The EU LCS playoffs are on, and we've got some fiery match-ups for the EU LCS Semi Finals. An electric tiebreaker week (with, surprisingly, more tiebreakers happening in NA than EU) lead into some exciting storylines for all the teams involved. Who are the players to watch on each team? Which team needs the win more for their fans? For their legacy? For the underdogs and kings alike, it's all on the line for these teams, not just for Championship Points, but for glory and honor for their fans.
G2 esports are easily one of the most recognizable (for better or worse) EU teams internationally. With their legacy of slip ups behind them, they've dominated the domestic scene and have righted many of their past wrongs. With the chance to match rivals Fnatic with 5 EU LCS season wins, they'll be revving up for a win. Splyce, on the other hand, are relative newcomers to the playoff scene, and after dismantling their first opponent without much of a sweat, they'll be looking to get their first Finals showing, and have to do well in the EU LCS Semi Finals first. What better way to do so then knock out the reigning Kings of Europe too? Will the Samurai's blade strike true, or can the snakes bite find its mark to take down a King?
The Kings of Europe return to the playoffs, a position the organization has always been since joining the EU LCS back in 2015. While their de facto rivals in Fnatic can claim a perfect split and more EU LCS titles as their legacy, G2 pulled off a fourpeat and are hoping to make another finals appearance. International (mis)performances behind them, G2 look to reassert themselves as the Kings of Europe, and they'll need to take down a few snakes to do that.
Splyce, on the other hand, have gone further than they've ever gone in playoffs, namely, past the first round. Now, to be fair, they went up against Misfits (y'know, the ones who gave SKT all those headaches at Worlds?) and G2 in their playoffs appearances. Having already toppled those performances, and with a decisive 3-0 sweep of first-timers-in-playoffs Roccat, Splyce look to be in a position to make a real statement as one of the contenders in Europe. Whether the off season roster rehaul can prove itself and bring the snakes to the finals will depend on whether this late season surge is the real deal, or a flash in the pan.
The late split resurgence of Splyce was largely centered around their solo laners stepping up, namely Top laner Andrei "Odoamne" Pascu and Mid laner Yasin "Nisqy" Dinçer. Both players that were relatively hyped on the team, with Odoamne being arguably one of the best players back on H2K, and was also one of their cornerstone players. Nisqy, on the other hand, was a surprisingly bright side of EnVyUs' last campaign in the NA LCS, alongside his Jungler Nam "LirA" Tae-yoo. While both suffered from a slow start, putting it politely, they've come alive at just the right time for the Splyce boys. With a convincing win over Roccat and the momentum behind them, these solo laners will have to continue this level of play if they want to have a chance against G2.
On the opposite side of the Rift, G2 have seemed consistently strong, with Mid laner Luka "Perkz" Perković stepping nicely into the role of captain. Perkz has enjoyed a star studded stat line this split, ranking second-third in almost every category relevant to Mids (KDA, Dmg%, CSD10, DPM,) and looks to be in as good of shape as ever. Martin "Wunder" Hansen, the new Danish Top laner for G2, has also had an insane split, topped off with being voted to the first team for the EU LCS All Pro team. Highest KDA for Top laners, lowest death percentage, highest CSD10... It's insane how strong Wunder has looked on this new team, his potential seemingly fully unlocked. With a Top laner performing that well, and somehow barely dying even, speaks volumes of the strength of Wunder.
With some of the most stacked solo lanes in the league, all eyes will be centered around the 1 vs 1 battles of the Top and Mid positions. The consistent rock of a top laner in Wunder against the resurgent Odoamne, one of the scariest top laners to come out of Europe in a long time. In the Mid, you have the dance between new kid Nisqy against the franchise player for G2 of Perkz. While the choices that the Junglers make on who to gank will decide much of the tempo of the game, it'll be on the solo laners to win micro advantages, or perform in a gank situation, to carry their team.
Just like Perkz was for G2, Kasper "Kobbe" Kobberup was the only remaining member for Splyce after their rehaul. And, just like with Perkz, he was a constant and some stability for a new roster. The Danish ADC is one of the strongest in the West, sometimes overshadowed by players on bigger teams like Zven or Doublelift, but always consistent. The consistency of Kobbe's performance has aided the team to many a win, while maybe not as superstar of an ADC as some, he'll need to continue that consistency if Splyce have a shot against G2.
On the flipside, G2's new botlane of ADC Petter "Hjarnan" Freyschuss and Support Kim "Wadid" Bae-in share a lot of similarities. Hjarnan has often been underrated and under many pundit's radar, and while his playstyle is nothing flashy, he plays a more 'supportive' ADC style that fits a G2 with two carry-oriented solo laners. Against Kobbe, however, Hjarnan will have to show his individual prowess as a laner. Kobbe was one of the primary carries and reasons the old Danish Splyce would get wins, so keeping him contained will be imeprative for G2 to pull off the win.
While much of the action is expected to revolve around the more explosive top and mid lanes, bot lane presents another point of possible carry performances. Kobbe's no slouch for carrying for his team, and while his current position on Splyce has him not needing to like the days of old, he still has it in him. Hjarnan, on the other hand, counters by not being the most carry oriented ADC, he's a fairly good low-economy ADC, ranking second last of all ADCs in the league for Gold%. Playing a more supportive position allows his fellow team members to shine, but this'll require him to not concede anything to the more carry focused Kobbe.
C'mon, that's the kind of bromantic synergy every bot lane needs.
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