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EU Summer Promotion Qualifiers - A Detailed Review

Fans witnessed a dramatic ending to the EU Spring LCS Split, with the Copenhagen Wolves rising from the dust to almost catch the Evil Geniuses in fourth place, coupled with the excitement of the playoffs, which saw a Best-of-Five Championship Series between Fnatic and Gambit Gaming go the distance. Following these events, EU LCS fans had one more event to look forward to before the break: the EU LCS Summer Promotion Series. against All authority, Copenhagen Wolves, GIANTS! Gaming, and DragonBorns stood on top of the hill, waiting for challengers to rise up and attempt to take them down from their LCS spots. No one, however, could have prepared for the amount of drama that the weekend brought.

A look at the four teams that made it through:

Alternatelogo2.png Team ALTERNATE

Team Alternate qualified for the EU LCS Summer Qualification Series by placing second in Lille, losing to MeetYourMakers in the Final. Then Alternate overcame the odds to qualify for the Summer Season of the LCS

Alternate began by battling the Wizards e-Sports Club, who won the first game of the series. After tying it up 1-1, Alternate had to wait two days before they played again. At the end of the technical problems, Alternate defeated Wizards and proceeded to face GIANTS! Gaming.

JimB0wnz, Exterminare, and co. handily took the first two games in the Best of 5, putting Alternate on the brink of elimination. Slowly but surely, ForellenLord’s OriannaSquare.png Orianna and Araneae’s NocturneSquare.png Nocturne made headway into the deficit and forced the set to a fifth game.

JimB0wnz and the GIANTS! took an early gold lead, but the game dragged to a 6:6 score with more than half an hour gone. Despite having nearly a 20k gold lead, the GIANTS! could not quite pull away. A massive Shockwave from ForellenLord pulled all five GIANTS! into Kerp’s Equalizer. This led to a four-for-one trade that allowed Alternate to pick up Baron Nashor and complete a dramatic comeback.

Sinners Never sleepuu.png Sinners Never Sleep

Relatively unknown coming into this tournament, Sinners Never Sleep (formerly Uncle Ruckus’ Revenge) qualified for the EU LCS Summer qualifiers by winning the Go4LoL tournament over MeetYourMakers.

Facing TCM Gaming in the Challenger Round, SNS took the series 2-1. Their AD Carry, Tabzz, went 14/5/22 in the series, with a notable CaitlynSquare.png Caitlyn and MissFortuneSquare.png Miss Fortune. This allowed TCM to proceed to take on against All authority.

aAa was disqualified from the EU LCS Spring Playoffs due to not having five eligible players. SK Gaming was given the automatic series win, and the French team was tasked with finding a replacement for their Promotion Series. With Dioud still gone due to family issues, Nono had to play with Zarmony.

Sinners Never Sleep pounced on aAa early and never let up. A 15:3 lead highlighted by a 6/0/4 Nukeduck on KassadinSquare.png Kassadin and a 6/0/7 Tabzz on CaitlynSquare.png Caitlyn led to a quick 23-minute lead that set the tone. Game 2 was another romp with 11:3 being the total kill score, putting aAa on the brink of elimination. Game 3 was much closer - 32:18 - but Tabzz, on a 11/1/7 CaitlynSquare.png Caitlyn, was able to propel this up-and-coming team into the bright spotlights of the biggest stage of European League of Legends.

Copenhagen Wolveslogo square.png Copenhagen Wolves

All EU LCS fans know this story by now: Copenhagen Wolves, fresh off qualifying for the Spring Season LCS, started off with a record of 0-9. Then, with the arrival of Bjergsen, they turned their season around and went 13-6 down the stretch to finish the season at 13-15. After taking the Evil Geniuses to Game 3, they narrowly lost and were sent down to the Promotion Series.

Their opponent was Samurai in Jeans, who dominated Anexis eSports in their 2-0 victory in the first round. SiJ’s Twisted FateSquare.png Twisted Fate and ShenSquare.png Shen play led to an early surrender in Game 1 while Kottenx on EliseSquare.png Elise in the jungle was a major catalyst for a comeback victory in Game 2. It seemed the Wolves would have their hands full with a surprisingly strong Challenger team.

