The EU LCS Summer Playoffs are at gamescom once again, and thousands of people are scrambling to get seats to see it live. Whether watching the EU LCS from Riot’s gamescom arena, at home or from just outside Riot’s gamescom arena because you couldn’t get there fast enough, it’s nice to know a little about teams who are playing.
With Millenium and Supa Hot Crew already having clashed earlier today and SHC having come out on top, below you can check out game-by-game analyses of the teams who are still to compete – who do you think will emerge victorious?
Semifinals 1: Are ROCCAT doomed to fall to Fnatic?
- Who? ROCCAT vs. Fnatic
- When? August 15th, 11:00 CEST
ROCCAT made a splash after smashing NiP in the Spring Promotions, and then an even bigger splash after rising to the top of the EU LCS Spring Split. However, after their three weeks of fame at the top of the leaderboard, ROCCAT began its steady decline, ending Spring Split in fourth place and Summer Split in sixth place, finishing right at the bottom of the mid-tier clump (but well above Gambit and Copenhagen Wolves). However, playoffs might be a different story for ROCCAT. In the 2014 Spring Playoffs, they handily beat both Gambit and Alliance 2-0, and gave SK a run for their money when they lost 1-2, landing themselves a third place position. Perhaps they will make a similar showing in the Summer Playoffs – they’ve already beaten Supa Hot Crew.
Furthermore, ROCCAT is famous for their innovation in today’s rather stale meta. In the Spring Split, their experiments with Kayle mid, Pantheon jungle and even Mordekaiser mid brought some color to the hackneyed team compositions of Season 4. In the Summer Split, top laner Xaxus introduced Maokai top to competitive gaming, an innovation that would seem like a niche cheese strat but actually has become a popular meta pick. Even in the quarterfinals, an Alistar pick from out of the blue caught Supa Hot Crew off guard, contributing to ROCCAT’s victory.
While ROCCAT is a relatively new team, Fnatic has an old reputation to protect. Having won every EU LCS playoff to date, Fnatic makes the EU LCS seem like a complicated, costly method of handing Fnatic a trophy twice a year. However, Fnatic seemed to have adopted exactly such a view of LoL eSports, leading to problems with complacency. This problem climaxed during the Paris All-Star, where Fnatic was soundly bashed by opposing teams and the LoL community for its weak, half-hearted performance. Even worse was the apparent apathy and attitude problems of the team: players were allegedly getting drunk before games, refusing to practice, and dismissing coaching and community criticism.
However, things are changing. Alliance – and briefly SK – gave Fnatic a run for their money in the standings for this split. In fact, Alliance went 3-1 against Fnatic in the Summer Split, making them a solid threat to Fnatic’s reign. Nevertheless, Fnatic remains a solid top two team in the EU LCS, and has been improving in terms of dedication and skill. Second place Fnatic has 19 wins and 9 losses. In comparison, third place Supa Hot Crew has 16 wins and 12 losses. Their bot lane duo is among the best in the world – between them, Rekkles and YellOwStaR have three MVPs of the Week in the Summer Split. It’s not an accident that Rekkles has the most kills and least deaths in the entire history of the LCS. Furthermore, Fnatic is famous for ‘peaking’ at playoffs – that is, hitting a power spike when playoffs come around despite mediocre play in groups. Indeed, an analysis of week-by-week standings shows Fnatic gradually rising to the top.
The odds lie much in favor of Fnatic, who went 4-0 against ROCCAT in the Summer Groups, but perhaps meta ingenuity will end the match in favor of ROCCAT.
Semifinals 2: Can the Superteam take down SK?
- Who? Alliance vs. SK Gaming
- When? August 15th, 16:00 CEST
In the beginning of the season, people mocked Alliance and its ‘Superteam’ hype, but no more. Froggen hand-picked Alliance, choosing who he thought would be the best in each role in order to make the best team EU. However, a lack of synergy and shot-calling doomed the team to failure and derision in its early weeks, and people eventually forgot about the “Superteam” title. However, Alliance has been making a steady comeback over the past two splits, eventually rising to third place in the spring groups and first place in the summer Groups. In fact, Alliance has maintained a first place position for the entire summer round robin. Froggen made his team to win EU LCS and go to Worlds, and it looks like his ambitions are being realized.
In turn, SK Gaming is a veteran organization. However, most of the current roster only joined this season. This is not ocelote’s team, a fact solidly cemented when jungler Araneae left the team, leaving Candypanda as the only player from Season 3. Nevertheless, this is a very solid lineup, placing at the top of the Spring Groups and second place in the Spring Playoffs. In Summer Groups, SK had a five-week flirt with second place. Although it ended the split well in the middle of the mid-tier teams, SK went 3-1 in the week 11 of Super Week, and handily beat Millenium 3-0 in the quarterfinals – things are looking up for SK. Nevertheless, Alliance remains a formidable opponent. Alliance went 1-3 with SK this split (actually, they went 1-3 with everyone this split).
Alliance support Nyph is a former veteran and captain of SK, and it’ll be interesting to see SK ADC Candypanda face off against his former comrade. In a broader sense, it’ll be interesting to see the stars of Spring fight against the stars of Summer to decide who is going to inevitably lose to Fnatic.
Third place and finals: who will triumph?
- Who? TBA
- When? August 16th, 15:00 CEST
Who plays in these games depends on who wins the semifinals. I believe that Alliance and Fnatic will face off in the finals, leaving ROCCAT and SK to duke it out for third place. Who wins the finals depends on your narrative…
Third place may actually be more important than the finals, it determining the last EU representative at Worlds. The finalists are already guaranteed a ride to Worlds, but the winner of this match gets that last ticket.
Of course, I could be completely wrong – watch the finals at lolesports.com to find out!
You can also find the complete match schedule here.