League of Legends
Vitality 1 - Giants Gaming 0
Vitality kept its composure in a comeback victory over Giants Gaming to open Saturday's action in the European League of Legends Championship Series.
Giants came out the gate with an explosive opening to take an early lead. Focusing on the mid lane, the team had a 5-to-0 lead in kills and three towers before 20 minutes, but Vitality proved that it's truly not how you start but how you finish. Even with Giants picking up the first Baron, Vitality simply bided its time until it could start to chip away at the lead through some key teamfight victories.
Those teamfight victories came as part of Vitality's ultimate game plan that finally manifested itself into reality and started pushing Vitality towards the finish line. Mid laner Daniele "Jiizuké" di Mauro's Azir and AD carry Amadeu "Minitroupax" Carvalho's Caitlyn scaled incredibly well as the game progressed, which proved too much for Giants to handle. The pair, who finished with a combined 9/2/9 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) began to wreak havoc on the frontline of Giants, which allowed Vitality to easily lock up the final few teamfight wins to take full advantage of the game and march on to a 40-minute victory, securing a 2-0 start to the Split.
Splyce 1 - Unicorns of Love 0
In a battle of two European favorites who surprisingly lost their respective opening matches Friday, Splyce managed to win an elongated match Saturday with Unicorns of Love thanks to a frantic base race to secure its first win of the European League of Legends Championships Series Spring Split in Berlin, Germany.
Early on it was clear that UoL wanted to keep Splyce top laner, Andrei "Odoamme" Pascu's Illaoi in check. Through roams and ganks, the Unicorns were able to secure its first four kills on the Splyce solo laner, simultaneously earning control of all three lanes. That left usual star mid laner, Fabian "Exileh" Schubert, to run rampant around the map, using fancy footwork and the Zhonyas Hourglass Ryze Realm Warp ultimate combo to effectively become unkillable while split pushing. Just when UoL seemingly had the game under control Splyce jungler Andrei "Xerxe" Dragomir was able to steal a Baron and prolong the game long enough to give the team a chance.
The fact Splyce's Yasin "Nisqy" Dinçer played Azir in mid lane meant that despite a huge CS disadvantage, he'd still have massive late game presence, buoyed by the presence of support Raymond "kaSing" Tsang, on Tahm Kench. In a 68-minute game that featured both teams successfully taking down all three inhibitors simultaneously at various points, it was a bit surprising that a rushed base race is what concluded the match, however multiple objective blunders by both sides contributed to the extended time. A valiant defense by Splyce spearheaded by Odoamme's resurgent Illaoi gave Splyce a two-man advantage in the pivotal moments leading up the eventual win, and from there it was cheeky Tahm Kench ultimate that carried a teammate to the UoL base and allowed the team to out DPS the enemy Nexus on the way to victory.
H2k 1 - Fnatic 0
Despite Fnatic taking a sizeable lead in the early game, it was H2k Gaming that eventually came out on top of a close matchup Saturday in the European League of Legends Championship Series.
Fnatic might not have been able to come out of the gate any faster than it did, securing four turrets in a crisp 16 minutes thanks to decisive gameplan filled with superb macro level play. The only problem was that while Fnatic had plenty of objective presence, it didn't have a solid grasp on each lane due to a lack of early teamfight aggression. This allowed H2k to eventually take the first big teamfight at 25 minutes, resulting in a Baron secure that essentially wiped away Fnatic's hard work early on.
With the Baron and momentum in hand, H2k started to quickly chip away at the will of Fnatic who seemed to have no way of pushing through the H2k defense in fights. Despite Fnatic picking up a couple quick kills onto H2k top laner Lennart "SmittyJ" Warkus' Vladimir as an attempt to battle back into the game, H2k easily shook off the opposition by focusing on the major objectives across the maps. As the late-game progressed, H2k picked up two more Barons to keep a hold on the gold lead before perfectly executing one last teamfight at 40 minutes that locked up a third Baron and gave H2k all the ammo it needed to secure the comeback victory.
ROCCAT 1 - G2 Esports 0
Team ROCCAT had a rough start to the Spring Split but bounced back nicely on the second day of the EU LCS as it rode an early gold lead to victory against European League of Legends Championship Series favorites G2 Esports in Berlin, Germany.
The first half of the game was dictated by Jonas "Momento" Elmarghichi as his Zac prioritized the mid lane, leading to multiple kills for ROCCAT mid laner Jin "Blanc" Seong-min's Azir. ROCCAT kept its foot on the gas, successfully sneaking in a Baron kill at the 21-minute mark to seemingly earn a massive advantage. The ensuing Baron power play helped pad the team's gold lead by knocking down four turrets. However ROCCAT struggled to close out its victory.
G2 managed to turtle into its base and buy some time throughout the second half but it wasn't enough to mount a comeback. Each time G2 would try and rally to protect turrets, it would break even in the exchange, only for ROCCAT to pull off an impressive maneuver to flip the tables once more. With G2 forced to rely almost exclusively on wave clearing and maintaining objective control in order to make a comeback, ROCCAT pulled the trigger on a teamfight and trounced its opposition, winning the scuffle 3-to-1 thanks to a triple kill from Blanc. That gave the upstarts all the breathing room it needed to walk away with a surprising victory.
Misfits 1 - Schalke 04 0
Misfits slowly picked apart Schalke 04 in a 42-minute stomp to close out Week 1 of the European League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split in Berlin, Germany.
It was seemingly all downhill for Schalke 04 (1-1) right from the get go, as an early Misfits first turret in bottom lane allowed for the team to methodically press its advantage. Misfits jungler Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian was active all over the Rift, successfully ganking multiple lanes throughout the match, subsequently getting top laner Barney "Alphari" Morris's Gangplank a healthy gold lead. Alphari didn't just sit in lane and farm on Gangplank, but instead spread the wealth by teleporting across the map to help Misfits (1-1) dominate teamfights in the bottom side as well. By the end of the game Alphari had a 7/0/8 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) and led Misfits in kill participation (83 percent), as well as damage dealt to champions.
There was very little left to chance as Misfits patiently waited for the right moments to take the neutral objectives when Schalke had no chance to contest. It took 40 minutes, but Misfits finally pounced on its opportunity to finish the contest, taking Elder Dragon and Baron in succession before running through the crumbling Schalke defenses for the victory.