New week… and a new patch as well: on patch 8.4, games should in theory more early game oriented, where decisive fights could quickly snowball games, as it is now considerably harder to simply sit back, and defend and stall until to the very late game, thanks to the powerful combination of Baron and the Banner of Command, which transformed cannon minions into weapons of massive destruction.
In a revamped meta where the aggressive play should be more encouraged, it would be interesting to see if teams could quickly adapt to this new situation, especially in such a decisive point of the regular split, with playoffs fast approaching. With most teams still very close to each other in the standings, adaption was the key to survival this week in Europe.
ROCCAT v Giants Gaming
Opening week 7, we already got the first taste of the power Banner of Command offers on patch 8.4. Despite the kill score being close during the early stages of the game, ROCCAT managed to open a reasonable gold lead in the first 25 minutes, due to a smart macro play, knowing down Giants’ outer turrets as well as due to big CS leads in the jungle and in the bot lane.
Thus, they arrived with a 6k goal lead to the fight who pretty much decided the first contest of this week in Europe: Memento managed to find and chunk down Steeelback’s Tristana low enough, giving HeaQ an opening window to bring down Giants’ ADC with this Statikk Shiv proc. Betsy’s over-eagerness to re-engage costed him his life, and from that point on, the fight was over, and head straight to the Baron, to open an even bigger gold lead.
And then it was time for patch 8.4’s most iconic moment so far: the “Baron and Banner” empowered cannon minion. Giants were simply unable to reply to the unstoppable siege, becoming mere spectators as their base were reduced to shreds, with ROCCAT claiming up a convincing win in 33 minutes to join up their opponents in the standings with a 6-7 record.
Notable Performance: Memento (1/1/6). A true nightmare for Giants’ carries, Memento unpredictability forced both Steeelback and Betsy to play extremely defensively, which opened up the map for this team. In the fight prior Baron – which proved decisive for the game’s outcome – he initiated the action by removing straight away Giants’ ADC from the brawl, giving his team the numbers advantage to come out on top.
Unicorns of Love v H2K
With both teams tied at last place with a 4-8 record, it is needless to say that this match was an extremely vital one for both teams, as a defeat would very much mean saying a final goodbye to any playoffs hope. And as expected, it was a very messy and undecided match, with teams alternating good moments with questionable decisions and gameplay.
The Unicorns started opening a gold lead in the early game after a well-thought teleport by WhiteKnight to unexpectedly win a fight following Kold’s death. And after getting themselves Baron, the Unicorns marched forward in an unstoppable onslaught that took H2K’s entire outer base defenses.
But maybe they were a little bit too eager, and gave H2K the window to find themselves an ideal flanking position, and managed to ace the Unicorns, reducing the gold lead to just below 5k. Keeping the momentum going, they aced UOL once again in a very messy fight, and took for themselves the second Baron of the game.
Now the situation should be exactly the opposite: looking to push the Unicorns back to their base, they were looking to use the strong “Baron and Banner” combination and make the comeback perfect…however, UOL managed to stall long enough and even took the Elder Dragon from H2K’s graps to survive the power play completely unscathed.
And finally, at the 46th-minute mark, the Unicorns finally put their superior late-game composition, and managed to take down H2K, before rushing to the base to take down the Nexus and claim their 4th win in a row.
On the more humorous side, the comical reaction of the Spanish casters to the “6th team member” does not need any explanations. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, well, the sounds are clear enough.
Notable Performance: Sheriff (6/3/7) as Ezreal. Yes, you read it right, a player from the losing side! Sheriff had a strong showing as Ezreal, despite leaving the laning phase on a slight disadvantage. With over than 65k damage dealt, he helped his team stay in the game for longer than they actually should.
Splyce vs G2 Esports
Stuck in the middle of the standings with mediocre performances so far, Splyce delivered their best showing this year, and destroyed G2 Esports to start out the week with a “W” on the board. Is this an early sign that 8.4 will be Splyce’s patch?
