Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! It’s back! This is like second Christmas for an esports and League of Legends junkie like me. I’ll be here bringing you everything you need to know every day after the action is wrapped up with match recaps, analysis of the league and the standings for both European and North American leagues. Week 1 kicks off with a super week, and on day 1 we’re being treated to six big games. First on the slate is the explosive start with LCS Champions from last split Fnatic, versus the Russian powerhouse, Gambit Gaming.
Game 1 – Fnatic vs Gambit Gaming
The LCS organisers really know how to kick off a split and this was looking to be a an explosive game from the off. Particularly in mid lane, with two of the three most experienced and talented mid laners in the game coming head to head. Both teams have had changes to their bottom lane. Gambit returning to their former support, Edward, and Fnatic bringing Rekkles to his LCS debut. Without any risky picks, this game looked to come down to composition versus team skill. Gambit’s Dr. Mundo showed they’re gunning for a stall and late game win. Gambit kickoff the match with an invade into blue, but it backfires when they’re spotted by a ward and end up giving first blood over to sOAZ on Trundle. More aggression breaks out in the bottom side of Fnatic’s jungle as they force Fnatics front line back and back again. A clever defensive play by Alex Ich, dropped xPeke’s guard and with some help from Diamond on Shyvanna they pick up an equalising kill. The action didn’t let up with a gank from Cyanide bottom helped pick up a kill onto Darien, but a following counter gank by Diamond kept the score equal. Refusing to let play lull, Rekkles pulls of an incredible play top lane securing a double kill and just managing to get away from the chasing Shyvanna. Welcome to the LCS Rekkles. You’ll do well here.
The game got into full swing now with Gambit falling behind having lost two towers and allowing Rekkles three unanswered kills. They needed to shut down any potential snowball from the strong Fnatic team. The stalemate in mid lane continues, with neither champion picking up any serious advantages. After a risky tower assault by Fnatic on the remaining outer tower in mid lane, Gambit come in and the first team fight breaks out, but it’s left one for one, as Edward and Cyanide were casualties. Fnatic keep up their objective focused play style and dropped a fourth tower without any reply from Gambit. The Russians seemed to look a bit uncomfortable in their play. Bad turned to worse when Fnatic get caught out trying to take dragon, but some nifty teamwork, they turn the fight completely on Gambit, pulling away with a triple kill for Rekkles and an uncontested Baron. Fnatic use their advantage to steamroll their advantage and take the middle inhibitor and secure a triple kill on xPeke. Gambit continued to struggle for the rest of the game, being broken down at every turn. Forcing Fnatic off their nexus at the last-minute, Gambit tried a miracle Baron, but were easily thwarted by Fnatic and the nexus fell quickly after.
Final Score: Fnatic 21 – 5 Gambit
MVP: Fnatic Rekkles
Game 2 – Copenhagen Wolves vs Alliance
The reformed Copenhagen Wolves faced off against the Alliance super team, featuring ex-Evil Geniuses players, Froggen and Wickd. Copenhagen Wolves have a lot to prove and were going to have a tough game ahead of them, but an early win versus one of the league favourites would boost their morale immensely. The game seemed to be getting off to a slow start but some incredible Caitlyn play by the Alliance AD Carry Tabzz to pick up first blood was quickly answered by Copenhagen Wolves top laner YoungBuck dropping Wickd. Quick back and forth fighting all over the map for the first 10 minutes set the score at 3-4 in Alliances favour. Alliance started to pull ahead with a dragon, another kill and the first tower in bot lane. Alliances grip on the game was loose and the underdogs were keeping a close grip on the game. A misfire by Froggen in a teamfight at Dragon let Copenhagen Wolves capitalise and take the team fight three for one to equalise the kills with a bonus dragon and tower taken. The pace of the game turned on its head and all momentum was with Copenhagen Wolves. The early advantage of Alliance was swapped and suddenly Copenhagen Wolves were in the driving seat.
At 30 minutes in some clever positioning from Copenhagen Wolves allowed them to take their third dragon, extending their gold advantage to over five thousand gold. Something big needed to happen for Alliance to get back in control of this game, but the Wolves kept their cool and stopped any miracle turnaround, keeping their cool. Every attempt by Alliance to get a foot back into this game was stamped out by the Wolves confident play. Picking up kill, after kill, after Baron, after kill, after tower. The Wolves kept up pressure and we had our first major upset of the LCS split. I guess the Alliance hype train has yet to leave the station.
Final Score: Copenhagen Wolves 14 – 9 Alliance
MVP: Copenhagen Wolves cowTard
Game 3: Supa Hot Crew XD – Roccat
This was the battle of the complete newcomers. For Supa Hot Crew, this was a match they needed to win to show what they had to bring after they got in following last seasons dark horse team Lemondogs had their spot in this split removed, having failed to qualify before that. Roccat looked strong in the qualifying competition and likely saw this game as an opportunity to acclimatize against a weaker team. Supa Hot Crew drew first blood after catching Roccat’s jungler in the bottom side river, chase him under the bottom lane tower and pick up three kills for one, taking a nice early lead. Supa Hot Crew kept up the pressure on the bottom lane, but Roccat were able to pull one back with a pressure relieving kill on Impaler’s Nunu. Roccat slowed the game right down hoping to counter the quick buff items that Supa Hot Crew were building. The first teamfight broke out in bottom lane, after some over extending from Supa Hot Crew, which turned into a very messy two for one win in Roccats favour to level the score at 4-4. From this point, Roccat had control of the game from this point on and would not let up on it, taking objectives quickly from Supa Hot Crew. At 20 minutes, Roccat’s team composition became obvious when they caught out Supa Hot Crew in mid lane, and melted four members in seconds walking away with four kills for no losses and an early Baron that solidified their place in the driving seat. Roccat moved between lanes, keeping pressure up on all sides of the map and not allowing Supa Hot Crew to get any foothold back in this game. A second Baron for Roccat at 28 minutes, was a sign that Roccat were starting to close out the game. A teleport/homeguard dive inside the base of Supa Hot Crew from Roccat’s top laner signalled the end of the game in flashy style. A last ditch effort to rescue their base was thwarted and the game was wrapped up with a win for Roccat, in just over 30 minutes.
