The European League Championship Series is finally on its way to Poland for what promises to be an incredibly exciting finals series. Although there were very few upsets along the way, it’s nice to see the best of the best live up to the precedent they set in the regular season. Both Splyce and G2 were incredibly consistent from start to finish, and their perseverance deserves the accolades they’ve gotten as the regular season awards keep rolling in. It’s a battle of the Coach of the Split versus the likely MVP, and it’s hard not to be excited about that matchup.
Of course, one team’s success is another team’s disappointment, and H2K fans are unlikely to find much solace in their close loss to Splyce. For the first time in his career, Konstantinos-Napoleon “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou can’t be given any of the blame for the team coming up short. He’s been the ultimate team player since returning to the team, playing champions like Ashe that seemed beyond his aggressive mentality just a split ago. But the rest of this team wasn’t quite able to keep up. Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook’s surprisingly inconsistent play and Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski’s inability to consistently pull off plays were staggering, but they mask a larger issue: H2K’s macro play is just not there. With potential of an automatic berth into the worlds based on points, H2K will need to learn from its vision and wave management mistakes. Luckily for H2K, though, its opponent in the third place match will be the Unicorns of Love, the plucky young roster whose tough loss to G2 might mean their magic has finally run out.
However the third place game works out, all eyes will undoubtedly be fixed upon the main event. In one corner is G2, the reigning champs who have fully embraced their status as the villains of Europe. You can’t bring the swagger that they do to every interview and social media call out they make if you can’t back it up. That hasn’t been a problem for G2, which is a staggering 31-9 since its Mid-Season Invitational vacation ended and has yet to lose two games in a row. It’s easy to point to Kim “Trick” Gang-yun, last split’s MVP and the leading candidate to repeat this split, who has played incredibly intelligently and managed to get his teammates ahead whenever possible. But one can’t forget the incredible duo of Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez, which moved from Origen into a new system and managed to become an even scarier threat moving forward. G2’s achilles heel appears to be Luka “PerkZ” Perković, last split’s Rookie of the Split and this split’s leading “What the hell happened?” candidate, but even a slight move back to his former strength will make this team absolutely terrifying moving forward onto the worlds stage.
Splyce doesn’t seem too worried, though. Hot off the heels of Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi winning the Coach of the Year award, the team appears poised to bring a new level of coordination to what has otherwise been a rather sloppy split for the region. Although it’d be easy to point to individual achievements (Martin “Wunder” Hansen has earned his All-Pro spot in the top lane, and would be the runaway winner for most improved if the LCS had one), it’s the team as a whole that has earned fans’ attention. Jonas “Trashy” Andersen has done a brilliant job at balancing his early game ganks with his utility in team fights. The team is one of the most coordinated units in the West, with an incredible sense of objective control and great target selection that is able to consistently turn team fights in their favor.
It’s brawn v. brains, swagger v. style, and the returning champions v. the newest young contender for Europe. It’s going to be a match for the ages, and Walter “Ceades” Fedczuk and I are here to break it down for you on this week’s Rough Drafts Podcast episode. And don’t forget to always bet on Pink.
On today’s episode of the Rough Drafts Guess the Lines Podcast, Chase “RedShirtKing” Wassenar and Walter “Ceades” Fedczuk take a look at the upcoming European finals and why they’re incredibly excited for the series. They start with a breakdown of the semifinals, including why H2K fell just a bit short against Splyce and whether G2 = showed some weaknesses in its series against the Unicorns of Love. They break down each of this week’s series to try and find the difference maker on each side that can turn the series in their favor. They close with their new segment, “Stats with Steve” with Steve Caffmeyer from eSportsfanz, who helps them get a handle on their smart money bets.
Special thanks to Steve Caffmeyer from eSportsfanz for coming on to the show.
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