games were lost on Odd Weeks, and all games were won on Even Weeks. The inconsistent play of Alliance has been somewhat predictable, and seeing as Super Weeks fall on the 8th and 11th week, it seems that Alliance my have a fighting chance. All joking aside, the members of Alliance need to come together as a unit and not be afraid to be critical with each other’s performance.

Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11
Fnaticlogo_std(7-7) SHC_XDlogo_std(7-7) GambitLogo_std(9-5) ROCCATlogo_std(10-4) Fnaticlogo_std(7-7)
Sklogo_std(7-7) CHWLogo_std(6-8) SHC_XDlogo_std(7-7) Sklogo_std(7-7) Milllogo_std(5-9)
  ROCCATlogo_std(10-4)     GambitLogo_std(9-5)
  GambitLogo_std(9-5)     CHWLogo_std(6-8)

Milllogo_stdMillenium (formerly known as Team Alternate in the 2013 split) has had an underwhelming season thus far. Many of the Millenium games are either lost around the 30-minute mark, or drag out past beyond the 45-minute mark. While Millenium typically play a solid laning phase and a decent mid-game, the lack of coordination to finish the game out is the bane of Millenium. Until that issue is resolved, it is likely that Millenium will fall behind in games and forced into relegation.

Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11
GambitLogo_std(9-5) Sklogo_std(7-7) SHC_XDlogo_std(7-7) CHWLogo_std(6-8) SHC_XDlogo_std(7-7)
CHWLogo_std(6-8) ROCCATlogo_std(10-4) GambitLogo_std(9-5) Fnaticlogo_std(7-7) Alogo_std(5-9)
  Fnaticlogo_std(7-7)     ROCCATlogo_std(10-4)
  SHC_XDlogo_std(7-7)     Sklogo_std(7-7)

With the season half-way finished, there are several teams in arms length of the top spot, but there is no real buffer between the middle and the bottom of the league. With stakes so high, the level of vigilance for all 8 teams will be at an all-time high. Remember that the week following the first Super Week (between Week 8 and 9) is a short break, but the time to ramp up to jockey for position is now, in week 7.


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Jera

Jera is a former Human Factors psychologist, video game researcher, and avid follower of professional League of Legends. Jera enjoys taking a statistical approach to analyzing gameplay and discovering how small events cause ripple effects throughout the game. Follow Jera on twitter @coL_Jera

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