Table of Contents
Bringing Down the Throne
In The King's Name
Wards in the Brush
Check out the LCS schedule and matchups at lolesports.com
To Stand Above All...
The LCS road trip to Lille, France was an astounding success for Riot. There were some amazing games and the French crowd was unrivaled in terms of passion and enthusiasm. Only one thing could have made the event even crazier - a competitive game involving Teemo. Unfortunately the players did not oblige the Teemo request, but they sure teased the crowd during the bans and picks. Two teams went undefeated and they provided some of the best matches of Week 6. The first team was Fnatic and they played an exceptional game against Gambit on the back of several strategic split push calls. The second team was of course the Copenhagen Wolves, who once again had the help of a timely inhibitor respawn to stay alive in their game against EG. This game was so well played by both sides that they were excited to discuss it with each other on the stage right after the game finished. However wherever there are winners, there are also losers. DragonBorns, aAa, and GIANTS all went through the weekend without a single win. It must have been especially disappointing for aAa to underperform in front of the French crowd.
Week 7 will be back to the normal schedule of eight LCS games in the ESL studio. The standings are finally shaping up and we get a general idea of how the teams match up against each other. There is hardly any rest left for the players as we get into the home stretch of the EU LCS!
Who Has Risen?
Bringing Down the Throne
Week 6 Recaps
[Day 1] March 23, 2013
SK vs Giants
SK vs Giants was a very typical SK victory over a weaker team. It’s becoming routine for SK. Considering they’re seen as a firm middle table team, they don’t get upset often and this game was no exception. Despite Samux getting first blood in a straight 1v1, Giants didn’t get a whole lot else done. Jimbz got over-eager in bot lane and died in a trade with CandyPanda instead of waiting for Morden and in top lane Exter wasted his TP chasing down ocelote’s whiffed Destiny. Giants didn’t seem to know what to do with Volibear – Morden stuck around too long defending top and didn’t expect the dive from Hyrqbot & Kev1n. SK kept the pressure on the towers and swept through mid T1 and bot T1 & 2 in a couple of minutes while Exter blew another TP on very little. SK have little interest in the skirmishing that Giants prefer and just stuck to towers and Dragons. At 20 minutes, Giants initiate on SK at Dragon and focus Hyrqbot again who, typical of Volibear, doesn’t really die. With free damage for the rest of SK, it ends with an easy 1 for 4. After some more pushing, Exter has time for one more bizarre TP – Porting behind SK with Homeguard boots, he runs in way before his team does and creates a conga line of death as Giants waddle in one by one. SK are over 10k ahead and take Baron while Kev1n pushes bot lane – catching Jimbz in the process. Mid inhib dies and Giants and Hyrqbot flash initiates on Giants. Samux gets a hole of Nyph and manages to lead all of SK on a questionably decided upon and lengthy chase. SK pick-up Dragon and regroup before easily cleaning up a last ditch initiation from Giants. 8 turrets to 0 for SK and a simple win. A very simple and safe win for SK, they didn’t shine but all they needed to do is hold out their sword while Giants ran into it.
aAa vs EG
Like their previous two games against aAa, EG gave up the first blood in the game from a failed gank by Snoopeh. Fortunately for EG, ShLaYa Teleported to help with the countergank but did not get anything out of it. Even though aAa got a kill, Froggen got to farm freely in mid lane and easily got the farm advantage. The top lane matchup between fredy122 on Nasus and Wickd on Renekton also favoured EG early in the game. The lane itself was left in isolation with the Jungle players focusing their efforts on other parts of the map. Renekton easily took the lead early into the game but Nasus eventually became a monster who could take down Renekton in a 1vs1 situation. This gave fredy the sense that he could handle whatever EG could throw at him he severely underestimated the damage output of Cassiopeia. Everytime the teams grouped up for a big fight fredy would charge into EG hoping to Whither Miss Fortune and deal some inccredible damage with Siphon Strike, but EG kited him very well and picked him off easily. EG's lead soon became unsurmountable and they finish the game with only two deaths - the failed gank first blood and Nasus' solo kill on Renekton.
