It's revenge time for Cloud9
On the side, an amateur tournament will also take place. Stacked with one of the best teams in Europe, the "amateur" line-up consists of Ninjas in Pyjamas, SK Gaming, Copenhagen Wolves and TCM-Gaming. With all possible scenarios being epic clashes, it is no wonder that the overall winner will take home a cheque totaling 17,000$ and a lot of momentum coming into the EU LCS qualifier that is to take place in mid-December.
It is worth mentioning that the games will be played on patch version v3.13, which means that we will not see interesting new shenanigans, the revamped jungle or trinkets. Also, Heimerdinger, Syndra, Olaf and Sivir will be disabled due to bugs or remakes.
With all the technical details out of the way, we can jump right into the matches!
Pro tournament: Europe versus North America, take 2
When we take a simple glimpse of the bracket, what immediately stands out is the "underlying" theme of NA vs EU. Obviously, the organisers have worked hard to provide not only skilled contenders and good show for the crowd, but a strong incentive for the teams as region pride will once again be on the line. Last time we saw North America being outclassed in three sets and having to sit out of the top 4 during the Season 3 World Championship. This time, two of the top teams namely, Cloud9 and CLG will have to go through some serious competition if they want to regain their honour.
The two top seeded teams in this tournament ( C9 and FNC) will be awaiting their eventual opponents in the semifinals.
Gambit Gaming vs. The RED
Brothers versus Brothers. The two Russian teams collide in the quarterfinal match of IEM Cologne. This will mark the official return of the one and only "support-carry" EdWard since his brief spell at Curse during the Summer Split of the NA LCS. Recent reddit post from the support player himself did state that "previously existing problems are no more within the line-up" and that he has "no problem with [AD Carry player] Genja".
The original M5 quintet is reunited and many expect a solid performance in their first international showing after finishing among the top 8 at the Season 3 World Finals.
IEM tournaments are historically great for Gambit. Let's hope they can showcase their excellence again.
What plays heavily in their favour is not only the fact that they are facing a Challenger team, but also the access they supposedly have to the domestic League of Legends scene. On the other hand, The RED have two tournament winnings so far under their name - the WCG Russia qualifiers and the Plantronics RuLoL League. Aside from that, they rely on coordinated team fights to spearhead them into the lead. The team led by Alex Ich is expected to convincingly take the series, but if history has taught us anything, it is not never underestimate Russian underdogs, especially in IEM tournaments.
How do Cloud9 feel about that? The Americans will be preparing thoroughly for the match with Gambit. My personal opinion is that they may underestimate or think a less of them given the shaky performance at the World Finals, but mainly because their main effort would be targeted towards Fnatic, who await on the other side of the bracket. Key aspects of the game against the two powerhouses would be:
- Hai's ability to withstand the combined power of Alex Ich and Diamondprox
- Darien's awareness of the mythic Meteos
- The Russia versus USA bot lane match-up which will heavily depend on either Edward or Lemon to snowball their respective side
- C9's ability to dampen the aggression of Diamondprox on the lanes and demonstrate composure and perseverance the same way they did against XDG (formerly Vulcun)
- Gambit's ability to close the game and not leave even a glimmer of opportunity which the Americans could potentially exploit
If all these are covered, we will be in for a fantastic match!
CounterLogic Gaming vs. Team Turquality
As one sided as this match may seem on paper, we have seen CLG fail to deliver on multiple occasions when facing a team they should demolish. With that in mind, I do believe that the new additions to the team, TrickZ and Aphromoo will have a stable debut in Germany. The Americans come from a rather disappointing LCS affair and will be looking to at least go deep in the tournament to regain some of their former glory. One of the good points in CLG's book is the fact that for the first time since the departure of Saintvicious, they have a dedicated Jungler who did not come off another position. Despite TrickZ's zero international experience, the Turks will provide a great catalyst to see if he will rise to the occasion.
Despite, Nientonsoh improving by the minute the "big man" in the line-up remains Doublelift who will have to do a pretty good job to show us how all the EU Carries "are trash". Supported by Aphromoo, the dubbed "Rush Hour" or "AphroLift" bot lane should have no problem against the Turkish challengers once it come to lane dominance or mechanical outplay.
Link may very well be the key piece in solving the fnatic puzzle. Source clgaming.net
For Team Turquality, this represents a perfect opportunity to gain valuable international experience. They are a well-rounded competitor back on home soil, taking part in almost every Riot-organised competition in Turkey. In addition, they placed second in the Sesaon 3 Turkey qualifier, which unfortunately saw DarkPassage go on. This being said, the Turks could potentially take a game off the North American legends, but only if they go the extra mile and spare every minute preparing for this clash.
