Origen and Unicorns of Love have become household names in the EU LCS, maybe not for their tenure in the league like fan favourite Fnatic, but because of their strong performances and likeable brands. I mean, really, who wouldn’t like a team with xPeke at the helm or a friggin Unicorn? But there’s also a slightly more silent story building between these two teams: the frictions of old team mates. Power of Evil, Origen’s current mid laner, was just one of many the Unicorns who fled to greener pastures in the off season. Whether there’ll be any bad blood between the two remaining Unicorns, Hylissang and Vizicsacsi, support and top laner respectively, isn’t entirely clear. However, it’ll be a real test as to whether Power of Evil made the right move in the off season.
If Vitality are the CLG of the EU, then Origen are the TSM of EU: a team almost everyone had slated to dominant the league and then proceeded to fall flat on their face repeatedly, week after week. Origen doesn’t have all the excuses TSM did, however. They don’t have a bunch of players, all veteran players mind you, who have never played with each other thrown into one of the most competitive splits NA LCS has ever seen. Origen swapped out one member, xPeke, for what was arguably seen by all as an upgrade in young blood of Power of Evil (PoE.) But the team just seemed to fall apart from there. Issues with their coach have also meant that the team, arguably when they most needed it, are coachless. I have my own personal opinions on the matter, but I think that Origen, regardless of the results of the playoffs, need to address that issue. A coach that can craft better pick and bans, while letting the players focus on their game, is something in dire needs for the team.
But that is in the future, and we’re concerned with the present competition here. Origen still bring with them that absolutely insane run into World’s, from a Challenger Series squad to 3-4th in the world is nothing short of a herculean task. But it seems that like Icarus they’ve fallen just as hard. They still have all the pieces in place to be a successful team, and truthfully it comes down to whether Zven is able to carry the team on his back or not. Team comps that play around the star Dane in the bot lane will be what Origen need to consider. The other question that remains in the air is which Origen will show up the plate: the one that’s gone 4-0 in the last two weeks of the split, or the one who went only 7-7 in the other seven weeks. The question of the midlaner choice is another one that Origen fans will be paying attention to, while it is likely to be PoE, this might be a bit of a last straw for the German mid laner if the team isn’t able to get the results they need. Or the target may turn to other, failing members of the team.
Unicorns of Love
The Unicorns of Love are the ones on the other side of the rift from fan favourite Origen, and are equally deserving of the title ‘fan favourite.’ The simple colour choices and mascot have won the team much of their initial, and probably remaining, fans. The Misfits of Love could be another apt name. The team is comprised much like a more successful Roccat or Elements: all the leftovers from other teams, with two remaining players who, in ways, were over looked for poach—I mean, drafting to other teams to fill the void that the European Exodus left. Fox from a failed SK, Steelback the ex-Fnatic and ex-NA ADC, and a swapping sample list of European junglers due to Diamondprox’s sudden expulsion from the league due to VISA issues. Still, they’re not a team to jot down as an easy opponent, as many teams learned, but it’s almost a question here of which team is worse rather than which is better.
The Unicorns are in a similar case to Origen, in that their strongest member has to be their ADC Steelback. Since returning back the Union he’s been putting up the stats that would make any fantasy player swoon: he’s rocking a 6.8 KDA, which, to put it relatively, is only 0.4 behind FORG1VEN and is a whole 1.4 above next in the league Hjarnan. This is further impressive given his team’s standings at 10-8. Still, the Unicorns are going to need to work around the French ADC to win, while Fox, their other carry potential, has the potential to also act as a carry depending on what kind of player he shows up as. As with Origen, I feel the real battle is not who will come out on top, but who won’t be on the bottom. Both teams look shaky and weak at best, and, barring a Playoff miracle, I don’t see them challenging either of the top teams in H2K and G2 esports.
Predictions: Origen win 3-2 over Unicorns of Love
I have to give it to Origen because they are, still, the stronger team. They look weak, and they’re sloppy as all hell, but I think they look better when they’re in form than Unicorns do. Still, I don’t think this’ll be an easy one for Origen, and I think a lot of it hinges on how well they’ve prepared their drafts. Without a coach to really give solid advice a best of five can get scary for a team. I think they need an early win in the series as a showing of confidence against the Unicorns. But it won’t be easy, and it really puts a lot of pressure on Zven to keep doing his thing and for the rest of his team to just not die (looking at you Soaz.) I think Unicorns have the potential to have break away games if Origen shows a weakness in form, something they should be able to exploit solidly with such a veteran lineup. Hence the two victories for the Unicorns. I just give it to Origen overall because, even with their pathetic showing, they’re still almost the same team that absolutely was a menace last year. Can Origen finally claim a European cup? I doubt it. But this would be the start they’d need to secure that, and maybe another showing at Worlds.