Gambit vs Fnatic
xPeke spearheaded Fnatic's splitpush attack as Twisted Fate and helped crown a new #1 team in the European LCS. Despite having beaten Fnatic twice already this season, Gambit looked hesitant and let Fnatic control the pace of play, failing to capitalize on early edges. The Russians scored early kills in the first five minutes, but seemed content to play for the late game with a Kog'Maw oriented composition. After the first major teamfight
As the match transitioned to midgame, Fnatic continued to apply pressure and Gambit was unable to relieve it with Fnatic's outer towers keeping the creep pressure on Gambit's side of the map. Fnatic's style was typified by xPeke's push 20 minutes in. While Gambit clustered centrally, xPeke pushed down the bottom outer turret of Gambit while his team held mid 4v5. As Gambit collapsed on xPeke's push on the bottom inner turret, xPeke used Destiny to evade capture, then his team switched from targetting the defendable mid turret to taking the top turret with Gambit out of position
From here, Fnatic continued to force advantages, using their split push to get objectives and strangle Gambit's resistance. A skirmish in mid buys xPeke time to take Gambit's bottom inhibitor, and as he escapes in style
Wolves vs DB
DragonBorns first game with their new lineup was a scrappy one against Wolves that was defined by over keen, yet weak, initiations and scrappy team fights.. The game started with DB stealing blue and starting a lane swap which was mitigated by Svenskeren’s manly blue steal with escape shortly afterwards and the trading of Top and Bot turrets. DragonBorns grab Dragon at 7:30 and swap the lanes back to normal. The first real action came with a three gank at Botlane, HoSan picking up first blood on TheTess but getting caught a finished off by Sven while Deficio barely survives. Shortly after Bjergsen catches Yamato in a 1v1 and TheTess runs right into Shushei’s Kayle and gets taken out – twice. Wolves turn this poor mistake into a kill on Shushei with a follow up gank. A couple of towers are traded around and then Wolves make their first big play. They engage very suddenly at the bot t2 but they leave HoSan and Shushei safely at the back to deal free damage and end up for 2 for 3. This mistake isn’t repeated. When Bjergsen slips out of DB’s initiation, they swap to GodBro’s Singed and hard engage anyway. Wolves kill Shushei much earlier and Wolves clean up with a 2 for 5 ace and another quadra-kill for Bjergsen. Wolves now firmly have the gold advantage and pressure top and mid. Another rushed initiation from Svenskeren leaves Wolves in a bad spot and a lost team fight. Fortunately for Wolves, GodBro finds DragonBorns in their jungle shortly afterwards and snags back two kills in a small fight. Once the over-eager engages stopped, Wolves never look back. Wolves take a free baron and focus on HoSan in every fight. The final fight leaves most of Wolves low aside from a full health TheTess and it’s a simple game of clean up from there. Great team-fight play from Svenskeren, GodBro and Deficio allows the Wolves to snag an easy, albeit flawed, looking win.
Gambit vs SK
Gambit got off to a great start this game with Alex Ich taking first blood and double buffs from hyrqBot. This meant Alex, on Kha'Zix, had complete control over the mid lane and shut down ocelote's Twisted Fate before he could make an impact. With such an early lead, Alex ended up playing carelessly and traded kills on tower dives in two separate occasions. However, that hardly mattered as Gambit ended up dominating the other lanes as well. Elise was infinitely more useful than Jax throughout the game with Darien's ability to take out anyone on SK in 1vs1 situations. Not to be outdone, Genja used Miss Fortune's Bullet Time perfectly in the deciding team fight to set up several easy Leap resets and a triple kill. The rest of the game was Gambit cruising to an easy victory. They could have finished the game very quickly after taking down Baron but they decided to pad their KDA score and give Alex another triple kill before taking out SK's Nexus with the super minions.
