Europe has completed its third week of LCS Summer Split action, with teams jockeying for positions in the standings. Everyone knows Summer split is more important than Spring, because first place gets a free pass to the World Championship. Teams and players who under-performed at the beginning of the year are shaking it off and taking their shot at EU’s three Worlds seeds: the Summer Split victory, the most Championship Points for the year and the Regional Qualifier.
Fnatic has attended all but two World Championships in League of Legends, making them a general favorite for a spot. G2 has qualified for Worlds both years since entering the LCS in 2016, so they are generally a safe bet, too. Beyond those two organizations, only H2K and SK Gaming have gone to more than one Worlds from Europe. The EU LCS usually sends a new team to compete internationally, including Misfits, Splyce, Origen, Alliance and Lemondogs. 2018 might not be a year where this happens.
Similar to TSM in North America, fans almost assume Fnatic will represent Europe at Worlds. They have made it five of seven times, and even won the whole thing in season one. Otherwise, Fnatic has made two semifinals appearances and one quarterfinals finish. They are truly a perennially successful organization.
Fnatic is sitting pretty for a 2018 Worlds qualification, as well. The roster remains unchanged from last year, except Hylissang for Jesiz at support. They convincingly won Spring Split, with a 14-4 regular season record and a 3-0 victory over second place. Subsequently, Riot’s Mid-Season Invitational inspired powerful performances out of all of Fnatic’s younger players–Caps, Bwipo and Broxah. This team has clearly been the best in Europe this year.
Through three weeks of Summer Split, Fnatic are poised to stay towards the top of the standings. They carry a 4-2 record, sitting in third place. Although their first week looked rough, Fnatic has adapted well to the meta, even starting Bwipo bottom lane over Rekkles to fit the new meta. This quick adaptation bodes well for Fnatic, especially when considering the innovation needed for international competition. The organization holds 90 Championship Points, making it virtually impossible for Fnatic to miss Worlds this year. They would really have to tank their performance over the next seven weeks, and place low in playoffs, and lose to someone else in the gauntlet.
Europe’s number one seed for Worlds for the past two years, G2 is the other essential European team for Worlds. The organization has been fairly dominant since joining the league, winning several titles. However, roster changes in the off-season caused concern for some fans, as Zven, Mithy, Expect and Trick left for various reasons. Rebulding around mid laner Perkz, G2 acquired Wunder, Jankos, Hjarnan and Wadid as replacements. This is a very different look for the Samurai than past splits.
G2 did lose their first split ever this Spring, finishing second in the regular season and playoffs. Their 11-4 record was three wins behind Fnatic, and G2 lost 3-0 in the finals to miss MSI 2018. These performances have been less dominant than their previous iterations.
They still have a strong chance to represent Europe at this year’s Worlds, though. With a 6-0 record, G2 looks like one of the strongest organizations int he current meta. Jankos and Perkz synergize well together, while Hjarnan and Wadid have not avoided innovative picks for bottom lane. With 70 championship points, a high playoffs finish for G2 should be enough for a seed. Even though their chances are higher than ever to miss Worlds, they are still pretty low.
In one of the most compelling stories of 2017, Misfits took SKT to a five-game series at Worlds last year. As a new organization, they quickly rose to prominence over the course of 2017. Misfits’ domestic performance peaked by knocking Fnatic out of playoffs in the semifinals of Summer Split. They gained enough championship points to qualify to Worlds as Europe’s second seed.
Moving into 2018, Misfits lost their mid laner, PowerOfEvil, and support, IgNar, to other regions. Sencux and Mikyx moved in as starters, which fans viewed as questionable. The team actually collapsed in the 2018 Spring split, finishing seventh in the regular season and missing playoffs altogether. Misfits’ fall from grace left analysts scratching their heads, as most of their individual players still rank among the highest in Europe.
Luckily, the new meta seems to majorly benefit Misfits. With a 6-0 record, they are beginning the Summer split in first place. The team synergy feels exponentially better than last split, and, since Misfits does not own any championship points, they more-or-less need to win the split to make Worlds again. Without first place, Misfits would still need a very high playoffs finish and a staunch gauntlet run to qualify. The odds are not in their favor.
Challengers for 2018 Worlds Slots
Although Fnatic and G2 have high chances to re-qualify to Worlds for 2018, Misfits does not. There are two main challengers to the seeds beyond those three: Team Vitality and Splyce. Both of these teams have enough championship points from Spring Split to cause some waves in the post-regular season.
With their rebuilt roster for 2018, Vitality began 2018 in first place. They stayed on top for the first five weeks, before dropping down to fourth by week nine. Once in playoffs, Vitality beat H2K 3-2, but lost to Fnatic 1-3. Splyce won the third place match 3-2, ending Vitality’s split in fourth for 30 championship points. Vitality is a scrappy crew, and they have enjoyed the current meta. Their 4-2 record slots them into third place, on track for another playoffs run. At this rate, Vitality will almost certainly participate in the Regional Qualifier for third seed.
A similarly rebuilt Splyce is on a similar track. Although their Summer Split has started slow, that did not stop them in Spring Split. Splyce had the opposite week-to-week trajectory of Vitality, starting off in fifth and working up to third in the regular season. They really turned on in playoffs, roasting ROCCAT 3-0, losing 1-3 to G2, then winning out over Vitality for third place. At 50 championship points, Splyce has an advantage for Summer Split, but they will still probably battle through the gauntlet.
Betting against Fnatic or G2 to take the gold is probably a bad idea. Assuming they meet in the finals again, they would both qualify to Worlds as first and second seeds. With Misfits third, Vitality fourth, and Splyce fifth, they would all tie with 70 total championship points. Since Misfits would have the most from Summer Split, they would have a finals bye. Regardless, the third seed would go to whichever team performed best in the gauntlet, and the playoffs finishes will be extremely important. Misfits will need to dig deep this split to re-qualify to Worlds.
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