In this preview we will present the participants of Europe's highest competitive League of Legends echelon and highlight their strengths and point out possible interesting story lines which may develop during the course of the spring split. Of course, what is a preview without just a pinch of trivia? In addition, the piece is split in three parts as each is centered around a different group of teams.
Without further ado, let us dive right in and see what awaits us once the summoners enter the Fields of Justice...
Table of contents:
1.) Chapter One: Top Dogs ( fnatic, Gambit, Alliance)
2.) Chapter Two: In the Shadows ( Copenhagen Wolves, Roccat, Millenium)
3.) Chapter Three: The Challengers ( Supa Hot Crew, SK Gaming)
Chapter II: In the shadows
The second part of our preview covers three more teams, namely Copenhagen Wolves, Millenium and Team Roccat (former KMT). All three are considered strong teams, however one or more aspects of their play or origins do not place them in the "top dog" category. One thing is for certain, the trio fought hard and well to earn their spot here and with sufficient work and determination, they could possibly challenge the top three or at least heavily punish their mistakes.
The two challenger scene representatives - Copenhagen Wolves and Roccat, had a relatively "not so difficult" (easy is definitely not the word) path into the LCS. What is worth mentioning that along with TCM, all three line-ups had an incredibly dominant year throughout the duration of the Challenger tournaments in the EU region. Millenium, on the other hand, are the former manifestation of Alternate, a very skilled line-up of players who decided to switch title sponsors coming into the Spring split. Let us carefully explore what makes these teams so good and how can they exactly spoil the plans of the "big three"...
The undisputed kings of the EU Challenger scene have finally claimed what was rightfully theirs! As if Karma struck, the unfortunate circumstances around YoungBuck first with mouz and afterwards with Samurai in Jeans, turned 180 degrees and the Dutch top laner has finally reached his dream destination - the League of Legends Championship Series! The line-up dominated every amateur tournament out there, which included visits to Tenerife, Bucharest and London and it was simply a matter of time before they got the spot. Keeping in mind that back then Rekkles and Shook were a part of the team, naysayers were quick to
discard every chance at them entering Season 4 without the two stars. What followed, as we all know, couldn't have been farther from the truth.
Somehow the line-up "balanced itself" out once Forg1ven and Amazing joined. On paper, inferior players, but with enough practice both quickly became an integral part of the line-up. Gone were the days where every victory was attributed to the two super stars as the remaining trio got more and more, well deserved, credit. The additions enabled everyone to start acting like equals and results came swiftly.
- YoungBuck was usually the target of witty remarks by his teammates because of his Solo queue rating. At the time it was Diamond 2, but Joey quickly made Diamond 1 afterwards and continued climbing.
- Unlimited was born in Bulgaria and has lived in both Russia and Greece. He knows Russian and Greek, but has a dual Bulgarian and Greek citizenship.
- Amazing was a part of the legendary Team Acer line-up alongside CitizenWayne.
- Forg1ven held the number one Challenger rank in both EU West and EU Nordic and East for a brief period of time. He also has a friendly Solo Queue rivalry with WhiteKnight108, another top rated player.
- Fnatic's star marksman Rekkles stated that the only two carries that had consistently beat him in lane were Forg1ven and puszu.
- Forg1ven has stated in his AMA that he hates Kog'Maw and no nerfs or buffs will ever make him play that champion.
Given their status of the strongest amateur team, the old guard avoided the Wolves and with good reason. Unfortunately, MYM picked the short straw and had to play against the hottest up-and-comers. Game one was a convincing victory for the Poles with Kubon even cracking a dance early in the next game, seemingly confident after the win. Things turned sour afterwards. The deadly Greek duo on bot finally synced and started destroying everything on the map and with the help of Amazing's timely ganks, three victories came in the blink of an eye.
Here we must note the impressively stable performances of both CowTard and YoungBuck. Both are known as sub-par players of their position, but when it really mattered both rose to the occasion and did all in their power to allow Forg1ven to "do his thing".
On a less positive note, the problem with this line-up is how it will measure against the very top. As mentioned earlier the performance of the mid and top laners will be key and also the ability to adapt to the LCS format as a team will also be of high importance. If they manage to tackle these issues, I am confident that the Wolves can siege the top 4 and even if they do not place that high, the chances of them falling out of the LCS with this constellation of players seem slim.
Without a doubt the player to watch as a whole in this split. The dominating marksman exploded onto the scene prior to his addition to the Wolves' line-up with his high rankings in both the EUW and EUNE servers. Stating that his favourite champions are Draven and Caitlyn we could easily spot his liking of high-mechanical auto attack based champions. The flag bearer of Greece is also very vocal on his opinions and likes to speak his mind. With his excellent performances, including a Penta kill during the LCS Qualification round robin, the Greek player can shine even brighter as the split begins!
