The first game of the week for the Eu LCS was to be the match that tested the mettle of Fanatics new line up. Critics and fans alike were concerned as Fanatic dropped their legendary support player Nrated and replaced him with their Ad carry, Yell0wStaR. Moreover, Fanatic brought in a new Ad to fill in until Rekkles is old enough to play: Johannes “Puszu” Uibos. On top of that MYM pulled no punches by bringing in what the shout casters called, “the bomb delivery system:” a team composition that utilized the high mobility of Zac and Nocturne to deliver mass amounts of bombs into the heart of the enemy team. The team comp allowed MYM to exert a lot of early and mid-game pressure, double killing Fanatic during their level one invade, allowing them to pick up an early 1st tier mid turret, 1st tier top turret, and the first dragon of the game. Not to mention that it gave Zac two opportunities to rise from the grave; an advantage that allowed MYM’s Kubon(Zac), Czaru(Zilean), and Libik(Zyra) to stop Fanatic’s five man Baron attempt.
However, in the late game the comp began to lose traction. Fanatic began taking turrets of their own and Xpeke who had been bullied out of lane by Czaru’s Zilean, outfarmed him in spite of the early game harassment from MYM’s Darkness Time bomb combo; allowing Peke to farm himself into late game relevance. In the same vein, the newly appointed Ad carry, Puszu was able to hold his own against Makler by going even in farm; even though blood thirsty support Yell0wStaR stole two of his kills. Although it would be Mokatte’s Darkness on Xpeke that would set up Fanatic for a late game come back, as all of MYM would be hit by Yell0wStaR’s Crescendo and elegantly kited by FNC for a perfect Ace and subsequent Baron; stealing the game out from under MYM’s explosive team comp.
In the shortest game of the European LCS Gambit would meet Alternate in a rematch, but this time without Forellenlord. His replacement would be WhiteKnight, a Solo Queue player that according to Alex Ich “doesn’t main mid-lane.” A fact that quickly became noticeable as Alex consistently bullied him out of lane and was ahead of him by nearly 30cs only nine minutes into the game. Not to mention that a gank gone horribly awry allowed Alex to pick up 3 kills snowballing him even further, and making laning impossible for WhiteKnight.
Moreover, Diamondprox displayed for us the terror that’s Doran’s blade Udyr by picking up First blood on Araneae and a subsequent kill onto Kerp all in just over 4 minutes into the game. Not only that but this allowed Diamond to pick up the first dragon of the game, at lvl 4, with the help of Darker’s Sona. With Diamond fully in control of the map, and a snowballed Alex Ich that not even Kerp’s Kayle could duel: Gambit easily toppled Alternate’s nexus in just under 22 minutes.
For the third match of the day it would be EG vs. the Lemondogs, a game that found most of EG on their comfort picks: Froggen on Anivia, Snoopeh on Maokai, and Wicked on his beloved blobman. However, in a game that promised fans an epic performance from Froggen’s Anivia, it instead debuted a painful combination of ultimates from the likes of Lissandra, Lee Sin, and Zed who constantly 2 or 3 man ganked Froggen in mid lane. Leading the bird to fall behind and not exert the type of pressure from Froggen’s Anivia that we’re used to seeing. Without the pressure from Froggen’s Anivia, the Lemondogs easily established map control by taking 5 turrets to 1 off of EG 23 minutes into the game. On the other hand, this was the first appearance of Mithy: the Lemondog’s new starting support player that replaced wewillfailer. Although not his best performance, it was enough to best EG, as he admitted in the post-game interview that he “needed to feed less;” even though he fed, the Lemondogs were still able to Ace EG on several occasions and force out a surrender with their newly revitalized roster.
