Another week dawns, and with it another Sunday packed full of Challenger Series warfare. Week 2 marks the point where Challenger teams begin to show their resolve and prove that they deserve a spot in the playoffs as the split draws to a close. With the competition looking closer than ever, every single win makes a difference.
Paris Saint Germain versus. Giants Gaming
PSG were one of the teams that many had anticipated to be challenging for the top spot. Last week they lost to a strong Origen line-up and the woes that they experienced at the start of spring split seemed to show once again. Giants, with an entirely revitalised roster, had a stellar showing in week one and were looking to lock the top spot here with a win.
Game one was pretty standard fare from PSG. With a composition that needed to get ahead quickly, Kirei has a couple of early ganks that helped his laners garner some small advantages. PSG looked like they had the game in the palm of their hand but once again their late game decision making cost them dearly. Giants played to their split push game plan and PSG had no way to respond.
The second game was very much the same story for both of these teams. Giants once again drafted a composition that allowed Jiizuké to push in a side lane, and Minitroupax to farm himself up on Caitlyn. PSG just never seemed able to react to the pressure that Giants were putting them under. In the end, it was a pretty one sided 2 - 0 victory to Giants Gaming.
Wind and Rain Versus Team RB
In week one WAR failed to impress with their substitutes as they fell at the first hurdle to a strong Giants roster. Team RB on the other hand impressed against S04 even if they had to settle for a draw. This week WAR had their full roster together for the first time and were trying to be David to Team RB’s Goliath.
The first game was incredibly quiet for a challenger series match-up. With only 8 kills over the 26 minutes of gameplay, RB were able to slowly stop WAR from playing their own game. Each kill lead to an objective, each objective to a further lead. RB were dominant and WAR had no way to respond.
Game two was a much closer affair. Team RB were in a comfortable position for a very long time, with a gold lead that they extended until they were 9 thousand gold ahead at the 30 minute mark. However, the big purple worm once again caused the downfall of a team in the lead. After a great steal from Dan, WAR were able to hold on and eventually won the game after a series of incredibly close fights.
Origen vs. Schalke 04
Origen were the team that surprised the most in week one, taking a strong victory over PSG. Now they have their full roster, acquired from Wind and Rain after the Challenger Series qualifiers, and they are looking to continue blazing a trail through the Challenger Series. Schalke looked very similar to spring split, a team with great depth and strength, that at times fall prey to weak drafting or a few poor decisions made later into the game.
When an champion has an 89% win rate on the current patch, you tend to see them banned out in most games. Origen decided that Zac didn’t deserve a ban and it cost them dearly. Memento piloted the green machine through the jungle expertly and caused havoc on the backline of Origen. Schalke played the macro game much better than OG, even going for a 20 minute baron. It was all but a perfect game, with OG only able to get a single dragon to their name.
We’re starting to see a top/bottom divide in Challenger series. Schalke, Team RB and Giants are looking destructive, whereas PSG and Origen looked tepid at best this week. There’s still 3 weeks to go, but teams are going to have to do a lot to turn their poor fortunes around.