So, we’re two weeks in to the Spring Split, and things are very interesting. We’ve had upsets, we’ve had turnarounds, we’ve had crushing victories, and we’ve had a stupidly close base race. It’s all been very exciting, and very fun to watch!
Patch 8.1 brought in a lot of changes. Early game comps have been suffering majorly, with the stopwatch and relic shield meta meaning that securing early kills and objectives is much more difficult than it used to be. Tahm Kench and Braum have brought even more protection (100% and 95% pick/ban rate respectively). As another sign of the game state, teams that have taken the first tower only have a 45% win rate, and teams with a gold lead at 20 mins only 50%.
Teams that have had a strong early game have been unable to convert in a lot of cases, and there will have to be some fast adaptation to ensure that this does not continue to be the case.
Vitality have ended up 3-1 after a close game against Misfits on Week 2 Day 2. They have played astonishingly well, and the rookie squad have all had some truly excellent performances. In my opinion, Jiizuke is the rookie to watch this split, his Ryze performances have been truly exemplary (see his 9/0/6 vs H2k and his 8/0/2 vs Fnatic!). The team have managed to take down some big names too, with victories over FNC and Giants, who have also been performing very well.
Fnatic are currently sitting in the middle of the table with a 2-2 record - an excellent showing in the early game still didn’t help them to secure a victory over H2k, though they did manage to get a win over Splyce in their first game of the split. Week 2 brought similar fortunes, with a loss to Vitality meaning that to keep hope alive they had to take down reigning champions G2, which they successfully managed to do.
G2 themselves are sitting on 1-3, a very disappointing scoreline for the organisation that has been EU LCS champions for 2 years running. Despite managing to get a win over Misfits in the very first game of the split, G2 have not managed to secure another victory since. Back-to-back defeats to ROCCAT, Giants and Fnatic have shown the weaknesses in G2 - whilst they are undoubtedly gifted and experienced players, they don’t seem to quite be there yet in terms of gelling as a team.
Unicorns of Love have struggled so far. For a team so packed with talent, I am sad to see them drop all 4 of their first games. Defeats to Giants, Schalke 04, and ROCCAT have all seemed to show a lack of synergy and an inability to convert small wins into large ones on the part of Unicorns. Against Splyce they had a much stronger showing, with the game coming down to an incredible base race (and in my opinion, the most exciting end to game a of League of Legends that I have seen in a very long time!), in which Splyce managed to just sneak it away from Unicorns.
The rest of the table is all looking pretty interesting yet close too, with H2k also 1-3, tied with G2 for 8th, Splyce and FC Schalke 04 tied with Fnatic for 5th on 2-2, and Misfits, ROCCAT and Giants all tied with Vitality for first.
Next week will see some changes in the EU LCS. The move to patch 8.2 (no more ADC Relic Shield, yay!) may change the shape of the comps somewhat, and will hopefully bring us a few new picks - I’m really looking forward to the Jinx picks!
Also note the changes to minion aggro (feel free to read up on them https://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/news/game-updates/patch/patch-82-notes [here]) which will knock a few champions out of selection and cause others to change their playstyle.
From the perspective of the teams - a lot have work to do - teams like Fnatic need to adapt to the major meta changes from last year and keep themselves rolling - any slow down in momentum could spell disaster.
Vitality, Giants and ROCCAT need to stick with what they’re doing. They seem to be comfortable with it, and have all been performing very well, so it would be nice to see them all stick to playing their own game, and make the opponents play around them.
Unicorns of love need to really pull something out the bag in order to move out of last place. Games against H2k and Vitality is a bit of a mixed bag, but if Unicorns pull together and play to their strengths, they can take anyone down.
- Mike "DarkCrawler" Smith