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Author: Clément Piovesan

EU LCS Week 4 Highlights

Mid lane week ended last night in Europe and we got some spectacular games that played out on the two stages of the LCS. Ties were the flavor of the European teams this week as we are getting close to the middle of the split. Here are the two matchups that defined this week of the European LCS.

Origen – Fnatic: Tie

What a crazy best of two which used to be defined as one of the classics of the European LCS. Although Origen has not performed to its standards since the beginning of summer, the matchup was still very much anticipated. In true Origen fashion, the team lost the first game of the series. Picking a composition based on team fights, Fnatic controlled the Rift during the entire game. Spirit and Febiven were able to put a lot of pressure on Origen and allowed their team to snowball on objectives such as turrets and dragons.

Although Fnatic were ahead in the entire game, they still had troubles to close out the match and had to secure 2 barons in order to overcome Origen’s defenses.

EU LCS Summer 2016 Week 3

Source: Riot eSports Flickr

The second game was quite a different story. An 81 minutes game, the two team clashed it out in one of the longest games in the history of the LCS. Starting off quite well, Origen was able to obtain a gold lead for most of the game. They traded objectives well and managed to keep up with Fnatic’s rotations on the map. Origen had a lot of trouble to close out the game, smashing inhibitors over and over again. In the game, there were seven Barons taken, nine dragons all of that for only a total of 35 kills. Rekkles and Febiven also broke LCS creep score records with a respective CS count of 858 and 848.

EU LCS Summer 2016 Week 3

Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Team Vitality – G2 Esports: Tie

It was not a very good week for G2 Esports. Although they came into the scene at the beginning of the season as the underdogs, they are certainly one of the favorites to win the current split. Scoring two series ties this week, their Friday series against Team Vitality was particularly interesting.

In the first game of the series, the two teams were ready to clash. The match was very even until G2 managed to find a great skirmish at the 22 minute mark. Trading badly, Team Vitality lost the control of the map and couldn’t manage to play from behind. G2 Esports won the first map and came into the second very confidently.

EU LCS Summer 2016 Week 3

Source: Riot eSports Flickr

It was clearly not the same story in the second game. Another long back and forth game from both teams, G2 managed to find a small advantage in the early game after the two teams traded turrets. But a few minutes later, Team Vitality came in strong and managed to find first blood as well as another kill on the members of G2 Esports. From there on out, the team secured two dragons as well as 2 turrets and a Baron after a great team fight where they took down three members of G2. A long phase of farming then happened and Vitality secured a dragon. Unfortunately for them, they lost the following team fight, which allowed G2 to secure a Baron and take back the control of the map. The team even took a plethora of kills and also ended the game, if it weren’t for Police’s Ashe play. On a final teamfight, Vitality aced G2 Esports and managed to destroy their Nexus, ending the series in a tie.

EU LCS Summer 2016 Week 3

Source: Riot eSports Flickr

A crazy week ended for the European LCS, but the actions starts up again next Thrusday at 5pm CET.

Cover image by: Josh Rigg

EU LCS Week 3 Highlights

The split has reached a third of its way and the ranking of the teams in Europe are starting to shape up. We are seeing interesting matches with the new format of the split and overall, it has led to a better understanding of the current state of the scene. In week 3, two particular matchups were interesting to watch and here are the recaps.

H2k vs. G2 eSports

A clash between the top teams in Europe certainly did not disappoint. In the first game of the series, the two teams picked radically different styles of compositions. On one hand, H2k chose a team fight composition with great area of effect, crowd controls in champions such as Gragas, Viktor and Bard. On the other hand, G2 decided on pick oriented lineup of champions such as Irelia, Nidalee and Fizz. That game was quite strategic for the first twenty minutes, which was the time when Freeze got first blood on Trick. Before that, the two teams traded turrets but G2 had the advantage on dragons. From first blood and on, all of the trades in the game went in the favor of H2k, the team securing multiple objectives in the form of dragons, barons and turrets. Although G2 lost, their AD carry Zven still had a big influence in the game, dealing the biggest amount of damage to champions in the entire game.

EU LCS Summer 2016 Week 2

Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Up 1-0, H2k were looking to secure another three pointer in their season. In order to do that, they decided on picking another team fight composition around champions such as Sivir and Olaf. On the other side of the Rift, G2 eSports continued on a pick style composition with Fizz, Ezreal and Karma. This game was a very typical G2 type of match. From the get go, the members of the team dominated the map and took multiple kills in the early game. They transitioned that into objective control, by taking a dragon and four turrets over the span of nine minutes. They dominated H2k so much that they ended the game in a very quick manner at the 25th minute mark, after a final team fight.

