The first week of cross-group play is in the books and it wasn’t a pretty one for some. The bottom tier teams are still being dismantled by teams above them while the top teams are still crushing anyone in their path. Next week we will have a great opening match between G2 Esports and Unicorns of Love but for now let’s talk about the takeaways from Week 4.
G2 is showing holes in their play
As stated by H2K’s Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten the most noticeable thing about G2’s games is how slow and methodical they can be sometimes. This is not necessarily a bad thing but does beg the question of whether or not G2 will finally be able to do well internationally if they can’t quickly destroy their opponents in Europe. Statistically G2 does not look all that impressive. They have the longest average game time and have nearly the lowest amount of combined kills per minute. Not to mention being 4th in Gold Difference at 15 as well as being second last in First Blood percentage. Compared to last year G2 has definitely slowed down. Until they increase their tempo and start playing faster, it’s difficult to tell how they will be able to perform against top tier Korean teams. Looking at their players it’s unlikely that they’d do well though. Ki “Expect” Dae-Han is still not at a level where you can confidently bet on him to win his lane. Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez has been underperforming and making some really uncharacteristic mistakes that he usually never makes. And even Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen is partially guilty of this as well. Luka “PerkZ” Perković and Kim “Trick” Gang-Yun are playing at a solid level but while that may be enough to dominate Europe, it will not be enough to defeat the world’s best teams such as SKT or KT.
The top 4 in Europe looks good overall
We have G2 Esports and Unicorns of Love as the 1st place teams in each group. And then there’s Misfits and H2K trailing behind them in second. Those are the clear strongest teams right now and not even Splyce or Fnatic can touch them. Misfits look incredible and their jungler Lee “KaKAO” Byung-kwon has been a huge part of that. He is finding his groove in Europe fast and it’s showing in his play. So is Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun as he is dominating lanes along with Steven “Hans sama” Liv. Misfits’ impressive performance is going to make their second clash with G2 Esports all the more interesting. H2K have also looked good despite suffering one more loss than Misfits. A worrying trend for them is how they always make one or two huge errors in the later stages of their games. Against weaker teams this does not get punished but if it continues to plague them it will be punished eventually. Unicorns of Love’s slightly unorthodox style of play has continued to bring them success but it will be fully tested in their matchup against G2 Esports. Stylistically it’s going to be an interesting match because G2 uses standard team comps and plays their games methodically and slower than most teams. Meanwhile Unicorns have some weird drafts from time to time and are a more fast paced team than G2. It will be a clash of styles and we’ll see which team’s current ideology will prevail.
Group A looks weaker than Group B
Okay so stay with me here. The top teams in Group A are technically on paper stronger than the top teams in Group B. However when it comes to the 3rd to 5th place teams, Group B clearly has the advantage. Fnatic has looked shaky ever since the LCS started and although their ceiling might be high, they are not showing a level play that warrants putting them over Splyce. The team lead by Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi has been struggling in areas where they should be great at, namely their synergy and team play. However they have shown glimpses of their former selves and if they can regain their form from last year, they will be a strong team without a doubt. Giants has looked hopeless in some of their games and it’s really difficult to judge them right now because they lose in different ways instead of just losing because of one reason or another. Vitality have also had a really poor split so far but at least they are showing positive signs that they are improving and there is still some hope for them. Origen admittedly is a team that many people have probably given up on. It would actually be considered an upset if ROCCAT ends up losing to Origen despite ROCCAT being a bottom team as well. With the blue squad you could see how they have been able to capitalize on their early game leads in a few games but with Origen, they have yet to pick up a single game win and have not been able to transition a lead into a win yet. The difference isn’t huge but Group B is slightly stronger in terms of power right now despite having a heavily struggling Origen squad.
Broxah does not seem like the solution for Fnatic
Fnatic benched Maurice “Amazingx” Stückenschneider and brought in Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen from their Challenger Series team but it does not seem like it was the right decision. More than anything, it has made Fnatic Academy weaker as they lost 0-2 to Millennium. As for the main team it hasn’t looked that great either. Broxah did perform okay but Fnatic very clearly could have lost their series against Vitality. Long-term it might pay off but as of right now it does not seem like it was a smart decision to bring in Broxah. Not only did it mess up with their Challenger Series squad that was looking very impressive but it also did not fix Fnatic’s main problems which still seems to be coordination and vision. Next week Fnatic has an easier schedule as they will face off against Splyce, a team that might give them a lot of trouble, as well as against a really weak Origen squad. This may be an advantage to them as they will be able to give Broxah more time to adjust to the LCS stage against weaker opponents.
Week 4 of the EU LCS is behind us and while it has given a clear idea on how these groups stack up, it still has not answered our question of which team is the best right now. We will find out the answer to that question when G2 Esports faces off against the Unicorns for the right to remain undefeated.