The European LCS has certainly been exciting in the past few weeks, with teams playing past all expectations and players giving their all and securing great plays, and with the summer split drawing to a close now seems like the perfect time to round-up what’s been going on with each team and what to expect next.
No team in the League of Legends eSports scene has been quite as dominant as Fnatic has been this split, with no other team being able to defeat them over the 18 game split. Fnatic has been a constant high performer, and the might be Europe’s main hope for glory at this year’s World Championship. With the World Championship set on home soil, Fnatic is poised for a strong performance, especially with their dominant Korean players Huni and Reignover in such fine form. The return of talented marksman Rekkles, after his underwhelming stint with Elements, was not without critique at the start of the split, but the team has certainly shown that they are a force to be reckoned with and that there is still hope for a European champion once again.
The so-called “super team” Origen proved their worth, securing second place in their maiden split after being promoted from the challenger series and giving some phenomenal performances. Led by veteran mid-laner and world champion xPeke, Origen has powered up the league and has managed a very strong split, just not as strong as Fnatic’s. Origen could show their quality on an international level, assuming they qualify for Worlds — xPeke’s residency would make them tough opposition, even for the Korean giants who have dominated the international scene for the past few years. However, Origen may not have to experience as a team required to take down the best international teams, since they were only formed this year.
H2K have once again proven that they can fight among the best and come out on top. The team has stayed fairly stable in a volatile league, with their starting line-up unchanged since February. H2K’s finish in third also means they’ll be in the easier bracket for playoffs, avoiding Fnatic who are likely to beat any team they come up against from Europe. H2K could be the third European team heading to Worlds — that is, if their inconsistent Korean mid-laner Ryu can perform at his best. Considering H2K are relatively new to the LCS, having only joined this spring, they have come a tremendous way in solidifying their place as a competitive team.
Unicorns of Love (9-9)
The Unicorns have had a fair, albeit slightly disappointing season. The team, which many saw as relegation bait last year, have performed reasonably in the summer and have confirmed their place in the playoffs, playing against ROCCAT in the first round. With the departure of Kikis and the arrival of H0R0 to replace him, many fans will wonder if the Unicorns of Love have what it takes to challenge for Worlds — they have their work cut out for them with ROCCAT and the giants that are Fnatic. The Unicorns have come a long from being the underdogs in Europe, but with the new expectations comes a greater chance for disappointment, especially is new jungler H0R0 is unable to perform.
Team ROCCAT (9-10)
No team has gone through such a range of emotions as ROCCAT, from being pegged as a split-winning team at the beginning of spring to scrapping out of relegation. This summer ROCCAT have regained some composure, but not all of it. The signing of the recently relegated marksman MrRalleZ to replace the under-performing Woolite was a good move to rejuvenate the team, culminating in a tie-breaking victory against GIANTS!. ROCCAT will be very lucky to qualify to Worlds, but there are promising signs for next season, especially with Korean top-laner Dart coming in to give competition for fan-favorite Steve.
GIANTS! Gaming (8-11)
Never has one team out performed all expectations like GIANTS! This split, the Spanish team has played out of their skin to climb up the league and achieved a position in the playoffs. GIANTS! arguably won by losing to ROCCAT in their tie-breaker, avoiding Fnatic, but Worlds is still a very unlikely prospect. For GIANTS!, the summer will simply be a time to consolidate and prepare for next season. Many fans also hope that GIANTS! can continue with some of their more eclectic strategies next year, after seeing Werlyb’s impressive top-lane Galio
When Alliance rebranded to Elements, they didn’t just change a name — they changed the entire team profile. Many saw Alliance as Europe’s dream team, led by the talented mid laner Froggen as they competed in Worlds last year. But the rebrand has seen a decline in the team’s performance and results. With Rekkles leaving to re-join Fnatic, the team has become a ragtag shadow of its former self, with players coming and going. But the pillar Froggen has stood unfazed in all of this, and the team has managed to avoid relegation play-offs — here’s to hoping that they can stabilize to mount an attack on Worlds next year, rekindling some of their old excellence needed to take down the likes of Fnatic.
Gambit Gaming (7-11)
It hasn’t been the fairy tale season that Gambit will have wanted. A team that has been in decline ever since their crucial mid laner Alex Ich left, Gambit has slowly fallen into mediocrity, and the proof is in the pudding. The signing of exceptional, yet ill-disciplined, FORG1VEN from SK Gaming was a bold move, but it hasn’t paid off as expected. The mercurial marksman had some fantastic performances, notably against ROCCAT, but ended the season in disgrace with a four-match ban for toxicity, something he has experienced in the past. With their star man left on the side-lines Gambit will need to pick up their game in order to avoid the drop this split — can Genja or ex-Fnatic man Steelback turn the tide while FORG1VEN cools his head?
SK Gaming (6-12)
With the loss of marksman FORG1VEN at the end of the spring split, many thought that SK were in for a rough summer, and they were correct. SK have fallen from grace, with the returning Candy Panda proving to be little replacement for their lost star. SK should have enough talent and experience to avoid the drop this year. At best, an off-season of training will get this team back on its feet — at worst, a much needed line-up change.
Copenhagen Wolves (4-14)
It’s been a sad, sad season for the Copenhagen Wolves. Shook’s return from Elements gave hope to the fans that the Danish side’s reasonable finish to the spring split would be improved, due to his impressive jungle play for Alliance last year. However, weeks of under-performance dropped them to bottom — they’ll be playing in the Challenger series next year. Shook’s recent departure could also spell disaster, considering the Wolves will not have much pull to sign great players. The question for many will be if they have enough quality to regain their LCS status next year.
That wraps up this year’s LCS action in Europe for most teams. However, this year the World Championships will be coming to Europe, and so will the best teams in the world. Will an European home side take the title as best team in the world, or will foreign opposition from America, Korea or China take the coveted trophy? Make sure to tune in on the 31st of October to see who will be victorious.