Following the re-qualification of Giants Gaming on Thursday, Schalke 04 has also returned to the European League of Legends Championships Series after defeating Ninjas in Pyjamas 3-0 in Friday’s promotional tournament final.
After building a rivalry with Giants in the Challenger Series, the two teams faced off in Round 2 of the winners bracket after they beat Mysterious Monkeys and Ninjas in Pyjamas in the first round of the double-elimination tournament. Giants managed to best Schalke 3-2, but Schalke has now joined Giants after sweeping NiP, who along with Mysterious Monkeys has been relegated to the Challenger Series.
Schalke entered the EU LCS last summer after acquiring the slot held by Elements. Schalke had a strong start to the split but plummeted toward the end and was eventually relegated. The team rebuilt the roster and had a strong showing in the spring split of the Challenger Series, only to be upset 3-1 by Misfits Academy in the Challenger playoffs to prevent the chance of getting back to the LCS.
Schalke entered into another rebuilding phase before the summer split, albeit a much smaller one. Schalke picked up three new players but also re-hired Michael “Veteran” Archer as head coach after initially letting him go. Schalke went 3-2 in the Challenger Series before clinching a spot in the promotional tournament during the playoffs.
This also marked the second split in a row that two Challenger teams will enter the LCS, as Fnatic Academy and Misfits Academy both achieved the feat in the spring split. Oddly enough, those were the two franchise slots Schalke and Giants will inherit, though.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games