The most anticipated matchup of the European LCS semifinals occurred today, and unsurprisingly, Origen took the series. A few surprises came along, and H2K and Origen took turns getting caught out to throw their leads at times, but Origen won the way Origen likes to win: through their support and jungle duo.
I touched on this briefly in my European LCS semifinals preview, but at the moment I think there are two primary approaches to playing professional League of Legends at the top level. I've nicknamed them "Kalista" and "Sivir."
These playstyles don't actually require teams to pick Kalista or Sivir or to even touch them in the draft phase. Some champions will suit either playstyle better, but pick and bans don't dictate whether a team will execute one strategy over the other.
In a Sivir-based strategy, teams focus on rotating between lanes and picking up a gold injection off the first ring of turrets. This style relies a lot on communication and using the duo lane to rotate between lanes or having the top laner shove out side waves. Both Fnatic and H2K, at their cores, are Sivir-based teams. Other examples internationally include LGD Gaming in LPL, SK Telecom T1 in Korea, and Counter-Logic Gaming in North America.
Kalista-based teams are less common. They also rely a lot on communication, but primarily between the jungle and support. This style of team doesn't necessarily lane swap often. They often prefer standard lanes so they can gain more off increased jungle pressure. This strategy is sometimes less appealing since getting the gold injection from turrets is more attractive in the early game. It's also more difficult to execute since it relies a lot on vision and having strong players in both the jungle and support roles. It doesn't hurt to have powerful and versatile laners either.
Origen is Europe's Kalista-based team. Because they're less inclined to rotate fluidly between turrets across the map or have consistent split push strategies, some of the nuances of their team play are often over-looked. Mithy and Amazing executed well today to show just how devastating this playstyle can be.
By invading the jungle, Amazing and Mithy could both target H2K's loulex and secure vision. This vision alerted laners to the presence of H2K's jungler and when they could pressure their advantages. From there, they could also transition to sharp dragon control and team fights in the river.
Origen have yet to consistently perfect this strategy. It's easy to see them invading without laying out proper vision sometimes, and if things go awry they can lose leads as easily as they can earn them, but playing around the jungler has its advantages. Because it's less common internationally, teams have less experience playing against it. Once this style does get perfected, teams can work on controlling the lanes themselves through the jungle and transitioning to objectives based on deep skirmishes. A few flashes of Origen's improvement in today's series showed them taking advantage of the map.
Probably the best example of this kind of team operating well is Edward Gaming. While Clearlove and Meiko may or may not be the best in their positions individually, their synergy has allowed Clearlove to have his way with his jungle and control bottom lane for advantages.
Since Origen doesn't have the same style as the other top teams in Europe, they can be more surprising as an opponent for Fnatic in the finals. Some of Reignover's pathing is punishable given he's chosen to invade before without his lanes pushed out. Origen is the best team of the two semifinalists today to challenge him. If any team has a chance of upsetting Fnatic, it's Origen.
At surface, Origen may look like they overpower their lane opponents because they have experienced solo laners xPeke and sOAZ, but today mid laner Ryu at the very least got the best of the matchup. Origen won through their jungle and support, and Mithy's MVP, even against the support giant kaSing, was well-deserved.
As for H2K's mid laner, Ryu, it may have taken him a while, but he enchanted audiences today on four different champions. Both Origen and H2K look like the teams most favored to head to the World Championship for Europe after Fnatic. It may have taken Ryu a year to grow back into his consistent form, but his presence at a World Championship is long overdue. I look forward to seeing him play the third place match.
Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore eSports. You can follow her on Twitter.