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Europe LCS Summer Promotion Qualifier Previews
With the conclusion of the Spring Season, the top four LCS teams have rightfully solidified their status as EU Powerhouses. However, for the four teams in relegation, it is time for a reality check. They have to defend their claims to the LCS in the Summer Promotion Qualifiers (SPQ). Eight up-and-coming teams, who are hungry for LCS action, will start to do battle at 2:00 AM PDT on Friday, May 3. Best of 3s will determine who among them can challenge the relegated teams for a piece of the LCS pie. The winning teams and the LCS veterans will then go to the mattresses, starting at 2:00 AM PDT on Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5. Best of 5’s will showcase their determination to net the elusive qualification. Expect to see 12 teams pursuing an LCS membership with the sort of fervor usually reserved for Warwick’s rush to nail a low-health target. In this preview, we will be looking at each of the four brackets that constitute the qualifiers and highlight what you, the spectator, should be watching for and should know.
MeetYourMakers (MYM) will be out for blood: They were denied the opportunity to play in the Spring LCS by the DragonBorns. In a twist of fate, they could very well be the team to knock DB out. If their recent showings are to be considered a sample, Czaru’s Ahri will be a force to be reckoned with. By the end of Saturday’s games, MYM may be snagging some “job security” as an LCS team.
Dexterisactuallyevil (DAE), is the unknown parameter -- especially given their acquisition (as of May 2) by the gaming organization, mousesports. They have only previously appeared in the Ranked Qualifiers and have barely squeezed themselves into the Summer Promotions. Dexter’s squad will not be here for posing; they will play their hearts out against MYM and, if they are to defy all odds, the DragonBorns. The performance of their newest acquisition, Eternity AoD, will be crucial.
The above statement is especially true since the co-founder, Titus “LeDuck” Hefner, is no longer with DAE; he is coaching Team DragonBorns. Speaking of which, DB have recaptured the magic that was around them during the S3 qualifiers. The recently acclimated YamatoCannon and Malunoo are finally operating at peak performance; as such, the squad has gone undefeated ever since the curtains closed on the LCS Spring Season.
Most pundits assume that MYM will trounce DAE. If this assumption is correct, it will set up a showdown between two top-notch Polish organizations. Which team will prevail? Some would say that the odds are in favor of the more experienced DragonBorns. Others would bank on the dynamic MYM roster not letting the LCS slip their grasp a second time. Only time will tell which expert opinions will prove accurate.
The Spanish Inquisition cometh to the LCS Summer Qualifiers. Two organizations in the second bracket (the Wizards and the GIANTS!) are 100% Spanish (players and staff). Team Alternate (aTn) also features the Spanish former SK Gaming member, Araneae - who many will recognize from his various guest commentator stints. GIA Exterminare, Babeta and aTn Araneae go way back. In 2011, they represented Wizards’ colors. Additionally, WIZ Motroco and Mithy were once members of the GIANTS!. The familiarity of the teams in this group might evoke surprise strategies to catch opponents off-guard.
The Wizards came out of nowhere, as if by magic. Their roster was formed specifically for the Ranked 5s Qualifiers. Despite a relatively new roster, they clinched the third spot to qualify for the Summer Promotion Qualifiers. Since then, they have had enough time to practice their strategies and get more accustomed to each other and, as a result, may pull off a major upset.
However, fate decreed that Team Alternate’s Araneae y compadres would faceoff against the Wizards. aTn are considered very serious contenders with a promising future. One of Alternate’s prime weapons, ForellenLord, has been working hard to transition from his monstrous, milestone-breaking Solo Queue gameplay to a playstyle more suited for competitive LoL. Additionally, their newest recruit, Creaton, brings a never before seen dimension to their play. Alternate’s multiple threats give them added strength and flexibility which, in turn, will allow aTn to employ a wide array of strategies -- some of which would thwart the GIANTS! more effectively than any wizardly spell.
