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H2K vs G2: Melting Point

We’re approaching the third week of the EU LCS summer split, and the hierarchy of team dominance has started to form. In last week’s Match of the Week, H2K looked unstoppable against a Fnatic team many would favour going into the clash. After a poor showing in week 1, H2K’s AD carry Aleš "Freeze" Kněžínek showed up in a big way in week 2, particularly versus Fnatic. Back on his signature Draven, Freeze’s performances on the Glorious Executioner were, well… glorious. H2K ran away with the series, emerging 2-0 victors and looking all too convincing in the process.

G2 Esports dropped points for the first time this split after tying with Roccat on Thursday. Despite a very impressive game 1, Roccat’s teamfighting proved too strong in game 2, earning Roccat the draw. G2’s second match last week, against dark horses Splyce, was a different story altogether. They dominated the mostly Danish team, and Luka “Perkz” Perković’s Vladimir in game 2 was perhaps the most terrifying we’ve seen so far, matched only by Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg’s in game 1 for TeamSoloMid against Immortals over in the NA LCS.

The performances of both teams in week 2 makes the choice for week 3’s Match of the Week incredibly easy: Thursday June 16th in the recently opened studio. Freeze vs Zven. The rivalry at the top: H2K vs G2 Esports!

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

kikis

Kikis' rapid improvement wasn't enough to guarantee him the starting top lane spot on G2

G2’s addition of Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “Mithy” Rodriguez to its roster in the offseason was seen by most as the change G2 needed to help their chances of finally making a mark in international play after a disappointing MSI showing. The pair’s bot-lane dominance led former team Origen to a semifinals finish at Worlds 2015, and so far they’ve been the star performers on a stacked G2 team. In week 2, Zven put up an incredible 33.5% of G2’s damage in their four games as they finished the week with a 1-1-0 record. His DPM of 835 was over 100 DPM higher than Roccat’s Pierre “Steeelback” Medjaldi, and over 200 DPM higher than any other AD carry in the league. As they were on Origen, Zven and Mithy remain the catalysts to their team’s success.

G2 will be disappointed at the departure of starting top laner Mateusz “Kikis” Szkudlarek from the organisation this week. Kikis’ performances on his comfort-pick Irelia put him at third of all top laners for DPM in the league, and he showed everyone that his capabilities go beyond just playing tanks. All this despite the fact that Kikis has the worst CS differential at 10 minutes in the EU LCS and received less than 23% of his team’s gold. While G2 didn’t put many resources into their top laner, particularly in the early game, he still managed to put out some of the highest DPM in the league and meaningfully contribute to his team’s success.

We did, however, see the debut of his replacement in game 2 of their match against Roccat. Ki "Expect" Dae-han has the dubious distinction of being the top laner in G2’s first loss of the split, his single game on Irelia being largely unimpressive. Despite G2 having the lion’s share of G2’s gold in that game, Expect’s DPM was far lower than Kikis’ on Irelia, and his damage-per-gold-spent was the second lowest of all top laners in the league. While he clearly has potential, G2 will be looking for a significant improvement in the coming weeks to justify their decision to deny Kikis sole ownership of the top-lane position, a decision which led to Kikis stepping down.

Expect is on a great team that will only aid his development as a player. As long as Zven, Mithy, Trick and Perkz continue to perform at the level of their week 1 and 2 performances, G2 will be set up to maintain its hold on the top spot of the EU LCS and ultimately earn a spot at Worlds later this year.

GLORIOUS DOMINATION

Freeze

Freeze showed a marked improvement over week 1, but still has a lot to prove.

Freeze drew harsh criticism for his first-week performance, entirely warranted given the stats he posted. H2K’s tepid first week stemmed in part from his over reliance on the Caitlyn pick, which resulted in Freeze’s extremely low damage contribution, despite the amount of gold H2K funnelled to him. H2K seems to have acknowledged the strategic error, as Caitlyn wasn’t picked once in their games this week. Instead Freeze relied on Ashe, a strong and popular pick on patch 6.11, and his old comfort-pick Draven.

While H2K enjoyed more success in week 2, Freeze included, the stats still weren’t flattering for Freeze. He had the second-lowest DPM of AD carries in week 2, he had the lowest damage share of AD carries in the league, and H2K funnelling so much gold into him still didn’t net a significant return on investment damage-wise. However, that does not tell the whole story. In H2K’s series vs Giants, Freeze played the utility-carry role by playing Ashe both games. Ashe provides much more to a team comp than pure damage, and while Freeze’s aim could improve his accuracy landing those Ashe ults, he fulfilled that role in both their wins over an admittedly poor Giants team.

H2K’s most impressive performances in week 2 came against Fnatic in their second series of the week. This series saw the return of Freeze’s legendary Draven, picking it in both wins vs Fnatic. Freeze’s KDA of 20 on Draven was the joint highest in the league in week 2, along with Zven on Caitlyn, and his overall KDA of 7.5 was second only to Zven. While his DPM of 520 on Draven was not incredibly impressive, his domination of the laning phase along with support Oskar “Vander” Bogdan certainly was. Fnatic’s bottom lane performed exceptionally well in week 1 and in the previous day’s series against Unicorns of Love, but to see them demolished so handily by Freeze and Vander was something to behold. Freeze was a menace on Draven, and Fnatic simply could not deal with it.

MELTING POINT

For H2K to succeed this week against G2, they’ll need to continue to improve the performance of their bottom lane. They’ve already shown how good they can be against a great duo in Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim and Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, but Zven and Mithy are on a whole other level. The bottom lane will be the key matchup in this clash, followed closely by Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski vs Kang-yoon “Trick” Kim in the jungle, and it will be exciting to see how it plays out. H2K are only 2 points behind G2 in the EU standings, and a victory could put them in first place and in a very solid position to clinch a spot at Worlds later this year.

The rivalry at the top will come to a head this Thursday: tune in to see all the action, it’ll be one hell of a series!