[Day 2] March 24, 2013
EG vs Giants
The first match of the second day was over as quickly as it started. For one, GIANTS showed up late to the event and were penalized with the loss of two bans. This sort of punishment would be a death sentece against a team like EG because of how masterful their players are at playing champions such as Anivia, Renekton, and Thresh. Secondly, EG perfectly predicted GIANTS' level 1 movements and took two kills within the first minute. Not only that, GIANTS blew most of their Flashes to escape so EG went into lane with the gold and Summoner Spell advantages. The third and final nail in the coffin was the GIANTS' decision to switch their top and bottom lane, forcing Zed and Kha'Zix to play in 1vs2 lanes. Obviously this was an disadvantage to Samux playing Kha'Zix, who had to rely on mana and did not have a safe way to farm before evolving his Void Spikes. GIANTS knew they had no chance to fight in a full team fight so they tried to send Twisted Fate on a split pushing mission. Unfortunately for them TF was too weak so he didn't accomplish all that much before EG stormed their base and ended the game.
aAa vs Wolves
aAa were the team that handed Wolves their first victory back in week 4 and it seems like Wolves are firmly rooted inside aAa’s head. aAa started with a lane swap to deny GodBro farm, but Wolves counteracted it by taking an early tower in bot then switching four men to top before leaving Tess & Deficio there. aAa start the preceding s with a great first blood on TheTess but shortly after Wolves take mid and Fredy dies botlane, allowing GodBro to catch up in farm. A smart counter gank pushes back aAa at top lane and Wolves take the last T1 at 13 minutes. aAa attack Wolves at midlane but get flanked and lose out 3 for 1. From this point on, aAa looked a little lost. Wolves would force them into these situations that they couldn’t do much about and were forced to take a weak option. aAa opt to split push while Wolves aggress, which often leaves them a man down in fights which allows Wolves to take turrets. When NoNo is pushing bot lane, Wolves take 5 men mid and grab an inhibitor. aAa know they couldn’t stop it even with NoNo there and so are forced into this losing situation. When Wolves start Baron, aAa wander in single file and get taken out, leaving an easy Baron for Wolves at 23 minutes while their minions push in lanes. At 10k up, aAa see no hope and surrender the game. It’s hard to tell if Wolves overwhelmed or if aAa just crumbled, but either way, a very easy victory for the Wolves.
DB vs Fnatic
DragonBorns vs Fnatic was one of the closer matches of the weekend. Fnatic gave DB the early lead with several sloppy plays where they overestimated their own damage while underestimating DB's kill potential from Gragas and Janna's ability to isolate and pick them off one at a time. At this point, Fnatic started tightening up their game and made some good strategeic decisions to pull themselves into the lead. First they pulled DB from taking down Dragon by threatening to push down the Mid Inner turret and turned on DB as soon as they saw one person separated from the pack and picked him off. Then Fnatic took the Dragon and picked off two more of DB as they tried to go in for the steal.
Like any good Fnatic game, xPeke exhibited his ability to split push like a mad man. However, Fnatic has the unique advantage where their four other players are strong enough to prevent their opponents from taking the 4vs5 fights or a successful sieges. This left DB scared to leave their base and Fnatic slowly split push all three lanes straight into the Nexus even with Ezreal, Janna, and Gragas' great waveclear capabilities.
aAa vs SK
This week's match between aAa and SK was a classic case of a less experienced team failing to take advantage of an early lead. SK decided to initiate the 1vs2 lanes by sending Shen to bot and aAa used this opportunity to take down the Bot Outer turret early and sneak in the Dragon by the fifth minute. aAa also managed to stay clear of SK's ganks so they were in control of the game until they decided that they needed to play more aggressively. They foolishly dove into the enemy in the mid lane and traded kills, but first blood went to SK. Then ShLaYa, on Zed, dove ocelote on Kayle under the Top Outer turret and traded another kill. The extra gold from the kills helped SK's Carries to catch up and made them stronger than aAa expected when the teams converged around Dragon around the twelth minute. aAa started on the Dragon because they had the exact timer on it but SK came out on top with the Dragon steal and three kills. SK continued to expand their lead in every team fight with their ability to focus down aAa players one by one so aAa had to resort to split pushing with Zed. Since Zed was the only one who got to farm, the rest of aAa did not have enough damage or waveclear to handle SK's death siege down the middle straight to the Nexus.
