Splyce 1 — Giants Gaming 0

Splyce made a statement Friday, drawing even with its opponent, Giants Gaming, at second place standings with a 27-minute victory during the European League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split.

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For a matchup between two teams that typically rely on the late game, it was refreshing to see one of them pick up the pace. Splyce (5-4) was the one to adapt in this case, preying on the tendencies of Giants (5-4) by drafting three winning lanes. This innate early advantage made it a cinch for Splyce to pull off a counter gank in the bottom lane, finding first blood onto Giants jungler Charly “Djoko” Guillard’s Jax just shy of the five-minute mark.

With CS advantages popping up all across the map for Splyce, Giants had little choice but to get a bit creative, rotating its bottom lane to take first turret in the top lane. While this seemed like a solid idea initially, the turret was quickly traded back in the bottom lane, along with an Infernal Drake, and it only got worse from there. Splyce continued to monopolize both turrets and neutral objectives for the remainder, holding Giants to a single turret take.

While all members of Splyce outshone their counterparts, top laner Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu was certainly the star of the show. Just before the 20-minute mark, Odoamne’s Camille won a 1-vs-2 fight against GIA AD carry Pierre “Steeelback” Mejaldi’s Twitch and top laner Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min’s Gangplank, finding both kills without dying, and continuing his split-push while his teammates found turrets in the other lanes. With nearly a 7,000 gold lead at 20 minutes, it was all too easy for Splyce to take Baron and end the game at the 27-minute mark.

Splyce will look to keep the ball rolling Saturday at 1 p.m. ET, while Giants will kick off the day at 11 a.m. ET against Unicorns of Love.

–Brendan Hickey

H2k-Gaming 1 — Team ROCCAT 0

H2k-Gaming surprised the audience Friday when it took only its second win of the season after an unusually short game during the European League of Legends Championships Series in Berlin. With the win over Team ROCCAT, the struggling former powerhouse has now overtaken Unicorns of Love and earned sole possession of ninth place.

It was a game that bucked the recent trend towards slow-paced gameplay, as both junglers looked to get into their lanes early and often. Successful tower dives abounded, as ROCCAT (4-5) and H2k (2-7) both dove opposite ends of the map at the 10-minute mark in an exchange that ultimately benefited H2k, which killed the entire ROCCAT bottom lane, and gave H2k the lead it needed to snowball the game. A decisive teamfight around Baron threw the game into its final stages as a beautiful Command:Shockwave from Marcin “Selfie” Wolski’s Orianna ripped ROCCAT’s formation to shreds and gave H2k the opening to take down the Rift’s most coveted objective. ROCCAT’s composition was ill-prepared to deal with the Baron empowered minions, and the game ended shortly after.

H2k’s new and decisive look was a far cry from the team that we’ve seen in the past, and raised questions about whether incorporating veteran jungler Ilyas “Shook” Hartsema onto the roster was the kick it needed to become a true contender. While a victory against another struggling team can hardly be held as decisive evidence of H2k’s improvement, it was striking how different the team looked when compared to its earlier games. H2k kept the tempo high, looked for opportunities to break the game open in its favor, and didn’t waver when it came time to execute on those opportunities. H2k may not yet be in the conversation as a playoff contender, but after the side’s last two victories, it’s no longer the dark horse it were before.

H2k’s next match will be against Vitality at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday. ROCCAT will next play against Schalke 04 directly following.

–James Bates

Misfits Gaming 1 — Unicorns of Love 0

Misfits Gaming added another win to its collection when it took down Unicorns of Love on Friday, beginning what the organization hopes will be a new chapter in its European League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split performance after a disappointing Week 4.

Misfits (5-4) made sure to put on a show, as its engage-heavy composition left its game plan completely unambiguous: find the Unicorns carries and destroy them. Normally, that is a strategy many of the Unicorns’ champions would be strong against — both Azir and Xayah are quite good at turning around engages — but Misfits brought a secret weapon to bear: Malphite. The scourge of low elo solo queue proved to be a thorn in the Unicorns’ side as well, as every time top laner Barney “Alphari” Morris activated his ultimate, a member of the Unicorns was certain to fall. It would be the first domino in a ridiculous chain of area-of-effect knockups that even the Unicorns’ reasonable disengage ability couldn’t hope to match.