EU LCS Summer 2016 Week 2

Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Roccat vs. FC Schalke 04: 0-2

This was a very important match for the control of the middle of the table in Europe. On one hand, Roccat has shown improvement from last season with their new members. On the other side of the Rift, Schalke has been on fire, taking games off of top teams in Europe. In the first match, both teams clashed with poke compositions that allowed them to take objectives easily. In the early game, they traded turrets and the teams were fairly even in the game until minute eleven when Roccat took the first significant lead thanks to trading a turret for a dragon, as well as several kills on Schalke. They had the game in total control and even took an early Baron. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t close out the game and made a series of bad decisions, which allowed Schalke to finish the game at the 39 minute mark.

EU LCS Summer 2016 Week 2

Source: Riot eSports Flickr

The second game was a radically different story. Although the compositions of team were similar, the two teams did not have the same impact on the Rift. In the early game, the two teams traded turrets with Schalke taking first blood in the very early game. They also managed to take the first dragon of the game. After this, they took a few other kills but Roccat traded those for a dragon. This was the only hic in Schalke’s second game of Friday. From there to the end of the game, Schalke took many turrets and dragons, as well as a Baron to end the game.

EU LCS Summer 2016 Week 2

Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Next week of the European LCS starts again on next Thrusday with FC Schalke 04 vs. G2 eSports and Team Vitality vs. Giants.

MSI Semi-Final Day 2: Flash Wolves vs. Counter Logic Gaming

Coming in day two of the second part of the Mid-Season Invitational, we had North America facing off against South East Asia. Placing 2nd and 3rd respectively, Counter Logic Gaming and the Flash Wolves had a lot to prove as neither of them have ever gone to a Riot International event final. Although CLG came into this match as the favorites, the Flash Wolves have shown some great League of Legends during the group stages, placing third tied with SK Telecom.

CLG vs FW - MSI 2016

Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Game 1: CLG wins (1-0)

CLG came into this match in a very strong fashion and was dominant throughout the entire first game. Both teams picking a team fight composition, the game was poised to be won from an early advantage. After quite a long laning phase in standard lanes, Stixxay got the first blood on MMD’s Poppy at the eleventh minute mark. From that, CLG managed to get multiple turrets and finally got a big team fight towards the end of the game to destroy the Flash Wolves’ nexus.

 

Game 2: FW wins (1-1)

Game 2 was exactly the opposite of the first one. Picking relatively similar compositions on both sides, the teams needed to snowball their advantage in order to take the W. Starting off on a lane swap, neither teams got any big advantage after the play was executed. At the ninth minute, Maple was able to pick up first blood on Aphromoo’s Janna and that allowed his Ryze to control the entire map from his mid lane. He put so much pressure on Huhi’s Azir and Stixxay’s Caitlyn that these two players were not able to play to the champion’s full potential. In the end, the Flash Wolves managed to win the game in 34 minutes.

CLG vs FW - MSI 2016

Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Game 3: CLG wins (2-1)

A much closer game than the others, this game was defined by creative champion picks. We were served with an AD Carry Varus on the side of the Flash Wolves and a support Sona for aphromoo on CLG. After picking up four early kills, the LMS team managed to find quite a big advantage in the beginning of the game. They even snowballed that during 26 minutes, but CLG were never out of this game. Thanks to Stixxay and Xmithie, the North American team managed to come back after picking up multiple turrets a dragon and a baron buff. After that, they picked up a few kills on the members of the Flash Wolves and finally killed the nexus after 39 intense minutes.

 

Game 4: CLG wins (3-1)

Much similar to game 1, this match was quite a bit one sided. CLG picked an almost identical team composition, which allowed them to get the advantage. A very aggressive early game by both teams, the two squads exchanged kills in the early game, not giving much of an advantage to either of them. CLG finally started their grasp on this game after they exchanged a dragon for a turret and found multiple kills on members of the Flash Wolves. After gaining a 2k gold advantage, the North American team never let it go. They snowballed until the end and finally destroyed Flash Wolves’ hopes to get to the finals around the 30 minute mark.

CLG vs FW - MSI 2016

Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Thanks to that, CLG becomes the first North American team to ever go to a Riot International event finals in the history of League of Legends. They will face SK Telecom tomorrow to fight for the title of champions.

