Archive:Leaguepedia Articles/2014 EU LCS Spring Split - The Calm before the Storm - General Overview
|2014 EU LCS Spring Split - The Calm before the Storm - General Overview|
On Tuesday January 14th, 2014, the League of Legends Championship Circuit will enter its fourth season. Fans and casters alike will turn the Season 3 page to proceed to 2014 in style, as sixteen (yes, 16) games over three days will spark the fireworks of the 2014 League Championship Series in Europe.
The EU LCS Spring Season features a mix of elder statesmen going through the motions and feisty newcomers shooting for solid gold. Eight teams will dive head-first into the battlefield, but one will emerge as the king of the hill by the time the dust settles.
Fnatic is one of the longest tenured eSports brands in League of Legends. From the band that conquered the Season 1 World Championship, two players remain. Cyanide and xPeke added other players in their party, on a quest to relevance that ultimately led them to the top of Europe and the Season 3 World Semifinals. The team seeks to preserve momentum on their way to an eventual third World Championship showing. However, fierce competition and internal changes may thwart Fnatic's plans. Can they adjust to the current situation and conquer the odds?
At a glance
Youth and experience
Fnatic features four players who embraced League of Legends from the get go: xPeke, Cyanide, YellOwStaR, and sOAZ. Unlike some of their North American counterparts, these players still remain dominant in their respective positions, and xPeke even snagged MVP honors in Europe at the end of S3.
The fifth player, Rekkles, claimed his spot a year later than scheduled, as the LCS rules players under 17 ineligible. He displayed refined mechanics during his stint with Copenhagen Wolves and seeks to show the world what he has to offer.
Transitioning to Season 4
The puszu-enhanced team thrived in the Season 3 World Championship as they beat Samsung Galaxy Ozone, Gambit Gaming, and Cloud 9 on the way to a semifinal finish. The team then welcomed Rekkles' less CC-centric champion pool, and the change of playstyle led to a second-place finish in IEM Cologne.
Patch 3.14 imposed its own package of adjustments for Fnatic, and the defeat against Cloud 9 allowed the European squad to define points weakness to emphasize on going into scrimmages. The team's practice sessions included champion pool expansion in Cyanide's case, as their game plan required revisions. Whether they adapted to the rigors of Season 4 will be determined by their performances against Gambit Gaming and Alliance, among other teams.
Ever since the start of Season 2, Gambit Gaming occupied a seat at the top of the European scene. The team gained notice under Team Empire, then reached such a level of play under the Moscow Five banner that even Korean teams dreaded facing them. In Season 3, the team met adversity from within, as Edward left the team after the Spring Split. By the time he returned, Gambit ranked third in Europe and lost in the S3 World Quarterfinals. Since then, the roster looked unstoppable and vies to write another page in LoL history books.
At a glance
Old guard, fresh outlook
The first time Darien, Diamondprox, Alex Ich, Genja and Edward played together dates back to 2011. Throughout the years, they reaped trophies, fame, and reverence. However, Edward's departure after the Season 3 Spring Split preceded a rare occurrence as the group finished below 4th at the S3 World Championship.
The brief separation prompted Genja to state: "Love your support so they don't leave your team and you're not left with nothing." To the team's delight, Edward's comeback allowed them to take full benefit of the support's improved communication skills. The added stability in the aggressive bottom lane allowed Alex Ich and company to plow through IEM Cologne and BotA.
Innovation and heart
One of Gambit's core tenets is innovation in various aspects of the game. In Season 2, when the team's “See hero, kill hero” approach became the norm, Diamondprox added well-timed counterjungling. In Season 3, the jungler was the fastest to adopt his champion pool to the 2v1 solo lane meta; soon, Xin Zhao, Volibear and Nasus received nerfs, whereas Karma became prevalent in other positions.
However, none of the aforementioned points match the team's ability to step up at important moments. Their mettle was tested on their way to IEM Katowice, the Season 3 Regionals, and the Season 3 World Championship group stages. Perhaps it is their battle-hardened mind state in offline events that will carry them on top of Europe (or maybe the world) in 2014.
Counter Logic Gaming Europe once challenged Moscow Five for the title of European Overlords, a battle which allowed Europe to bloom as one of the premier regions for League of Legends. However, failure to reach the Season 3 World Championship caused an intercontinental divide, into NA's Evil Geniuses.NA and EU's Alliance. Shook, Froggen, Wickd, Tabzz and Nyph form a collective dead set on one mission: Carry the Aegis far and high, just like their DotA II counterparts did at The International 3.
At a glance:
One for all
On the wake of a disheartening 4th place finish in the LCS European Regionals, Evil Geniuses sought to cross the Atlantic. However, Froggen's desire to conquer Europe led him to detach from EG, and his alliance with Shook conceived the Super Team plan. When that plan fell through, the two players assembled another batch of highly proficient players.
Why did this roster come to fruition? Synergy. The players may rank at the top of their position on the scene, but it is the addition of mechanical skill, experience, game sense, and desire to win that makes this team induce shivers.
