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.

Match highlights: Fnatic vs Splyce

theScore esports staff

Match highlights: G2 Esports vs. Unicorns of Love

theScore esports staff

Xerxe on his matchup against G2's Trick: 'I'm training a lot for this game because I know I can get on his level'

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Flickr

The Unicorns of Love have charged furiously into the 2017 EU LCS Spring Split, boasting an undefeated 5-0 record through four weeks of play. But their Week 5 opponents, G2 Esports, have similarly taken no prisoners, sitting at 6-0 on the season.

One of these two teams will register their first loss this week, and a major factor in the outcome could come from the battle that's set to take place in the jungle. In terms of picks, both UoL jungler Andrei "Xerxe" Dragomir and G2 Esports' Kim "Trick" Gang-yun have similarities — they've shown a willingness to use Ivern, and both are comfortable using Rumble this split.

What separates those two junglers is their experience at the highest levels of European League of Legends competition. Trick is a two-time EU LCS MVP, earning that accolade in both spring and summer 2016. He boasts an overall KDA of 6.04 so far this split, playing Kha'Zix (7.17 KDA) in four of his games and winning all three of his Ivern games.

Xerxe, despite his impressive results so far, is new to the EU LCS, having spent time with Dark Passage in the Turkish Champions League. He is undefeated on Ivern this split, earning a 39 KDA over five games with the champion and posting an overall KDA of 8.26 — second only to Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen in the EU LCS.

But UoL have a track record of finding and developing talent — like Zdravets "Hylissang" Iliev Galabov and Kiss "Vizicsacsi" Tamás — and so far it looks like Xerxe is the real deal. Before his Week 5 matchup, Xerxe spoke with theScore esports about what it was like to join UoL, what he's learned so far, and how he's preparing for his imminent matchup against Trick.

What was it like when you got the offer from Unicorns of Love? What were you doing and how did you react?

I was a substitute for UoL in scrims before they went to IEM Oakland 2016. I thought we were doing really well together, winning most of the games. I also expressed my wish of joining the team, but I wasn't given a sure answer as [Kang "Move" Min-su] was still part of the team. Even though I was happy for them winning the IEM, I got a bit discouraged and I thought I'd receive a straight "no."

I remember the evening of Nov. 24, when [UoL coach Fabian "Sheepy" Mallant] messaged me to ask me to talk. He didn't know this, but I had written a notepad with all the reasons I should be on the team, in case he refused me. Luckily, I've never used the list. Sheepy called me on Skype and for 10 minutes he said nothing relevant, I was so confused! Out of nowhere he said "welcome to the UoL family." I was so relieved and happy, and I couldn't believe it.

What has been the most important thing you’ve learned since you started playing in the EU LCS?

Sheepy taught me that the most important thing in game is adapting to each circumstance. This way I can never be caught by surprise and know how to handle the situation. Outside the game, I learned how to use the washing machine.

Did you view yourselves as underdogs going into this split?

I believe most people did see us as underdogs. This didn't really bother me. I knew we were a well-built team and we could improve even further the more we played together. I believe [Kim "Veritas" Kyoung-min]'s absence was yet another factor for which people considered us underdogs. At the time Veritas left the team, I was a bit afraid that we might not be able to find someone to replace him. We got [Samuel "Samux" Fernández Fort] in the last second, he has proven himself to be a great addition to the team.

Based on pre-season predictions, the Unicorns have surprised a lot of observers. At what point did you personally realize that this roster was among the region’s best?

Pre-season predictions were not in our favour. We were ranked as an average team by most. I always knew that the roster was strong, especially with veterans like Vizicsacsi and Hylissang, but I personally realized we were among the region's best after we won against H2K.

You are currently undefeated on Ivern this split (5-0). How strong do you feel this hero is in the current meta?

I feel like even after the nerfs he went through in the last patches, Ivern is still pretty strong. In SoloQ the champion might not seem so useful because of the lack of communication between the players. On the competitive scene, on the other hand, the utility, the shields and the heals he can provide for the team is what makes him so good.

You’ve got an upcoming match against G2, where your opponent in the jungle was the EU LCS MVP for the last two splits. Are you intimidated at all by Trick? What will you be focusing on as you face off?

I think Trick is a really good player and jungler, but despite his titles I learned not to be intimidated by my opponent. When I go on the stage, to me it doesn't matter who I face, I always give my best and do everything in my power to secure the win. I'm training a lot for this game because I know I can get on his level.

You and Trick have some similarities in terms of hero pool: the use of Ivern, and the willingness to use picks like Rumble. How do you approach that situation in this matchup? Will it require you to play something outside your comfort zone, or do you think you will you have enough room in the draft to play some of those shared picks?

It's true we share almost the same champion pool which makes the upcoming series even more exciting for me. People underestimate how big my "comfort zone" is. Sometimes I do prefer off-meta champions over the usual picks, but that's because I strongly believe they work better in that situation. I don't do it on purpose and even if people might criticize me for it, I'm here to win at all costs.

You’ve said in past interviews that you’d love to go to Worlds. If you qualify, what’s the first thing you’ll do?

If we qualify I intend to celebrate with my teammates and dye my hair pink.

Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is a krug enthusiast. You can find him on Twitter.

The best League of Legends highlights from Week 5

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Esports Flickr

During Week 5, each region found their successful strategies turned on their heads. With mixed performances across the board, it was a test of fortitude and composure for all regions.

FlyQuest vs. Team SoloMid

FlyQuest's tried-and-true strategy of pushing down mid lane turned into a flanking fiasco when TSM realized they could collapse on FlyQuest's exposed back line, testing the limits of both teams in the process.

Fnatic vs. Splyce

It was hard to tell who was more relieved after an intense skirmish-filled Game 1 against Fnatic — the players on Splyce, or Splyce's coach Jakob "YamatoCannon" Mebdi.

SKTelecom T1 vs. Samsung Galaxy

Karma support OP, at least in the hands of SKT Wolf. With SKT drafting high damage poke compositions, SSG went so far as to draft Kayle support in Game 2 to keep their Jhin alive.

Kristine "Vaalia" Hutter is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find her on Twitter.

G2 replace Cloud9 at IEM Katowice

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Intel Extreme Masters

The top two teams in Europe will be present at the IEM Season XI World Championship in Katowice, with G2 Esports replacing current NA LCS Spring Split frontrunners Cloud9.

G2 is the top team in 2017 EU LCS Spring Split's Group A, while the top team in Group B, Unicorns of Love, will also be attending the tournament. This also means that the NA LCS has no presence at IEM Katowice's League of Legends tournament. Instead, three EU LCS teams, two LCK teams, one LPL, team, one LMS team and one CIS team will be participating in the $150,000 event.

Cloud9 originally backed out of the international tournament citing visa concerns as well as a focus on keeping up their domestic play. Teams that were asked to replace them had declined to attend due to their own commitment to their domestic leagues.

As a result of all of this, the following teams will be attending IEM Katowice

  • H2k-Gaming
  • G2 Esports
  • Unicorns of Love
  • Kongdoo Monster
  • ROX Tigers
  • EDward Gaming
  • Flash Wolves
  • M19

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.

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