The LCS season is about to begin, teams are already set up in Berlin after the Holiday and Bootcamp season to start getting into their daily routines for the LCS. Already in about two weeks, all the teams will be playing each other once again for the European throne. After surviving the fastest offseason of all time we did our best to rank the teams before they played their first game of the split.
10. Giants Gaming
After dropping out of the LCS in Spring Giants Gaming fought their way back to the EU LCS, although the offseason didn’t go as planned. The Spanish organization lost all their lineup except for their top laner Ruin to Vitality. Ruin has been playing the challenger series since he joined SK Gaming in 2016. The talented player has still a lot to learn even if his mechanical play is on point. He is the team’s ace card and not necessarily the experienced leader you want to build your roster around. Basically forcing Giants to sign what was left after the major roster shake ups. Leading them into building their roster with almost the whole previous vitality roster, Betsy who played on Roccat and a rookie who played previously for Gamersorigin in the French League. The Support player Targamas.
They ended up with a mediocre team without synergy, none of those players is top tier at their positions nor could constantly show good to great performances the past split. It will be everything on Steelback’s back as it was the same with him in Vitality throughout most of 2017. Without an experienced leader and shotcaller in the team, the team will need its time to find their synergy and develop their players.
Roccat is going all in on solid individual talent in 2018. They are putting some of the most promising talents of the past season, some of those did work out and some of those did not work out in their respective teams. Despite their hype most of their lineup didn’t perform to their names in the past season. However they are bringing Memento back, a player that played for a short amount of time for Roccat during the Summer split 2016 and was a pleasing surprise. On the other side the rest of the team is basically filled with Ninjas in Pyjamas previous talent. Mostly Profit and former PSG Mid laner Blanc have yet to show their true potential as players in a team missing that experience leader, which could hinder the team building process throughout the split.
If it indeed goes downhill it could end up as a deja vu for Memento, when he was the last glimpse of hope in a roster which had lost all motivation. It’s going to be a tough task and the team will need to synergize quickly if they want to get into playoffs.
After a rough season, the French team Vitality decided to press the restart button and build from the ground up, around their top laner cabochard. Bringing in all the players except for top laner Ruin from Giants Gaming over to the team. The team has a lot of potential after getting some experience in the LCS. It is not only Gilius comeback to the LCS but also the debut of the first Portuguese and Italian players in the LCS. Jizuke their Italian mid laner and their Portuguese ad carry Minitroupax are some of the talents to watch as they step into the Rift for the first time on LCS stage. Despite the good synergy from the most part of the team they also lack on LCS experience, which could be a big factor during the spring split and lead to a very slow start of the team.
If the reality shock for the rookies hits the team too hard it should be difficult for Vitality to break through their concurrence. Vitality is betting on the long run and they should invest the spring split into making the team playoffs ready for the summer split.
7. H2K Gaming
Veteran is back to H2K, this time not as an analyst but as a Head coach. The previous Schalke 04 head coach brought three of his players with him to build the new H2K lineup. The team is built around midlaner Caedrel. A young player that was able to collect a lot of experience in the national leagues and challenger series. He has been one of the key players of Schalke and will be their key player here. Despite maintaining a solid foundation for a roster in SmittyJ and Spraettel those aren’t the star players that will carry the team. There will be a lot of pressure on Santorin who is returning to European soil and on LCS rookie Sheriff. The team will be a solid team that should shine in the early stages of the game in the beginning of the split.
The team should be grow around their two key players Caedrel and Sheriff. Both players still lack the LCS stage experience so H2K’s biggest problem is if they can perform equally good on stage as they performed the past year online in the challenger series they could make playoffs. The team shouldn’t have a bad start into the split but will need time and good coaching in order to break into the big four, on the other hand, playoffs is fairly realistic for H2K Gaming.
6. Unicorns of Love
Bold, risky and very calculated are the moves of our favorite Unicorns. UoL is rebuilding around old players, some experienced and once again some of the most exciting newcomers in the league. Despite being an organization that proved that they and especially their coach Sheepy knows how to grow talents into star players, they lost their pillars when Vizicsacsi and Hyllisang left the team for new challenges. The team will have to rebuild from ground up as their two leaders left the team. It will be in Sheepy’s hand to find the right leader for this young crew early on if they want to be ready in time for playoffs. Whiteknight, one of the most hyped up talents of the past two years of the European challenger scene and could also succeed if they find the right place for him and Samux on this new roster.
However it is not a team built around a certain team identity, it is a team built around individual talent. Talent that still has enough potential to grow. Only time can tell how strong this Unicorns of Love roster can be.
