Report: 2017 EU LCS groups drafted

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

The groups for the 2017 EU LCS spring season have reportedly been decided, according to ESPN's Jacob Wolf.

According to Wolf's sources, Group A will be shared by G2 Esports, Fnatic, Misfits, Giants Gaming and Team ROCCAT, while Group B will be made up of H2k-Gaming, Splyce, Team Vitality, Unicorns of Love and Origen.

RELATED: League of Legends 2016 Offseason Roster Tracker

In December, Riot Games announced that the EU LCS would be moving to a two group, single round robin, best-of-three format for 2017 after experimenting with a best-of-two double round robin without groups in 2016. In 2017, the teams will be playing within their own groups for Weeks 1-3 before competing with the opposing group for Weeks 4-7. For Weeks 8-10, they will return to compete against their original group's teams.

Riot also announced that the two groups would be decided by snake draft, with G2 and H2k making the first picks because they were the top championship point earners in the 2016 EU LCS.

Wolf says that G2 chose Splyce to be in Group B while Splyce and H2k chose Fnatic and Misfits to go to Group A with G2. Misfits and Fnatic chose Vitality and UoL to go to Group B, with the two then picking Giants and ROCCAT to go to Group A. The final team, Origen was then put in Group B.

The group members will clash when EU LCS spring season begins on Jan. 19, with matches taking place Thursday-Saturday as well as Sundays in Weeks 2, 7 and 10.

Group A Group B
G2 Esports  H2k-Gaming
Fnatic  Splyce
Misfits Team Vitality 
Giants Gaming Unicorns of Love 
Team ROCCAT Origen

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.

Vitality takes series over Giants after controversial remake

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

Team Vitality have breathed new life into their fight to get out of relegation placings after they defeated Giants Gaming 2-1, but did so with the help of an Orianna bug that caused a remake of Game 2 where Vitality were down substantially.

Giants stormed out of the gate in the series, dominating Game 1 with a 23-13 scoreline, and went into game 2 with 6-0 lead, 8.8K gold lead, and two infernal drakes. At 26 minutes into the game, the game was paused for a visual bug.

As described by Riot EU esports Product Manager Marc "RiotSnowBird" Schnell, "Due to a bug, Vitality players were not able to see the Orianna ball anymore in certain instances from approx. 25:52 onwards, putting them at a disadvantageous position. League officials verified the visual bug and determined it had significant game impact. In accordance to our rules (section 7.10.5), in case of a critical and verifiable bug, the team disadvantaged by the bug, in this case Vitality, will be presented with the option for a restart."

On the broadcast, it was noted that Giants were the ones experiencing this bug, which created greater ambiguity to the situation. In the rules, notably section 7.10.8, Giants would be awarded a victory during the pause if their overwhelming lead matched that of the threshold in the rule book. They had a 23 percent gold differential, no inhibitors, and three more turrets rather than seven, yielding an inability to trigger the clause despite their definite dominance of the game.

The teams took to Twitter to clarify the situation, and express their dismay. Giants in particular also stressed their disappointment on EU LCS' inability to access Chronobreak, a tool used by the NA LCS to go back to a game state before the bug happened.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

Match highlights: H2k-Gaming vs. Fnatic

theScore esports Staff

NicoThePico parts ways with Fnatic

by 3d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Fnatic /theScore esports

Fnatic head coach Nicholas "NicoThePico" Korsgård has left the team, the organization announced Monday. Team manager Finlay “Quaye” Stewart will step in as the team's interim coach until a replacement is found, while Michael “Garki” Bolze will take over as manager.

NicoThePico was previously Origen's head coach before being replaced by Alvar “Araneae” Martín in July. He himself replaced Luis “Deilor” Sevilla as Fnatic's head coach in August.

"After joining Fnatic at the end of Summer Split 2016, I got the chance to build a new roster together with the FNC management for the upcoming season. We started off looking good and had apparent synergy and meshed well together, both in and out of game. As time went on we started facing challenges on the inside. As a result, problems occurred that I could not foresee beforehand and fix in due time," NicoThePico said in a statement.

"As I have been unable to provide the needed remedy, I feel that someone else with an outside perspective on the team and its issues, in both draft and gameplay, might be a better solution than what I was able to provide. I’ve decided to step down as Head Coach of FNC effective immediately."

Fnatic are currently in third place of Group A of the 2017 EU LCS spring split with a 4-6 record. They face Giants Gaming on Mar. 25.

"I am of the belief that we have a truly talented group of players capable of far more than where we currently sit in the standings. I will do my best to give the players a better structure and the resources needed to succeed," Quaye said in a statement. "Together with remote coaches, analysts and our players, we will make sure to give ourselves the best chance at playoffs and making it to Hamburg. The situation is far from ideal but we strongly believe that we are moving in the right direction.

"I'd like to thank Nico for all his hard work and wish him the best of luck in the future."

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Dexter on IEM: 'Europe's performance was pretty bad'

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Thumbnail image courtesy of ESL

It was all or nothing for Europe at IEM Katowice, and, unfortunately, they came out with the latter.

theScore esports had the opportunity to talk with former Counter Logic Gaming jungler and esports expert Marcel "Dexter" Feldkamp about Europe's showing at IEM Katowice.