The mid game was filled with Baron baits by Misfits, and every time its opponents took the bait they were forced to sacrifice one of their own, and such brutal calculus made finding a winning equation and impossible prospect for the Unicorns (1-8). It never even took a Baron for Misfits to take the game, as the contest instead hinged upon a huge teamfight by the pivotal objective wherein every member of the Unicorns was slain, at no cost to the Misfits, who simply pushed to end the game.

The Misfits will next take to the Rift against G2 Esports at 2 p.m. on Saturday, while the Unicorns of Love will look to climb its way out of last place by defeating Giants Gaming at 11 a.m. the same day.

–James Bates

G2 Esports 1 — Vitality 0

G2 Esports obliterated Vitality to win its fifth straight game on Friday in the European League of Legends Championship Series.

Coming into this game, Vitality (7-2) had been on a tear in the EU LCS. It had won four games in a row, usually dominating the opposition with ease. However the script was flipped in dramatic fashion Friday when it ran into an equally sweltering G2 (6-3) squad. While the defending EU LCS champions may have struggled in Week 1, the group has been on an upward trend over the last few weeks, and that continued in stunning fashion against a Vitality team that had surprisingly vaulted into first place.

G2’s strategy was clear from the composition that it had drafted in this game: teamfight early and often. It may have taken 11 minutes for it to initiate that first fight, but once it did, G2 was off to the races. Whether it was the Galio of mid laner Luka “PerkZ” Perkovic, the Zac of jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowsi or the Tristana of AD carry Petter “Hjarnan” Freyschuss, G2 brought the pain from all directions with impunity. At no point did it look like Vitality had any clue as to how to slow down the attack from G2, which translated to G2 picking up a near perfect game with 11 kills, 11 towers, three inhibitors, two dragons and a Baron, compared to just a pair of dragons for Vitality.

While Vitality looked like the kings of Europe for the first four weeks, the old guard of G2 showed that Vitality still has some room to grow. Mid laner Daniele “Jiizuk√©” di Mauro and jungler Erberk “Gilius” Demir had been playing lights out so far, but both crumbled in the face of their opposition in this series. Surely one loss to the most decorated team in EU LCS history doesn’t spell doom and gloom for Vitality, but it is clear that the pantheon at the top of the EU LCS is far from etched in stone.

G2 Esports will look to keep the ball rolling when it faces Misfits at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, while Vitality will hope to bounce back against H2k Gaming earlier in the day at 11 a.m. ET.

–Wyatt Donigan

Fnatic 1 — Schalke 04 0

Fnatic kept a firm hand on its second-place spot Friday when it took down Schalke 04 in a decisive victory to conclude the days action in the European League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split.

It was the sort of game that was decided in a single moment, as a pick on the side of Fnatic (6-3) led to a Baron take and into a split push that Schalke (4-5) had precious few answers for, as Schalke’s composition was, on the whole, outscaled by Fnatic’s counter-pick heavy team. Top laner Paul “sOAZ” Boyer’s Gangplank and mid laner Rasmus “Caps” Winther’s Corki were already becoming enormous scaling problems for Schalke, and the free map pressure from the Baron buff only sealed what was quickly starting to look like an inevitable defeat for the side of Schalke.

Of especial note this game was the performance of Caps on Corki. The Daring Bombardier has long been the accepted counterpick to Galio, one of the most popular champions in the league at the moment, but in recent times the matchup has proved to be less in Corki’s favor than advertised. Caps completely stomped his opponent, Erlend “Nukeduck” Vatevik Holm, in lane and went on to carry the game thanks to his easy laning phase, a feat that few have managed to emulate recently. His outstanding performance earned him an easy MVP, and fewer “baby Faker” jokes at his expense than usual on the part of the on-air team.

Fnatic’s next match will be against Splyce at 3 p.m. on Saturday, while Schalke 04 can look forward to a match against ROCCAT to reclaim its winning record at 1 p.m. the same day.

–James Bates