Cover Image by: Dwight Casin

Yell0wStaR is back in Fnatic

At the beginning of the season, the number one team in Europe lost its captain and support. One of the veterans of the League of Legends eSports scene, Bora “Yell0wStaR” Kim has come back to Fnatic as support for the summer split of 2016.

Yell0wStaR has been one of the cornerstones of the League of Legends scene for the past two seasons. But his career started much earlier. Playing since season one, the player was actually in the first world finals on team Against All Authority alongside our own Paul “SoaZ” Boyer and facing our beloved Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño-Martinez. Originally playing as AD Carry, the player made appearances in the season two World Championships under the colors of SK Gaming.

Source:  Against All Authority

It is only at the beginning of season three that the player joined Fnatic for the first time. He played in the first split of LCS as AD Carry and won in the finals against Gambit Gaming. During the summer split, Yell0wStaR finally switched to support as Fnatic brought in Johannes “Puszu” Uibos as a substitute until Martin “Rekkles” Larsson turned 17.

In a lineup full of superstars, Yell0wStaR was not the highlight player since he was transitioning to his new role and learning how to shot call. It is not until season five, when all the stars of Fnatic left the lineup, that he became known as the leader and great player that he is today. His shot calling and his experience has led a team of inexperienced players to a World Championship’s semi-finals.

After that incredible year, the French player left his organization to join the North American squad Team Solo Mid. Being implemented in a superstar lineup, he seemed to have trouble to adapt to his new teammates as TSM struggled throughout the spring split regular season. In playoffs, the team clicked and placed second, losing the finals to Counter Logic Gaming.

Spring 2016 Playoffs C9 vs TSM

Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Yell0wStaR has expressed his will to return to Europe and has found a “new” home in Fnatic. We will have to observe them closely as the team has had its worst split in history by not going to a finals for the first time.

Cover picture: Dwight Casin

Riot Competitive Rulings

Riot Games has released 2 competitive rulings this morning concerning two teams in the North American League of Legends Championship Series and one team from the North American Challenger Series: Renegades, Team Impulse and Team Dragon Knights. Here is a summary of the current situation.

Source: lolesports

The Renegades and Team Dragon Knights:

According to Riot’s article released this morning, Renegades’s management has been found in violation of multiple rules of the LCS Rulebook. The statement has presented the case in three main parts:

  • Team Ownership: as of June 24th, 2015, Chris Badawi, former owner of Team Dragon Knights and part owner of the Renegades was banned from having any official position for any team in Riot-affiliated competitions for the 2015 and 2016 competitive seasons. Chris Badawi,then, resigned from ownership of Renegades’ League of Legends team but still remained in the organization in the Counter-Strike division. According to today’s statement, Riot Games has found evidence of Badawi having a deal with current Renegades owner Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles, in which Badawi would get 50% of team ownership after his ban was lifted. For Riot Games, this is considered as ownership at any given time so the management goes directly against the LCS Rulebook.
  • Player Welfare: According to Riot Games, they have received multiple testimonies stating player welfare issues in the Renegades organization during the 2016 Spring Split. This was confirmed by multiple sources working close to the team. These violations include refusal to honor payment and contracts as well as a failure to maintain a safe environment for all of the team members. This was denied on Twitter by Renegades top laner Oleksii “RF Legendary” Kuziuta on Twitter

  • Independence of teams and competitive integrity: Riot Games also investigated the independence of the Renegades and Team Dragon Knights, in terms of trade and the status of the players. The League hosts found that some players were compensated and housed by their former team after the trade was complete.

Ruling: Renegades have to sell all rights to their LCS spot and the new owner of the slot will have to comply with the LCS rulebook, before May 18th. Chris Badawi is permenently banned from any association or affiliation with teams in Riot-sanctioned tournaments. Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles is banned for one year from owning or being officially part of any team in Riot-sanctioned leagues.

NA LCS Spring 2016 Week 8

Source: Riot Games Flickr

TDK will not be allowed to participate in the Challenger Series Summer Split and will receive the same grace period. TDK owners, Chris and Sean Shim are indefinitely banned from any association in Riot-sanctioned leagues until 2019.

Both teams have yet to release a statement regarding these issues. Mykles has stated on his Twitter that he will be releasing a statement himself.

Team Impulse:

Since Team Impulse took over LMQ’s LCS spot at the beginning of last season, there has been several violations of player contracts, according to Riot’s statement.

