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|Battle of the Atlantic - Preview|
Season 3 featured several opportunities for international play and many of these occasions pit European teams against North American ones. The Season 3 All-Star Game allowed NA fans to celebrate their region's success, with EU teams using the Season 3 World Championship and IEM Cologne to retaliate afterward. Yet the question still remains up in the air: Which region is the better one?
The Battle of the Atlantic will hopefully yield an answer to the above question as it is the ultimate stage for both regions to settle the score. Five separate bouts opposing the Top 5 LCS teams from EU and NA. Here is the story for each round.
Team Dignitas enter the tournament with a slightly revamped roster. The team brought Cruzerthebruzer to take over their top lane, and KiWiKiD moved to the substitute role. However, due to Patoy's inability to attend the Battle of the Atlantic event, KiWiKiD will play Support against Alliance.
Dignitas have traditionally held a powerhouse spot as they consistently rank within the Top 4 of the North American competitive scene. However, the team still has issues when the time comes to perform at big events and Super Weeks: 3W-7L during the Spring Split, and 7W-9L during the Summer Split.
On the other hand, Alliance are completely different from what they used to be (Evil Geniuses). Once a stall-expert turned dive-centric roster, EG.eu paid the price for the Season 3 changes and altered their roster at the jungle and bottom lane roles. Krepo, Yellowpete, and Snoopeh left and took their talents across the Atlantic, while in comes Shook, Kazmitch, and Tabzz.
Alliance's current players share a common factor: high proficiency in mechanics. On top of that, Froggen and Wickd bring two years of competitive LoL savvy to the team. One question remains unanswered: How will these talented players perform as a unit?
The Hype Facts:
Team SoloMid vs Lemondogs: War of Changed Teams
Team SoloMid has been a Top 2 team in North American events since 2012, with Dyrus taking The Rain Man's spot at the top lane. However, the team has undergone its biggest change in recent history as Reginald stepped down from the starting five. Reginald's heir at the mid lane position is none other than Bjergsen, former Copenhagen Wolves and Ninjas in Pyjamas player.
Prior to the Bjergsen acquisition, TSM's jungler usually created pick opportunities to help Reginald during the laning phase. Bjergsen's presence allows TheOddOne to roam freely around the map, which may alleviate the pressure on Dyrus up top, or to the Xpecial/WildTurtle duo in the bot lane. Furthermore, shotcalling duties may fall on the Dane's shoulder.
As for the Lemondogs, the roster that earned them a Season 3 World Championship group stage finish is no more. Ninjas in Pyjamas acquired mithy, Zorozero, and Nukeduck. Meanwhile, Tabzz left for Alliance, and Dexter is trying out for Counter Logic Gaming.
To compensate for the departures, the organization hand-picked a group of players for the event, and potentially for the 2014 Season. The pairing of ShLaYa and ImSoFresh made its debut in 2012, when the duo played for Eclypsia. They will have the assistance from challenger Top laner Myw, who played during the ASUS RoG Tournament in Paris. The Fox Sound's former players (Crazycaps and Zerious) round out the lineup.
The Hype Facts:
Counter Logic Gaming vs Team Alternate: Undergoing Roster Exams
Counter Logic Gaming approaches the competition thirsty for a marquee victory on the international stage. HotshotGG's team is known for their disregard of objectives, a glaring sight during the Season 3 Summer Split. In IEM Cologne, Doublelift and his teammates fell short to Fnatic, but paved the way for an acquisition that may turn their fortunes around.
Enabling Dexter for a tryout came at the expense of TrickZ, a mechanically skilled jungler with a flair for playmaking. What CLG may acquire in Dexter surpasses that. Dexter's battle-tested shotcalling will allow the team to approach team fights with more serenity, and his game sense will allow his teammates to perform smooth transitions. The question is, is that enough?
Regardless of the answer, their opponent packs devastating strength. Team Alternate, the house that Eloblade built, were once cruising past the likes of Fnatic, Evil Geniuses, Lemondogs and Gambit Gaming, before injuries and setbacks caught up to them. According to ForellenLord, team chemistry decayed after those incidents and the team fell one game short of the EU Season 3 Playoff Semifinals.
Araneae and his teammates were stuck in a bind: Continue with the same roster, or apply changes to reinforce the determination? They chose the latter. Kerp's assassin-heavy mid lane champion pool will see the light in competitive League of Legends, and Kev1n with his vast champion pool will fill the vacancy in the top lane.
The Hype Facts:
XDG Gaming vs Gambit Gaming: Red Logos Clash for Supremacy
Team Vulcun initially fought for survival in the LCS Spring Split. Things changed overnight with the arrival of Bloodwater, as the team became a force to be reckoned with. With two Top 3 finishes and a solid group stage performance in the Season 3 World Championship, things look bright for a team that is far from reaching its final form. The team established itself in the North American scene, despite the hardships they faced along the way. The team's rebranding (“Ex Duris Gloria”) speaks volumes of where the team's focus stands.
The team's strengths lie primarily in their solo lanes. Mandatorycloud drew collective praise for his mid lane prowess during Worlds, and Benny's play made top a non-issue. To aid them in their takeover plans, Xmithie deploys gank after gank to overwhelm opponents across the map. XDG's botlane may be inconsistent, but Zuna's drive will allow him to gain on that regard.
All that being said, their opponent is no other than Gambit Gaming. Gambit sent a strong messages to teams worldwide, as they dismantled Season 3 semi-finalist Fnatic and North American powerhouse Cloud 9 in a brutal fashion: 2-0. What is the message, you may ask? “Gambit is back in town,” back to their Moscow Five shape.
Gambit's lineup went through the motions of Season Two and Three, but some things never change. Darien “smokes weed every day,” Diamondprox is a world-class jungler, and Alex Ich still racks up multikills whether he uses Kha'Zix or another champion. However, the bottom lane's synergy has tremendously improved from the old days, as Genja and Edward worked on their old communication issues. That seemingly small difference tips the scales heavily in favor of Gambit.
The Hype Facts:
Cloud 9 is undeniably the top dog of the North American scene. Spearheaded by Hai and LemonNation, the team thrived in domestic showings. However, the American team has lost four of its five games on the international stage, and the losses came at the hands of European powerhouses Fnatic and Gambit Gaming.
Cloud 9 used their team fight coordination ability to crush their opponents. Sneaky and LemonNation pack a punch in the bottom lane as they can play several botlane combinations with various levels of aggression. Balls and Hai are proved veterans in the North American scene, and they proved during the Season 3 World Championship that they had what it takes to hold off xPeke and sOAZ. Meteos may be the biggest benefactor to the team, as the new patch gives more power to the farming sessions that he sometimes runs.
On the other side, Fnatic seeks to reenact their victorious showing against their trans-Atlantic opponents. The European juggernaut dominated in the S3 Group Stages, en route to a Top 4 Worlds finish. The team then incorporated Rekkles into the lineup, and they secured a Top 2 finish in IEM Cologne. However, Gambit Five (or Moscow Gaming) exposed xPeke and company's weaknesses in the 3.13 setting.
How will 3.14 alter the team's play? That remains to be seen. At the moment, Fnatic boasts world-class players in Top, Mid, Jungle, AD Carry, and Support. Cyanide, xPeke, sOAZ and YellOwStaR played together for the entirety of Season 3, and Rekkles brings a different skillset than puszu on the lineup. This match is a golden opportunity for Fnatic to perform calibrations on the way to the 2014 Season Spring Split.
The Hype Facts:
The Battle of the Atlantic starts on December 14th at 9:00AM PST/6:00PM CET. You can let us know what you think in the comment section down below.