After a disappointing first week in the World Championship Group Stage for Splyce, narrowly losing to FunPlus Phoenix and J Team, the European third seed had to make every game count in Week Two. And make up they did.
First up was J Team, who Splyce completely dismantled with a great performance from Marek "Humanoid" Brázda on Cassiopeia, giving the LEC team some much needed momentum. The next game was probably the most important one for them: FunPlus Phoenix was the team to beat, and winning against them would considerably increase Splyce’s chances to advance.
After taking on early game aggression from FPX, Splyce were able to stabilise and run them over with their stronger scaling composition. In Splyce’s last regularly scheduled game, they faced GAM Esports. Despite a difficult early game, as GAM was able to control the pace of the game, Splyce was able to turn around GAM’s Baron attempt which helped them to gain back control of the game and finish it.
After taking down GAM Esports and going 3-0 in the second day of the round robin, Splyce had to play a tie-breaker match against FunPlus Phoenix for the first seed from Group B. FunPlus was able to snowball the game through a fed Renekton in the midlane, and while Splyce heroically held off their attempts to end the game, it wasn’t enough to secure the victory. China’s FPX secured the first seed, while Splyce took the second seed.
Just after the final game, we caught up with Humanoid and even after his loss against FunPlus Phoenix, he was still incredibly happy with their performance.
“I really didn’t expect to make it this far,” he says. “We got kind of lucky in the group draw as well, which helped us in getting so far. I think we might be able to take down some of the other teams, however, depending on who we get in the quarters.”
“I think beating FPX wasn’t our peak.”
Splyce’s midlaner also admitted that the last few days of practice didn’t go that well. He didn’t expect to win against J Team and FunPlus Phoenix in such a commanding fashion. After taking the win against J Team, he realised that they were playing well today. “I knew that we had a pretty good shot at making it to quarters. It worked out pretty well – except for the last game – but the last game didn’t really matter that much since we are in the quarters anyway, so it works.”
The third game was a lot rougher for Splyce, yet Humanoid wasn’t sweating it. ”I was winning midlane pretty hard. Our team composition was way better than theirs in the late-game,” he says. “I knew I could carry if I was able to farm for a bit, and since GAM doesn’t really know how to close out the game, I wasn’t too worried.”
No one expected Splyce to take down FunPlus Phoenix in the way that they did. When asked if he thought that this was Splyce’s peak performance, he didn’t think so at all. “I think beating FPX wasn’t our peak,” he says. “We can perform better, but at the same time, we played really well – but I feel like we can still improve.” After securing the second seed going into the quarters, Splyce will face off against a first seed – but just who will they face? Humanoid is hoping to face SKT, however, adding “I want to play against Faker. I think we will probably lose, but it will be fun.”
To make this miracle run, Splyce paid extra attention on cleaning up their midgame. Humanoid explains that it’s something they have been actively practicing. “We have been trying to fix it for a long time now. Sometimes it looks good, sometimes it looks bad but we are definitely working on it,” he says.
Splyce doesn’t really have a very defined style, which makes them flexible in the approach of strategy that they create depending on the opponents that they face. “Some teams have really refined styles, like FunPlus Phoenix playing through their midlane, and other teams play through bot,” Humanoid explains. “We try to be more flexible in what we do.”
The next time we’ll see Splyce play will be in Madrid next week as the World Championship heads to Spanish shores, where they will face the number one seed from either group A, C or D. Hopefully, they we will be able to extend their miracle run and keep the Splyce flag flying.