Top - Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon
Jungle - Kim "ReignOver" Ui-jin Mid - Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten AD Carry - Martin "Rekkles" Larsson Support - Bora "Yellowstar" Kim
Coach - Luis "Deilor" Sevilla
With a record that can only be labelled as remarkable, Fnatic went undefeated during the regular portion of the summer split, thus tieing Cloud 9's record of 18 consecutive games undefeated. With quite possibly the best lane swap planning in EU, Fnatic has torn through the competition in the early weeks of summer. That being said, some of their games during the second round robin of the LCS had shown several cracks in Fnatic's armor and allowed teams like Giants, H2K, Gambit and Origen the ability to garner a decent gold lead by the end of the early game. It is true that in the end, Fnatic's calm and collected play allowed then to win all of those games, several of those games were more of their opponents losing rather than Fnatic winning.
Nonetheless we have upon us what is the most dominant team EU. With a little bit of fine tuning in the early game, Fnatic may just be the only team in the west that can hold its own against some of the toughest international competition. Barring ReignOver in the jungle, one could argue that FNC has a top 3 caliber player in EU at each position. This means that not only is Fnatic an intelligent team, but a strong mechanical squad too.
Strongest asset: while the second half of the split didn't demonstrate it as often, Fnatic was a brilliant teams in terms of executing lane swaps. Many other teams in EU were good at theorizing, but were not always able to execute. Also, along with H2K, Fnatic is the best team in the west playing around Huni's teleport timings.
Weakness: as mentioned previously, Fnatic's early game when playing standard lane vs lane isn't as strong as people would hope. This is especially true when ReignOver has been targetted during the pick/ban phase. Sure in EU they've been able to overcome these early issues with good late game teamfight and macro play, but against international competition, Fnatic may never be given a chance to comeback if found in similar deficits to the ones OG and Gambit were able to create.
Paul "sOAZ" Boyer
Maurice "Amazing" Stuckenschneider
Enrique "xPeke" Cedeno Martinez
Jesper "Niels" Svenningsen
Alfonso "Mithy" Aguirre Rodriguez
Coach - Titus "Ducky" Hafner
Even though as a team Origen is new to the LCS, 4 of the 5 faces are returning players. After breezing through the challenger circuit, Origen blasted through EU like a hot knife slicing butter. Built around 2 of the strongest carry solo laners in LCS history, OG is aiming high in the playoffs and looking to punch their ticket to worlds. Both sOAZ and xPeke have not missed a beat and have displayed why they're both 3 time LCS winners and have played in every LCS final excluding last split in which they didn't even participate because they were in the challenger circuit.
The stars aligned almost perfectly for xPeke as he was creating his new brand from scratch. At the time, Amazing had returned from North America after playing on TSM during Summer 2014, including Worlds. Simultaneously, mithy's ban was being reviewed by riot. Right as the review was cleared and the announcement made that Mithy would be able to participate in riot sanctioned events and the LCS, xPeke didn't think twice and signed mithy immediately. Closing out the roster is Niels, who was hand picked by Mithy to join him in the bottom lane straight from soloqueue.
Strongest asset: This roster is about as star-studded as it gets for EU. As mentioned previously you have 2 very strong solo laners to which you add a role filling ADC, you have the recipe for a truly great team. Even when one of the 3 carries is faltering, there is always another to.pick up the slack.
Weakness: while mechanically OG is as good as they get, they're not the most versatile in terms of strategical approach. Often needed too much of an advantage from laning alone, OG has found themselves unable to follow their win conditions
Top - Andrei "Odoamne" Pascu
Jungle - Jean-Victor "Loulex" Burgevin
Mid - Ryu "Ryu" Sang-ook
AD Carry - Petter "Hjarnan" Freyschuss Support - Raymond "KaSing" Tsang
Coach - Neil "Pr0lly" Hammad
Quite possibly the only team that rivals Fnatic in terms of strategic execution, H2K looks to shore up the difficulties they had during the later stages of the regular split. Many teams in EU have good ideas in terma of what they want their lane swaps to accomplish or where to be on the map for the next objective yet most teams have flaws in execution. That isn't H2K. This team is known for not allowing objectives go away for free. Even if it is to secure vision, H2K is always moving and answering objectives their opponents take with an advantage for themselves.
This doesn't necessarily mean that H2K is a good team in the very early game or the late game. While their planning and execution is brilliant post 10 minutes, not every game has gone in their favor in the later stages of the game. Not culminating on their leads on time or having strange recall timings or simply getting caught in the wrong areas, H2K has let games slip from their grasp.
Strongest asset: This is a very intelligent team. Seldom will you see where H2K overpowers their opponents by lane dominance, but they're very good at finding subtle advantages in vision. In addition to their lane swapping prowess, they have the most versatile top laner in Odoamne who could play on carry champions with as much finesse as he plays tank/teamfight oriented champions. His teleport timings are impeccable and even if hes been denied in lane, he finds a way to become relevant in games.
Weakness: Against weaker teams, sure H2K has not seen issues closing games, but it can get to them in the late game. Awkward positioning around baron and dragon has caused more losses to H2K than they'd want to admit. Some of these can be attributed to Loulex who can either play MvP of the game performances or straight up cost H2K major objectives and ultimately the game. Loulex is by no means a bad player, but his inconsistencies could come to haunt H2K in the playoffs.
