The European League Championship series will be starting Friday, June 15, where the ten returning teams will compete for for a shot at the title and a spot at the World Championship in Korea. Much like their North American counterparts, EU also did not have many roster moves coming into the summer split. Check out the 2018 Summer Split
Most of the roster moves came during the Spring Split. There were only two roster swaps from the spring coming into the summer. Giants Gaming added support Risto “SirNukesAlot” Luuri to their lineup. The other notable swap was with FC Shalke 04, where they added long time LCS veteran Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider to the jungle. The only other important note before taking a look at the teams is the name change coming from Team Vitality. Their ADC Amadeu Carvalho, formerly “Minitroupax”, will be called “Attila” from now on. Attila announced his name change via Facebook and Twitter on May 28.
The most important criteria is the team’s performance from the spring split. History of the organization is also analyzed, but as most teams had multiple different players from Summer 2017 to Spring 2018, the previous splits can only indicate potential consistency. The current players and new additions will also be considered. Coaching staffs that can influence players for the better as the meta continues to change will also be taken into account.
Unsurprising, but well earned. Fnatic has had a few roller coaster seasons in the past three years. After accomplishing the perfect season in Summer 2015 and reaching the World semifinals, the Fnatic squad has felt empty. Trying to replace the like of Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon and Kim “Reignover” YeuJin during their dominance had left the team struggling for a while. With shaky rosters and time, Martin “Rekkles” Larsson finally had a roster to sport locally. Rekkles had missed out on Worlds 2016, and had an amazing Worlds 2017, where the Fnatic squad did the impossible and beat out Immortals and the Gigabyte Marines in a three-way-tie to take the second spot in the group. Fnatic won four games in a row, including the two tiebreaker matches, but was ultimately defeated in the quarterfinals to Royal Never Give Up.
The current roster is mostly the same as that Worlds 2017 squad with the addition of Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov for the Spring Split. The team performed exceptionally well in the spring, dropping only four games in the regular season and one game in playoffs. The only shakeup from Fnatic was the injury to top laner Paul “sOAZ” Boyer. This required substitute Gabriel “Bwipo” Rau to take up the finals match and played 12 out of the 13 games played. This time Fnatic were able to again beat the NA representative in a tiebreaker and make it out of the group stage. Fnatic has taken their position as the head of EU and doesn’t look like it’ll stop any time soon.
2. G2 Esports
These four time EULCS champions have taken a beating after 2017. They lost their power bot lane of Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “Mithy” Rodriguez to TSM and the replacement did not exactly fill the shoes of their predecessors. Not only that, G2 changed out their top laner and jungler for more Eupopean power. Bot lane of Petter “Hjarnan” Freyschuss and Kim “Wadid” Bae-in did not exactly impress compared to Rekkles and some of the rookies in spring. Having the first blood king in Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski helped their aggression, but the team has always been centered around mid laner Luka “Perkz” Perkovic.
The new G2 still made it to the finals, keeping up the streak of finals appearances. Getting 3-0’d by Fnatic probably hurt, especially with Rekkles getting back-to-back pentas in games one and two. G2 need to look at the summer split and fix their power disparity. Perkz should not be the only lane in which G2 win from, and that overall pressure needs to be applied quickly and intelligently. With the LOL Pro League in China already going on, and the team comps being wild, G2 need to tighten up their weak points on the bot side to ensure that teams won’t take over games.
3. Team Vitality
This team of rookies and personalities took over spring. Ending the first half of spring 2018 at 7-2, Vitality were looking like a team to reckon with. The team had started three rookies in the mid lane with the “Italian Stallion” and rookie of the split, Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro, and the rookie bot lane of Amadeu “Attila” Carvalho and Jakub “Jactroll” Skurzyński. The rookies were paired with veteran players like Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet and self proclaimed god, Erberk “Gilius” Demir. Vitality is coached by Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi. His impact on the rookie team can be seen in how the team operates their macro play. The team also played interesting strategies like Ziggs bot lane and took the squad to a game five against Splyce before falling into fourth place.
As we enter the new and creative team compositions like Mordekaiser mid with Nunu jungle and the Master Yi – Taric duo, it seems like a creative mind can elevate a team. Under coach Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi, it seems like Vitality could repeat their strong spring start with a possible better finish. This team could be carried by multiple laners, which could create some great matches from Vitality. The big problem is whether or not their lack of experience will show again during the latter half of the split.
Always a bridesmaid, but never a bride. This sentiment has plagued Splyce since their debut back in 2016. Splyce had made the playoffs four out of their five splits played and has even made it to the finals back in summer 2016. Unfortunately for this team, keeping up with the like of G2 and Fnatic has been difficult. The starting roster for Splyce is solid, with a good prospects at making Worlds this year. The strength is out of their main carries, mid laner Yasin “Nisqy” Dincer and ADC Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup. Even back in spring 2018, Kobbe secured a pentakill for himself against FC Shalke 04 in week two.
The main problem with Splyce is that they never really have the constant highs that G2 and Fnatic have. The team was able to make it to third during the split and during playoffs, so competition isn’t really a problem with them. During their first Worlds appearance in 2016, Splyce were able to win a game against China’s RNG. As much of a learning experience as it was, Splyce were unable to make it to Worlds in 2017 to show their improvement. It does seem with G2 and Fnatic most likely taking the top spots, that Splyce might have an easy path through the regional qualifiers. For Splyce to show that they could top EU one day, they need to go to Worlds and win more than one game against another major region. Rift Rivals will also be telling of how the team will operate towards preparation.