All for the Aegis
Alliance scored big in their first appearance, by way of their 2-0 destruction of Team Dignitas. Wickd and his teammates picked highly synergistic compositions, controlled the pace of the game from the get-go, had crisp rotations and teamfights, and celebrated with a wombo-combo to end the series.
The team needs to establish dominance over Europe from the start, as the competition looks fierce. Wickd and Froggen have resolved to prevent their Season 3 mistake from happening again, as they seek to propel the team at the top of the European charts. The squad will also benefit from Nyph's experience, which will hopefully provide favorable conditions for Tabzz to succeed.
EloBlade's path to the LCS was long and arduous. As a collective of high elo players, the team gelled slowly – too slow for the LCS Spring Split, which they watched from the sideline. The time of reckoning came in the S3 Qualifiers, where they booted the team that denied them a clean path in the spring season. Under the banner of Team Alternate, Eloblade dominated early on, but Creaton's hand injury and ForellenLord's burnout made them stumble. The team faces its destiny under Millenium. Is it at the top of Europe? Will it take them to the world stage?
At a glance:
Eloblade went from a 9-3 during the Summer Split to a narrow 2-1 victory over Ninjas in Pyjamas in the playoff decider match. The team returned to the drawing board as there needed to be changes to remain competitive at the highest level in Europe. ForellenLord's burnout episode ultimately cost him his spot in the roster.
In his stead came Kerp, the trackball master. The team then filled its top lane vacancy with Kev1n, a top laner who is as versatile as he is experienced. Following the team's separation from Alternate, Eloblade joined Olly's old organization, Millenium.
Disturbing the hierarchy
Roster changes usually require a period of adaptation, but Millenium adapted quickly. Indeed, Kerp was unstoppable against Counter Logic Gaming, as he displayed excellent teamfight control and laning mechanics. Yet, Araneae was the true shining light in the roster: over a short time period, his communication efforts allowed the roster to gel and act in a coordinated manner.
The team has the right ingredients to contend for the top spot in the LCS. As it stands, Creaton is back in shape after the broken hand incident in the summer, and the rest of the team stayed in shape mechanically. Kerp's transfer to the mid lane might have raised eyebrows, but the German midlaner played all five roles competitively. Will the team assert its position as a powerhouse, just as it did in the early S3 Summer Split?
Character is born in hardship. From character stems the thirst for greatness. For many, the road ends at the first major setback. However, the Copenhagen Wolves conquered the aptly named Challenger scene on their way to the LCS. It is perhaps fitting that PrideFC reached this point, as the team features players who failed time and time again yet persevered, such as YoungBuck and Amazing. Now, they face the best Europe has to offer. As the ultimate challengers, the Wolves seek to conquer their adversaries in the LCS.
At a glance
From bouts to the main event
Prior to the S3 Summer Split, PrideFC emerged out of the collapse of Samurai in Jeans. YoungBuck assembled a team comprised of Shook, Rekkles, cowTard, and Unlimited. Soon, the roster would go on a dominant tear in the Challenger circuit, and Copenhagen Wolves would incorporate them into the organization.
Rekkles' presence in the lineup was on borrowed time, and he soon reintegrated Fnatic. However, it was Shook's departure that prompted adjustments in Copenhagen Wolves. As the final showdown loomed, the team integrated Forg1ven and Amazing, two players that matched the former players in skill. Consequently, the team trounced their opponents in IEM Cologne, the Promotion group stages, and the final hurdle to the big league, MeetYourMakers.
The Perennial Challenger
Not to be deterred by their Game 1 stumble against MYM Czaru and company, the Wolves snowballed Games 2, 3 and 4 out of control. Their familiarity with their opponent du jour and the discrepancy in skill played in their favor. Perhaps their biggest opponent in that series was their own nerves during the first ten minutes of Game 1, which allowed MYM to decisively win it.
The Wolves' objective-oriented, team-cohesive playstyle primes them for success at the highest level. The flexibility of the players' champion pools leads to a huge pool of possible lineups, ranging from pick compositions to hard-engage ones. However, they must not pull a single punch, lest they go down for the count.
Once a European powerhouse in League of Legends, SK Gaming tumbled from Season 2 World participant to relegatable Season 3. A fall so brutal, it forced Alex 'TheSlash' Müller to retool the roster. Not spared were hyrqBot, Kev1n, and the team's star player, ocelote. Experience merged with youth, as Svenskeren, Fredy122, Nyph and Candypanda aided Jesiz in his trials to reliability in an offline environment. Nyph's departure following SK's re-qualification allowed nRated to bring savvy in the lineup. Will TheSlash's phoenix be able to fly gracefully?
At a glance
Rising from the ashes
SK Gaming's 13-15 summer split was one game below the .500 mark, but it was low enough to subject them to relegation. Despite the roster's best attempts at justifying their management's trust, ocelote and his teammates faltered, one game away from salvation. To the exception of Candypanda and Nyph, the days of that roster were numbered.
