LCS Week 1 Concludes
LCS Week 1 Concludes
Update: June 17, 2.00PM PDT
As the day opened, both Meet Your Makers and ALTERNATE were standing as kings of the hill at 4-0, but were scheduled to meet on Day 3 -- the Dreamhack throne is large enough for only one team.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the rankings, NiP and SK Gaming were at 0-4 -- diametrically opposite of the LCS newcomers and struggling to prove that their successes back in spring weren't for naught.
Cornered and desperate
To Fnatic and Evil Genius's chagrin, nothing fights more dangerously than a cornered beast, and there was definitely still something of the wolf in Ninjas in Pyjamas. Though Fnatic's team composition, comprised of close-range heavy-hitters like Jarvan, Malphite, Leona and Kha'zix, offered one of the most formidable teamfights possible in a five-on-five match, they struggled to gain any advantages at all against NiP.
SOAZ was especially hard-pressed to stay relevant as NeeGodBro's Nasus came close to killing him multiple times, only failing to do so by packing Teleport instead of Ignite. Xpeke's game presence was hampered as Bjergsen revealed yet another new weapon in his arsenal in the form of mid lane Kennen -- the NiP ace secured First Blood on xPeke with the very last tick of Ignite, and continued to snowball as he roamed every which way to pick up kills. Fnatic's mid-game teamfighting kept the game close, but it was all for naught as Cyanide and nRated were taken out by a baited trap at the second Baron Nashor spawn, led by Deficio's Death Sentence.
In SK Gaming's case, they simply outplayed Evil Geniuses from lane to lane. Ocelote had a hard time as his Kha'zix struggling to stay relevant in lane versus Froggen's Lux, but the turret-pushing pressure from Candypanda and Nyph was more than enough for SK to take the lead. The game snowballed against EG when they failed the fight at Dragon and Nyph landed Death Sentence onto Yellowpete's Tristana mid-jump to feed Candypanda the snowballing triple kill.
Hail to the king
As for the throwdown for top EU LCS team, MYM demonstrated erratic brilliance -- with emphasis on erratic. Mid Laner Czaru should be put high on the list of EU players that mustn't be allowed anywhere near Twisted Fate, as his Teleport/Gate strategy and MYM's heavy warding granted him map-wide impact. Unfortunately, it seemed as if his team relied entirely on that presence, as the only kills they gained over the course of the game was spearheaded by his efforts. Jungler Mokatte, on the other hand, seemed visibly uncomfortable on Sejuani -- his attempt to invade ALTERNATE's red-side Elder Lizard camp was thwarted readily by three ATN players, and the subsequent chase took down Makler and Czaru as well.
Between Jree's unerring Box and Death Sentence placements as well as Forellenlord's instant deletion of any player that came within range of Frozen Tomb, MYM was left with scant few options to shake free of ATN's control of the game. They were visibly playing in a panic, even going as far as chasing after Kerp's Shen while the rest of ATN was already pushing the base. MYM's cut down many teams with impressive sharpness over the Dreamhack weekend, but their nerves shattered against ALTERNATE's steely determination. Only one team could claim the coveted 5-0 position, and heaven's mandate fell upon Europe's Elo kings.
The EU LCS returns Friday, June 21, as the teams converge upon Russia, and Gambit Gaming finds themselves fighting on home turf for their honor and a shot at the top two positions.
Update: June 16, 2.30PM PDT
Day 2 of DreamHack Summer and the first week of the EU LCS Summer Split brought the promise of relentless action from the eight professional teams. The previous day was filled with upsets, with the lowest-ranking teams used to celebrating victory, while newcomers like ALTERNATE and Meet Your Makers convincingly demonstrated their commitment to research and preparation.
The young Turks
ALTERNATE looked especially confident, cruising through both Lemondogs and SK Gaming. The match against Araneae's former team was especially brutal -- Twisted Fate snuck through picks and bans and fell into Forellenlord's eminently capable hands, wreaking havoc to SK's global presence. But the veteran team held the line well enough for most of the match.
What really broke their spirits was finding that their Malphite/Sona/Kennen "wombo combo" had a glaring weakness against a single champion: Kerp's Vladimir not only had Sanguine Pool to dodge them, but also built Zhonya's Hourglass to offer further avoidance. With Creaton on a slick, untouchable Ezreal, SK's team composition was soundly outmaneuvered, and Creaton was allowed to end the game at an impressive KDA of 14-0-6.