If Diamondprox starting out with a Total Biscuit and a Doran’s blade wasn’t interesting enough for you, how about a Doran’s shield on Vayne? Expecting to be harassed into oblivion by Ashe and Lulu, Freeze dared to start with an intelligent Meta defying buy of a Doran’s shield and a pot. Making him tankier and giving him extra sustain on top of his life steal with the 10 hp per 5 seconds. According to Freeze’s post-game interview, NIP knew that if they left Jarvan open that Hyrqbot was likely to take him and take him he did. Freeze also added that NIP picked champions around the Jarvan pick, mobile and late game champions that could escape and outscale Jarvan, which would allow NIP to win the game if they could survive SK’s early game dominance. A statement that sounded utterly prophetic at the end of the match, as Characteristic of Sk they started the game out with an aggressive level 1 steal of Malunoo’s red buff; leaving the winter’s wrath behind in experience until 20 minutes into the game. As SK tried to take the lead over NIP in the 2nd dragon dance of the game they caught out Malunoo’s Sejuani as he tried to smite steal the Dragon in what appeared to be a decisive victory for SK; but what ended up being a 5 for 1 in favor of NIP and a game changing Baron. With SK unable to stop NIP’s momentum after this pivotal Dragon fight, they would go on to capture Baron Nashor 2 more times and methodically slow roll the game into victory; for what would end up being one of the longer games of the night.
As irony would have it the 5th game of the day took place between Fanatic and the Lemondogs: the two teams this weekend introducing permanent roster changes to their respective bot lanes. In what can only be described as a game characterized by chaotic team fights, and a long drawn out midgame, the Lemondogs proved that their new roster has lots of potential as they battled back and forth with Fanatic in a heated match up. Both new bot lanes proved their worth yet again, as Yell0wStaR landed some clutch Death Sentences and Mithy nailed some game changing Crowstorms of his own. It was only after the Lemondogs got caught out in the Baron pit that Fanatic was able to establish some form of control over the game. From there on out Xpeke continued to Xpeke the Lemondogs by split pushing bot lane and soloing towers until he was able to catch out Nukeduck and explode him in a 1v1, which granted Xpeke and fellow split pushing nightmare Soaz access to two of the Lemondog’s inhibitors. Creating enough pressure to allow Fanatic to push their way into the Lemondog’s base and seal the deal in this epic 52 minute slugfest.
In a game advertised as a close match up between Alex Ich and Czaru, the outcome couldn’t be any further from the truth. Similar to the game against ATN Alex would yet again snowball out of control, being up 3 kills, and 52 cs on his opposing mid laner. Alex would only be thwarted in this game by himself, as his over aggression actually caused him to die more than the plays made by his actual opponents. However, it didn’t matter much as Diamonprox continued his reign of terror on his Total Biscuit Doran’s blade Udyr, which seems unstoppable against everything but a ban in the European scene. Once again Diamond exerted insane map control that could not be rivaled by Mokatte’s Nautilus, so much so that Diamond chased him around in his own jungle all whilst counter jungling him. Even though MYM was able to trade quite a few fights in their favor, the pressure created by the two ninjas and Udyr would eventually become backbreaking, Gambit would eventually claim the entire map for Mother Russia; in a strategically identical performance as the one against ATN, only this time in the face of a more stable and defiant opponent.
In the opening game of day 2, the LCS fans were shocked as Bjergsen locked in Annie against a mid lane Jayce; but it ended up being one of the most entertaining mid lane match ups of the day. As Bjergsen and WhiteKnight constantly went all in, it made for an epic display of hammers and bears the likes of which none have ever seen. With Araneae’s Lee Sin banned out he turned back to an old favorite: Hecarim. A decision which didn’t immediately seem like the right one, as he gave up First Blood to Malunoo’s Xin Zhao. In spite of that, Araneae was still able to exert a lot of pressure onto NiP, and was one the reasons their lanes began to falter. Around the 21 minute mark, the game found itself at a stalemate and both teams cautiously scurried around the map trying to stay safe and create advantages; but it was Malunoo who found himself caught out by Kerp, which ultimately led to NiP being Aced; turning the game in ATN’s favor. On top of that, this was easily WhiteKnight’s best performance of the weekend as he went 7/4/11 on Jayce and wasn’t absolutely bullied or steam rolled out of mid lane; allowing Kerp’s Lissandra and Creaton’s Ezreal to get fed and carry Alternate into their first win of the weekend.
With both teams sitting at the bottom of the leaderboards and struggling for wins, this classic match up between SK and EG had even more drama behind it than usual. To start things off, SK once again brought their incredibly strong early game to the table and after being dominated for what seemed like all of early and mid game; it appeared as though EG had absolutely no chance of grabbing a win in this match up. Luckily for them, the temptation of Baron Nashor was too strong, and SK would find themselves getting aced in a 3v5 after a super risky baron call. SK’s unnecessary risk, was ultimately their undoing, as this allowed EG to get back into the game and defeat SK in what seemed like a surefire win for them.