Team Roccat (ex-KMT)
The big upset this Season is the amazing game that the Poles played against the ever controversial NiP. Presumed (for God knows what reason) to be the weakest team to challenge for an LCS spot, Roccat were chosen by Mithy's lads to create a David versus Goliath type of clash. What followed put most fans and players in shock and awe, as the Poles not only beat their opponents in three straight games, but also did it in an impressively dominating fashion, leaving no doubt as to who the better team was that day.
One thing I found incredibly insulting towards the squad was the fact that neither casters, nor fans came prepared and actually knew who Roccat (back then KMT) were. Every good play by Roccat was deemed a seemingly small misplay by the oh-so-mighty Ninjas. It got to the point where the Polish team was still considered a minor threat despite being on match point and calmly answering every ounce of aggression the Ninjas threw at them. So let us take a closer look at their path towards the LCS.
The line-up follows the tradition of every Polish eSport competitor and switched through quite the number of players. The final manifestation of Roccat came while they were a part of H2k Gaming as in September, the roster welcomed jungler Jankos and suppport Vander, while parting with counterparts niQ and SuperAZE. Even prior to the change, the team had been known as a strong challenger team.
- Overpow was a part of Loda and Akke's HoN team which won DreamHack.
- Celaver, Jankos and Vander left school to pursue a career in gaming.
- Both Celaver and Overpow have transitioned through most of the in-game roles.
- Jokingly rumoured to shout a Polish curse word beginning with "k" prior, during and after games.
- Xaxus' favourite top laner is Jax.
What followed was a string of two incredibly solid tournament showings. The first was Dreamhack Bucharest where they dismantled heavy favourites Copenhagen Wolves with a 2-0 result. Rumours say that this left certain people from the Wolves' line-up very, very upset. The next first place finish came in the Cypersports League 2013 where Roccat defeated MeetYourMakers in both the upper bracket and grand final of the competition with a 2-1 and 2-0 scoreline respectively. Afterwards, the line-up became Kiedyś Miałem Team.
Results continued to come as a rather miraculous comeback from SK Gaming denied the title of DreamHack Winter 2013. As the LCS LAN qualification came closer the Poles became overlooked and were in the shadow of SHC and Copenhagen Wolves. Dubbed as the "weakest" of the challengers, the team was picked by NiP as their opponent. Comfortably awaiting the math, the Ninjas had no idea that a couple of hours later a monstrous Kayle and an unstoppable Vayne would be dancing near their crumbling Nexus.
The Polish eSports tradition is continued and the country once again has a representative among the very best in League of Legends. The difference this time lies within the ability of the Roccat squad to counter the opposition and act as a single unit in the face of danger. While MYM were stubborn and for one reason or another, did not deviate from their standard play, their compatriots have shown a wide variety of picks in almost every lane. The only problem would be their inexperience on the biggest stage out there. The future does look bright for Roccat and only the amount of work they put in practice will determine whether the Polish flag will be waving high at the end of the split.
The top laner is one of the most consistently featured players in high level games displayed in the client. An absolute wall on top lane, Xaxus is described as a player that always likes "to do his thing", regardless of the number of opponents pinned against him. Logically, he shines best in late game where his decision making and ability to blend and form a death squad with his teammates makes him a player to watch out for. Crowned MVP at IEM Sao Paulo, the Pole definitely has a lot to bring to the table.
The former Alternate line-up found their new home in the French Millenium. After a twisted turn of events, the team landed a gem in the form of experienced top laner kev1n who was surprisingly released from NiP. With the departure of Elo Lord (not to be confused with Elo God dade) ForellenLord the team moved his compatriot Kerp down to mid and started practicing hard for the upcoming Battle of the Atlantic competition. There, the Europeans had to face North American fan-favourites CounterLogic Gaming.
What followed was a convincing victory and a place in the limelight for Kerp who definitely impressed in his new role. In addition, dynamic duo Araneae and Creaton outplayed the opposing players whenever they got the chance. A breath of fresh air for Kev1n was his stable performance against Nien, which once again showed how good of a pick-up he is.
- Creaton was the highest rated Polish player (in Solo Queue) prior to the introduction of the tier system.
- Everyone gets along well in the team, but Araneae considers Creaton one of his best friends inside and outside the game.
- Kerp absolutely despises playing Shen. He has stated on multiple occasions during scrims that he will play him only in official matches and never in scrims.
- Prior to becoming one of the best AD Carries out there, Creaton was a jungler and was playing under the ID "DotA PRO".
- The original line-up was comprised of the top 3 highest Solo Queue players: ForellenLord (~3k ELO), Kerp (~2,9k ELO) and Creaton (~2,8k ELO).
- Creaton has stated that he has more than 500 games with Ezreal.