Samurai in Jeans made the mistake of allowing Bjergsen and NeeGodbro on two of their best champions, Twisted Fate and SingedSquare.png Singed in Game 1, allowing the Danes to pick up an easy win with a kill score of 19:7. Despite having his favorite Jarvan IVSquare.png Jarvan IV banned against him, Svenskeren played an assist-heavy Cho'GathSquare.png Cho'Gath, finishing 1/2/12.

The Wolves’ dreams of taking an easy series were dashed in the next game. A Baron fight and Extinkt's FizzSquare.png Fizz in mid lane (11/4/3) allowed the challengers to tie up the series 1-1. As the kill score was 19:8, Samurai in Jeans roared back with a dominant performance of their own. A tense Game 3 was ripped apart by Bjergsen on Kha'ZixSquare.png Kha'Zix, whom, along with Svenskeren on his trademark Jarvan IVSquare.png Jarvan IV, took over the game. Bjergsen had zero deaths, Svenskeren finished 1/1/15, and, with NeeGodbro’s RumbleSquare.png Rumble also immortal in Game 3, the Copenhagen Wolves came to one game from taking this series.

With match point on the line, the Wolves pulled out all the stops. Bjergsen got his Twisted Fate again, while Svenskeren surprised the Samurai with EvelynnSquare.png Evelynn. The Samurai tried to keep the game close, but they could not kill any member of the Wolves more than twice; the ganks kept coming. Sufficient lane pressure provided by Bjergsen allowed the Wolves to become the first team to defend their place in the EU LCS. This nets the Wolves a chance to show the League what kind of a team they can be with a full season of Bjergsen.

Mymlogo.png MeetYourMakers

MeetYourMakers, one of Europe’s long-time top League of Legends teams, were expected to qualify into the Spring Season LCS. They were shocked by the DragonBorns, and had to spend the Spring watching the action while biding their time. After taking first place in Lille, they came into the Promotion Series, confident and hungry.

Dexter is Actually Evil, headed by Dexter1, a player who subbed for the DragonBorns, were MYM’s first test. DAE gave it their best shot, taking a game off of MYM and showing an admirable defense of their base in Game 3. Even so, MYM was able to take down DAE and set their sights on DragonBorns -- the team that sent them packing in the Spring qualifiers.

DragonBorns came out firing in Game 1, with YamatoCannon's DianaSquare.png Diana finishing without a death. It took DragonBorns more than an hour to win a game that they had firm control over. It ended with a ludicrous 26k gold lead. The lane clear from MYM’s XerathSquare.png Xerath, MissFortuneSquare.png Miss Fortune, and Kha'ZixSquare.png Kha'Zix made it almost impossible for DB to engage, bide their time at Baron, which led to an Ace and the victory.

Game 2 saw MeetYourMakers take an early lead behind aspiring play from Mokatte’s jungle Shen, but YamatoCannon continued with IreliaSquare.png Irelia taking the spotlight this time. Finishing with 12 kills and zero deaths, YamatoCannon finished a two game stretch where he dominated and gave the DragonBorns a 2-0 lead. It seemed as if DB would be MYM’s downfall once again.

What occurred after those two brilliant performances by DragonBorns was a gift from the gods of the internet to MYM. A long pause separated games two and three, which was nothing new over the weekend - technical difficulties were the only reason that the Promotion Series went to Monday. The final day of broadcast took almost sixteen hours. After the siesta, MYM started to take care of business.

MYM finally killed YamatoCannon 10 minutes into the third game, ending his almost two-hour streak of in-game time without a death. Czaru’s AhriSquare.png Ahri play was instrumental in MYM taking Game 3, as was the fact that Kubon was finally able to hold his own against YamatoCannon -- finishing with just three deaths on EliseSquare.png Elise. A 40 minute victory swung the momentum into MYM’s favor, but all DragonBorns needed was one more win.

Game 4 was fairly even through the first 20 minutes, and Makler’s VarusSquare.png Varus getting three kills without dying by the 25 minute mark made all the difference in the world. MYM stretched the lead to the point where every player was more than 1000 gold ahead of their counterparts, highlighted by Mokatte, Czaru, and Makler having more than a 3000 gold lead on their counterparts. To accentuate the swing of the power of the top lane, Kubon finished 3/0/5 in Game 4, while YamatoCannon finished without a kill. MYM forced a decisive Game 5 with the momentum completely in their corner.

