Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
LCS

Group Draft: Colour Caster Breakdown

The 2017 Season is almost upon us, and with it comes new players, new champions, and a new format. Ten teams will still fight for European dominance in the League of Legends Championship Series, but this Split they find themselves separated into two groups of five. We sat down with the EU LCS analysts to find out what they think of the two groups.

Spring Split 2017 Group A and B

Group A will have G2, Fnatic, Misfits, Giants and Roccat. Group B will have H2K, Splyce, Unicorns of Love, Vitality and Origen.

What are your initial reactions to the groups?

Deficio

I don’t think there are any major surprises in the group draw. We have two exciting groups, both have fan favourites as well as room for upsets. I actually think Group B will have more competition; Group A might just be G2 and Fnatic clinching first and second, then Misfits - if they perform well - will lock in third, and it’s up to Roccat to really surprise and upset some teams to take third place. But in Group B, there’s four teams all fighting for playoff spots.

 

Vedius

With Group A, my initial thought is that there’s going to be two clear top teams and two clear bottom teams, with a team in the middle that does well against the bottom teams and bad against the top ones. I think Group B will be a lot closer. The perception of Vitality is low based on how they performed last split - they didn’t really have any synergy. But this split, the roster itself looks stronger. If I had to make a prediction now, it’d be Vitality and H2K as the top two of this group.

Stress

The groups are actually surprisingly balanced. It’s difficult with this kind of draft because essentially you’re picking your own poison, because somebody is going to get Splyce, but the other group is going to get a team like Fnatic or Misfits. So G2 have given away their top contenders from last split, but now have to face a team of veterans and a team of so-called “rookies” that look very promising coming into this. I like the way it spices up some of the discussion coming into the split, because you can now definitively say H2K put Misfits in the group of G2, and when H2K have to play Misfits in the middle of the split you get this dichotomy - “Why did they put them in the other group? Were they right to avoid Misfits and Fnatic?”.

Krepo

The main surprise for me is that Misfits got picked to go into Group A when it could have been Unicorns. I think that was a bit odd, because I definitely rate Unicorns as a tier higher. Another surprise is the fact that Giants were picked over Roccat, because on paper, Roccat should be way better than Giants.  As for Group B, I don’t know if you can call it stronger, but you can definitely say it’s closer. Vitality is a stronger team than the bottom tier teams in Group A. Origen is almost guaranteed dead last in that group, at least from observations. I think Splyce will finish above H2K, at least in the first few weeks while H2K is looking for some footing.

Is one group harder or more competitive than the other?

Deficio

I think Group A will have more 2-0s because the difference between teams like G2 and Roccat/Giants is pretty huge, and if Fnatic clicks and plays well it will be same story. So I think Group A will be more one-sided, but I can see a world where it becomes really interesting between Misfits and Roccat for that third spot, and if Fnatic don’t play well there actually is room for upsets.  But I think we’re going to have many close series in Group B. Origen is going to sit in the bottom and try and grasp whatever they can to pull themselves away from relegation, and the other four teams are going to bang heads together over and over.

Stress

Realistically, it’s one of those situations where there’s so much room for any of the middle teams - like Fnatic, Misfits, UOL or Vitality - to show up, so I think we’ll see which group is harder when A and B face against each other starting in Week 4. It isn’t clear cut, we don’t have five amazing teams in one group and five teams that are struggling in the other group, so right now I think it’s fairly even.

Krepo

I think Group B is more competitive because Vitality has a stronger chance against the teams above them than Giants do, but at the same time I think Roccat has more chances than Origen does. I think the fact that Origen is dead last while the other four teams have a chance at upsetting each other makes Group B more interesting.

Origen is going to sit in the bottom and try and grasp whatever they can to pull themselves away from relegation

Martin "Deficio" Lynge

Are there any dark horses or underdogs in either group?

Deficio

Roccat is the underdog to watch in Group A. I see a lot of people criticise their lineup and say it’s weak, but they have some pretty good members in there. I like Maxlore, and it’s super interesting to see Hjarnan in the botlane return to the competitive scene, and they kept Betsy as well. So Roccat is one to watch, they can upset some of these teams from time to time.

Vedius

Roccat in Group A could be surprisingly strong, but it’s hard to tell because you get swayed by the already consistent teams.  Then there’s Vitality, I don’t know if they can be considered a dark horse because on paper they look very strong, but they had a poor performance last split, there were high expectations and they didn’t meet them. Right now, the perception of the team is still low because of that last split, but I have higher expectations and I think they can do well.

Stress

I think the team that everybody is looking at, and the community is hyped for, is Misfits. They’re very young players, a young lineup, and they brought in Power of Evil to help shore up their experience on an LCS level. People are expecting players like Alphari and Hans to really take over, and I think there certainly is that potential. If we look at G2 in Spring Split of last year it is the same, there was a lot of hype but nobody was putting them as number one. I think Misfits have a tougher field right now to come through and try to be number one, but it’s one of those stories where it looks like they’ll either go straight to the top or they will slump for a while and it’ll take them a full split to get going.