Wolves vs EG
Copenhagen Wolves upended Evil Geniuses in the most exciting match at Lille, capping an amazing 3-0 weekend for the Danish team. Looking sharp behind their rising mid-lane star Bjergsen, the Wolves played a chaotic and free-flowing game that threw off EG's patient and conservative style. Evil Geniuses started ahead with first blood and an early dragon, but both teams took down a pair of towers by the 13 minute mark, leading to a short laning phase. Bjergsen stumbles into the first major teamfight shortly thereafter, facechecking near dragon
The pesky midlaner is a constant thorn in the side of EG, and the distraction plays into Wolves' hands as EG come to kill him as Wolves take the inner middle turret. Bjergsen's Zed strikes again shortly thereafter, picking off a kill before making an improbable escape. EG strike shortly thereafter, taking the mid inhibitor and a Nexus turret while Zed and Shen are split pushing. Wolves overextend slightly after the fight and two more get picked off, leading to a free baron for EG. A massive fight breaks out over Wolves' Blue buff, leaving Froggen and Wickd alive with full health to mop up. Lux moves in on the Nexus while Wickd's Renekton chases down a dying Lulu for a kill near top lane, but Lulu's defiance leaves only Lux to work on a bare Nexus
With a fresh lease on life, Wolves posture aggressively for Baron, but EG calls their bluff and barrels down the midlane to take the inhibitor. Wolves recall and EG back off, but Krepo retreats the opposite way from his team and leaves them a man down in the match's pivotal fight as Bjergsen zones out Lux and the Wolves clean up. CW capitalizes by taking two inhibitors, and take Baron with EG lured off by Bjergsen threatening the final inhibitor. The Danes group up and force the issue at the final inhibitor, cleaning up the teamfight 4-0 and finishing the game shortly thereafter. As a testament to the amazingly close battle, the teams gathered on the main stage and after handshakes were exchanged and talked the game over. Despite the loss, Froggen and Wickd were all smiles as they talked over the crucial calls and final decisions of the game.
Fnatic vs Giants
Looking down at the recent results for Giants, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re not doing well as team but as their game against Fnatic showed, they’re only a step or two away from hitting their stride. Fnatic let Jimbz get Kennen, but had a plan for it. Fnatic lane swapped early which allowed a standard bot for top tower trade. Giants swapped their AD/Support to top and Fnatic responded with with several four-man ganks, killing Babeta twice and Jimbz once. It’s not long before the only T1 turret alive is Fnatic’s top turret and Fnatic start split pushing. Yellowstar is top, Xpeke bottom and the remaining three start stealing Morden’s jungle. However, Nrated gets caught out and Giants take their second dragon. We’ve seen how well Giants respond to split pushing and skirmish heavy play in previous matches and they did a valiant job here. Jimbz and Samux periodically took the split push to Fnatic and kills were traded between the teams as fleeing pushers get caught. At 23:30 Fnatic start Dragon and Giants engage. Peke and sOAZ are taken out early in the fight and it boils down to Cyanide & Yellowstar vs Babeta & Jimbz. A clutch 1v1 leaves a low health Jimbz being chased by Cyanide and the energy-less Jimbz is caught by Siphoning Strike. A tower hit aces Fnatic but without an AD, Giants can doing nothing in response. Giants go straight to Dragon after respawn but Fnatic engage just before all the ults are available for Giants. Peke gets his resets and Fnatic take mid T3. Fnatic start skirmishing as a couple more turrets are traded before a key moment occurs: Jimbz whiffs his ult on a recalling Peke (highlight 28~) which spells doom for the Giants. Fnatic immediately seek a fight and with a key ultimate down, clean up and take mid inhib. After Jimbz picked up a 500g bounty from YellOwStaR in a 1v1, Giants go for Baron before getting drowned in a sea of wards. Fnatic win a 4v5 at Baron thanks to an early reset for Peke while YellowStar solo pushes mid. Once the team joins him, only the Nexus is left and Fnatic destroy it for another victory. Jimbz’s whiffed ult provided another what-if moment in the LCS but ultimately, a smart Fnatic scores another point.