First of all, the organization failed to make contracts for its players while they were stating to have them in their LCS paperwork. In order to contest that, Impulse showed League officials contracts for several players but failed to provide proof for contracts for all players.

Over the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Team Impulse have reportedly been late in player payment and failed to meet the Minimum Player Compensation stated by the LCS rulebook. With the lack of contracts, Riot Games failed to intervene in this situation.

NA LCS Spring 2016 Week 8

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Ruling: Team Impulse is disallowed from participating in the LCS and will be granted the same grace period as the Renegades. The team is also fined $20,000 from its final payment for the 2016 LCS Spring Split.

The team has yet to release a statement about this matter.

Source: Riot Competitive Rulings: Renegades and Impulse, Twitter.

Cover image by: Dwight Casin

 

MSI Coverage – Day 5

The last day of the Mid Season Invitational group stage is a synonym for important games in terms of seeding for the playoffs. The six teams have battled on Summoner’s Rift for regional pride and World Championship group seeding; and although the results have been surprising, the power rankings of the regions are now clearer. Six matches to finish off the first week of MSI, let’s recall what happened and what we can get from these games.

RNGvsSUP2Source: Riot Games Flickr

Game 1: Royal Never Give Up vs. SuperMassive – RNG WIN

First place team versus the last meant an underdog story on the side of the Turkish team. RNG has been very impressive in their previous group stage and were the clear favorites coming into this match. An expedited win on the side of RNG, SuperMassive did not really have time to contest whatsoever. They got steamrolled over by the Chinese teamfight comp centered around their Twitch and their Azir and had total control of the map throughout the game.

Controlling the objectives was also a key factor in RNG’s victory. In less than 23 minutes, the team managed to secure two dragons and a baron, allowing them to snowball easily.

Thanks to that, the Chinese team has secured first place in the group stages.

CLG2Source: Riot Games Flickr

Game 2: Counter Logic Gaming vs. Flash Wolves – CLG WIN

Although North America has been underperforming on the international scene for a bit more than a year now, this time is clearly over now. Coming into the tournament as the underdogs, CLG have completely exceeded expectations and have rolled over the group stages. With a record of five wins for three losses at the end of day four, the North American was looking to secure second place.

On the other side of the rift, the Flash Wolves have been quite inconsistent and have struggled and their first match against CLG.

CLG brought out their traditional rotation heavy teamfight composition of champions right out of the gates and tried it out against the Flash Wolves’ pick composition. Although the game was quite close, the North American team’s superior rotation allowed them to stay ahead in gold thanks to tower kills.

Huhi’s control of the middle lane was also key to CLG’s win in this game. Being a major threat on his Ryze, he allowed his team to pressure the map while having his teleport ready on the other side of the Rift.

SKTvsG22Source: Riot Games Flickr

Game 3: SK Telecom vs. G2 Esports – SKT WIN

These are the two teams that were expected to dominate before the competition started. Indeed, most analysts actually had them getting out of the group stages in first and second place respectively. A lot of surprising upset have led them to go down towards the bottom of the table and have to fight for their playoff lives.

Picking different styles of compositions, the two teams had a very different idea of how to win the game. On the side of SKT, they decided on a pick oriented composition thanks to Sivir’s ultimate and the combined crowd control of Ryze and Ekko. On the side of the Europeans, they decided to pick on the teamfight composition oriented on diving the enemy backline with champions such as Poppy and Graves.

Unfortunately for G2, this game was not even close. Much like the first match of the day, the Koreans had total control of the map, the objectives and of the lanes. Securing eight towers and three dragons, SKT dominated the European team and secured fourth place after 29 quick minutes.

SUPvsFW2Source: Riot Games Flickr

Game 4: SuperMassive vs. Flash Wolves – FW WIN

One of the closer games of the day, this match did not matter in terms of the standings but was still important for the Flash Wolves’ confidence. The Turkish team did put up a fight thanks to their jungler Stomaged and their support Dumbledoge, but in the end, Maple’s Leblanc was just too much for them to handle.

In the end, the Flash Wolves managed to secure multiple dragons and baron to finish off a last teamfight for SuperMassive at MSI. The game was a Flash Wolves victory in 34 minutes.

