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LCS Spring promotion qualifier preview

By Daniel 'd1dx' Yordanov
Dec 13, 2013 06:16

ImageToday marks the beginning of the qualifying cycle for the European LCS. Three challengers have arisen and three of the "old guard" must protect what is most precious.

Season 3 passed us by like a gust of wind and completely transformed the way we comprehend and enjoy competitive gaming. Through weekly broadcasts, multiple tours across Europe, the super week concept and close-ups on our favourite players, Riot Games and the LCS gave us an exciting dose of eSports and hinted at the explosive progress that is yet to come.

With that in mind, let us take a step back and see what is just mere hours away - the first promotional match. A couple of days ago, all three of the relegated teams chose their opponents. Powerhouse EU NiP had the comfort of choosing first and unsurprisingly challenged PL KMT (former H2k) who despite being a strong team in their own right, represent the least danger to the LCS spot of the ninjas on paper. Next up, the reformed EU SK team's choice was EU Supa Hot Crew. The mix of solo queue stars and veterans of the scene is definitely a better pick when compared to the undisputed kings of the challenger scene, EU Copenhagen Wolves. Speaking of the devil, the team led by NL YoungBuck was left to face PL MeetYourMakes who have not made any significant mark on the competitive LoL scene after their relegation.

We have three exciting best-of-threes on our hands where to some degree, a winner would not be an easy pick. Last, but not least, we are fortunate enough to have three quality encounters among the top-tier League of Legends representatives of the region.

NiP versus KMT: The Phantom Menace

The new and reformed NiP has had a turbulent start to its LCS spot defense. A very shaky performance at DE IEM Cologne raised some eyebrows as no one expected the ninjas to be dominated by Copenhagen Wolves. The addition of NO nukeduck, ES Mithy and SE Zorozero seemed to only strengthen the line-up, but their uncoordinated, sometimes even chaotic play during the tournament, led them down the road to defeat.

This was noted by the upper management and the team did what was necessary. For better or worse, they withdrew from SE DreamHack Winter 2013 in order to have more practise time on patch 3.14 and reevaluate their approach towards the game while further working on enhancing team cohesion.

Their opponents, on the other hand, have been one of the strongest challenger teams in the European scene. Probably because of the language barrier or the fact that none of its members are from previously known teams, PL KMT did not garner much interest despite racking results. Their biggest achievement so far is winning RO DreamHack: Bucurest over Copenhagen Wolves in a convincing 2-0 fashion.

The Polish squad is no stranger to competition as along with EU TCM Gaming and the Wolves, they have been the trio of most dominant Challenger organisations in Season 3. Rumour has it, if they manage to qualify for the LCS, the KMT squad will join none other than Counter-Strike behemoths KZ Astana Dragons.

What are we to expect from this match? Without a doubt, the ninjas enter this clash as favourites, but merely on paper. Anyone who has seen the Poles in action will never cross them out. What the ninjas (still) lack in team play and coordination, they make up in raw skill and more high-level experience. In order to win and upset the favourites, KMT must strike decisively and learn how to press their advantages. Not even a slight window of opportunity is to be left if they want to be victorious.

SK Gaming versus Supa Hot Crew: Do or Die

Unfortunately, a string of last-minute good performances was not enough for our own SK Gaming to retain their LCS spot. Many people left the team "for dead" and claimed that SK is not a powerhouse anymore, quickly forgetting the strong play showcased in the Spring Split and consequent third place finish. However, restructured and with fresh blood, SK is here to reclaim its spot and in its way stand SHC.

An ever aggressive DK Svenskeren will be the backbone of the new team as his performance has been spectacular ever since joining the squad. There to help will also be the efficient German duo of CandyPanda and Nyph who will try their best against the French opposition of Migxa and Haydal. Winning SE DreamHack Winter 2013 was both a confidence booster and a reality check for young DK Jesiz who was visibly nervous. With LAN experience under his belt, the young Dane is expected to wreak havoc among the enemy lines when it counts on Saturday.


After several roster changes, most notably, the departure of NO k0u, DK Svenskeren and UK fredy122, the Crew is still flying high and managed to surprise the community by eliminating EU TCM. With the help of recent addition (not official - editor's note), UK Impaler and dynamite bot duo of the experienced and quite temperamental FR Haydal and high level Challenger support FR Migxa, the mix-team is looking to continue their turbulent path towards the precious LCS spot.

What are we to expect from this match? SK Gaming have never had a bigger challenge and only their combined efforts will bring them a Season 4 LCS spot. A key piece will be DK Jesiz. If the youngster is on fire, this could quickly turn into a one-sided affair, but things could turn pretty sour if the opposite is to happen. Regardless, Supa Hot Crew have definitely set up quite the clash for us.

MeetYourMakers versus Copenhagen Wolves: Time to shine!

Last season did not yield much positive results for the Polish squad. Despite their explosive 4-1 start at super week, PL MeetYourMakers fell victim to their one-dimensional play and finished last in the European LCS. During relegation time not much has changed withing the line-up. We still see PL Czaru as the driving force behind the early-game dominant team and aside from some sparks of brilliance from PL Makkler, we have the same MYM we had a year ago.

Out of all three matches, I do believe this will be the most one-sided. The only Polish superiority may come from Czaru's more versatile mid play, but SE CowTard has silenced his critics with incredible displays of skill across the challenger scene tournaments. Unless MYM has some serious surprises or radical play style changes, I do see this as a nightmare match-up for them.


Members of the community doubted the Wolves' strength, claiming that SE Rekkles was the only reason the line-up was a contender in the first place. Once GR Forg1v3n joined, those critics were silenced. The double (EUNE and EUW) number one challenger AD Carry has been spectacular so far with his compatriot GR Unlimited on bot lane. With his aggressive manner and calculated execution, the Greek exterminator has been the driving force behind the DE IEM Cologne Amateur victory and the flawless 5:0 scoreline during the round-robin of the LCS qualifier. Versatile, deadly and after so much time in the Challenger scene, the Wolves could not have hoped for a better opponent.

What are we to expect from this match? Given the recent record of the Wolves, no one can deny their status as favourites for the clash. All we can hope for is that MYM does pull something unorthodox which could potentially catch their opponents off-guard and guarantee us a spectacular battle!

The first match of the qualifier between EU Copenhagen Wolves and PL MeetYourMakers will begin today at 21:00 CET.



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