With three of the four playoff positions still very much up in the air, only Giants could rest easy this week, knowing that they were guaranteed a playoff spot. The rest of the league were still fighting for position and for the prize that they all aspire to: a spot in the European LCS.
Giants Gaming 2 - 0 Team RB
Giants have looked indomitable throughout this tournament, yet to lose a single game. Against Team RB, they met their toughest challenge to date. RB have yet to meet the expectations set for them before the split. They were seen as a probable front-runner for the top spot in the league, but have been pinned back by two draws early on.
In game one, both teams drafted a split push composition that relied on being able to outplay your opposing man. Moojin immediately showed why he is seen as one of the strongest junglers in Challenger Series. His early ganks allowed team RB to take a quick advantage, however once again we saw Team RB flounder in the mid game. Their Achilles’ heel, it would seem, is their decision making after the 20 minute mark and Giants capitalised. All it took was one late game fight and a baron, and the victory belonged to Giants.
Game two marked the return of the donger in the mid-lane. ‘A fine choice’ you might chime, but Magifelix’s Heimerdinger struggled to have too much of an impact on the game. Even after picking up the majority of his teams kills, the yordle was unable to influence the result as Giants took their fourth series win in a row. Special credit must be given to Ruin. After getting ahead of Thal early on, he never released his grip on the lane and Team RB had no way of answering his split push threat.
Wind and Rain 2 - 0 Origen
After a strong week one, Origen have looked at odds and ends. Lacking coordination, they have not looked like the team that came through the qualifier tournament just a few months ago. Wind and Rain, conversely, have gone from strength to strength, only improving over the last few weeks. This was the battle for fourth spot in the playoffs, and neither team was giving up easily.
Origen brought in three substitutes for this week, with the bottom lane from their Spanish team returning after two weeks away, and Xani replacing SevenArmy in the jungle. However, even with these switches, they really struggled to show up. Wind and Rain played a slower paced game, satisfied with scaling into the late game, and their dual marksman composition proved to be too much for Origen.
Wind and Rain experimented a little in game two. Dan brought out the Maokai jungle while Zac was still available and was surprisingly effective. His ability to force the enemy team to disengage from the WAR line-up changed the entire outlook of the game. WAR brought two tanks to the party and OG had no way of punching through the powerful frontline of Maokai and Shen. Origen had no answers and once again fell to a 2-0 defeat.
Schalke 04 2 - 0 Paris Saint Germain
Paris Saint Germain are another team beset by woes throughout the summer split. They have been unable to win a single match and are currently on track for arecord 5 losses in a row. Schalke 04 were not going to give their footballing rivals any mercy and blew the whistle on PSG’s hopes of playoffs.
The game was all but won for S04 as the draft concluded. Somehow they managed to wrangle Zac and Thresh for themselves and Memento showed us just why Zac is banned in almost every single game. Slingshotting his way into lanes and getting kill after kill for his team allowed no room at all for PSG to work with. Satorius tried to split push on Jax, managing to get a few towers for PSG, but Schalke kept forcing the issue and their full engage composition proved too strong in game one.
Game two was a similar story. Paris Saint Germain put up more of a fight, with Blanc using Taliyah to catch out Caedral consistently in the midlane. Their macro play let them down once more, Schalke managing to play around teleport timers to get advantageous team fights early in the game. Satorius continued to pressure in a sidelane, persistent in his quest for turrets and causing SmittyJ to have to react. This helped PSG extend the game, but once again Baron became their downfall. Losing a fight at a baron they started began the slow decline for PSG. Schalke 04 won the fight, and secured their spot in playoffs.
As we come close to the end of the summer split, a lot is still up in the air. Can Giants go undefeated? Can Paris Saint Germain find a win somewhere? Who will secure the final two playoff spots? Find out the answers to these questions and more next week as the European Challenger Series concludes.