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EU LCS: Gauntlet Preview

Fnatic has defended their throne once again with a convincing 3-1 victory over FC Schalke 04. With it, the four teams fighting for Worlds qualification in the gauntlet are set. These teams have one last chance to make it and continue their season.

Will we see the status quo maintained as G2 Esports make it through? Can we see a return and redemption for one of the lower seeded teams in Misfits Gaming or Splyce making the whole run and qualifying? Or will we see something new as finalists Schalke continue their play and qualify? These questions will all be answered soon. But first, let’s take a look at the teams.

Splyce vs Misfits Gaming

Courtesy of: LoL Esports Flickr

While both teams looked shaky through various stages of the season, they now find themselves with one last chance to make it to Worlds. For them to accomplish this, it’ll start with a victory against the other. Splyce’s split ended with a close 2-3 loss at the hands of FC Schalke 04. While the team played well through the series, the team felt outmatched at most positions on the map.

If they want to find the success needed to qualify for Worlds they need top laner Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu to perform at the high level we saw during the regular season. During the playoffs, he had a rough time during various points of the game, most notably whenever facing against Tamás “Vizicsacsi” Kiss. This would prove to play a big factor as the team was eliminated. If he can return to form, Splyce has a solid chance of winning the gauntlet.

Courtesy of: LoL Esports Flickr

On the other side, Splyce faces a Misfits Gaming that had a more successful 4th place finish in the playoffs. However, in their 1-3 loss to Team Vitality, the team looked lost. Instead of the team that dominated much of the first half of the split, they were the team that dropped all the way to 5th place. One key reason for this was mid laner Chres “Sencux” Laursen, who, once again, looked outclassed. If the team wants to win, they need Sencux to step up and prove that he can keep up with the other mid laners in the region.

Overall, Splyce come into this match looking better based on recent performance. However it’ll be a close match as the teams should still be fairly evenly matched. In this case, I give the series to Splyce with a score of 3-2.

G2 Esports

Courtesy of: LoL Esports Flickr

G2 had a fairly decent Summer Split that ended with a disaster. While the team was definitely the weakest of the top teams, they were still the heavy favorites against Misfits. But then they were destroyed and 3-0’ed by Misfits, causing them to end up in gauntlet, as opposed to on their way to Worlds right now. In general, the team has been slowly dropping off as the meta shifted away from gold funneling, a strategy they mastered. Along with declining performances from key players, the team ended up in 4th place going into the disastrous playoffs. Hopefully for G2, the decline in play we saw was only temporary, and they prove once again that they’re one of the best teams in Europe.

If the team wants to find success, it’ll come mostly at the hands of jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski and his ability to get the lanes rolling. While the team has been underperforming, Jankos has still been solid. Now he needs to continue his solid play and get the team to Worlds once again. If Jankos gets out-jungled at any stage, it’ll be hard to see a G2 victory following it. Overall, G2 shouldn’t be slept on and needs to still be treated as a threat to win the gauntlet. The beasts are in their slumber, but will they awake in time to dominate the competition once again?

FC Schalke 04

Courtesy of: LoL Esports Flickr

Despite Fnatic outclassing FC Schalke 04, their run to the finals itself proved that they’re a top team. Now they find themselves as the final boss for a stacked gauntlet. While they still have some weaknesses like the sometimes inconsistent play of jungler Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider, they’re still the favorites to take the third seed for Worlds as they’ve proven to be the best team out of the four based on recent performances. With the team so close to their goals of qualifying for Worlds, will they be able to pass the finish line? Or will the team trip just before they make it?

As mentioned previously, a noticeable weakness on the team is Amazing’s somewhat inconsistent performance in the jungle. If the team wants an easy time to qualify, it’ll rely heavily on Amazing to perform well. If he can take over and control the pace of the early game as he did against Team Vitality in the semifinals, the team will easily steamroll whatever team they face in the final round. However, if he struggles as he did against Fnatic, Schalke will have a rough time and potentially miss Worlds. But if Amazing has proven anything is that when needed to, he has the ability to step up and take over the game on his own. This time around, it’ll likely be no different.

Conclusion

With a group of teams that all have something to prove with a qualification for Worlds, fans should expect some great matches. Will we see Schalke finally make it? Or will they fail when it matters most as one their competition in G2, Splyce, or Misfits qualify instead? All these questions will be answered this weekend. For now, I predict we’ll be seeing Schalke in Korea representing Europe.

To watch the EU LCS, visit watch.na.lolesports.com. For more information on the split, teams, standings, and players, visit www.lolesports.com. Recaps of former weeks and other LoL content can be found at https://thegamehaus.com/league-of-legends/.

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Featured image courtesy of LoL Esports Twitter.

Follow Rui on Twitter @ruixu38.

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