Things have remained more or less the same after the third week of play in Europe. G2 Esports and Unicorns of Love are still at the top of their groups while Origen and ROCCAT continue to fall further behind the other teams. Week 4 will begin the cross-group match-ups between the groups, but here are the takeaways after the first round robin.
Splyce are regaining their form
It was a solid week for Splyce, as they were able to go 1-1. In their series against Unicorns of Love they showed that their early game is still a mess, giving up early leads to the Unicorns in the first two games. Their team fighting is still at a good level where they were able to go neck and neck with the Unicorns, who are a good team-fighting team in their own right. A big problem for Splyce seems to be their decision making, as they often make head-scratching plays. This happens both from a team perspective and an individual one. Jonas “Trashy” Andersen and Chres “Sencux” Laursen were the main culprits in the UOL series. In Game 3 of the series Sencux would chunk Samuel “Samux” Fernández Fort at the top lane and he would dive on to him. This was a big mistake as Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov simply shielded Samux while Kiss “Vizicsacsi” Tamás’s Shen also protected him. This was a largely greedy play by Sencux that would get punished even harder if it was made against top tier Korean teams. The series also went quite poorly for Trashy. Not only did he allow a support Lulu of all champions to steal an easy baron from him, he would also make a terrible early gank in Game 2 which resulted in a double kill for the Unicorns. In their match against Origen, they were able to easily dispatch of OG in a decisive 2-0. Granted the current Origen squad is the weakest team in the league but it was good to see Splyce winning a series in confident fashion. They have a lot of things that they need to fix to get back to their old form. It’s obvious however that they are working on improving and we should expect them to continue rising in the standings as the weeks go on.
Instability is plaguing Fnatic
Similarly to Splyce, the Fnatic line-up was able to go 1-1 as well but it wasn’t pretty. In both of their matches versus ROCCAT and Misfits, they showed that while they can use their veteran players to gain leads and advantages, their full European line-up isn’t cutting it when it comes to having great communication and synergy. Not only that, some of their players are making unacceptable mistakes. Maurice “Amazingx” Stückenschneider would use a squishy AP build on Elise against Misfits in Game 1 which ended up getting him killed more than once, and it lead to Misfits swinging the game in their favor. It’s clear by now that Fnatic can be a good team but they need to polish their team play and their individual play. Having an all European roster is not an advantage for them in any way if they can’t capitalize on it with clean communication and coordinated plays. Coming into Week 4 Fnatic will be facing an easier opponent in Team Vitality. With Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen being chosen to play over Amazing in Weeks 4 and 5, Fnatic will need to focus on fixing their problems and polishing their play.
Vitality is looking better but not by much
The biggest problem for Vitality is without a doubt the man in the support role. There’s no doubt that Ha “Hachani” Seung-chan can be a good player. But his performances so far in Europe have been, for lack of a better word awful. He constantly gets caught out and dies in situations where it’s unacceptable to die. It’s almost as if he is doing it on purpose. This is a big issue for Vitality and if they intend to keep playing with Hachani, he needs to stop dying left and right. Other than him, Vitality have looked better in Week 3. Although they lost their match to H2K 1-2, they showed some signs of improvement and they didn’t look like the incredibly passive Vitality that we saw in the first two weeks. Their drafting was solid in all three games. Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet and Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik Holm both had a few good performances, although they also made mistakes that were heavily punished. Some of Cabochard’s teleports were odd. Nukeduck’s performance on Zed in Game 2 was fairly lackluster as he wasn’t able to affect the game or make good roams. Overall if Vitality’s support staff is able to help Hachani with his problems and they find their identity as a team, they could be a solid middle of the pack contender.
It’s hard to judge Giants right now
When you look at Giants, their main threat on paper should be Na “Night” Gun-woo. After his impressive Summer Split last year, you would expect him to be their main carry. But the truth is that it’s hard to analyze Giants right now. Jonas “Memento” Elmarghichi has looked impressive in a few games and Olof “Flaxxish” Medin did show a good performance on Riven against G2 Esports. Neither player has been able to keep playing at a consistent level however. Giants’ bottom lane looks underwhelming so far. As for Night, he’s definitely not playing to the level that was expected of him at the start of the split. Luka “PerkZ” Perković was able to solo kill him on Ekko in Giants’ series against G2 and it further shows that Night has some work to do to get back at his former level.
Overall the top teams remain at the top, the middle remains unchanged and the bottom teams are still struggling to find their footing. The next few weeks will shows us which group overall is stronger and it will give weaker teams such as ROCCAT a chance to get a win against another weaker team like Origen. But the most exciting part will likely be the clash between the two best teams right now, G2 Esports and Unicorns of Love.
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