CLGvsSource: Riot Games Flickr

Game 5G2 Esports vs. Counter Logic Gaming – CLG WIN

CLG were up 1-0 in this matchup at the event and were looking to take the hold of second place during this game. Picking champions building towards a teamfight composition, the North American power house had G2 eSports’ number all game long. They outplayed and out rotated them the quick 23 minutes this match lasted for.

With total control over the objective game, Counter Logic Gaming secured 2 dragons and 1 baron during the quick match, and this allowed them to take a commanding lead over their opponents.

In the end, CLG won in a very convincing fashion and are looking towards while G2 are going back home finishing in 5th place.

RNGvsSKT2Source: Riot Games Flickr

Game 6Royal Never Give Up vs. SK Telecom – SKT WIN

RNG were the clear favorites coming into this matchup against SK Telecom. After a disappointing performance by the Korean squad, they were looking to get one more win in order to gain confidence for the playoffs.

This was a very back and forth game, with the Chinese team being in the lead most of the time. Teamfights after teamfights, this game was full of action and truly showed the power of the shot callers in each team.

Unfortunately for the Chinese team, they eventually lost after a final teamfight where Blank secured a final double kill for his team.

Final Standings for Group Stage:

Rank Team Record
1st  RNG 8-2
2nd  CLG 7-3
3rd  SKT T1 6-4
4th  FW 6-4
5th  G2 2-8
6th  Supermassive
1-9

Knockout stage:

KOStageSource: lolesports.com

Cover image by: Josh Rigg

CS:GO : The rise of Luminosity

The current Major champions have had a long road. The Brazilians have finally won a Major Trophy and are the first non-European team to claim that title. Luminosity is a story about success, hard work and great individuals.

The creation of this roster dates back to April 13th, 2014 when KaBuM! eSports created its Counter-Strike division. At that time, the team was composed of FalleN, fnx, fer, HEN1and Lucas. These players are still split today between the two top Brazilian teams, today’s Luminosity and Tempo Storm. Back then, these players weren’t much known and KaBuM was only competing in domestic championships.

KabumSource: PuloDuplo

Their first international appearance was at ESWC 2014 but it wasn’t successful. Still lacking international experience, the players placed last in their group, losing heavily to teams such as Titan or Ninjas in Pyjamas. In February 2015, the team parts organization and become Keyd Stars, another great brand from the Brazilian scene. In the meantime, the roster has already changed, replacing fnx, HEN1 and Lucas for steel, Boltz and zqk.

During their time in Keyd Stars, the team managed to gain a legendary spot at ESL One Katowice and wins several North American competitions. Unfortunately, their time with this organization is quite short as they leave in July, five short months after they joined.

On July 28th, 2015, the roster joins Luminosity Gaming. From there on out, the team gradually becomes one of the best in the world. They get to the quarter finals of both majors in Cologne and Cluj-Napoca and start dominating European teams in minor tournaments. They actually start to be known in the scene at the FACEIT 2015 Stage 3 finals, where they managed to beat Team EnVyUs (recent major champions at the time), Ninjas in Pyjamas and Team Solo Mid (now known as Astralis) in best of 3s. This is particularly impressive, since the team had changed its roster just the week before, replacing Boltz and steel with fnx and TACO.

LG1Source: TecMundo

They go on to place in the top 3 of most of the tournaments they attend to from the end of 2015 up until the first major in 2016. Although they had to travel a lot in between all of the competitions they had to attend to, the team was extremely dominant and were only losing to Fnatic and Natus Vincere.

Finally comes the first major of the year, the first have ever been hosted on North America by MLG. The team is part of the favorites but most analysts predict Fnatic to win another trophy. Luminosity comes out first in their group after easily beating Ninjas in Pyjamas and Mousesports.

In the quarter finals, they are seeded against Virtus.Pro. Virtus.Pro actually manage to take a map off of the Brazilian overlords on Cache but in the end, Luminosity takes the series on Cobblestone and Overpass. The Polish team is actually the only roster to have taken a map from Luminosity at this major. In the semi-finals, they faced off against Team Liquid. They actually struggled quite a bit against a team they play often and won in overtime on Mirage and Cache.

In the end, they faced off against one of their former kryptonite team, Natus Vincere. After winning a close game on Mirage (19-17), the Brazilians destroy the CIS team on Overpass and take the trophy home as well as half a million dollars.

Their dominance was due to great strategies and world-class mid-round calls by their in game leader and captain FalleN. Combine that with the fragging power of fnx and coldzera and you have an almost unbeatable team.