But as impressive as this was, ATN's success almost pales against MYM's relentless success. With a 4-0 record at the end of the day, Meet Your Makers have gone far out of their way to prove that they thoroughly belong in Europe's highest competitive circuit. Their games against Lemondogs and Fnatic shared two commonalities: first, that support player Libik is incredibly good on Zyra, winning the lane with tight Grasping Roots control while winning the map with timely Vision Ward drops. Second, Czaru deserves to be spoken of in the same breath as the great European Mid Laners. His Kha'Zix performance was reminiscent of AlexIch's well-calculated assassinations, attaining multikills while escaping multiple times with his last sliver of health.
Baron Nashor's Heartbreak Hotel
Meanwhile, after a brilliant display against Spring Split champions Fnatic, all eyes were on Evil Geniuses during their match against the ascendant Lemondogs. It was, in many ways, the most exciting and most disappointing game of the day as emotions were wrenched every which way. It started horribly -- EG was caught wandering around Lemondogs' red-side Elder Lizard camp, and the proceeding ambush cost them two deaths. All lanes suffered as a result -- bad enough that Tabzz gets to start the lane with two kills on Caitlyn, but everybody else got the same number of assists, giving Lemondogs a steep advantage for EG to overcome. Worse, with Caitlyn, Ryze, Vladimir and Nasus, all known for their incredible late-game potentials, Lemondogs' team composition had everything locked up in both the short and long run.
But overcome they (nearly) did. Froggen singlehandedly kept them in the game, with his world-famous Lux's long-range siege frustrating LD's attempts to capitalize on their significant starting advantage. EG gave ground only grudgingly, forcing the Lemondogs to pay for every inch gained in blood. With flashbacks to their infamously drawn-out tactics from Season 2, Evil Geniuses committed to the long game, stalling out as long as possible until item limits put them on parity with their opposition.
When they finally caught Lemondogs at Baron Nashor -- wiping them out and taking out the first inhibitor of the game despite a tremendous turret deficit -- it seemed as if they were on track for a miraculous turnaround. But the same saving grace was their executioner's axe at the end. As Nashor's buff expired and they positioned to reclaim it, Lemondogs swooped in to return the favor, putting a bitter end to Evil Geniuses' hopes for the day.
The EU LCS resumes tomorrow at 10 AM PDT as Fnatic faces off against Ninjas in Pyjamas in Day 3 of DreamHack Super Week.
Update: June 15, 4.08PM PDT
The sun rose over Jonkoping, Sweden, and over the European esports scene in general, but it might've been hard to tell. There's been a pallor cast these last few weeks that affects all eight teams in the EU. The most dramatic issues were of loss: a humiliating showing on the international stage as Europe placed dead last at All-Star Shanghai, and Edward Abgarian, considered one of the scene's strongest support players, broke rank with his Russian peers to join North American team Curse. His departure from Gambit BenQ ended one of the most venerable and successful five-man partnerships in the game's short history, and left the team at loose ends with just weeks to go until the EU LCS resumed.
As if that wasn't bad enough, there was also the issue of practice -- or, rather, the lack thereof. As with Shanghai, the professional European esports scene was given yet another lesson about the vagaries of the visa process. Teams struggled to get a Russian visa in time for the event, and the long delays cut into their preparations for Dreamhack Summer.
Rookies defeat veterans
The regional lack of practice was most evident among the senior teams. SK Gaming had spent most of the Spring Split establishing a reputation for sharp, aggressive play, but none of that was on display during its showdown versus LCS rookies Meet Your Makers. While MYM has long been the terror of the challenger circuit, it still remained unusual for SK to be unable to take a single turret before 33 minutes, or for Ocelote to lose a lane versus a champion running Teleport instead of Ignite, given that the former summoner spell normally weakens how much pressure a player can exert in lane.
It was even worse for Ninjas in Pyjamas. They were completely shut out by MYM, unable to gain a foothold on a single turret or even pick up a single kill. Their earlier game versus Lemondogs didn't go nearly as badly, trading kills back and forth, but their team play was plagued by multiple mistakes. The last one, where Svenskeren's Jarvan and NeeGodBro's Malphite crashed through the upper river to catch and kill Tabzz's well-fed Vayne, was especially lethal. With NiP spread so far out by Svenskeren and NeeGodBro's kilometers-deep charge into the enemy formation, Lemondogs were able to pick the rest of NiP off at their leisure.
