The first week of Europe’s LCS is in the books, but the records don't tell the whole story. Here are the four major takeaways from the opening week of LCS competition.
1. Fnatic: Masters of Deception
Was Fnatic sandbagging? At IEM Cologne and the Battle of the Atlantic, they looked profoundly unimpressive. Martin "Rekkles" Larsson, the new AD carry who was supposed to transform Fnatic into a convincing challenger for the world title, looked like an ordinary bot laner at IEM Cologne and the Battle of the Atlantic. A team that had been harder to contain as a couple of tribbles were suddenly looking sluggish and dull.
The fear was that there was a New York Yankees thing happening: a team signs star talent prospect and said prospect immediately turns into the most disappointing thing since Ralphie got his secret decoder ring.
Then the team spends the rest of the season "taking it one game at a time" while promising that soon, for sure, they'll live up to their promise on paper. The difference in eSports is that there's less money involved, and almost certainly fewer drug tests.
But we can put all that behind us now, because Fnatic looked amazing in the first week of EU LCS. In fact, they looked so good, so effortlessly dominant that it was kind of hard to believe this was the same that had underperformed so terribly in November and December. It was almost as if Fnatic weren't really trying that hard in preseason or tanked expendable games while keeping their real game plans in reserve.
Wait, what's this? A LoL team blowing off preseason competition and exhibition matches? Don't look now, but Fnatic just became a real sports organization.
2. Speaking of Underperforming
If the Yankees wrote the book on being overhyped disappointments, Alliance just wrote an epilogue. Consider that right now they stand dead last in the league, not just in terms of games won, but also in terms of kills-deaths-assists (KDA) and gold-per-minute (GPM). They racked up just 41 kills across the week while taking 66 deaths.
Remember that this was a team custom-built to be a European title contender, if not a world champion. The Evil Geniuses roster broke up so that Mike "Wickd" Petersen and Henrik "Froggen" Hansen could have a stronger lineup around them and realize their full potential. The rest of the team was pulled from some of the strongest LCS veterans from last season.
Yet in their winless first week, Alliance didn't really look like a team at all. They were a collection of players sharing the same side of the Rift, but next to teams like Fnatic and ROCCAT, they looked like they'd been randomly matched for ranked play.
You don't want to panic too early, and it's only the first week but… okay, who are we kidding? This is a perfect time to panic. Because it's not just that Alliance had a bad week, it's that everyone else had a pretty good one. Alliance can't count on the newer teams being easy marks because they all look surprisingly good. A relegation spot is entirely possible if this continues any longer.
3. Rekkles: A Remorseless Killing Machine
There's not much else to be said: he had a 46.0 KDA with Jinx. His overall KDA stands at 19.3. Forgive the pun, especially because we're all going to be sick of it in a couple of weeks, but he really is a one-man wrecking crew.
Or he would be, except that he's getting vital assistance from Bora "YellOwStaR" Kim. Basically, Fnatic's bottom lane is untouchable right now.
This has huge implications for EU LCS. If Rekkles were the only star player on Fnatic, he'd be problem for other teams, but a manageable one. The trouble is, the team surrounds him with strength. The only team that managed to contain Rekkles at all this week, Millenium, were eventually undone by Paul "sOAZ" Boyer. And that was during a game when Enrique "xPeke" Cedeño was struggling due to a weak LeBlanc. How can anyone gameplan against this?
4. Supa Hot Getting Warmer
One of the best games in Week 1 was Gambit vs. Supa Hot Crew, and it was one of the most important. Supa Hot Crew are tied with Millenium for sixth place, and could be considered one of the weakest of the new teams.
Let's assume that's true for a second, that Supa Hot Crew aren't really that strong compared to the rest of EU. Watch this game against Gambit, then consider what it implies. If Supa Hot are bound to be one of the lower-ranked teams in EU this season, and they can put on this kind of show against one of the best teams in Europe, then this European division is going to be brutal.
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