5. Misfits Gaming
The team that took SK Telecom T1 to a game five during the quarterfinals at Worlds 2017 fell fairly quickly. After losing Korean support Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun to bbq OLIVERS after the 2017 season hurt the team. Misfits also lost mid laner Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage to OpTic Gaming in NA. After much success, the team still had to rebuild to try and recapture their position near the top. Misfits ended up falling out of the three way tie into the playoffs due to their record against H2K and ROCCAT, ending their season at 8-10 and out out of playoffs.
The newer players to Misfits, mid laner Chres “Sencux” Laursen and support Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle, tried their best to play to the level that Misfits held during the summer. This seemed easier than done, but ADC Steven “Hans Sama” Liv came in clutch when the team needed and really provided a solid carry for the team. Hans Sama posted the second highest KDA out of ADC players in EU during the regular season. As long as Hans Sama is able to play carries and be assisted by his team, Misfits might make it into playoffs.
H2K seemed to have the opposite season compared to Vitality. After picking up a game in week one, H2K went on a six game loss streak to propel the team to the bottom of the table. After picking up veteran jungler Ilyas “Shook” Hartsema, the team really turned it around and was able to make it to playoffs. Deemed “the Shook effect”, H2K went 6-3 in the second half of the split and lost in the quarterfinals.
The carries of H2K seem like they have potential. Mid laner Marcin “Selfie” Wolski and ADC Patrik “Sheriff” Jiru sported 4.2 KDAs and were both played fairly well for their positions. The way that H2K can move further ahead is going to be the macro play. Playing around their jungle and letting Shook dictate the game is going to help H2K get ahead. H2K had squeaked out a few wins, like their amazing base defense in week six against Giants. H2K had a good end to the split and should be looking to secure a spot in playoffs again.
Is the picture of support Tore “Norskeren” Hoel Eilertsen constantly dabbing not enough? Although ROCCAT went out early in the playoffs, the personality coming from the team has made them a fan favorite. Not only that but the team has received the name “King Slayers” as ROCCAT continues to beat teams at the top. ROCCAT is the only team in summer that will be starting two Korean imports. Mid laner Jin “Blanc” Seong-min and top laner Kim “Profit” Jun-hyung played for ROCCAT in spring. As communication improves for these players, ROCCAT could see a higher seed in the future.
The amount of talent EU has is the biggest problem with ROCCAT. Communication for all-EU teams like G2, Fnatic, and Splyce is already much higher than ROCCAT. The marco play is going to be important and the jungle-mid duo will tell whether or not ROCCAT can keep up with the better teams. ADC Martin “HeaQ” Kordmaa will also need to perform better, as he had the second lowest KDA among ADCs in the regular season.
8. FC Shalke 04
FC Shalke 04 seems like a strong mid-tier team. The recent change to their jungler could move them up, but Amazing hasn’t really had the same highs as previously. Shalke took eighth in the spring, and with basically the same roster, doesn’t look like they will be moving anywhere. Shalke spent basically the first half of the spring split going 1-1, and the only 2-0 week was in week eight, where Shalke beat Giants and G2. The highlight of the team was mid laner Erlend “Nukeduck” Holm, who was among the top half of mid laners in KDA. The rest of the current members did not have as good of a season. ADC Elias “Upset” Lipp missed the first week of spring, and did not improve the team much when he arrived.
The big things that Shalke will need to improve on is playing around their mid laner more. The insane meta awaiting could mean varying strategies and might help Shalke remedy their issues. Working on individual skill could help as well. Amazing has been on three different teams since leaving Origen in 2016. His time on the Mysterious Monkeys did not really impress anyone, and unless his time as a shoutcaster improved his mechanical skill, Shalke will likely remain towards the bottom of the standings.
9. Giants Gaming
Giants Gaming had a very short lived time at the top during spring. They spiraled down into the bottom and stayed close to Shalke. Both teams had a 7-11 record, but the story sounds very similar. Giants picked up support SirNukesAlot. SirNukesAlot has a good amount of professional experience, but this will be the first time he sees the LCS stage. SirNukesAlot played on Challenger Series teams Nerv and Copenhagen Wolves for about a year between the two teams. Given the carries on this team, it is hard to believe that they ended up in ninth in spring.
ADC Pierre “Steeelback” Medjaldi and mid laner Felix “Betsy” Edling had both been on a few teams in the past couple of years. Steeelback played on Fnatic for one split, where he won during the 2015 dominance Fnatic had. Betsy has played on many teams, but still hasn’t had his outstanding season yet. How Giants improve from spring can influence how the organization is viewed when the EULCS begins partnerships for 2019.
10. Unicorns of Love
Another fan favorite team, the Unicorns have really struggled when players leave. Another previous team of PoE, the Unicorns seem to lose good players right as they could reach international play. Especially seeing as how the Unicorns did not make any roster swaps coming into summer, it is difficult to see where the light is for the team this split. Only winning one game against Splyce, Shalke, ROCCAT and Giants, and winning 2-0 against H2K, the Unicorns are depending on the fans to believe in the power of love.
The Unicorns need to start beating the middle tier teams to even look at the top tier teams. Looking to ADC Samuel “Samux” Fernández Fort and mid laner Fabian “Exileh” Schubert to carry the games will be difficult. The Unicorns have pulled out many interesting strategies over the years, so it is possible that with the new meta that UOL will make some miracle run, but it is unlikely.
“From Our Haus to Yours”