In Game 5, MYM secured comfortable picks for themselves and raced out to a 10k gold lead after the first 20 minutes, with a 10:4 kill advantage and a 4:0 tower advantage. Despite HosaN's DravenSquare.png Draven outfarming his opponent and Malunoo's aspiring play on NautilusSquare.png Nautilus, Shushei being caught out by Czaru’s OriannaSquare.png Orianna and the rest of MYM did not bode well for DB. By 35 minutes, the gold lead blossomed to 15k and the tower lead 7:1. After taking Baron, a glorious Shockwave followed by Chain of Corruption and taunts from ShenSquare.png Shen sealed the deal for MeetYourMakers.

It was a bittersweet ending for DragonBorns, who showed that they could play at a high level, especially Malunoo and HosaN, who had magnificent games, and YamatoCannon, whose performance in Games 1 and 2 were simply astounding.

Where Does that Leave Us Now?

After 12 weeks of play, the Spring Split of the EU LCS is finally over, with no further LCS action to come until June. Fnatic, Gambit Gaming, Evil Geniuses, and SK Gaming finished in the top 4. They will be joined by Copenhagen Wolves, the only team to successfully defend their spot, Sinners Never Sleep, who swept aAa, and two teams that came back from two games down: Alternate and MeetYourMakers.

Possible storylines are numerous for the Summer Split. Will Fnatic be able to defend their top spot? Will Gambit Gaming be able to reclaim their superiority now that GIANTS! Gaming, the only team to defeat them twice in the regular season, is out of the running? Which Evil Geniuses will show up: the ones that struggled in the first half of the season, or the ones that showed flashes of brilliance near the end? Did SK Gaming deserve their free spot after aAa’s disqualification, or does their 0-4 record in the playoffs show a cause for concern? Just how potent can Copenhagen Wolves be with Bjergsen in their starting lineup for the full twenty-eight games, with the emergence of Svenskeren as a capable Jungler, and with NeeGodbro starting to dominate the top lane? Will MeetYourMakers show that they truly belong in the LCS? Can Alternate’s Araneae look past raw emotion when he takes on SK Gaming, the team that replaced him with hyrqbot? What will the relatively unknown wild card of Sinners Never Sleep bring - will they become the next DragonBorns and fall short or the next Good Game University and rise up?

It has been said numerous times that Europe is the place for Mid Laners. That statement has never been so true as it is now. Gambit Gaming have Alex Ich the All-Star, specializing in assassins like Kha'ZixSquare.png Kha'Zix and ZedSquare.png Zed, his fabled RyzeSquare.png Ryze, and anti-assassins like KayleSquare.png Kayle. Fnatic have the split-pushing maniac of xPeke, who can obliterate opponents with constant pressure from Twisted FateSquare.png Twisted Fate, KassadinSquare.png Kassadin, KatarinaSquare.png Katarina, or even AhriSquare.png Ahri. Evil Geniuses have Froggen the farmer, whose ridiculous CS count always keeps him in the game. Beware if you give him AniviaSquare.png Anivia, LuxSquare.png Lux, or even CassiopeiaSquare.png Cassiopeia. SK Gaming have Ocelote the roamer, who sacrifices his own lane dominance to cause his teammates to snowball. Then there is Bjergsen the prodigy of Copenhagen Wolves, who, at age seventeen, captured LCS’s first penta kill with SyndraSquare.png Syndra of all champions and showed that he can play Twisted FateSquare.png Twisted Fate, KassadinSquare.png Kassadin, Kha'ZixSquare.png Kha'Zix, and ZedSquare.png Zed along with the best of them.

The three new teams to the LCS also have dominant Mid Laners. There is MYM’s Czaru, who is known for his AhriSquare.png Ahri, KarthusSquare.png Karthus, Twisted FateSquare.png Twisted Fate, and showed that he has apt control over OriannaSquare.png Orianna. Alternate has ForellenLord, who was known as “the ELO King” in Season 2. His Shockwave was absolutely crucial to defeating GIANTS!, showing that the hype was well-deserved. And do not count out Sinners Never Sleep’s Nukeduck, as he never lost his lane against aAa ShLaYa and led his team to the only sweep of the Promotion Series.

So, through all the technical problems, all the drama, and all the punny puns from the casters, here we are at the end of the Spring Split. What awaits us in the future? Only time will tell. But there we will be, glued to the computer screens, as the spectacle of the EU LCS continues with Sjokz, Deman, Qu1cksh0t, Joe Miller, and Jason Kaplan as our guides.

Written by Michelle Halevi
Edited by Luke Ray

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