Dominant since minute 1, they suffocated the 4-time European Champions, being pro-active across the entire Rift, leaving G2 completely motionless. After taking an uncontested baron at the 22nd-minute mark, they proceeded to siege G2’s base, increasing their gold lead substantially while “collecting” Mountain and Inferno Drakes to have an even bigger edge.
With the end fast approaching, all Splyce needed was a final teamfight. And it happened at the 30th minute following a superb engage by KaSing’s Rakan on PerkZ’s Azir. Kobbe used the opening to delete G2’s midlaner from the map, before going forward to claim a triple kill for himself. With only Wunder and Jankos remaining, Splyce ran straight to their opponent’s Nexus, taking it down to claim a very convincing win.
Notable Performance: KaSing (0/0/9) on Rakan. It is just a joy to watch KaSing on engage-heavy supports. Perhaps the best Thresh player in Europe, he showed all he can on Rakan as well, being responsible for godlike engages that were decisive to give Splyce wins all over the map. To crown this MVP performance, a beautiful flash + ultimate engage to catch PerkZ completely unaware, which was perfectly capitalized by the rest of his team.
Schalke 04 v Team Vitality
Following two 0-2 weeks in a row, Vitality entered the Rift determined to repeat the performances that brought them to the top of the standings. But despite still showing signs of weakness, they were able to defeat a shaky Schalke 04 side in a fairly slow-paced game.
After an equilibrated early game, Vitality punished Schalke’s lack of vision around Baron, and managed to sneakily steal away the important neutral objective without any casualties after 21 minutes. Using it to open up the map and increase their gold lead. However, they didn’t manage to find an advantageous teamfight to crack open Schalke’s base, so the solution was to wait for the second baron, which they took down at the 32nd-minute mark.
Again on the offensive, Vitality’s advance was however halted by Jiizuke’s mistake, whose overeagerness to flash in to secure a kill did not only cost his life, but the whole momentum for his team, who were once again forced to retreat. With the fight now moving to the Dragon pit, Gilius timed his smite perfectly to secure his team a 2-stack Elder buff.
And they finally put it to good use: following a great engage by Cabochard’s Sion, Vizicsacsi was brought down, and Schalke, without their front line, were unable to respond as Vitality took down their base. Despite a desperate last ditch attempt, the day was truly Vitality’s, who walked home relieved – but aware that such performance wouldn’t be enough to bring down Fnatic the day after.
Notable Performance: Cabochard (1/0/5) on Sion. The big front liner did his job amazingly well, keeping his carries well protected throughout most of the time – it is definitely not your fault when you midlaner decides to “int” a bit – and was responsible for the final engage that ultimately ended up with his team taking down Schalke’s Nexus. A solid performance in a game with few flashy plays – which shows that the tank did his job well.
Misfits v Fnatic
Day 1 closed out with the anticipated Match of the Week between Misfits and Fnatic. With the former surprisingly sitting in the middle of the standings, Fnatic entered up as big favorites, especially following their convincing win over G2 Esports last week. But apparently the teams forgot to the told that this match was supposedly to be played on a patch where games should have a shorter duration: with Sencux bringing out a surprising Anivia pick to counter Fnatic’s composition, this well fought and nail-biting display between two of Europe’s best teams lasted for almost an hour.
An hour with both teams showing individual and team-play highlights alike, which started with Fnatic drawing first blood, with Misfits however quickly jumping ahead in the kill score. But the gold remained equally distributed between the teams by the time of the first major teamfight of the game, which saw Misfits securing Baron at the expense of 3 kills in favor of Fnatic, meaning the game remained stalled until the next fight for Baron control, taken this time by the 5-time European Champions. Misfits replied however by taking the Elder Dragon, and following a failed push attempt by Fnatic, the deadlock remained.
