It's possible I've used this title in a roundup before, but it definitely didn't fit as well then as it does today. Unlike yesterday's seamless steamrolls, bottom tier teams Elements and Team ROCCAT fought back. While some of the top teams have danced around fights, Elements and ROCCAT used their predisposition toward pacifism against them. Even in the closer match between Unicorns of Love and Vitality, one might consider a Unicorns victory over one of EU's "super team"s so soon after their new jungle acquisition an upset.
Splyce and Giants gave us more of the same stumbles with G2 and Origen taking breaks from the LCS gauntlet to acquire effortless victories. Elements and ROCCAT gave their best attempt at punching H2K and Fnatic in the face, and Unicorns of Love laid Vitality down to fourth place.
H2 — What?
If you watch H2K Gaming with the sound on, you will notice that the team huddles and chants their victory cry at the end of every game: "H2What? H2K!" In Spanish, "What" translates to "Que," and most of their game today had me ending the team's tag with a question mark.
In an article written entirely about them, I concluded that Elements operate best through the buddy system. They group with hard engaging compositions and gang up on a single lane. Elements attempted to execute that more proactively today in their game against H2K. Unfortunately, Tahm Kench doesn't appear to be working for Hampus "sprattel" Mikael Abrahamsson as well as Alistar. His eight deaths can attest to the fact that he probably needs to find another champion.
Regardless, the result of today's match for H2K was more emphasis on their need to expect skirmishes. Some of the more refined "fight avoidance" teams struggle when they need to get their hands dirty. When teams perform counter to logic (no offense intended toward to the NA LCS team), they can use the element of surprise. At the moment, that seems to be the only element working in the Elements' favor.
Unicorns actually do exist
The real Unicorns in the love triangle of Kiss "Vizicsacsi" Tamás, Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage and Zdravets "Hylissang" Galabov are Vizicsacsi and Hylissang. The rest seem to be replaceable — except for Pierre "Steeelback" Medjaldi. Fnatic had a Unicorn all of Spring 2015 and gave it away. Fnatic's struggle against the Unicorns of Love in the Spring finals makes a lot more sense if you assume Steeelback was a double agent.
Of course, I'm kidding.
Though Steeelback has shown resourcefulness one would not have attributed to him last year, the real Steeelback effect may mostly be in remotivating Hylissang. Toward the end of the 2015 season, Hylissang appeared dejected. He told theScore eSports, "I can't say for sure what the problem is — then it would be too easy to fix" and lamented his difficulty in the bottom lane with the team's previous AD carry.
Hylissang plays much more like his engage-heavy self from Spring of last year with Steeelback at his side. Vitality support, Raymond "kaSing" Tsang told the analyst desk after the games that he believes Hylissang directs the team's jungler throughout the game, which is why he UoL have moved from jungler to jungler so effectively.
Whatever the reason (Corki), UoL had control of the map for most of their game against Vitality. Unicorns and G2 show how to elevate the fight-forcing style and make it work. H2K should be a little apprehensive about their next encounter with either team.
RObbedCAT, thROwCCAT, and the woes of Gamsu
Karim "Airwaks" Benghalia is one of those players most people forget about, and then he has a game like the game he had today, resulting in the singing of his praises for at least a week before he again falls into obscurity in the eyes of public opinion. Airwaks rarely has a terrible game, but he doesn't hit the highs that make teams succeed as often as he should.
Despite this, Airwak's fixation on the Fnatic bottom lane today was a throwback on how to defeat Fnatic last year. For as long as one can properly remember, Fnatic junglers have had more success hovering between the top and mid lanes, leaving the duo lane undefended as an easy target. Airwaks took advantage of this weakness the way junglers rarely do in part because Fnatic's communication and teamwork has appeared less fluid lately.
This focus gave Erik "Tabzz" van Helvert the pick-me-up he's needed to get back into the swing of the League of Legends Championship Series. Though ROCCAT sometimes left him without peel, his Lucian performances stood out, and ROCCAT knocked on Fnatic's base after a long mid game.
Even with my frequent criticisms of Lee "Spirit" Dayoon's selfish play, Martin "Rekkles" Larsson's low game impact, or Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten — having recently ingested the metaphorical "beef noodles" that were rumored to have caused Zhu "NaMei" Jiawen's poor world championship performance — I have the most lingering questions about Noh "Gamsu" Yeongjin. While even ROCCAT top laner Simon "fredy122" Payne has expanded his repertoire with Fiora, Gamsu seems to have only a limited pool of impact champions, and his Malphite today fluctuated between getting caught out and executing poor engages.
Gamsu had that one magnificent engage that won Fnatic the game, but there were many more opportunities to turn the tides for the team, and he didn't find them. Something needs to change to make Gamsu more effective, as putting him on Olaf and camping him every game is likely to become inefficient.
Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore eSports. You can follow her on Twitter.