This was a game that nobody saw coming, as the picks and bans at first glance would make any Gambit fan happy. In fact, any Gambit fan looking at the picks and bans from this game would instantly be swept back to a happier and more cheerful time: the days of Moscow 5. This team comp couldn’t have been anymore Moscow 5 than it already is, short of Edward having flown in pre-game to play support. But the most devastating thing about this game, for any Moscow 5/Gambit fan that is, is that the Lemondogs absolutely dismantled Gambit; something that would never happen to this comp in the days of Moscow 5. Dismantled is in fact putting it nicely, as Darien never won a single encounter with anyone in the game and everyone on Lemondogs appeared as though they had been replaced by Koreans for its duration. If this game hadn’t been between Gambit and Lemondogs, the team that the Lemondogs had been facing would’ve surrendered at 20; but because Gambit never surrenders the game ran it’s course for another 2 minutes and 41 seconds. This game was easily one of the most stunning defeats ever experienced by Gambit Gaming.
In yet another surprising turn of events, Nunu actually found himself unbanned in this game. Quickly being picked up by Fanatic, the jungle terrorist was surprisingly less effective than one might have expected, but not because of anything that Cyanide did or didn’t do; but because Alternate made it a point to defend against him. This isn’t to say that Nunu wasn’t annoying or even a presence in the game, because he was. The fact that ATN had to defend against him like they did, is a testament to the threat that Nunu represents in League of Legends. With that said, Puszu and YellowStaR continued to fire on all cylinders, looking much better today than they had in any previous game. They successfully utilized the strength of Caitlyn’s ability to fast push turrets, and with the occasional help of everyone’s favorite Yeti, they furthered the pain of quick objective taking with the aid of bloodboil. By the time Alternate was able to respond to Fanatic’s Korean fast push strategy, it was already too late. Fanatic had already obtained a lead off of global gold, and had taken map control via their superior vision and turret lead, and before Alternate knew it; Fanatic had taken their entire base.
SK gaming vs Meet your Makers could be summed up in one word: surprise. EU was most certainly surprised as it hasn’t seen a Rengar pick, especially a jungle Rengar pick, or a Skarner pick for that matter in sometime. This was especially crucial in the mid and late game team fights, as it was apparent that MYM were not prepared for the ultimate ball delivery system: Rengar. As Rengar went into stealth mode with the ball attached to him and dove MYM’s backline, it’s sufficient to say that they were a little shocked when he appeared before their eyes; but even more so when Shen dashed out at them the moment Rengar appeared.
MYM was never fully able to adapt to SK’s team comp and instead of focusing the fed Vayne and Orianna, they continued rather to try and react to the Rengar/Shen/Orianna combo and lost quite a few fights doing so. With MYM unable to react to SK’s aggression, Rengar was able to pick up his first victory in the European LCS.
In the last game of the day, EG wouldn’t be as lucky as they were against SK; as NiP wouldn’t make any large enough mistakes for them to so easily turn the tide of the game. Similarly, NIP was able to take an early game lead over EG as Snoopeh got over zealous and essentially tower-dove Lissandra who was more than happy to take his offering of First Blood. Moreover, constant pressure in the mid lane essentially nullified most of the effectiveness that Froggen’s presence could have in the game, and with that a large part of EG’s kill potential. Although EG attempted to push back by securing objectives and turrets, it was essentially too little too late, as by that time NiP’s team had already snowballed too hard from the early game. By the time the match had hit late game, there wasn’t much that anyone could do about Bjergsen’s Kassadin or Extinkt’s Lissandra and the amount of map pressure exerted by Bjergsen’s Rift Walk was just too much. Unable to defend against the whiles of the ever Rift Walking Bjergsen, NiP was able to pick apart EG’s base and take a much needed win off of the Evil Genuises.
1. Team ALTERNATE, 9-4, 69%
2. Gambit Gaming, 8-5, 62%
3. Fnatic, 7-6, 40%
T4. MeetYourMakers, 6-7, 54%
T4. Lemondogs, 6-7, 54%
T4. Ninjas in Pyjamas, 6-7, 54%
T7. Evil Geniuses, 5-8, 38%
T7. SK Gaming, 5-8, 38%