And then, the big moment of the game: with Fnatic again on the Baron pit, Mikyx, jumps in and somehow steals the 3rd Big Purple Worm of the game. But this time, Fnatic were able to reply with the Elder Dragon for themselves, but proceeded to lose sOAZ and Hylissang. Still holding the Baron Buff, Misfits marched forward to close out the game, but Fnatic had Rekkles waiting… with an amazing defensive performance at the key moments, the superstar ADC dodged everything, kept his cool, and managed to send the enemy away from his team’s base in to keep Fnatic in the game.
With the clock crossing the 50th-minute mark, any fight could be the one to finally bring an end to this exciting contest. And it happened a few moments later: after taking the 4th baron of the game, Alphari and Mikyx finally got their engaged on Rekkles right, killing the all-important ADC. With the numbers advantage, Misfits proceeded to remove the rest of Fnatic off the Summoners’ Rift and marched towards their base in order to take down the number 1 team in Europe. A somewhat abrupt end to one of the best games of the season.
Notable Performance: Mikyx (0/4/18) on Rakan. Another MVP Rakan today, with Mikyx showing masterclass engages, like the one who decided the game. However, his true highlight today was the superb and extremely unlikely baron steal that gave his team a small edge in a very delicate and crucial point of the game. Surely one of the highlights of his (still short) career so far.
ROCCAT v Splyce
Finally! After 6 straight weeks ending the week with a 1-1 record, Splyce finally managed to get that much-wanted 2-0 and ended the week placed 3rd, getting close to lock a spot in the playoffs. However, it wasn’t easy: in a chaotic game, filled with Baron steals, they struggled and had to work hard for it, but ended up walking away with the win.
Following an uneventful early game, the first big moment was obviously at the Baron pit, with Norskeren’s Tahm Kench sneakily “delivering” Memento behind it, allowing him to flash in and commit the first robbery of the evening. Despite finding themselves holding the Baron buff, ROCCAT were unable to transform it into bigger advances, so a few minutes the teams returned to the pit…and this time, Xerxe managed to get his revenge, before jumping away to safety.
But this time, Splyce were the ones who being able to capitalize, which meant…yes, you are right! Back to the Baron pit for a third time! And once again, Xerxe somehow stole it once again. Using the buff better this time, Splyce managed to open up ROCCAT’s inhibitor, taking a 2 to 1 trade in the process before heading for the Elder Dragon.
However, ROCCAT reacted quickly, and put themselves in an advantageous position to take down Elder, albeit at the cost of Memento’s live. Finding themselves in a 5 against 4 for over a minute, Splyce marched towards ROCCAT’s base, cracked it open, took down Profit, and used the numbers advantage to put an end to this messy contest.
Clearly relieved after the game, KaSing’s (with Odoamne’s cameo) funny interview with Deficio is simply too hilarious to let it pass without a comment.
Notable Performance: Xerxe (0/1/7) on Zac. In the game marked more by neutral objectives than teamfights themselves, Xerxe showed immense mental strength after losing the first Baron of the game, by simply stealing away the next two himself. Talk about confidence!
Week 8 Matches: ROCCAT vs Fnatic and Vitality 04; Splyce vs Misfits and H2K
Unicorns of Love v Schalke 04
The Unicorns hype train is full on track and the final destination Copenhagen starts to become a true goal for the once struggling team, with UOL claiming their 5th win a row at the expanse of Schalke 04, moving ahead of the squad from Gelsenkirchen in the standings, which will surely do wonders for the team’s morale for the final two weeks of the regular split.
After a much equilibrated start, two teamfights 3 minutes apart from each other dictated the flow with the game, with the Unicorns always in the command: at the 18th-minute mark, Upset was caught out of position, becoming an easy target for Kold, who took Schalke’s ADC out of the equation. With the advantage, Exileh chased down the remaining Schalke members, and with four kills in their favor, UOL opened up the map.
