As the highest performing EU LCS representatives at Rift Rivals, Unicorns of Love carry the weight of European expectation. Yet, unless the play of mid laner Fabian “Exileh” Schubert dramatically improves over the next few weeks, it looks unlikely that Unicorns will mount a serious World Championship challenge.
Many of the Unicorns of Love squad members continue to progressively improve their play, but one member has had a markedly poor split and continues to see his performance decline.
Their German mid laner, Exileh, has fallen from a potentially prodigal European mid lane talent, to a liability for what could be Europe’s best team.
This was made even more apparent at Rift Rivals, where Exileh was dominated by all three of the NA LCS mid laners, amassing a 1.6 KDA ratio for the tournament and was behind 6.8 CS at ten minutes on average. The German also had the highest number of deaths per game of any player at the tournament.
While NA had sent some of their best mid laners to the event, Exileh should only expect to face even tougher competition at the World Championships.
In a meta where a strong mid laner is a key to success, in his current form, Exileh would likely be one of the worst mid laners on display at the international tournament.
As the NA LCS teams were able to easily exploit Exileh in their games against Unicorns, the rest of the World should be able to do the same.
In their recent match against EU LCS counterparts Team ROCCAT, Exileh was frequently caught out of position, making risky plays that allowed ROCCAT to claim his dog tags.
— lolesports (@lolesports) July 20, 2017
For Unicorns of Love, the path to success clearly will not run through the mid lane. With the reigning Spring Split MVP Tamás “Vizicsacsi” Kiss and versatile jungler Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir, Unicorns must ensure their top laner is given the early assistance required to build a lead and carry the game.
Unicorns of Love’s bot lane has also proven more than capable of generating their own leads, with the strong play of AD Carry Samuel “Samux” Fernández Fort being a welcome surprise for a squad that had scrambled to find a replacement for departed Korean ADC Kim “Veritas” Kyoung-min.
Still, while their other lanes have proven to be some of the EU LCS’s best, Exileh is a detriment that cannot be ignored, especially if UOL have aspirations of international success.
Significant improvements need to be made to control vision around the mid lane and fix Exileh’s lane positioning in the early phases of the game.
If Exileh can limit the number of risky plays he is willing to make in the early and mid phases of the game, Xerxe should be able to assist the other lanes in creating advantages that Unicorns of Love can snowball to victory.
Even if they fail to create an advantage early in the game, their excellent team fighting still provides a significant advantage in close games.
Rift Rivals proved that while they may be near the top of the EU LCS, the Unicorns of Love still have work to do to catch up to many of the other leagues.
Unless Exileh can re-establish himself as a top-tier mid laner by the end of the split, his exploitation at Worlds is almost inevitable.