Old guard still dangerous
But not all was bad news for the veteran teams, and much of the promise and talent they demonstrated in spring was still on full display, promising better things as Super Week continued and the Summer Split progressed towards the World Championship. After all, even as NiP struggled to find their pace, Bjergsen still made a case as one of the deadliest Mid Laners in the world, slaughtering Lemondogs one by one with a frighteningly effective Zed.
Fnatic, too, had none of the cohesion problems plaguing their opponents. Though it took over eight minutes of steady farming for them to kick into gear, they were an unstoppable bulldozer from that point on, methodically taking down objective after objective. At the last push under Gambit's second mid lane turret, Yell0wStaR seemingly went one step too far out of position, tempting the Russian team into focusing him down. But between his Barrier and nRated's Eye of the Storm, it was all a dastardly trap, forcing them to burn spells upon a suddenly tanky AD Carry while xPeke leapt in and sent them packing to respawn to finish the game.
Finally, the struggles of the veterans had at least allowed one huge silver lining: we've been allowed to see the new teams at their finest. Each of them -- Meet Your Makers, Lemondogs and ALTERNATE -- have now successfully taken wins off the more experienced teams, making a strong case that the Summer Split's top and bottom four will be more about actual merit than seniority.
ALTERNATE had especially proven that their reputation for being glorified solo queue heroes was no longer applicable. Though they are individually of breathtaking talent, as demonstrated by Kerp's successful 1v3 defense down in bot lane, killing Yellowpete with the turret's help, it was entirely a demonstration of teamwork that won them the game against Evil Geniuses. While all eyes were on Krep's amazing defense, they were already hammering at the second turret with a minion line by five minutes. Forellenlord's tendency to pop out of nowhere and drop Lissandra's Entomb on unsuspecting players made this game an especially nightmarish one for the Geniuses, who are now the last standing European team with a full roster transferred over from Season 2.
Whatever the final outcome of this week, they've made one thing clear: the Summer Split will not be dull... or predictable.
The EU LCS resumes tomorrow at 1 AM PST / 10.00 CEST as ALTERNATE faces off against Lemondogs in Day 2 of Dreamhack Super Week.
Update: June 14, 10:25PM PDT
During the final day of the Super Week opener of the North American LCS, each of the eight teams played their final two matches. As the dust settled, a new, up-and-coming team has ascended the throne for the NA LCS. Cloud 9 concluded Week 1 with a perfect 5-0, including two swift victories today against both Team Coast and Velocity eSports. Showing flexibility in champion picks and unwavering confidence in team fights, C9 is currently the new metric by which the rest of the NA LCS teams can measure themselves. Their MVP this week, Meteos, showed any position is capable of carrying the team and leading the charge.
In a three way tie for 2nd place, Team SoloMid, Team Coast, and Vulcun each end the week at 3 wins and 2 losses. TSM returned to what appeared to be their Spring Split form as they demolished Curse Gaming in less than 22 minutes. With Dyrus playing an exceptional Jayce, TSM steamrolled their opponents during the laning phase and dispatched Curse 4 for 0 during a Dragon fight, before swiftly ending the game.
While Vulcun completed the week tied with TSM, they fared poorly in their heads-up match against the reigning LCS champs. Team Coast finished 1-1 today, losing to the standing leader, C9. However, they pulled out a win from the jaws of defeat against Dignitas: DIG's poor decision to race against CST's Nexus came back to bite them as all of Coast revived in the nick of time to wipe out Dignitas and counterattack into DIG's base to take the victory right out from under them.
And Yet So Far...
Dignitas and Counter Logic Gaming sit in the middle of the pack at 2 wins and 3 losses. With both teams going 1-1 today, it is very apparent that the veteran teams still have much to discuss amongst themselves in the coming weeks. For Dignitas, the team suffered from a complete lack of communication this week. From mistimed initiations to ill-timed attempts for Baron, there were plenty of instances where DIG gave away an advantage that they took ten to twenty minutes to obtain.
