Savage Memes can’t melt Playoff Dreams, but not doing well can
As the regular season starts to wrap up, crazily enough that we’re already half way through, the big ol Double P’s are going to start coming up: Playoff Placements. In truth it is largely determined, except for an insane turn around from these teams and a decline in those above them, that Roccat and Giants are facing the relegation, while likely Elements and Splyce will be vying for that last playoff chance against Origen (currently.)
While every week of the LCS is vital to a team, it’s really in these last few weeks that teams are determined and their mettles tested. An 0-2 week here while a competitor goes 2-0 can mean the difference between making it into playoffs or not. Playoff spring points can really make the difference for teams wanting to attend World’s too: it’s what sent H2K over Unicorns of Love to World’s afterall.
Teams, and fans alike, are going to need to start looking within themselves to make sure they don’t fizzle off and crash, or that they manage to rebound and pull up their socks to make it into the playoffs. The loss of points from an entire split makes it even harder to make it to World’s, although not impossible, (i.e. see CLG, Origen, and Cloud 9.) But it’s in these last few weeks that teams need more than ever to pull off those 2-0 weeks to cement themselves their place in the Playoffs, or to guarantee a berth into the quarter finals. To those on the outside looking in, namely Roccat and Giants, they’ll need to try and make the best of possibly one of the worst splits in eithers history.
Origen: What even are you?
Origen is in… such a strange situation right now. I know it’s probably been said by every single person who has put down their thoughts on it, but seriously, I doubt anyone would’ve seen Origen going 5-5 by Week 5. I mean really, compared to the opponent they faced during their stint at World’s you think Origen would come back… better. I think it’s a really big question mark on the organization, where xPeke seemingly may have been playing very much a Hai role: somehow, in someway, being able to say, “Yo Jensen, body these foos.” (Or, in xPeke’s case, Zven, body these foos…)
A 1-1 week doesn’t look as bad until you look at the games themselves. A relatively easy win over Splyce is anything but newsworthy, its quite expected. But the real test for Origen was their match against ascending Vitality. Vitality have been looking quite good, particularly if one forgets that Roccat’s only win was against them, and compared to the old guard in Origen that just doesn’t seem to be able to keep it together, it was more a test of Vitality than Origen. But one kill against 13… That’s concerning. We all have our bad games, but even in just kills that’s worrisome. Let alone that it was again one tower to 11. Origen need to try and find that ability and cohesion that got them so far last year if they wish to make 2016 their year like it was predicted to be, otherwise they may fall the way of European super teams that just can’t translate that between splits.
G2 and H2K again vying for the throne
G2 and H2K are currently dancing some kind of weird dance where they seem to be constantly dancing with other people, and yet always right beside each other, neck and neck. The two have pretty much been on top of the EU LCS, largely unchallenged, which comes as no surprise given the complete crumbling of Fnatic early on and Origen being… whatever one could call their current split. As for this week, G2 has the much easier week, locking horns against Fnatic being the possibility for a loss, while also facing off against Roccat which, one would hope, should be an easy game for them. H2K looks to have the slightly harder week, facing the ever increasingly strong Vitality (maybe they’re super Sayiens…?) and an Origen that is still capable of some really, really shining moments.
If it weren’t for the standings, I feel like this rivalry for the top wouldn’t be so exciting. UOL and Vitality are one game away, and therefore a 2-0 week over a 1-1 week or 0-2 week away from the top. Fnatic is even within reach of a fluke week if they managed a 2-0 and either team went 0-2. As with most splits the standings are becoming like putty: the middle is slowly vacating as the two halves of the top and the bottom are becoming more solidly populated. But we’re in no way done, and even the top two teams who look so dominant can, crazily, not make it into playoffs. This is unlikely though, but I imagine both teams want to hold onto that playoff berth, so they’ll be taking each game just as seriously. I think more importantly, though, they’ll be looking to each other’s failings, attempting to learn from them and improve on it. A faltering from either team not only could see a standings drooping, but could more importantly be a sign of blood and weakness. When you’re at the top, you’ve always got to worry about those Blue Shells.
The bottom four: Well, at least we’re not them
I feel it’s easy to write about the top teams, the ones with a lot of fans and a lot of star players or personalities, but the bottom teams, the ones who are still good but not great, are ignored. Oddly enough, the two who are ‘higher’ up have almost an excuse. Splyce is a team full of relative rookies, first time in the LCS and are also part of a fledgling organization. They have an excuse, this split is for them to stay in it, to grow, to work together and synergize better. I feel like staying in the LCS will be a great victory for this team. Elements, too, kind of have an excuse: the owner was quite intent on selling their LCS spot, couldn’t make the deal in time, and thus was forced to save face by assembling a rag tag team of misfits from the EU LCS into something of a ‘team.’ The only two faces of any real recognition are MrRallez and Steve (STEVE!) and while that might be the making of a decent team given the ‘gouging of European talent,’ that happened during the off season, it just isn’t enough. A surprisingly 3-1 first two weeks looked good, but only picking up one win since then isn’t that good. Still, their mission is to stay in the LCS, maybe stay together, and possibly be sold to a bigger org. A win-win right?
Roccat… I don’t really know how else to put it, but they’re almost like the Origen of the bad team tier. They’ve got a bunch of decent players, more than Elements, in that pretty much every position is filled (or was, in the case of their Support Edward,) with LCS veterans. Sure, each of them isn’t the star of their old team, but they’re still good. And I come down hard on them because 1-9 record is just not really what I expected. Given the maturity of Roccat as a team in the EU LCS, and that their players aren’t a bunch of rookies, it’s just kind of sad to see the way they’ve done. Mind you, they’ve had some very close games, so I think that if they can survive their relegation matches (which I think they almost undoubtedly have to,) then maybe they can surprise us and be a middle of the pack team again. But the EU CS just keeps looking stronger and stronger, so Roccat really needs to try and pull themselves out of this rut. They have a chance against an odd Splyce who seems good and then not, but against G2 I find it unlikely. Still, another win will make them 100% better in the standings, so there’s that.
GIANTS! Gaming are another team that I feel rather disappointed in. Since they joined the LCS they just seem to kind of be all over the place, sometimes winning, a lot of the time losing, but still managing to hold on. And it’s just not translating into any real, meaningful growth for them I feel. A 1-9 record is not good, and that’s in best of 1’s, whereas Giants haven’t been to beat any team really in a best of 3, the true test of a team’s strength. I think the best that Giants can hope for, as many of the bottom teams, is to somehow avoid relegations and take a deep, long look within themselves and make the proper changes to remain relevant. Or sell their spot, as that seems to be a common practice for struggling teams.