And three minutes, the second vital fight, with the Unicorns taking down three in order to claim for themselves a very early Baron. From there on, it was textbook stuff: using their ever increasing gold advantage to destroy Schalke’s outer defences and pick up more kills, the Unicorns also took down the second baron of the game. With a 10k gold lead, there was no way Schalke could defend themselves against the onslaught, and despite a valiant defense, succumbed to the superior UOL side, with Samux claiming for himself a triple just during the game’s final moments.
Notable Performance: Samux (8/0/3) on Tristana. Another flawless performance by UOL’s marksman. A reliable source of damage (over 1000 damage/minute), he was untouched by Schalke, thanks to his superior positioning – and of course, thanks to this front line who did an excellent job peeling for the team’s carries. One question remains however: how is Samux still allowed to play Tristana?
Week 8 Matches: Unicorns of Love vs Team Vitality and Fnatic; Schalke 04 vs Giants Gaming and G2 Esports
H2K v Misfits
Definitely an unusual week for Misfits Gaming: beat the number one team in Europe just to fall against the last placed side less than 24 hours. But all credits due to H2K, they showed a very solid performance, and despite still lying at the bottom of the standings, they still can dream about the playoffs, although they may have to win at least 3 of the 4 remaining matches to keep hoping with a Top 6 placement. Meanwhile for Misfits, the loss means they end the week with a 7-7 record, and despite still sitting at the 5th place, they are one loss away to drop from playoffs contention.
With Misfits actually being the ones with the early lead, things started out grim for H2K. But despite the gold deficit, they found themselves at favorable fight after 26 minutes, with Smittyj and the rest of H2K finding out and taking down a bad positioned Hans Sama. With the advantage, they used the window to take down Baron alongside Samux’s Anivia.
Now on the driver seat themselves, H2K put good use to their Baron buff, and despite being massively behind in the Drake count (4 to nothing), they managed to open up a respectable gold lead, putting them into an advantageous position to take the next Baron unopposed.
And from that point on, it was quick work: after taking down Alphari, H2K successfully sieged Misfits’ base, taking down both mid and top inhibitors before setting their eyes towards the Nexus itself. With Alphari still down and sitting 9k gold behind, all that remained Misfits was to put a valiant, but at the end, futile defense, with H2K not having any problems to take away a surprising win after 37 minutes.
Notable Performance: Sheriff (3/0/4) on Caitlyn. Another ADC with a strong performance this week, Sheriff used Caitlyn’s kit to its full extension, cleverly placing traps to keep enemies away while dealing tons of damage. With 40k damage to Champions, he dealt almost as much damage as his entire team put together.
Week 8 Matches: H2K vs G2 Esports and Splyce; Misfits vs Splyce and Giants Gaming
Fnatic v Team Vitality
Looking to bounce back from the loss against Misfits the day before, Fnatic was on the brink of defeat against Team Vitality. Behind in gold for the most part of the game, Broxah’s Elder Drake steal saved the game, and Fnatic claimed a very hard fought 10th win of the split. Vitality meanwhile, is stationed at 3rd place, two wins behind the leaders.
Unlike the previous games of the game, Fnatic and Vitality delivered an intense early game, with the leaders getting an early first blood on Minitroupax. Vitality however equalized it with two quick kills on Caps, and kept the momentum going: by 15 minutes they held a 4k gold lead, having taking down 4 turrets against none by Fnatic.
With the game belonging entirely to Vitality, then went for Baron…and that is when Broxah started to shine, stealing it under their opponents’ nose, despite losing his life for his efforts. That didn’t matter to Fnatic, as they put good use to their powerplay, quickly equalizing the gold deficit. But Fnatic wanted more.
After taking down Jiizuke and Gilius, then went for Vitality’s base, but were stopped by Cabochard’s Sion and Minitroupax’s Caitlyn, and were forced to retreat after losing 3 members. Now suddenly Vitality were back ahead, using the window to finally take down Baron for themselves and Fnatic’s bot inhibitor.