DB vs Gambit
The last game of the weekend had a cute start from DB where Shushei used Teleport on Lux to place a ward in the brush behind Gambit's Red. Diamondprox was not aware of this trap so DB easily picked up the first blood and tried to steal the Red. However, DB overstayed their welcome as Gambit converged on them and took back two kills on the back of some amazing Death Sentences from EDward. DragonBorns kept the game close early on with some extra gold from Dragon but they were no match for Gambit's team fight coordination when Dragon respawned and both team converged on the objective. Alex Ich was able to stay hidden as Evelynn because DB did not have enough Vision Wards and he took on three members of DB with some help from The Box. Gambit chased down the remaining DB players and got an ace due to more great hooks from EDward. DB had no answer to the strength of Gambit's gold and item lead and fell quickly to finish up the LCS road trip.
In The King's Name
Player of the Week
There is one undeniable difference between Copenhagen Wolves' 0-8 start and their 6-3 run since Week 4 - the return of their mid laner, Bjergsen. Make no mistake though, the rise of Wolves isn't the work of one miracle worker uplifting four deadweights to victory. Instead, Bjergsen's arrival in the LCS has let all of the squad shine, and Wolves have rapidly risen from the team destined for the relegation bin to a team capable of making any playoff opponent nervous.
The top European teams in Season 3 have been drawn together by one common thread: the mid-lane playmaker. Their styles are diverse, from ocelote's preference for roaming, Alex Ich and Froggen’s more farm oriented styles, to xPeke's splitpushing and midgame pressure style that Bjergsen's game more closely resembles. With frequent 2v1 lanes preventing top laners from being consistently dominant, the first position mid laner has caused a subtle shift in AD carry choices in Europe. Miss Fortune, Varus and Graves have been popular and successful in recent weeks for Gambit, Evil Geniuses and SK Gaming. Miss Fortune and Graves provide AoE burst damage in addition to spacial control via Bullet Time and Smokescreen. What does this have to do with Bjergsen? On Doubleliftian picks like Caitlyn and Ezreal, Wolves' ADC player TheTess has posted a 1-9 record, largely pre-Bjergsen. With the team shifted to a 1st position mid style, TheTess has played much better, and on Varus and Graves he has a combined 5-1 record.
The Wolves continued to roll in week 6, and their playstyle seemed to catalyze around their teenage star. While Bjergsen had his share of highlight moments, his real impact frequently came on the space he opened up for the team, and the way his team fed these advantages back into Bjergsen. NeeGodbro's favored tanky toplaners got more farm and less pressure with Bjergsen commanding attention. In fact, the whole Wolves' lineup sans Bjergsen is a tanky mess of CC, with picks like Singed, Renekton, Xin Zhao, Jarvan, Varus, and Lulu combining to form ateamfighting menace that can both clean up after Bjergsen and set a team up for Bjergsen to finish off.
While the Quadra and Pentakills will draw the highlight videos, Wolves' upset of Evil Geniuses showed how good Wolves could be as a team. Bjergsen had his fair share of deaths, including an embarassing facecheck near dragon, but his initiation, splitpushing, and presence in teamfights forced EG into positional mistakes the Wolves did well to capitalize on. Wolves are still plagued by little errors in their matches, Bjergsen guilty as much as any player, but the Wolves are playing so well together that their individual mistakes can be overcome through the team effort. Bjergsen earns our Player of the Week honors not for as much for impeccable personal play, but for the way all of the Copenhagen Wolves players have shined around him and his playmaking this week.