5. Schalke 04
Europe’s biggest wildcard coming into the 2018 season is Schalke. The roster is good, Krepo as a coach is one of the most interesting aspects of this whole scenario and they have a huge potential to grow as individuals and as a team. The German talent Upset is definitely one of the players to look out for as he duos once again with Vander in the bot lane and could be easily one of the best bot duos in the EU LCS. Even if the team showed to be fairly coordinated and already play a high level of macro League of Legends, they only outclassed and showed it so far against challenger series teams.
Are they already LCS level? Or will the lack of experience in most of the players on the roster play a bigger factor than their potential? The real question is can Krepo get them ready in spring splits time?
The new EU super team was born, this time in the hands of Splyce. Lead by former INTZ Esports Head coach Peter Dun he was capable to build a team consisting of some of the biggest European talents current in the region. I don’t see Splyce winning the spring split due to the factor that they will have to find their team identity and work on the synergy more than anything else in the spring split. Despite all that, the team is not only individually strong but it brings all tools Peter likes to work with. Talent waiting to be developed into stars and be guided into Peter’s calculated side lane control focused gameplay.
Also, Splyce is bringing Kasing back into the spotlight, once one of Europeans best support the EU LCS had to offer. Together with Odoamne they could set an important foundation for the team’s success in the future as not only both have experience playing together but also have been major shotcallers in their previous teams. Splyce will definitely be an interesting team to follow as they develop into a powerhouse this year.
This new season might be Misfits biggest challenge as an organization so far. After a successful 2017, they will have to chase the same or even more success after rebuilding core parts of their lineup. Letting Power of Evil and Ignar go will definitely change a good amount of their style. Even if the dream team of Alphari and Maxlore are still together and should be able to lead the team to former glory. Their team identity might have changed with the addition of their new mid laner Sencux. He is definitely not as versatile and less team fight oriented than Power of Evil, during his time in Splyce he was only able to excel at assassin and splitpush oriented mid laners. Despite being one of the most individual skilled mid laners in the European league, the Danish mid laner has big shoes to fill.
If Misfits can perform on Sencux strengths and adapt to that playstyle, I see a bright future for this lineup. Even high chances of reaching the finals once again. It will be in the hands of Misfits Coach Hussain how well he can guide them through the first steps of building the next chapter of Misfits.
2. G2 Esports
Despite losing the best bot lane in Europe to TSM. G2 was able to compensate their loss with the level of talent for the position of their two former Koreans. G2 could probably change their playstyle, be more fast-paced or simply play more splitpushing oriented in 2018. The only thing that gives me confidence in saying they will maintain top 2 is the factor that Perkz is still in the mid lane. People often oversee the value Perkz had for the team in drawing attention, to pushing mid lanes or simply being able to handle almost every mid laner he faced with little to no jungle pressure from Trick. He was a key player in the former G2 Esports playstyle and that Carlos was happy to build a team around his wonder boy, is no surprise to me.
The most interesting aspect tho is their new staff and mostly their new head coach Grabbz. The German coach worked previously on Roccat and despite being able to upset G2 in their peak or make Roccat work to a certain extent this is the first major challenge for him. Is he ready to rebuild G2’s Legacy?
The original kings of Europe should be finally able to stabilize themselves and reclaim their throne. Being the team with the less amount of changes and keeping their worlds synergy might give them a lead in the head to head comparison with the other European powerhouses. Hyllisang is the support Fnatic needed since he not only can fulfill the job of Jesiz but also bringing in more experience as a support player on stage.
The big question is how good Broxah and Caps will come into the split. After the last world championship, both players should have gathered enough experience against the best of the world to be able to perform more consistently on a high level. Caps struggled and Broxah was simply not ready yet as he is still a rookie. Going over all expectations the team had a good run at worlds and now it is their best time to prove if they are ready to reclaim the throne as the former kings of Europe.
Photo Credit : lolesports Flickr (Except Roccat)
Disclaimer: The following article was written freely based on the author's opinion, and it may not necessarily represent Inven Global's editorial stance.
About the Author:
Hello guys, Alexandre Weber also known under the ID: DrPuppet. I'm a Brazilian professional Coach and content creator since 2015, mostly focused on League of Legends. I worked with many teams throughout the years in major and minor regions, but my most known work was with Kaos Latin Gamers from Chile in 2015, where we played the International Wildcard Finals against Pain Gaming. Since then I have been studying Cinema in Hamburg and creating content on youtube and twitch, besides writing for respected sites in Esports. You can find me on the social networks under @drpuppetlp and on Twitch under DrPuppet.
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