LGwinsSource: esporks.com

Luminosity have had disapointing results in Malmö recently, not being able to get out of the group stage after disapointing losses to both Chinese team Tyloo and German team Mousesports. Can they recover from this bad result? Was the win at the MLG Major a fluke?

Cover: Dwight Casin

ESL launches world’s first 24/7 eSports TV channel

In a press released last Wednesday, the Electronic Sports League has announced the launch of the world’s first 24/7 international eSports TV channel. Working with different partners already involved in the scene such as Twitch, Azubu, Hitbox and Yahoo, the company is looking to bring eSports to the next level.

ESL has set the deadline for the launch of this TV channel for May 2016 and is already working with satellite companies to broadcast the competitions. Although it is expected to be available in all countries, ESL has not explained how we could access this TV channel. The channel will broadcast many games and many competitions organized by ESL such as the Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One and the ESL ESEA Pro League.

Source: ESL

As previously stated, this channel will be available 24/7 so it will feature a mixture of live events and replays from past competitions. ESL has actually started this style of broadcast since the beginning of the year with their multiple Twitch channels. Indeed, ESL_LOL and ESL_CSGO have been online 24/7 for about 5 months broadcasting leagues and competitions live and replays from events throughout the week.

According to the press release made by ESL, the company’s current audience is estimated to be around 100 million viewers and is expected to grow towards 250 million in the next few years. You can follow the progressive release of this new feature on ESL’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

Cover Picture:

Source: ESL Website

Strategic thinking or how to become a better team

I have watched professional League of Legends players fight against each another on Summoner’s Rift for years now and as the seasons have passed, the level of strategy has gradually increased. Early in the history of the LoL eSports, strategy was not the main aspect of the game. Most of the time, teams were just winning by outplaying their opponents mechanically; but eventually, people had to start thinking about strategy in order to beat better opponents.

Lane swaps started to become popular in early 2012 and was one of the first aspect of strategic League of Legends to be implemented on a larger scale. One of the first teams to have used the lane swap was Chinese team World Elite; they would send their AD carry and support to the top lane against the enemy solo laner and dive him under the tower with the help of their jungler. This resulted in the dominance of WE at several domestic and international events during the majority of season 2. Here is a great video done by Burrito of Doom about the basics of lane swapping:

Of course, a lane swap is not as simple as it sounds and it does not affect just 3 members of each team. The jungler’s role is essential to the success of the strategy. At the same time, he has to make sure that his solo laner will not die to a gank and keep the other team from getting an objective advantage.

Overall, these kinds of plays involving the majority of the team moving together on opposite sides of the map are called macro plays. Today, a team with good players lacking macro strategy cannot succeed as it has become the most important aspect of the game. Players have to know how to play the map to their advantage, as mechanics have less and less influence in the result of matches.

2016 EU LCS Spring Finals - 1st Place

Origen was a very successful team last year. Although they were favorites in most of their matches in Europe, while being a new team, they far exceeded expectations by making it to the semi-finals of the 2015 World Championship. This was thanks to great individual plays and a high level of synergy between the players. As the new season started, Origen looked like the shadow of its former self, losing often to bad decision making or players not being on the same page. Of course, with Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage being added to the roster, the team had to adapt to a different style of play and shot calling. Although he played very well individually, we could observe his struggles to have an influence during the team’s first few matches. The team and PowerOfEvil needed time for him to be able to fill Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martinez’s shoes in terms of shot calling and team play.

2016 EU LCS Spring Finals - 1st Place

Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Time was not the only factor in Origen recent success. Hard work from the players as well as new head coach Nicholas “NicoThePico” Korsgård led a better looking team during the last few weeks of the regular season as well as in the playoffs quarter finals against the Unicorns of Love. Origen‘s macro strategy looked a lot better, the players knew what to do and where to aim and the communication problems seemed to have been greatly reduced. Actually, since the new coach has been integrated in the team, we have lost only one competitive game.

The players on the roster have been working hard to get back to their World Championship level of play. This means improving champion selects, adapting to PowerOfEvil‘s improving shot calling, and keeping in mind every game’s winning conditions. During a game on stage, the players have to aim towards these conditions; meaning that they have to plan their plays several minutes ahead and rotate on the map in order to succeed.

When talking to Nico about the changes he has seen in the team in the last couple of weeks he says:

“I believe the team’s macro-game is on point and at the moment, I believe we are one of the few teams who are on top of the meta. Having 2 midlaners with different champion pools makes us develop more strategies in-game, and I am confident to pull out both players.”

