Europe is back and more aggressive than ever, right?
Not quite. In fact, today's Europe looked a lot more like the Europe of last summer. Patient teams found wins as much as the skirmishers. A few matches were extremely one-sided, so I probably shouldn't make definitive statements yet, but I will anyway. Welcome to the roundup.
Fnatic learned from the Unicorns
There seems to be two ways to beat the Unicorns of Love:
- Draft more early game skirmish champions and beat them at their own 50/50 game.
- Wait for them to make a mistake and capitalize.
The second option is significantly simpler than the first, and with strong crowd control picks like Gnar, Ashe, and Alistar, it's easy to snag a Unicorn at his most vulnerable.
Fnatic's patient play was rewarded with their first regular season win against the Unicorns, tying their all-time record at 4-4.
Origen won't get away with this forever
Today's match was not Origen's finest hour. Amazing chose Evelynn to punish a lower pressure Sejuani pick, but spent most of his time doing very little. Niels positioned himself daringly in fights, but could rely on Werlyb's less than convincing ultimates to vindicate him. They also had a draft phase nearly laid out for them after Giants chose to first pick Leblanc.
Tomorrow, Origen faces the more established H2K, a team that thrives on grabbing targets out of position and roaming to supplement the jungler. Origen didn't play as if they were this lost in the Challenger Series. They have a day to shake off the nerves.
Elements hasn't been tested
After a disappointing spring split, Elements have a lot to prove and one match against Gambit isn't going to change that. Elements played to their expected win conditions and waited for an over-aggressive bottom lane engagement. Unfortunately, Gambit looked out of their own — element.
Gambit passively nipped more than they acted decisively and severely lacked ward control, making it easy for Elements to do what they do best. In theory, Elements look better than they have in a while, but doubt will shroud them for the first two weeks at minimum.
At the very least, it seems Dexter agrees.
Split siege is beautiful
Believe it or not, one of my favorite things to watch in League of Legends is split-sieging. Different from split-pushing, split-sieging requires at least two secondary turrets to fall first. Then it's just a matter of executing pressure around the base and walling the opponent in, daring them to counter-engage while slowly ripping down their towers.
H2K played this extremely well today, but they weren't the only ones. Copenhagen Wolves also brought it to the table, and it was a refreshing sight for a team that typically focuses on scattered 5v5s.
Evelynn in the jungle
The European League of Legends Championship Series has a surprising amount in common with one of the greatest American films of the fifties. It's cutthroat, provides a high level of entertainment, and it's All about Eve.
Chosen in three of today's five games, it's important to outline a few things that led to Evelynn's re-emergence, and as much as I might say otherwise, the answer isn't "Clearlove."
With Cinderhulk seeing small setbacks, but not enough to eliminate low early pressure junglers like Sejuani and Nunu, Evelynn has a new niche. It's no longer safe to farm and plan counterganks against an Evelynn player, as she makes herself difficult to track. You also get fewer free statistics with Cinderhulk, so the amount you spend on early pink wards hurts more.
Additionally, Evelynn has potential to stand up to duelists like Lee Sin with red buff, though she works best as a counterpick for now.
Where is the Sivir?
The lack of Sivir picks today baffled me. Lately, Europe's calling card has been strong solo laners with a bottom lane for cleanup and turret taking. With a 16-4 win rate resurgence in LPL, I assumed the European LCS was a perfect place for her to feel at home.
Sivir is extremely safe to pick with a large quantity of tanks roaming the map, as she can use Spell Shield or pop On the Hunt at a moment's notice. If positioned correctly, she can also do insane amounts of damage with Boomerang Blade, meaning she's not just for AD carries who don't serve as their team's primary damage threats. Even imp loves Sivir.
With Europe defaulting to a few 4v0 turret rush strategies, the absence of Sivir was palpable. Sivir makes rotational play simple, she's extremely difficult to counter in lane, and she clears waves to eliminate towers like a charm.
To top it off, players like Hjarnan and Vardags sported high Sivir pick rates last split.
I expect Sivir to make her European debut in the next couple weeks, if not tomorrow.
Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore eSports. You can follow her on Twitter for LPL and EU LCS musings.