CLG, on the other hand, is still undergoing growing pains with the majority of their roster learning or relearning their positions. Nientonsoh performed poorly this week on Vladimir, but proved he can be a formidable force on Jayce. Chauster was unable to channel his inner Thresh Prince by any means, yet completely decided team fights as Janna. Even Doublelift, while nothing keeps him away from farming up a storm, exhibited poor positioning and was often caught out in front of his team as fights began. But both these teams still have the time and opportunity to rectify these mistakes. It will be interesting to see if they come into Week 2 with a fresh approach.
The LCS continues this weekend across the pond with the European LCS starting at 6:00am PDT / 15:00 CEST at DreamHack Summer, so be sure to turn in for more League of Legends action!
Update: June 13, 7:55PM PDT
The tense action continued on Day 2 of the opening Super Week in the NA LCS! Going into the match winless after yesterday, Curse refocused on their first match of the day against the 1-0 Velocity eSports. During champion select, Curse purposely left Jayce open for Cris and first picked Nyjacky Twisted Fate. VES took the bait and picked up Jayce for Cris and Curse quickly responded by locking in Tryndamere for Voyboy. The match was heavily in Voyboy's control who took Top Lane by force and did a great job zoning out Cris in lane. Gaining an advantage after laning phase, Voy joined in a teamfight near Dragon and scored a quick Triple Kill for Curse. With both a level and item advantage, VES were unable to keep Voyboy in check and Curse came out of the match with their first win of the season.
The match between two NA veterans, Counter Logic Gaming and Dignitas, kept everyone at the edge of their seats. In a grueling 71 minute match where both teams broke the 100K gold barrier, the game of throws went back and forth as both teams lost the advantage as quickly as they gained it. In the end, it was CLG who ultimately prevailed after making the most out of selling and rebuying Guardian Angels while the item was on cooldown.
After a red-hot Day 1 performance, Cloud 9 looked surprisingly shaky after EDward brought C9 to his Hook City and contributed to a 9-1 kill advantage for Curse in the first 15 minutes. While EDward dominated Bot Lane with a 3-0-2 KDA, Voyboy on Elise had help from Saintvicious and decimated Ball's Rumble to lead Curse with the most kills at 5-0. However, never count C9 out of the match before the nexus falls. In a commanding fashion, C9 displayed their impeccable teamfighting skills once more and brought themselves back into the lead, eventually securing a comeback win. C9 coming out with an unlikely win is undoubtedly the icing on Meteos' birthday cake today (yes, it is his birthday!).
In search of their first win of the week and this split, Dignitas ran an unconventional lane swap with great success. KiWiKiD's Kha'Zix was able to barely come out with First Blood against Reginald's Kennen in Mid Lane that that set up KiWiKiD with a monumental fifty CS advantage for him after midgame. Scarra's Diana also made sure that Dyrus' Yorick became a non-factor with some jungle assistance from Crumbz's Zac. With both of TSM's solo lanes out of commission, DIG quickly took control of the game and set themselves apart with a 15-2 kill advantage before closing out the game.
With both Vulcun and Velocity experiencing the taste of victory already, the two teams clashed to see who would come out ahead. BloodWater's Thresh was a huge playmaker in both Top and Mid Lane skirmishes. With his Death Sentences hitting key targets in Velocity's team, VES were hard pressed to find a team fight in their advantage. Twice Cris' Kennen was denied from maximizing his damage on Vulcun due to VUL's superior team positioning and twice mandatorycloud's Kha'Zix got the reset and secured Triple Kills for his team. While Vulcun and Velocity feigned a base race, it was Vulcun's decision making that ended them with the advantage after the trade. With mandatorycloud and Zuna so far ahead in the late game, Vulcun came out victorious in the end.
In the final match of the day, Jintae subbed for ZionSpartan, who was absent today due to his high school graduation (check out our video feature). Having previously played with the team multiple times during the Spring Split, Jintae meshed perfectly into Coast's team composition and kept his team in the game with his amazing Orianna Command: Shockwaves. Despite securing a sneaky Baron, CLG's teamfighting was not up to par in their second match of the day and Coast concluded Day 2 with a win.
If yesterday was the Day of Kennen, today was easily decided by Kha'Zix. With a 100% ban and pick rate, every match that involved Kha'Zix in Day 2, the Voidreaver found all the kills he needed to Leap reset and carry his team to victory. Also in an ironic reversal of roles from yesterday, Blue side came out ahead 6 wins to 0 losses to dominate the Purple side, who was vastly victorious the day before.
