H2K’s Spring Split
It often takes a few weeks for teams to settle into their groove and start playing up to their potential. For H2K, it may have taken five. After going 1-1 the first week of the Spring Split, they have resided steadily at the bottom of the EU LCS. Losing their next six games in a row, it’s hard to imagine things looking much worse for H2K.
In Week 4, they attempted to stall the tailspin. H2K moved mid laner Marc “Caedrel” Robert Lamont to the jungle, and started Marcin “Selfie” Wolski in the mid lane. Somehow, this only seemed to make things worse. H2K earned a combined 1 kill and 24 deaths in two losses that week. Likely assuming that they had nowhere to go but up, they made another roster change going into Week 5. Sliding Ilyas “Shook” Hartsema into the jungle spot and keeping Selfie at Mid, H2K readied themselves to take on Roccat and first-place Vitality.
As they chose their Champions, it was difficult to be too optimistic about their chances, even with the experienced Shook in the jungle. Not only was their 1-7 record tied for the worst in the EU LCS, but their average team damage was equally poor. H2K averaged 1384 damage per minute as a team, compared to the EU LCS average of 1858 DPM. This is the lowest DPM for any team since the statistic was first recorded in 2014.
As the match progressed, H2K seemed to have forgotten how much the odds were stacked against them. Slowly but surely they began to play like they were ready to be done with their losing streak. After giving up first blood in the top lane, Shook (Zac) immediately responded with a gank, launching behind the bot lane tower. He provided enough Crowd Control to give Selfie (Orianna) the double kill. Within three minutes, Shook had shifted pressure to the top lane, securing both the Rift Herald and First Tower for H2K.
Though it was not an easy game, with each team taking a Baron and the gold lead shifting five times, H2K looked more in control than they had in a long time. They made solid team plays, focused the correct objectives and defended well when behind. Just after the 33:00 minute mark, H2k interrupted Roccat’s Baron attempt. Shook earned two kills and secured the Baron, and H2K pushed into the enemy base for the victory.
The next day, the revitalized H2K faced Team Vitality. Despite being handed their second loss of the split the day before, Vitality was regarded as arguably the most dominant team so far this Spring.
Shook (Jarvan IV) started by invading Vitality’s Blue Side jungle, forcing Erberk “Gilius” Demir (Jax) out after stealing his farm. Vitality responded by ganking bot lane, with Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro (Ryze) using Realm Warp to teleport Gilus and himself behind Patrik “Sheriff” Jírů (Tristana) and Hampus “promisq” Mikael Abrahamsson (Zilean). Shook was there to respond though, and knocked up Gilius just as Marcin “Selfie” Wolski (Galio) used Hero’s Entrance. They chained the Crowd Control on the enemy jungler and secured first blood.
H2K remained in control for the next 20 minutes, only faltering briefly when they got caught out while attempting to take Vitality’s Bot Lane Inhibitor Turret. They rebounded quickly, however, and immediately responded by taking that tower, getting three kills, and ending the match. Chants of “H-2-What? H-2-K!” filled the arena as the Nexus imploded, just as it often had in years past.
Shook may have been a large part of H2K’s success this week, but that is not because he carried them with the most kills or highest damage. He did what a good jungler should, providing pressure, securing objectives and allowing his teammates to get ahead. Because of this, H2K will be more stable and harder to stop. Instead of having one person to shut down, opponents will have a cohesive team of five members to deal with, each able to punish them if left unchecked.
Although this week was an impressive one for H2K, it remains to be seen if they can keep winning in the remainder of the split. It seems clear however, that Week 5 was not a fluke. The team looked revitalized with Shook at the helm, ready to climb their way up the EU LCS ladder.
Featured Image Courtesy of LoL Esports