From the first minute, the series was never in doubt.
H2K-Gaming returned to form and easily took down the Giants 3-0 to open up the European LCS playoffs. Even with substitute jungler Joachim "BetongJocke" Rasmussen starting Game 3, H2K looked confident and coordinated as they improved their perfect record against the Giants to 10-0 all time.
Here's how the series played out.
For the opening match, Giants decided to run a heavy poke, low engage composition while H2K favored a more standard lineup with Odoamne and Ryu on two of their signature picks in Shen and Ahri.
The early game was all H2K, as they pulled ahead with First Blood and farm leads for their carries as part of a dominant lane swap. With their lead H2K’s bottom lane quickly took over the game, pushing down towers and roaming around the map to find kill after kill.
kaSing’s Thresh was a terror, and every time he landed a Death Sentence it meant a trip back to the Fountain for a member of the Giants. Werlyb’s split-pushing Trundle was the only thing that was going well for Giants, but even he took a spill as H2K gained vision control and wrapped around behind him for an easy pick off.
With their advantage snowballing out of control H2K found themselves up 8-0 in kills, 5-2 in towers and 6k gold at the 25 minute mark. Ryu had Adryh and PePiiNeRo running scared, assassinating them whenever they tried to find some farm. He ended the game 8/0/5.
H2K was merciless, taking a pre-30 minute Baron buff, diving the Giant’s base and closing out the nearly flawless game without a single death.
Humbled by the result of the first game, Giants picked a much safer, more balanced team composition this time around while H2K stuck to their guns and picked for comfort.
H2K played the lane swap very aggressively, putting four members in between the top lane towers to push. The Giants rallied to defend, and while they managed to save the tower, they lost Werlyb for First Blood to Odoamne. Just like in Game 1, H2K came out of the lane swap with strong farm leads in most lanes.
Desperate to turn the game around, Giants sent four members bottom lane to dive the tower but it ended in complete disaster when H2K was in position to respond. They picked up three kills without losing a single man. After capitalizing on the Giant’s blunder, H2K put themselves firmly ahead.
Although the Giants showed some signs of life thanks to some overconfidence by H2K, finding a few kills here and there, as a whole the advantage was quickly building in H2K’s favor. Things got a little hairy when H2K tried to take a 25 minute Baron, but when the dust settled they walked away with the buff, a 13-6 kill lead and a 8k gold advantage.
From there one last Alistar-Orianna wombo combo was all it took to allow H2K to crack the base and finish off the Giants in a second straight 30 minute win.
Comfortable with the lead and likely looking to give him some stage experience, H2K decided to swap in recent addition and LCS rookie Joachim “BetongJocke” Rasmussen to replace jungler Jean-Victor “loulex” Bourgevin.
As a result, H2K prioritized the jungle pick and secured their new player Elise for his debut, while also putting Ryu on an unusual Karthus pick. Giants once again built themselves a more balanced team and put PePiiNeRo onto his fearsome Twisted Fate.
For the first time in the series both teams opted into standard lanes from the start, but once again it was H2K who came out with small farm leads on almost every player. The top laners were the center of attention, with Werlyb eventually coming out on top to claim a solo kill First Blood. H2K found a few reply kills, but Werlyb continued to be the Giant’s most successful member by far, taking down the tower and invading into H2K’s jungle.
Not afraid to take the fight to the Giants, H2K dove the Tier 1 bottom lane to instantly delete Adryh. In the end, they picked up four kills total in exchange for just BetongJocke’s life as the members of Giants trickled into the fight one or two at a time.
Werlyb continued to be a menace, killing Odoamne a few more times, but despite the split-pushing troll H2K slowly but surely pulled ahead. Not wasting any time, H2K grouped and took Baron on spawn, killing the big worm before 21 minutes on the game clock. Giants tried to contest, but it was too little too late as H2K mopped up a few more kills.
Although the Giants found even trades in a few of the subsequent team fights, H2K was simply too much for them to handle and the fall of the Nexus became inevitable.
kaSing and Ryu were absolute standouts throughout the series, with kaSing’s statline being particularly impressive.
With the clean sweep, H2K punch their ticket to a semifinal showdown with Origen next week, while the Giants must now play through the regional gauntlet to have a shot at Worlds.
Nic Doucet is a News Editor for theScore eSports. You can follow him on Twitter.