Top - Etienne "Steve" Michels Jungle - Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski
Mid - Erlend "Nukeduck" Vatevik Holm
AD Carry - Rasmus "MrRallez" Skinneholm
Support - Oskar "Vander" Bogdan
Coach - Jakob "YamatoCannon" Mebdi
Starting the summer split relatively weak, we saw Roccat be plagued with the same issues that haunted them during Spring. Inability to close out games and random overaggression from their adc at the time (Woolite), Roccat was quickly sinking in the standings, borderlining relegations at various points during the regular season. This was specially frustrating for Roccat fans, because as a team, and more specifically Nukeduck and Jankos, there were sparks of brilliance from that roster that could allow them to win games.
After a couple of weeks, Roccat made a harsh but effective decision in trading AD carries with current challenger team, Denial esports. Woolite went to Denial and Roccat acquired MrRallez. On the surface, this trade wouldn't make a lot of sense thinking that Woolite is a carry adc rather than a role player, but thats exactly what Roccat were lacking. With a wider resource pool available thanks to a versatile ADC that has good teamfight positioning, Roccat can execute their win conditions much more effectively and choose where to funnel their resources as the game progresses.
Strongest asset: Roccat is undoubtedly one of the better early game teams EU has. Sure they were unable to close many games with the leads they would acrude, but that doesn't take away from a very crucial strength in a very calculated snowball meta. Jankos has returned to a form that netted him the nickname "The first blood King" back during the summer split of 2014.
Weakness: Nukeduck is performing better and better but this team is still not convincing. Several players are tagged as inconsistent and with good reason. Their ability to close out games is very questionable to this day, regardless of the leads they manage to obtain.
Unicorns of love
Top - Tamas "Vizicsacsi" Kiss
Jungle - Cho "H0R0" Jae-hwan
Mid - Tristan "Powerofevil" Schrage AD Carry - Pontus "Vardags" Dahlblom
Support - Zdravets "Hylissang" Galabov
Undoubtably the most unique team to have ever joined the EU LCS to date, UOL has a good chance to secure themselves a spot at the world championships depending on their playoff performances. As a team, UOL has been the closest to resemble a purely solo queue team playing on a Lan stage. Their unorthodox picks have seemed to almost confuse themselves as well as their opponents. It's practically impossible to prepare for what kind of champions UOL can throw towards your direction. Their risky continously-fighting style caught a lot of teams offguard during spring, but in summer, the teams above UOL in the standings were, for the most part, able to deal with this team's shenanigans.
This team's communication was so unpredicatable to the point in which their former jungler, Kikis, decided to step down from the team a few weeks prior to the end of the regular season. Even though Kikis is no longer part of the roster, the wacky style still persists with Gilius and the remainder of the UOL squad. It's very strange realy, since from what I've watched, a lot of UOL's best games were when they played standard team compositions. PowerofEvil, Hylissang and Visiczaci are still pretty good players in their roles and perfectly capable of fighting the best in EU.
Strongest asset: It's hard to pinpoint the exact strengths of this team with such a strange playstyle, but it's no question that PowerOfEvil is a very good player and a rising star in the EU LCS. His Kog'maw play brought AP kog into the meta over the weeks as a very potent pick, as well as the AD Varus mid. Despite the craziness and randomness of their play, UOL has always chained their crowd control in a very effective manner when teamfighting, which plays in favor of their force fight style.
Weakness: The risk of this playstyle is that it has a ceiling. It can work sometimes, but it won't work all the time. Much like flipping a coin, even if you get heads 70% of the time on one day, in the end it'll eventually balance out to a 50% (UOL ended 9-9 in the regular season). If you ban the right champions, UOL finds themselves clueless on what to do. Right now, without Gillius in their roster, we don't know if the communication with H0R0 is as crisp as it should be considering the talent level of this playoff bracket.
Top - Jorge "Werlyb" Casanovas
Jungle - Federico "Fr3deric" Lizondoa
Mid - Isaac "PePiiNeRo" Flores
AD Carry - Adrian "Adryh" Perez
Support - Oskar "G0DFRED" Lundstorm.
Realizing that sticking to the same full Spanish roster would not do them any good, Giants gaming took a very risky decision in swapping out former support Rydle, for G0DFRED. Not only did it work, but it's safe to say that this trade exceeded expectations from viewers and analysts. Bearing in mind that just last split, Giants were on the brink of being auto relegated, literally a game against MYM away from it. G0DFRED was not just a mechanical upgrade to Rydle, but brought a much needed element of shotcalling to a lost roster. Giants works more like a team and show that even though their communication isn't perfect, it's significantly better than it's ever been.
The latter half of the summer split did see Giants losing more games than they would have hoped, but you can't hold that against them entirely. Several of those games were close, especially their 2nd encounter with Fnatic. PePInero has demonstrated how broad his shoulders are. He's a legitimate threat against most teams he plays against and it will be interesting to see Giants develop.
Strongest asset: With a better understanding of how to funnel their resources, Giants look at pepinero to be their major carry. Being able to fight any other midlaner, Pepinero is capable of duking it out with the best of the best and demonstrated several times during the regular season that he can draw the attention of multiple people, allowing his team to get objectives elsewhere on the map.
Weakness: If pepi doesn't carry, nobody does. Aside from the occasional Jax games from Werlyb, most of the carrying has to come from the mid lane. If enough pressure is put around the mid lane, you can nullify most of Giants' firepower and will have an easier time playing against this almost full spanish squad.
If you enjoyed this content, follow the author for more at @Heckmaister. Images courtesy of their respective owners.