Last season the line-up had an explosive start by acing everyone during Super Week 1 and comfortably sit on the top of the table with a 5-0 score. The very impressive string of results however, was abruptly ended as different real life obligations and obstacles started to plague the team. First, ForellenLord was absent for a brief period and after his return, disaster struck and marksman extraordinaire Creaton broke his hand. Both times, Challenger tier leader WhiteKnight108 saved the day as he subbed for both during their respective absences. These separate incidents caused a drop in form and consequently, the team lost valuable games and gave up the first spot.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place, the team, as many others, could have potentially faced relegation had it not been a spectacular game against fnatic. Now, with renewed vigor and hunger for the crown, the players of Millenium are strong contenders for the top 4. The only issue with the team would be that for some reason, they can be gods in a certain week and then be horrifyingly mediocre the next. Consistency will be key this Season and in my opinion, Millenium have the right mix of players and skill sets to achieve greatness in Season 4.
This was probably the hardest task while writing the Millenium part. All five players have what it takes to become leaders in their respective roles. Kev1n could come back to his roots and demonstrate his unbelievable consistency and together with the aggressive approach of Araneae they could easily become a force to be reckoned with on top. Kerp has shown a tremendous amount of potential on mid. A seasoned player, the German is yet to show how he can fare against the creme de la creme from Europe. Last, but not least, both Jree and Creaton need to finally assume the mantle of one of the best bot lanes in Europe. The Pole has been referred to as "one of the finest" since Season 2, but has seemingly never demonstrated the godlike mechanical nature he possesses to its full potential. Finally, Jree will benefit from the Season 4 support changes and only his play style will determine whether or not he will rise.
Former lead editor and interviewer for SK Gaming
Follow me on twitter - @Adddler or LINK
iNNERFiRE - multi-game journalist and Editor-in-Chief: 2012
onGamers - League of Legends Feature Producer: 01.2014 - 02.2015
SK-Gaming - League of Legends Lead Editor: 11.2012 - 08.2015
My journey into eSports started in 2004 when I accidentally caught a small video on TV from the WarCraft 3 WCG 2004 final. I opened up the SK Gaming website from my father's laptop and never stopped reading to this day. In early 2010 I started writing at a Bulgarian news website simply because I disliked how the current editor was handling his job and with time, I got to be Editor-In-Chief. My main writing interests back then were StarCraft 2, QuakeLive and League of Legends.
Fast-forward to 2012, after a small hiatus and moving to England to attend university, I decided to start writing news posts again, inspired by a couple of industry figures who have taken their turns taking eSports writing to a new level. With the beginning of IPL5, I was given a trial with SK Gaming which was successful and I never looked back.
In early 2014, onGamers presented me with an incredible opportunity to join their ranks which I took. Although I believe my 2014 was rather poor (in terms of work ethic and results), I have made changes during the winter break to ensure that sufficient effort will be made to repair that. Unfortunately, due to the collapse of the team, the project was at a stand still which marked the end of my stint with the oG crew.
I continued producing 1 on 1 interviews with SK members until July 2015. After that, other commitments arose and I figured I could not provide the flow of content I promised my superiors and took a step back, leaving SK.
If you are an eSports fan who is looking to get into writing or simply want to chat about eSports across the years, you can always find me on my twitter - @Adddler . Below you can find some trivia about me.
BroodWar / StarCraft 2
BW pro: sAvi0r and Flash (for different reasons)
BW race: Terran
BW series: Hana Daetoo MSL
SC2 pro: Creator and Stephano (different reasons)
SC2 race: Terran
SC2 series: ThorZain vs Polt at DreamHack Open 2012 and any big final played by King MvP
StarCraft related article: God of the Battlefield
Pro: Alexey 'Cypher' Yanushevski
Map: Aerowalk, BloodRun (100% Eastern European choices)
Series: Cooller vs Cypher. Especially the brilliant defensive Cypher game on Aero (game 4).
Rivalry: Rapha vs Cypher
Quake related articled: The Quadra Interview and the one and only Cypher PoV
League of Legends
Pro(s): FORG1VEN, Faker, WeiXiao, NaMei and Mata.
Position: AD Carry
Series: All the World Elite games at IPL5, KT Bullets versus SK Telecom T1 K OGN Summer 2013 Final and LPL Summer Final between StarHorn Royal Club and EDG (The perfect Jinx game by Namei).
League related article: Most of TeamLiquid.net's takes on the 2012 and 2013 OGN tournaments.
Team: Fnatic (2008-2009)
Series: AGAiN vs Fnatic at WCG 2009. Literally broke a cup after the game. One of the most emotional series for me as a spectator.
Gfinity League of Legends - August 2013 (SK Gaming)
EU LCS Week 5 London - June 2014 (SK Gaming / onGamers)
GamesCom 2014 Cologne - August 2014 (SK Gaming / onGamers)
EU LCS 2015 Week 7 Spring Split - March 2015 (SK Gaming)
Intel Extreme Masters Season IX Katowice - March 2015 (SK-Gaming)
LCS EU Season 4: The teams
LCS EU Season 4: The teams
LCS Spring promotion qualifier preview
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