How do Fnatic feel about that? My European pride tells me that the fanatics will not break a sweat, but let us not delude ourselves, CLG has what it takes to bring them down. This match does seem more like a crowd-pleaser on paper, but the pressure in both camps will be off the charts! The burden is to fall on TrickZ who has to counter or outplay one of the most experienced and mechanically gifted junglers out there in the face of Cyanide. The Finn single-handedly spearheaded Fnatic into the lead with a Lee Sin double kill in the deciding match versus Cloud9. With the constant rise of Lee Sin in the last month, I am more than certain and this will be a must ban of the Blind Monk. We should also note the Finn's mastery in Aatrox and Jarvan IV, disruptive Junglers who seek to wreak havoc among the enemy [bot] lane.
Go big or go home right from the get go.
The other big clash in terms of nerves and skill will be the AD Carry deadly dance: DoubleLift versus Rekkles. The Swede will officially debut as a starter for Fnatic and has to live-up to all the expectations, while his North American opponent will have to live-up to all the trash talk. I much rather not go into detail as to why this match-up will be the one to watch out for, instead I hope that the two maestros will leave us in awe with astounding plays, calculated executions, flashy mechanics and lots of friendly bm. The factors in this game will be:
- Mental endurance: CLG should not fall victim to a simple misplay during the game and neither should fnatic underestimate their North American opponents
- DoubleLift versus Rekkles, the duel that will [in my opinion] decide the game
- A key role that Link should assume is disrupting or punishing any attempt at roaming from xPeke
- sOAZ should be on the lookout for TrickZ's aggressive play style. Nien may be less experienced, but is by no means incapable of beating his opponents if the right environment is set
The amateur tournament begins on Saturday, 23rd November while the pro competition begins and ends on Sunday, 24th November.
Former lead editor and interviewer for SK Gaming
Follow me on twitter - @Adddler or LINK
iNNERFiRE - multi-game journalist and Editor-in-Chief: 2012
onGamers - League of Legends Feature Producer: 01.2014 - 02.2015
SK-Gaming - League of Legends Lead Editor: 11.2012 - 08.2015
My journey into eSports started in 2004 when I accidentally caught a small video on TV from the WarCraft 3 WCG 2004 final. I opened up the SK Gaming website from my father's laptop and never stopped reading to this day. In early 2010 I started writing at a Bulgarian news website simply because I disliked how the current editor was handling his job and with time, I got to be Editor-In-Chief. My main writing interests back then were StarCraft 2, QuakeLive and League of Legends.
Fast-forward to 2012, after a small hiatus and moving to England to attend university, I decided to start writing news posts again, inspired by a couple of industry figures who have taken their turns taking eSports writing to a new level. With the beginning of IPL5, I was given a trial with SK Gaming which was successful and I never looked back.
In early 2014, onGamers presented me with an incredible opportunity to join their ranks which I took. Although I believe my 2014 was rather poor (in terms of work ethic and results), I have made changes during the winter break to ensure that sufficient effort will be made to repair that. Unfortunately, due to the collapse of the team, the project was at a stand still which marked the end of my stint with the oG crew.
I continued producing 1 on 1 interviews with SK members until July 2015. After that, other commitments arose and I figured I could not provide the flow of content I promised my superiors and took a step back, leaving SK.
If you are an eSports fan who is looking to get into writing or simply want to chat about eSports across the years, you can always find me on my twitter - @Adddler . Below you can find some trivia about me.
BroodWar / StarCraft 2
BW pro: sAvi0r and Flash (for different reasons)
BW race: Terran
BW series: Hana Daetoo MSL
SC2 pro: Creator and Stephano (different reasons)
SC2 race: Terran
SC2 series: ThorZain vs Polt at DreamHack Open 2012 and any big final played by King MvP
StarCraft related article: God of the Battlefield
Pro: Alexey 'Cypher' Yanushevski
Map: Aerowalk, BloodRun (100% Eastern European choices)
Series: Cooller vs Cypher. Especially the brilliant defensive Cypher game on Aero (game 4).
Rivalry: Rapha vs Cypher
Quake related articled: The Quadra Interview and the one and only Cypher PoV
League of Legends
Pro(s): FORG1VEN, Faker, WeiXiao, NaMei and Mata.
Position: AD Carry
Series: All the World Elite games at IPL5, KT Bullets versus SK Telecom T1 K OGN Summer 2013 Final and LPL Summer Final between StarHorn Royal Club and EDG (The perfect Jinx game by Namei).
League related article: Most of TeamLiquid.net's takes on the 2012 and 2013 OGN tournaments.
Team: Fnatic (2008-2009)
Series: AGAiN vs Fnatic at WCG 2009. Literally broke a cup after the game. One of the most emotional series for me as a spectator.
Gfinity League of Legends - August 2013 (SK Gaming)
EU LCS Week 5 London - June 2014 (SK Gaming / onGamers)
GamesCom 2014 Cologne - August 2014 (SK Gaming / onGamers)
EU LCS 2015 Week 7 Spring Split - March 2015 (SK Gaming)
Intel Extreme Masters Season IX Katowice - March 2015 (SK-Gaming)
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