Wards in the Brush
Predictions for Week 7
[Day 1] March 30, 2013
Giants vs Gambit
aAa vs Fnatic
Wolves vs SK
DB vs aAa
[Day 2] March 31, 2013
SK vs Gambit
Wolves vs aAa
DB vs Giants
Gambit vs Wolves
Giants vs Gambit
aAa vs Fnatic
Wolves vs SK
DB vs aAa
[Day 2] March 31, 2013
SK vs Gambit
Wolves vs aAa
DB vs Giants
Gambit vs Wolves
After the madness of Lille, we return to the comfort of Cologne for Week 7 and another stellar week of LCS action. EG take a rest this week while the remaining seven teams share one to three games with one another.
Fnatic & Gambit are perched safely atop the tables going into Week 4 and can only trade positions. If Gambit go 3-0 and Fnatic 0-1 the swap could happen but neither are in any immediate danger this week. Fnatic take on an exploitable aAa while Gambit get the solid-looking SK, the skilled Giants and the surging Wolves. Will Gambit’s hectic schedule catch up with them or will it be another in and out in thirty minutes for the Russian machine?
It might seem sudden and premature, but middle of the table we’ve got SK and Wolves. SK Seem to be one of the safest teams in the LCS – always losing to those better than them and always beating those worse. The question here is, are Wolves now better than SK? As we’ve seen in the American LCS, momentum is by no means permanent so it might finally be time to see if the Wolves’ improvement is consistent and if they can stay out of the bottom three, becoming a true resident of the top 5. A huge week for Wolves with two tough games against SK and Gambit and another, traditionally easy, fixture against aAa.
Finally, we’ve got the bottom three spaces where no one wants to be. The story of the LCS bottom has changed this week without Wolves but the middle positions are still within reach for any team that wants it. With the wins so close, a good week for any of these three could pull them out of the bottom two spots. aAa get three chances while DB and Giants have two. DragonBorns can take action into their own hands, being able to personally hand the other teams a defeat while aAa & Giants have uphill battles in their other games, going against Gambit, Fnatic & Wolves.
With relative safety for the top two spots, all eyes are on places 3-8. Will SK stay safely in the top 3? Can Wolves solidify their place in the top 5? Can one of the bottom three pass into the middle ranks? If not, who will creep out of the last two spots? As the relegation approaches, matches are becoming more and more crucial. We’ve seen the amateur teams in Europe before: they are truly scary and no one who falls into their clutches is safe.
Match to Watch - Wolves vs SK
Copenhagen Wolves: (6-11), Last 5: WLWWW
SK Gaming: (10-7), Last 5: WLWLW
Copenhagen Wolves take the Blue side against SK Gaming on Saturday for an intriguing mid-table clash. SK has looked solid against the weaker LCS sides and chalked up wins in the first three matches of the season against Wolves, although two came before Bjergsen was eligible to play in the LCS. This final match in the season series may be a preview of a first round playoff series as SK are unlikely to manage to guarantee an LCS slot for the Summer half of the season with a top 3 finish. Wolves have more to play for, as they are looking to secure a 3rd - 6th place finish which would give them two opportunities to hold onto their LCS slot.
Like many games this season, the mid lane matchup will be the spotlighted one. Both mid laners have relatively deep champion pools and prefer making action happen across the map to conservative farming. The side lanes were largely uneventful 2v1 affairs in their last matchup – in standard side lanes SK are the favorites to make something happen individually in lane or with jungle help, but Copenhagen Wolves are more likely to gain any advantages through coordinated teamwork for objectives.
Wolves managed an early lead in their last matchup, but SK played well from behind to capitalize on errors and work their way back into control. While ocelote and Bjergsen may receive a lot of the attention going into the match, the real key will be teamfighting, which is where Wolves lost their lead last time. Wolves will look to continue their hot streak and SK will try to fend the upstarts off at 16:00 CET/8:00 PDT on Saturday.