Winning a professional game of League of Legends is not only about your team’s plays, you also have to adapt to what the other team is throwing at you. When you are thrown off your game plan, you have to find ways to modify your strategy in order to stay on course and all your team has to be on the same page. This is done through a clear system of communication and creative thinking from the shot callers. This is something that Origen struggled with early in the season and that NicoThePico has tried to improve. Thanks to a lot of planning, he was able to help the players adapt to new strategies executed by the top teams of Europe.

EU LCS Spring 2016 Playoffs

Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Origen had a certain history regarding its coaching staff – many people believed they are ‘uncoachable’ since all of them are veterans and could not find someone who could fit within the team. However, Nico has proven as a positive influence and it was shown during the last few weeks. When talking about his responsibilities as coach and how he delivers criticism he says:

“As a coach, I have to make sure we prepare for most matches and get into good mental mindset. If the mindset is bad and the player is already tilted, then I need to be careful on the approach. It’s obviously different from team to team. It’s about the approach and knowing the people you work with. I can be pretty vocal and make myself heard and I believe I am able to adapt to any kind of environment and melt into the person they need.”

When talking about the playoffs, the coach is confident that OG will have a better development in the Summer Split:

“Before the semifinals, I would’ve rather played against G2, but obviously, Fnatic had a bad showing against them. From my point of view, having experienced players is an important factor and we are more experienced in a best of 5.“

2016 EU LCS Spring Finals - 1st Place

NicoThePico‘s influence was very important in the playoffs. He will have to make sure that the team drafts to its strengths in champion select and that the players all keep a solid mentality for the Summer Split.

You can follow and ask Nico questions on his Twitter @NicoThePico.

Cover picture by: Josh Rigg

A Major Recap: MLG Columbus

What a week in Counter-Strike it has been. Six days of matches, incredible clutches and VAC shots made up the first major of 2016. As teams fought to be crowned Counter-Strike world champions, we observed the power rankings in the game at the moment.

Group stages:

A few upsets in the group stages created an interesting atmosphere in the first few days of competitions.

Group A was the host of the longest match in the history of the Global Offensive majors. Mousesports and Flipsid3 went at it for five overtimes. In the end, Luminosity and the Ninjas in Pyjamas came out of this group.

Group B was the group of upsets. Team Liquid came out first of the group after upsetting FaZe Clan on Cache and Fnatic on Dust 2. The boys led by Hiko were hitting shots after shots and their substitute AdreN was a huge factor in their victories. The runner-ups for this group were Fnatic.

Source: HLTV.org

One of the weirdest group was group C. Defending champions Team EnVyUs got absolutely smashed by Counter Logic Gaming and Gambit Gaming and went out of the major on day 2. In the end, Astralis easily came out first of the group and Counter Logic Gaming followed them after a very close best-of-3 against Gambit.

Group D was considered as the group of death of this major. For the first time, expectations were very high for G2 eSports. Instead of that, the French-Belgian team got destroyed by a very confident Virtus.Pro. In the end, group favorites Natus Vincere came out swinging followed by the Polish team.

Playoffs:

Six out of the seven playoffs matches were 2-0 wins. Natus Vincere easily made it to the finals after beating the Ninjas of Pyjamas quite convincigly in the quarter finals and a choking Astralis in the semi finals.

One of the closest match ups was the quarter final series between Fnatic and Astralis. The Swedish came in as favorites but got expedited home by the Danes. No one was hitting any shots on he side of Fnatic and one of the favorites for the tournament went out in the quarter finals.

Source: HLTV.org

On the other side of the bracket, there was an all North American quarter finals between Team Liquid and Counter Logic Gaming. This was a very interesting series as CLG almost beat their opponents on Cache. After that, Team Liquid destroyed CLG on Mirage 16-6.

In the finals, Luminosity faced off against Natus Vincere. The first map was Mirage, Na’Vi‘s home map. After being behind during the first half, Luminosity came back into overtime after trading rounds after rounds. In the end, they managed to take the map 19-17 and go 1-0 up against the Ukranian team. The last game of the major was one of the fastest game of the competition. Luminosity dominated Natus Vincere on Overpass and took the map 16-2. They were crowned major champions for the first time in their careers.

Source: HLTV.org

The next competition for the CS:GO teams is the ESL Pro League starting tomorrow with Natus Vincere facing off against G2 eSports.

Cover image by: Dwight Casin