Final Score: Supa Hot Crew XD 4 – 15 Roccat
MVP: Roccat Xaxus
Game 4: Alliance – Fnatic
When it came down to it, Alliance should have beaten the Copenhagen Wolves but their composition was all off. Then going against a far stronger team hot off a win against Gambit, they needed to pull out all the stops to take down Fnatic. On the other hand, Fnatic also needed to pick up a win here to start solidifying a lead in the league, and more importantly, against their two biggest threats. The game got off to a slow start, despite some action in the bottom lane with both junglers coming in for ganks, everyone walked away from the fight with their lives. First blood actually came out top lane with a two man dive from Fnatic onto Wickd’s top lane and despite his best efforts he fell without being able to pick up a second kill. Alliance picked up the first dragon and after looking weak in the ensuing teamfight, they walk away with a one for one trade, that should’ve been more. Alliance looked to have recovered from their early difficulties, but their Support Nyph was still struggling, whereas Fnatic top laner sOAZ was on fire for this game, displaying incredible mechanical knowledge of the game. Alliance, in true CLG.eu, style were playing for the late game and hoping to get AD Carry Tabzz nice and fed one Vayne to pick apart Fnatic. The game was in the balance and was waiting for either team to make some big plays. Alliance went champion hunting and allowed Fnatic to start split pushing, and Fnatic picked up two towers and the top side inhibitor, swinging the match massively in their favour for the time being. The game suddenly picked up pace as the Baron dance began. A two for two trade in the Alliance jungle near Baron left both teams unable to take the objective but Fnatic wanted to stall out the game as a wave of super minions was hammering on the door of Alliances nexus dropping on of the towers. A gambit effort by Froggen on Gragas to drop some members of Fnatic back fired as he dived in 2 v 3, was killed and got nothing for his efforts. The pace of this game can be quantified by xPeke hitting over 400 CS just 37 minutes into the game. Alliance tried to pick up a quick Baron and push out the rest of the game. But Cyanide on Fnatic had other plans, diving in on Vi and suicide stealing the Baron away from Alliance, and allowing Fnatic to take three kills out of it. From here they regrouped and marched into the Alliance base, slowing picking apart the remaining objectives and taking down the nexus for their second win of the day, and Alliances second loss. That hype train is beginning to derail.
Final Score: Alliance 8 – 15 Fnatic
MVP: Fnatic xPeke
Game 5: Gambit Gaming – Copenhagen Wolves
Hoping to bounce back from an early defeat, Gambit were faced with a Copenhagen Wolves coming off an improbable win against Alliance. Having teased us with it on Twitter, Edward broke out one of his secret support picks and locked in a Kennen support. Darien picking Warwick top lane, was another risky pick, but with some dominating play on the champion in the Battle of the Atlantic, it could swing it in Gambit’s favour based on Wolves not being practiced against these champs.
An early duel midlane hands first blood over to Wolves’ cowTard but Gambit jungler Diamond, levels things and walks away on barely any health. The gold difference remained in Wolves’ favour thanks to some excellent CS’ing from the bottom lane, but Alex Ich, was picking up kill after kill, and would quickly become a problem unless Wolves had an answer to his Kha’Zix. The cautious play from Gambit paid off when some over extending from Wolves pays off and they picked up four kills for two. Gambit were in the driving seat the rest of the game. Early CS from Wolves allowed them to keep up the pace with them on the gold front, but they never looked as strong as they had earlier on in the day and every fight turned heavily in Gambit’s favour. Alex Ixh’s Kha’Six was decimating any champion that he saw. The game rounded out with an impressive quadra kill from Alex Ich before Gambit wrapped up the nexus kill.
Final Score: Gambit Gaming 25 – 6 Copenhagen Wolves
MVP: Gambit Alex Ich
Game 6: SK Gaming – Millenium
SK Gaming used to be a powerhouse of European eSports, but fell by the wayside in recent years. This is their chance to come back with a bang and prove themselves again. Millenium is a built up of some ex LCS players from team Alternate and former SK Gaming top laner Kev1n. This was a match up of two teams that many people won’t be expecting much from, and so they both have something to prove coming into the game. After a slow start to the game, Millenium took the upper hand early in the game and stayed in the driving seat throughout. Some incredible Ezreal play from Creaton, got Millenium off to a flying start. But all credit must go to SK Gaming for being able to repel them at every attempt they made to finish the game, but it was only delaying the inevitable. The longest game of the day, at just over 50 minutes, was proving that Millenium need to work on closing out games, because while this game was pretty locked in and it was just a matter of time. A more experienced team could punish them for their patience, as SK had begun towards the end of the match.
Final Score: SK Gaming 10 – 27 Millenium
MVP: MIllenium Creaton
|1||Fnatic||2 – 0|
|2||Millenium||1 – 0|
|3||ROCCAT||1 – 0|
|4||Gambit||1 – 1|
|5||Copenhagen Wolves||1 – 1|
|6||SK Gaming||0 – 1|
|7||Supa Hot Crew XD||0 – 1|
|8||Alliance||0 – 2|