EU Finals: the new kids on the block
This weekends EU finals feature some of the newer teams to EU LCS, which many may forget given G2’s historic dominance. With this being G2’s fourth split in the League and Misfits second, the old days of Fnatic and H2k supremacy have long passed. But neither team were certainties coming into the finals, with both having had troubling splits and struggling until quite late into the season.
Misfits’ story of redemption was a long one this year. They were certainly slow starting out, which was perhaps due to roster changes – many pundits questioned the jungle switch of Kakao to Maxlore.
The change was widely considered to be due to Maxlore’s history playing with Alphari, the star toplaner of Misfits, back when they were both semi-pro in the UK scene. Dropping a Korean all star jungler for this nostalgia was not a guarantee for success, and indeed it took Misfits many weeks to return to form. But once that synergy was established, it looked like the team had never left.
Misfits had a very clear gameplan in the matchup against Fnatic, with Maxlore and Poe both standing out. This will be incredibly important in their matchup against G2 with the way their midlaner Perkz has been playing.
Misfits knocking out Fnatic really highlighted the strength of their lineup. With last splits’ iteration, the focus was on Alphari to carry, but now they seem to much more well-rounded team. With Hans Sama offering much more potential to carry, they now have the game winning potential coming out of any of the lane.
However this team is very young. It remains to be seen if they have the mental strength required to step up for the final.
G2 were the sleeping giants of this EU split. With the previous 3 championship titles under their belt, their lacklustre season did not dent most people’s faith in their ability to pull it out when it really mattered. In the semifinals against H2k we saw the G2 of old, coming out of the gate and smashing their opponents in every lane, every skirmish, around every objective.
Going into the finals, the strength of G2 may be too much for Misfits. Never before has the sixth seed made it to the finals of the LCS and won, TSM came close once, but even for them it was too much. Neither will Misfits style of camping mid will not work against the Perkz in his self style midlane-dom. His dominance of that role will see Misfits pour every resource they have to hold him down and they will likely not see much return for their investment.
Even if you manage to subjugate Perkz, you’ll be faced against the best bot lane of EU Zven and Mithy, and trick and expect holding their own in the top lane. The only reason this roster is not described as a star studded super team is due to how long they’ve been together, but no other EU team has this level of raw talent and experience on one roster. This is a mountain too steep for Misfits to climb.
Whatever the outcome of the finals, both teams will be pleased, with the results as they already have their spots at worlds locked in. Now it’s just a battle of who is the true dominant force of EU LCS.
NA LCS: scores to be settled
Like in EU, the NA finals will only matter for team legacy, and not who goes to worlds, as both teams already have their spots locked in. But don’t be fooled: this final will still be fiercely competitive. Both these teams have spent the entire split trading first place with each other and have walked away bruised and bloodied from every match up.
The early game pressure is going to come from Immortals, specifically the jungle support combo in xmithie and Olleh. This was featured in their semi finals matchup against clg, roaming together from very early on in the game, they dismantled the clg lineup, an impressive feat considering how much of a cohesive unit CLG usually are, and play from their strength of controlling the map. It will be interesting to see how TSM handle the pressure.
But the strength of TSM should not be underestimated. This is their tenth NA LCS final in a row, they have not missed a single one, since the start of the LCS. this is a team with pedigree, with a winning pedigree, a roster to back it up, and enough experience to put the rest of the league to shame.Their drafting has gotten stronger and stronger, with the historic weakness of their drafts disappearing this split.
Both these teams have a very similar pick priority, with the only two NA teams with a high priority on Kog’Maw. The games will be close, and the same champions will swap hands. The most worrying point for Immortals will be their midlane. Pobelter does not have the champion pool of Bjergsen, and too much focus on him during pick ban will see him squeezed onto a champion that won’t offer his team much.
Both of teams finished 14-4, both of these teams have amazing talent, and arguably the best players in each role. This matchup could not be closer, almost always in a final you see a team heavily favoured over another, but statistically here it is not the case. This is a game that will be won on the inches, with every little advantage mattering, it is a series that will highly likely end up at 5 games.
In the end the Dominance of Bjergsen may spell defeat for Immortals. A team which has never made it passed the semi finals has a lot of pressure on their shoulders, while for TSM this is just another day in the office. That winning mentality, and calm under pressure, may be what tips it for their 8th NA LCS victory.