Facing the prospect of relegation, SK acquired Fredy122 and Svenskeren from SUPA HOT CREW XD, and they added Jesiz, a Challenger solo-queue player with limited offline experience. Such was the project of the German organization, as they sought to prepare for the future. A debacle in IEM Cologne preceded triumph in DreamHack Winter, but their biggest victory was yet to come.
A Phoenix Reborn
SK Gaming elected to participate in DreamHack, which meant limiting practice for 3.14. That decision initially backfired during the 2014 LCS Qualifiers, as they lost their first two games against SUPA HOT CREW XD. The team seemed to buckle to offline pressure, but it is once they found their back against the wall that they rose to the occasion and claimed the next three games.
Jesiz's statement spoke volumes: “At DreamHack, we turned it around. When we went into the third game, we started to communicate, talk a lot.” The team gained cohesion and flexibility at the most important moment to defeat SHC. Nyph's departure to Alliance was followed by nRated's arrival, and this acquisition will allow the team to focus prior to and during the games. Growth is inevitable, yet soaring through the ranks is a must.
“I once had a team.” This is what Kiedyś Miałem Team stands for in Polish. Its players traveled outside of Poland, some of them as far as Brazil under the Anexis banner. Separately from each other, they tried to get into the LCS and failed. In a way, KMT is akin to clockwork: you need the right parts to make the package work. Upon finding the missing cog, Jankos, the Polish team brought down the Goliath-like Ninjas in Pyjamas to their knees. They once had a team, but that was then. As ROCCAT, they will write the next chapters of their tale.
At a glance
The end of a journey
“They used to have a team, now they have a home,” reads Roccat's announcement a few days from the acquisition of KMT. The team members came close to the LCS: Overpow, Celaver and Xaxus as the core of Anexis, VandeR as a member of the Mighty Midgets, and Jankos in Team Mistral.
Faced with hardships after their release from Anexis, Overpow and company persevered and punched their tickets to the Gamescom LCS Qualifiers. Moreover, the acquisitions of VandeR and Jankos prompted two DreamHack finals appearances and a seed in the LCS Qualifiers, which they decisively converted into an LCS spot.
Walk forward, to the future
ROCCAT holds the keys to success in the LCS. With skilled players under the fold, the team creates advantageous situations in the early game, and they gradually etch towards a snowball-induced favorable outcome. It would be quick to point out Overpow's skill in the mid lane and Celaver's stability in offline showings, but Xaxus' seven deaths in eight LCS Qualifier games gave way to team success.
Team synergy is at an all-time high, and they need it: the level of competition sharply increased, and top 5 predictions never looked murkier. ROCCAT have the means to reach that level, and they must find a crack in games that will often be determined by inches. If Jankos and his teammates can create early-game opportunities, the LCS will tout its feistiest competitor to date.
SUPA HOT CREW XD assembled for the sole purpose of reaching the LCS through the Ranked 5v5 Qualifiers. For a Riot-inspired dream, they struggled in the first qualifier, adapted their roster, and secured their way into the Promotion Round Robin in their second try. The teams plan nearly paid off as they stood 2-0 against SK Gaming. Yet, SK's uprising quelled SHC's fire, and they were all but out. That is, until the Lemondogs fiasco happened. With their LCS hopes reignited, the team surged over MeetYourMakers 2-0, and allowed Migxa to keep hope alive.
At a glance
In the 11th Hour, the LCS created SHC
December 16th, 2013. The day where hope was ignited and brutally extinguished for the SUPA HOT CREW. Their opponent, SK Gaming, extinguished the fire that engulfed the Challenger scene starting November. Little did the crew know, they would have another shot at LCS glory.
Indeed, Lemondogs failed to provide vital paperwork, and that LCS spot was the prize of an improvised online qualifier between SHC, NiP, and MeetYourMakers. NiP's untimely technical issues shortened the competition to a best-of-3 between the two remaining teams. Far removed from offline complications, SUPA HOT CREW wrested the LCS spot away from their challenger's grasp.
To Survive and Thrive
The crew's primary asset is their ability to adapt to sudden changes, such as the departures of Fredy122, Svenskeren, and shotcaller Haydal. Their secondary asset is the strength of their side lanes, as Mimer, Migxa and MrRalleZ are highly-rated mechanically. In the end, unlike their offline performance in Games 3, 4 and 5 against SK Gaming, the team was very decisive in its snowballing approach.
Migxa and company have wanted that spot, as it represented a mark of success in itself. However, they will be hard pressed to keep the LCS spot. How fast will Moopz and his teammates acclimate to the weekly LAN grind? More importantly, will their “leave no one standing” approach pay off in an LCS environment? All eyes are set on Moopz and Impaler to light the Supa Hot Fire brighter than their competition.
Unleash the Hounds!
The day of reckoning has finally arrived for the eight teams involved in the 2014 LCS Spring Split. In the term of 28 games for each team, a clear hierarchy will be defined in a heavily stacked region. Do not miss the first day of LCS, as marquee headers (such as Gambit Gaming vs Fnatic) are on the menu for all to behold, live on LoLeSports.