But Fnatic were resilient. And Fnatic had a late-game Tristana. And also a Kha’Zix hungry for blood. After surprising Vitality to quickly take and run away with the third Baron of the game, Broxah once more stole an objective from Gilius – this time the Elder Dragon – and on a 4 against 4 on Vitality’s base, Rekkles went huge to take down the remaining enemies in order to close out a very close game in favor of Fnatic.
Notable Performance: Rekkles (8/0/4) on Tristana. Despite Broxah’s two steals, Rekkles delivered a vintage Rekkles performance. With Caps having a bad time, he took the entire responsibility of doing his team’s damage for himself and shredded through Vitality in the decisive fight of the game to give his team an important win in the race for 1st in the EU LCS.
Week 8 Matches: Fnatic vs ROCCAT and Unicorns of Love; Team Vitality vs Unicorns of Love and ROCCAT
G2 Esports v Giants Gaming
Week 7 in Europe finishing with perhaps the biggest throw of the season so far, with Giants completely wasting a 12k gold lead, giftting an almost won game over to a very shaky G2 Esports that of course took it in order to consolidate 2nd place. One of the three teams sitting at 6-8, Giants will regret this loss, as a win would surely have put into a more comfortable situation for the final weeks of the regular season.
After yet another equilibrated early to mid-stages, the first big fight of the game went in favor of Giants, who used the numbers advantage to easily take down the first Baron of the game. From that point on, it should be Giants’ game. Big gold lead, full Baron and Dragon control, it should really be a matter of time before they could take down the Kings of Europe.
But they somehow couldn’t: G2 cleverly stalled out the game, and proved once more that, even when they aren’t on their best form, they are very much able to take themselves out of tricky situations. After picking out Betsy’s Galio, they took down Baron – despite having an 11k gold deficit at that point.
And 3 minutes later, fighting for Elder Dragon, and despite the big deficit, G2 found themselves the fight they were looking for: Djoko went a bit too deep on G2’s backline and was instantly killed by PerkZ and Hjärnan. Suddenly finding themselves in numbers disadvantage, Giants tried to retreat, but ended up losing Steeelback and Betsy. And it was over. With enough time, G2 ignored Elder and rushed towards Giants’ base, to take down the enemy Nexus. Ah, worth noticing that Giants ended the game 5k gold ahead…
Notable Performance: PerkZ (3/1/4) on Viktor. Hard choice here, as no G2 player really delivered a standout performance, with Giants losing the game by themselves rather than G2 Esports winning it. But still, PerkZ was solid as Viktor, and was one of the responsibles for his team staying alive in the game for long enough to outscale and defend Giants despite the big gold difference.
Week 8 Matches: G2 Esports vs H2K and Schalke 04; Giants Gaming vs Schalke 04 and Misfits
And that was all for this week here in Europe. An exciting week on a new patch, which delivered distinct performances by all teams, as well as different approaches to the games themselves. But with just four more games and two more weeks to go – and with most teams still close to each other in the standings – I repeat my words from last week: the final stages of the Regular Split here in Europe will be marked by its unpredictably. With teams looking to adapt themselves further to 8.4, it is simply impossible to know right now what will happen. Everyone still is in the run, all is open, so once more I tell you: sit tight, and keep enjoying the show!
2018 EU LCS Spring Split Standings after Week 7:
1- Fnatic 10W 4L
2- G2 Esports 9W 5L
3- Team Vitality 8W 6L
3- Splyce 8W 6L
5- Misfits 7W 7L
6- Giants 6W 8L
6- Team ROCCAT 6W 8L
8- Unicorns of Love 6W 8L
7- Schalke 04 5W 9L
9- H2K 5W 9L
(Photos courtesy of Riot Games)
Disclaimer: The following article was written freely based on the author's opinion, and it may not necessarily represent Inven Global's editorial stance.
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