The GIANTS! were a massive surprise victor in the pre-Season 3 LCS Qualifiers. This time around, not many will be shocked if they renew their LCS membership cards at the SPQ. The stakes are high for the GIANTS!, but their LCS experience, knowledge of Wizards’ playstyle, and familiarity with Araneae’s jungle antics will net them a clear advantage come Saturday. Therefore, they are a likely safe bet against either Wizards or Alternate.
Sinners Never Sleep (Formerly Uncle Ruckus’ Revenge) laid down the law by winning every Best of 3 in every Challenger Circuit competition that they participated in last month. They have KO’d Samurai In Jeans, MYM and Alternate to pull out two back-to-back first place results. The newest SNS acquisition, Tabzz (formerly of Millenium) will be taking his AD Carry role out for a spin for SPQ. This switcheroo could add an element of surprise to their strategies, or it could cause them to crash and burn. Therefore, the stability of SNS’ veteran Support wewillfailer will be a deciding factor in their performance.
A red string of fate ties SNS to a recently unsettled TCM Gaming (formerly heyijustmetyou). The TCM at SPQ will be a different TCM than we saw at LCS Lille and in the Ranked 5s Qualifiers. This is because, of late, TCM acquired a new member ImSoFresh. They have been struggling to incorporate him into the lineup in very little time. It will be very interesting to see how well they will do against SNS.
Whichever team wins the initial matchup will face against All authority. aAa had been gaining steam in the LCS before tumbling into the SPQ. How did such a promising team land in the soup? They suffered a disqualification from the Playoffs after not finding a substitute for their superstar Support, Dioud, who returned to France to attend to a family emergency. With Dioud’s return aAa will be fighting fit and hard to evict from the LCS.
It is extremely likely that Against All Authority will emerge victorious in this bracket. aAa have created problems for the very best European teams, and they not known for flinching or for backing off. SNS may give aAa a run for their gold, but it will be an uphill battle against a team that was honed and polished in the Spring Season LCS.
Enter the bracket of death. Any of these three teams would have found victory in other brackets. Instead, they have to face each other in a series of deathmatches. The matchup between Samurai in Jeans and Anexis eSports is especially promising. Their latest head-to-head results may give a slight edge to the roster with less experience on paper: SiJ. Although each confrontation between the two teams was dicey, they all ended 2-1 in favor of the Samurai. What remains to be determined is whether SiJ can replicate their online success in an offline tournament. SiJ will count on top performances from Youngbuck and Extinkt, both former members of Curse Gaming Europe.
In contrast, the solid Polish brygada have extensive experience when it comes to offline tournaments, and they have been known to deal serious damage to their opponents, even to the Wolves. At the IEM Season VII - World Championship, they surprised everyone by edging out the likes of SK Gaming and Evil Geniuses to a earn a second round seed. Since IEM, Celaver and Overpow have switched to AD Carry and Mid, respectively. But this change of positions did not phase them. They snagged a very convincing first place in the Ranked 5s Qualifiers. A team that can re-arrange their roster and still find success will likely prove to be challenging opponents.
Whichever team survives the SiJ-Anexis encounter will face the ever-feisty Copenhagen Wolves. Those Wolves don’t need an introduction; they have placed fifth in the LCS Spring Circuit by the narrowest of measures and cemented their place as one of the best teams in Europe. Bjergsen will show no mercy toward any team he faces. TheTess won’t skip a beat. Godbro, Svenskeren, and Deficio will be as solid as ever.
Will that be enough for the Wolves to thrive? Nothing is certain; this bracket is a gambler’s nightmare. The teams are equally matched on paper. Only the happenings in the event itself will assert who goes through and who falters.
Power Ranking of Up-and-Coming Teams
- Sinners Never Sleep
- Samurai In Jeans
- Team Alternate
- TCM Gaming
- Wizards e-Sports Club
- Written by Adel Chouadria
- Edited by Marissa Moody Kuo
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