Speaking with hosts of theScore esports' League of Legends podcast, The Nexus, Dexter opened up about the overt weaknesses of the three teams that attended, and the other top team in EU LCS that didn't.

"Europe had to go into this tournament expecting to win. If Europe doesn't win here, we had the best teams, we sent the best teams," he told The Nexus. "They had to win the whole thing, and fans would have been satisfied. Europe's performance was pretty bad.

"I think the drafts itself were really weird, and the prioritization on some champions in this tournament, especially for this tournament, it was so weird."

The discussion started with IEM Katowice finalists G2 and EU LCS team Misfits "When we talk about Europe, the one team I really like and really enjoy watching is Misfits." He said. "G2 is good and solid all around, but they have obvious problems in early game. When G2 generate leads, they don't push it.

"Unicorns of Love, a team that has developed a good macro style... but they can't cut their losses. If they come across something where they need to back off or react to something poorly, they still commit with an all-in, and if they die it would set them back really hard," he said.

"I think they never got punished in Europe for these mistakes. I'm afraid they will not develop this if the region doesn't get stronger."

Dexter had harsh words for the final European team attending IEM Katowice after their underwhelming performance.

"H2k is the worst team at teamfighting I've seen. They're honestly really bad at teamfighting. They have to win the early game and get a super good early game lead and then transition that. But if they can't get a lead... they're going to face the same problems again at all international competitions."

Watch or listen in to The Nexus for the full interview.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

Rekkles on ex-teammate Febiven: 'He was definitely one of the most inspirational people I've ever worked with'

by 6d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Flickr

Speaking with theScore esports during the first part of our interview, Martin "Rekkles" Larsson talked about some difficult things: building Fnatic's chemistry on the short LCS timeline, how he wants to eventually end his career and how he has matured as a player.

In the back half, things got a bit more light-hearted. He talked about his all-time favorite teammate during his time with Fnatic, the carry champions he'd love to be playing, and why he recently decided to sign with talent and management agency Orlando John, which counts a number of other big names in Swedish esports among their clients.

During your long time with Fnatic, who has been your favorite teammate, and why?

It's actually an easy answer, but I want to make sure I word it correctly.

Most people would probably expect me to say Bora ["YellOwStaR" Kim] here, but I feel like Fabian ["Febiven" Diepstraten] has actually been the best teammate I've ever played with.

He's one of these rare people who, no matter what happens, always lightens up the mood. I don't know exactly how to explain it, because I know it's not intentional from his side. It's just the way he is. But he's just such a positive spirit in the room, he always lightens up the mood no matter what.

I think, especially during last year when we were going through so many tough times, I [would] never have got to where I am today [without] him. He always made it easy to go through the days, it was a joy to play with him because he was the player he was, and he's even better to this day.

In a way I actually regret letting him go, but it's just a part of it. It always changes between the years, and you have to just make the best out of the situation. But he was definitely one of the most inspirational people I've ever worked with, even though I'm sure he doesn't actually realize it for himself. I'm sure many people feel the same that have worked with him.

In an ideal world, are there any champions that you'd love to play in the current meta?

At least for AD carries, I pretty much hate all of the ones that are being played right now. I think the meta would be much more fun if it was kind of like, Twitch, Tristana, Lucian, maybe some Kalista as well and some Jinx. All these champions that can go off and get those pentakills, but can also ... for example Twitch, you know he unstealths and he just gets one-shot.

I like these kinds of playstyles where it's like, kind of high-risk, high-reward. It feels like you can play the perfect fight but get zero kills, but then you can play a suboptimal fight but because you are doing something outside the box you can get a pentakill. I think it's just much more fun to watch, and much more fun to play.

Meanwhile the current ADs that have been around for pretty much the past one and a half, two years have been not so fun to play and not so fun to watch, because they're very linear. And there's not much room for the extra percentages at the top.

For example it would be a huge difference between a good Twitch, and a really good Twitch. Meanwhile a good Ashe, and a really good Ashe ... it's hard to tell, actually, if you're playing or watching, who is [which].

There's a lot of champions I would definitely enjoy playing ... oh, I forgot to mention Vayne as well, holy shit! Vayne is in there as well, she's one of those. There's so many of them I would enjoy seeing in the meta but I definitely understand why they're not, because they bring so little to a team, you know. You can be completely invisible, as I said. You can have these fights where you unstealth and just get one-shot, and you just bring nothing to your team. You have no CC, no lane pressure, no wave control, nothing. No objective control, no sieging.

But those are the champions I dream about at night.

As you were rattling those off, it felt like a lot of those were hyper-carries, like maybe you want to put the "carry" back in AD carry.

Yeah, I miss Season 4 in many ways, because that's when AD carries were played this way. Season 5, I guess to a certain extent it was pretty much okay, like at Worlds you saw a lot of Kalista and Tristana, but pretty much the entirety of Season 6 was mostly utility carries. Especially toward the end. And Season 7 hasn't been even something to remember.