Krepo

I don’t necessarily think there are underdogs, there’s just teams with more questions than others. Misfits is a team that had a lot of hype in their promotion matches, but then a lot of hype was lost with how they got into the LCS. Now they have a lot of question-marks with their new roster, but that’s definitely a team to watch. I think Fnatic is also not necessarily an underdog, but they are a team where you want to get a lot of answers from.

the team that everybody is looking at, and the community is hyped for, is Misfits

James "Stress" O'Leary
Spring Split Format

The new Spring Split Format - Teams will play against other members of their own group for weeks 1-3, and then during weeks 4-7 they will play against the other group. Then, during weeks 8-10, they return to competing within their drafted groups.

How do you think the new format will affect the way the teams prepare?

Deficio

When it comes to scrimming, I can see teams choosing scrim partners from the other group in the first weeks, but then the groups start playing each other and that throws everything up in the air. For weeks 4-7, I expect teams to start scrimming their own groups, but then after that go back to scrimming the opposite group. So it does matter, but it also matters for playoffs, where Group A will play Group B in the first round.

Vedius

I think some teams will take advantage of subs more, some teams - Vitality for example - have two junglers in GBM and Djoko, so they can experiment there and see how different people do against different opponents, it’d be nice to see a little variation in taking advantage of subs, but I also think that in terms of prep and in terms of how they then come into the week won’t be much different. I think they’ll scrim the strongest possible teams they can get unless they are playing them that week.

Krepo

I think teams will not scrim within their groups, but mainly aim to play teams outside their groups. We know G2 and Splyce have a history of scrimming each other already, and I think it’s very unlikely a team like Roccat will scrim against H2K. I think you can see really solid bonds form between some of the top teams that are in the groups because they’ll only face each other once in the split. In terms of scrim priority it’s: other group, then strength, and never your own group. I think there will be very few scrims between teams in the same group. There’s no benefit for a team like H2K to scrim Origen, for example, because you only make them stronger, and you don’t want to scrim Splyce because you don’t want to give info to your direct competition.

I think some teams will take advantage of subs more, some teams - Vitality for example - have two junglers

Andy "Vedius" Day

Part of the reason groups are here is because of the change to Bo3, will you miss the ties from Summer Split 2016?

Vedius

I will miss Bo2, but there were obvious flaws with the system. Bo3, on the other hand, gives a more satisfying conclusion. It’s debatable whether or not going to the third game is good or bad, because on the one hand you have both teams really close, they’re forcing each other to out-play one another, but on the other hand you could just have clown fiestas with teams winning the games for dumb reasons, and so you end up with a 3-game series because neither team knows how to close out the game.

Stress

Everybody knows that I love ties, but I think it will provide a more satisfying experience for teams and viewers to have a conclusive winner at the end of a series. This puts a lot of pressure on the middle teams because no longer can they win one game in a series and take away points, they have to win two, which teams like Vitality struggled with in the Summer Split.

Krepo

I’m excited for the new format, but it’s important people don’t forget that Group A plays Group B once. Lots of people are very stuck in the isolated group mindset, but there’s five matches of cross-group play that could entirely decide the standings later on.

Lots of people are very stuck in the isolated group mindset, but there’s five matches of cross-group play that could entirely decide the standings later on.

Mitch "Krepo" Voorspoels

Do you have any closing thoughts on the Groups?

Stress

With the move to two groups of five, rather than one large group of ten teams, the teams I anticipate to be fighting for the relegation spots - namely Giants, Roccat, and Origen - will have fewer opportunities to face teams at the bottom of the standings. Looking at the talent pool in the European Challenger Series this upcoming split, I expect at least one of these teams to be relegated come Summer 2017.

Vedius

No team should be underestimated, everyone should be willing to keep an open mind because it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a lot of these teams play. It’s also a new meta, new champions are strong, new champions have come in, new items have come in. The game is very different, so you can’t rely on what we’ve seen in the past. Don’t be too surprised if you see somebody like Misfits, Vitality or Roccat in the first weeks get a couple of wins under their belt, because I think that the EU LCS will be pretty competitive this split.

Deficio

EU LCS is going to be super super hype in Spring Split, just like last year. ‘Cause funny thing is, Spring Split last year was really good, everybody enjoyed it and we had really competitive teams fighting for playoffs. But everyone forgot when MSI happened and Europe failed to show up, and perception became that Spring Split was bad. But no, it was really good, and although Summer Split wasn’t as good I think we’re right back where we were at Spring last year, and I’m actually insanely hyped for this Spring Split.

The EU LCS Spring Split will begin next week on January 19th at 17:00 CET. Tune in on watch.lolesports.com.