The final day of the Super Week opener of the NA LCS begins tomorrow at 1 PM PDT (22.00 CEST) with new comers Velocity eSports facing off against veteran Dignitas. Don't miss it!
Update: June 13, 11.30AM PDT
If you missed any of the LCS action on opening day of the NA Summer Split, check out the highlights in our recap video here.
Update: June 12, 7.30PM PDT
The NA LCS Summer Split exploded into action with six amazing games on Wednesday. In the opening match between the renamed Team Coast (formerly Good Game University) and TSM Snapdragon, TSM came out with a dominating performance by Reginald on Kha'Zix. Making the most out of Leap resets, Reginald was able to maneuver out of danger and reengage whenever he saw an opening to take out low health enemy champions.
Curse Gaming entered Week 1 with the debut of their new Support, EDward, formerly of Gambit Gaming. While Curse was able to work together with their new roster, Vulcun was on an entirely different page. Sycho Sid led the charge with Kennen and Vulcun displayed phenomenal team fighting prowess. Each individual Vulcun player contributed equally to their decisive win over Curse.
Since qualifying for the NA LCS during the Summer Promotion, Cloud 9 has been touted as one of the fiercest upcoming teams. Against the veterans, Dignitas, Cloud 9 proved that all their preseason accolades were well deserved as they dispatched DIG in under 30 minutes.
As the team with the biggest roster change going into the Summer Split, Counter Logic Gaming faced off against the newly arrived Velocity eSports. Cris as Kennen took full advantage of Neintonsoh's relatively novice experience as a Top Lane and abused his Vlad. CLG displayed a considerable amount of growing pains, from early game when Doublelift chose to freeze bot lane against maplestreet's Draven, to late game when poorly chosen Death Sentences by Chauster set up CLG for a devastating team fight.
The highlight of the day was definitely the upstarts Cloud 9 versus the Spring Split champions, TSM. Taking it to over 40 minutes, Cloud 9 proved once more that their unparalleled team fighting is a major ingredient to success. From bans and picks, C9 showed inter-regional knowledge and assembled a team composition that looked very similar to what CJ Entus Blaze has been very successful with in OGN The Champions. With Balls as Ryze in Top Lane and Hai on Kennen in Mid Lane, C9 consistently dictated and won team fights thanks to Meteos' initiation as Zac.
In the final match of the day, Coast prevents a Day 1 blowout by taking a win against Vulcun while using some unorthodox picks such as Riven and Fiddlesticks. Breaking the trend as the only team of the day to win on the Blue side of Summoner's Rift, they end Day 1 at 1-1, as do Vulcun.
From Day 1, we can draw a few conclusions. First and foremost, Kennen has returned to the NA scene and is here to stay. Always the bully in lane, Kennen has great flexibility in his ability to solo in either Top or Mid Lanes with no problem. During grouped five-on-five team fights, Kennen excels even more with his ability to AoE stun multiple champions. Combined with his core item Zhonya's Hourglass, Kennen is an offensive AP powerhouse that can enter a fray and become immune to focus fire. Expect Kennen to start a trend of ban/first picks as the Spring Split continues.
Cloud 9 will continue to turn heads as the season continues. In the opening day of Super Week, they have already toppled two major NA veterans, including forcing a 40-minute surrender from the incumbent NA LCS champions. All eyes will be on C9 to see how far they can go this season.
Come back at the same time tomorrow 1 PM PDT (22:00 CEST) as the NA LCS Summer Split continues into Day 2 with Curse Gaming facing off against Velocity eSports.
Update: June 11, 8.30PM
Need to get caught up with 2013? Make sure to check out our recently posted recaps and previews from the casters:
Update: June 10, 5.30PM
Due to a conflict with the OGN Champions Finals this weekend, a scheduling change has occurred during the Dreamhack event. Check the updated schedule graphics below or the Matches Page for the new game times.
Old favorites and new challengers clash in the remainder of the 2013 season, kicking back off on June 12. Want to know what days to block out, when the broadcasts start, and which venues to buy tickets for? Download the full Summer Split schedule below, perfect for hanging on your wall. (Provided with times in both Pacific Daylight and Central European Summer Time.)
Want to know when your team is next playing? You can find the most up-to-date details about the matchups in our Matches Section. As always, stay tuned to lolesports.com for the latest news, announcements, and to watch all the matches on game days!