So I'm definitely hoping that they make some changes, but it's looking patch-by-patch that they're not planning to do so. If anything, it's kind of weird. They always mention at the beginning of the patch that they want to address the marksman issue, and I always have these high hopes as I'm starting to read it, like, "Oh finally, I'm getting something," but then they actually end up nerfing everything, so I'm not really sure if there are two different people writing the stuff, and then actually making the changes? But it's always so demotivating when you go through it.

You're looking for the buffs to Vayne and Jinx and Tristana, and not finding them...

Yeah, and you have like lethality buffs, the Deathfire nerfs and the Varus nerfs in the same patch. So they just kind of take away the actual playable heroes from you, and you kind of have to just figure your way around it.

But the patch so far is actually looking a little bit better. The AD carries are not more useful, but at least they're more fun to play.

We did see some changes to Lucian in the patch, and I'm wondering if you think that makes him playable even though he doesn't really fit the description of a utility AD carry.

I think he is playable. I mean he always kind of has been, but he's just very, very specific in what matchups he can be played in and what styles he can be played in. I don't really think that changed. But I think he's more smooth now, and especially with both Warlords and Deathfire falling out of the meta a little bit, Fervor AD carries like himself are kind of rising up.

I think he will see some play this week, actually. I wouldn't consider him a top-tier pick or anything, I just think he works into specific matchups that he wouldn't work into before because of the Deathfire, Lethality stuff going on or the Warlords hyper-carries.

He has a place now, but he's still far from optimal, I'd say.

Are there are any other carries that you think we might see this week that we haven't seen a lot of, or has there not been as much of a shakeup?

I think there's going to be a lot of changes to AD, actually. But as I said, I don't think the ADs that are going to see play are going to be more useful than previously. I actually think Varus and Jhin were quite overpowered on the Lethality patch, and I don't think that these ADs that are seeing play are as overpowered. They are much more Season 4-style but in a worse way, where they are invisible for the majority of the game and then they kind of pop off later on, but at least have the possibility of doing so.

So I think we will see some more kind of hyper-carry comps style of play this week, so if the stars align, maybe some Twitch, maybe some Tristana, even some Jinx. Who knows.

We saw Stixxay go off on Ezreal last week, and it felt like maybe we had traveled back in time.

Ezreal will definitely be popular on this patch. As I said, Fervor AD carries are rising, and he's always been kind of like, the Fervor AD carry. He will definitely be an extremely high priority this patch, if not the highest. I would be surprised otherwise, at least.

I wanted to ask about getting an agent since you recently signed with Orlando John. Did you have an agent before?

No, I've actually always worked by myself, ever since the beginning until the beginning of Season 7, basically.

So what made you decide that now was the right time to get an agent?

I've not only come to realize that I've been around for a while now, and have quite the brand, and perhaps so many years left under my belt ... but also that there's a lot of opportunities out there that I haven't even realized exist yet.

And after seeing some other professionals pick up agencies, not League of Legends professionals necessarily ... but for example [Emil "HeatoN" Christensen] had been working with [Orlando John], and I saw a lot of stuff he had been doing. He was on Swedish television, all these kinds of things, and it looked super cool and kind of the stuff that I wanted to do, though perhaps a bit more international.

And I was just like, kind of inspired in a way. And I wanted to check around for possibilities, and then they actually at the same time approached me at DreamHack, so it was kind of just like, both parties thinking the same way. So it was kind of just perfect for me, because I figured once I'm done with my career, I'll have to do something anyways, and going back to studying is sub-optimal.

So having something on the side like an agency, who can help me out with possibilities like the ones HeatoN is doing currently, would be the dream actually, and something I'd really enjoy doing I think.

Whenever you decide to retire, do you have an idea of what you want to do when you decide to do stop playing?

If you asked me this question half a year ago, I'd definitely say that I want to be an analyst for League of Legends. But I think, the later I come into my career, kind of the more tired I become of the game. Not necessarily even the game, but like sitting in front of the computer and watching VODs, and all these kinds of things.

I think I want to be out there more, do more things. And I'm not sure if analyst work would bring me that. For example, when I saw HeatoN taking part in [Mästarnas Mästare], in Sweden it's quite huge, where all the legendary professional athletes compete against one another. And he was able to be part of that as an esporter, it was like, the biggest thing ever that has happened to it in Sweden at least.

Thinking for myself, can I be that guy in a couple of years, it sounded at least in my head more motivating and fun rather than spending another couple of years watching VODs and kind of doing what I'm already doing today.

So you don't want to leave esports behind, but you want to do more than what you're already doing?

Basically, because then I might as well be playing, right? That's kind of how I feel right now. I don't think playing is that much about playing anymore. I think we've come to a point in League of Legends at least, where most of the professional players are around the same skill level. It's not as in Season 4, where the skill level between certain players would be so big that they can just win the game by themselves; this doesn't really exist anymore. And I think it's much more even now, these days.

So it's actually more about watching VODs and having the strength of mind in comparison to the guy next to you, rather than just physical possibilities. I think, for example, if I were to retire and go into analytical [roles], then I might as well keep playing because I think I would be doing the same job.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find him on Twitter.

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