Though the future of the division appears to be more uncertain than ever, Europe’s League of Legends Challenger Series will return for the 2017 Summer Split with the most competitive lineup in the league’s history.
With franchising already in the works for the North American region, the race is on for Europe’s challenger heavyweights to reach the promised lands of the EU LCS.
After both Origen and Giants Gaming were unceremoniously stripped of their LCS status by Fnatic and Misfits’ Academies in the spring, football clubs, blossoming super-teams, venture capitalists and wounded veterans are all eager to earn their stripes.
As the EU CS prepares to launch into its most important and competitive split to date, CLICKON eSports provides all the details you need to know about the teams fighting for a spot in the Championship Series:
Schalke 04 eSports
The story of Schalke 04 and the EU CS Spring Split is a tale of heartache. Having crushed their opposition without losing a single game, S04 rightfully entered the Promotion Tournament as clear favourites to secure an LCS slot. A shock defeat to Misfits Academy condemned the football club to yet another split in the Challenger Series. After losing a number of the team's big name stars, the roster appears weakened yet still competitive, ever optimistic of reclaiming their spot in the LCS.
Red Bull eSports
A secret project that cruised through the Open Qualifiers before revealing their team banner, Red Bulls are being hailed by many as the next European super team. Formed around LCS veteran support KaSing and his assembled lineup of fellow veterans and Korean prodigies. Yet to experience defeat, Red Bulls we be hoping to emulate rivals Schalke's flawless run through the regular split.
PSG eSports are preparing for their second season in the EU Challenger Series. For all the fanfare surrounding the team's formation, the veteran squad did not impose the level of dominance expected of them. Losing to Fnatic Academy in the playoffs left the team's future uncertain, though behind the new bot lane acquisitions of Nardeus and former Fnatic support Noxiak and mid laner Blanc's proven calibre after subbing in for G2 eSports during Week 1 of the LCS Summer Split, PSG are hoping to reach the EU LCS on their second attempt.
Giants Gaming have existed within the European League of Legends scene for a number of years, yet this will be organisation's first split in the EUCS. Lacklustre in the Spring Split, the team became fodder for nearly every other side in the LCS before suffering consecutive defeats in the Promotion Tournament at the hands of Fnatic Academy. Having revamped their entire lineup, Giants will be hoping their LCS pedigree holds weight against the financial might of their challenger rivals.
How the mighty have fallen. Former World's Semifinalists Origen pitched the worst EU LCS roster ever to step foot on the Berlin stage, failing to pick up a single series win. After rumours that the team would sell their slot, the once mighty organisation now face the fight for their pride, acquiring the entirety of Wind and Rain's roster to achieve their goal. Origen would be the first team to be promoted from the EU CS twice if they are successful.
Wind and Rain
Wind and Rain are the EU CS's most unfamiliar entity having won both Ragnarök, the Nordic regional tournament, before gliding through the Challenger Series Qualifiers, catching the community off guard with an almost entirely unknown lineup. Bizarrely, having earned their spot in the EU CS, the entire team moved to play for Origen... also competing in the EU CS for the Summer Split. In response, the organisation took the opportunity to build a lineup stacked with veteran talent, including LCS veterans Woolite, Jwaow, and AOD. The grudge match vs Origen will provide an spicy edge to this split's Challenger Series.