With the schedule set, groups announced and rosters locked, it’s time for the teams and players of the European League of Legends Championship Series to face the criticisms and judgements of Season 7. With a reformed league structure, predicting the final outcome of the EU LCS Spring Split involves a great amount of guesswork and speculation, not that’s it has prevented us from doing a power ranking! With our NA power ranking already under the spotlight, it’s time to shed light on the European scene.
Firstly, before looking at these predictions its important to understand the new format and how this will influence not only who teams are going to play but also the playoff and relegation format. Both groups are fairly evenly matched, though Group A perhaps has a slight edge, with a Fnatic roster expected to being on the rise, alongside G2 eSports and GIANTS Gaming. Group B features both World Championship participants: H2K-Gaming and Splyce, certainly no walk-over.
5th Place: Origen
Unfortunately for Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez and his boys, they are touted to be one of the worst performers of the European LCS. Showcasing signings that have questions marks looming over them, coupled with the team lacking a single winning lanes, Origen will have a hard time competing in such a competitive league. On the bright side, one thing they do possess is experience, having members who have played League of Legends at a competitive level for a long period of time. Whether this experience will be enough to keep them up however, is doubtful.
4th Place: Team Vitality
Despite three new signings, it looks like Vitality will be engaged in a dogfight with ORIGEN to avoid a last place finish leading into the promotion tournament. With the roster showing a similar level of strength to the team that struggled last season, it will be down to the supposed class of Djoko, Steelback or Hachani, to give them that qualitative step up if they’re to make the playoffs.
3rd Place: Unicorns of Love
The Unicorns have made a total of two signings for what will be their third consecutive season in the top European division. Unicorns of Love will be looking to employ the same formula that lead to a great run of form towards the end of last season. The signing of the 17 year old Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir from Dark Passage will be pivotal if the Jungler can help his team match up to the World Championship participants. The addition of the Spanish veteran ADC Samuel “Samux” Fernández from GIANTS Gaming also looks like a healthy addition to the squad.
2nd Place: Splyce
Splyce will be looking to continue where they left off at the end of 2016, putting in a solid performance on the World Championship stage, despite finishing last in their group. The former Follow Esports organisation have renewed their five team members and under the management and coaching of the iconic Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi, they will be hoping to surprise H2K-Gaming and clinch top spot in the group.
1st Place: H2K-Gaming
With their 3rd/4th place finish at the 2016 League of Legends World Championship, H2K-Gaming will have high expectations for the upcoming season. Being placed in Group B not only means they are spared facing their major rivals until the title deciders, but also positions Splyce as the one team standing in the way of a direct ticket to the Spring Playoffs semi-finals.
However, with Ryu, FORG1VEN and vandeR all having left the squad, H2K are far from the cemented team that competed at Worlds. The signings of Febiven for the Mid lane and Chei from Jin Air Green Wings, certainly have the potential to adequately replace their predecessors, though the teething period may open the door to their rivals.
5th Place: Team Roccat
Roccat have not been at their best for a while, only older fans can now remember a time when Roccat were a top tier European team. Considering the similarity of their lineup compared to last season, it’s understandable to expect a similar result.
Placed in Group B, the underdogs may be able to pick up the occasional game, but playing for a promotion spot is going to be a significant challenge. There’s potential that the lack of cohesion in some of the European Lineups because of roster changes could give them an outside chance of a relatively more comfortable split. Team Roccat will likely need to carry their 2017 promotion tournament form to avoid relegation.
4th Place: GIANTS! Gaming
Despite enjoying a generally solid season last year, GIANTS Gaming crashed in their playoff meeting with Unicorns of Love and failed to qualify for Worlds. They have lost a few important components of their team, including SmithyJ, Maxlore and S0NSTAR, though it’s difficult to assess how significant these losses will be. This is yet another European question mark, subject to many personnel changes, with talent imported from relatively unknown teams, middle-of-the-pack LCS teams and the Challenger Series.
3rd Place: Misfits
Misfits are a team too look out for in 2017. After showing great promise in the European Challenger Series the newly promoted squad will be looking to emulate G2 eSports’ first split in the LCS. Marcin “SELFIE” Wolski and Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun are well known as being some of EU’s brightest talents and will hope to put in a good showing for the team’s first taste of European prime time.
2nd Place: Fnatic
Led by Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, Fnatic are looking for redemption after a 2016 to forget. With such an experienced, all-European lineup including big names such as sOAZ and Amazing, success should be expected of this team. Besting the G2 eSports lineup will be their main goal for the Spring split – consistent results are needed if Fnatic want to re-establish themselves as the powerhouse they once were.
1st Place: G2 eSports
G2 eSports astonishing regular season form is often overlooked due to their chronic international failings. Despite their poor showing at the World Championship, the Spring Split will likely be a two horse race between G2 and H2K. A returning line-up will probably give them an edge in Spring over a pool of unfamiliar teams. If they use this to their advantage they should be able to secure 1st place with ease.
The talent of Expect, Perkz, Zven will be looking to put in a dominating performance, continuing to impress and cruise to international events once again.