Despite dismantling Fnatic in the quarterfinals, Splyce proved too strong for H2K to make it all the way to the final in front of the Polish crowd. It was close, however: we scraped silver as the series went the distance, with H2K taking games 1 and 3, giving Splyce a real scare before the second seed kicked into high gear, taking two games in a row to close out the series. With this narrow defeat, H2K lost out on a finals appearance once again as they faltered at the final hurdle for the fourth time in a row.
G2 Esports proved too strong in the end for Unicorns of Love, cutting off their chances of automatic Worlds qualification. Asking a team that barely scraped into the sixth position in the regular season to take out the reigning champions and first seed was ambitious, but they made it closer than it potentially should have been. Unicorns came close in game 1, won game 2 and came close again in game 3, before falling apart in the fourth and final game. Nevertheless, they showed their potential, and H2K cannot take them for granted.
H2 WHAT? H2-3
Losing to Splyce in such a close series means crushing disappointment for H2K, especially considering what was on the line. Had they won, H2K would have auto-qualified for Worlds along with G2. Now they must win to keep any hopes of auto-qualifying alive, while hoping G2 win the final, thus ensuring H2K qualify with the most championship points. An H2K loss to the Unicorns guarantees Splyce a Worlds spot via championship points.
Despite H2K’s strong start in this epic best-of-five series, nobody doubted by the end who was the stronger team. H2K did not adapt their drafts sufficiently over the course of the series and allowed Splyce’s top laner Martin “Wunder” Hansen to dominate on Gnar four games in a row. H2K mid-laner Sang-wook “Ryu” Yoo also played Vladimir four games in a row, losing three of them, and H2K jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski could not perform consistently on Rek’Sai over the five games he played on it. H2K and coach Neil “Pr0lly” Hammad surely rued their choices in the draft phase as Splyce dominated them in game 5.
Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou struggled to impact the series in any meaningful way, playing Lucian in games 1 and 5 (one win, one loss) and Ashe in games 2, 3 and 4 (one win, two losses). It’s hard not to feel that H2K limited FORG1VEN’s potential by forcing him onto a utility pick in three of the five games, especially after dismantling Fnatic in the 2v2 lane in the quarterfinals. Sivir was open in games 4 and 5, an easy pick if H2K wanted it considering they played on blue side in all five games, but instead they prioritised the Gangplank for Odoamne.
Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu did not show the same form that saw him slaughter Fnatic’s Mateusz “Kikis” Szkudlarek repeatedly in the quarterfinals, and handily lost the 2v2 matchup to Wunder’s Gnar in two of the three games he played the matchup. Though it is a notoriously tough match-up for Gangplank, we saw in NA how the best top-laners avoid getting punished heavily, something Odoamne could not do. Gangplank is incredibly strong, but can be exposed if the player cannot overcome his bad matchups, as was the case for Odoamne. He won’t have it any easier vs Tamás “Vizicsacsi” Kiss either, the Unicorns top-laner plays a fearsome Gnar himself. For this series, H2K must consider dropping Gangplank, or give Odoamne the resources to carry.
NO SMOOTH MOVES
Unicorns of Love made a valiant effort against spring split champions G2, but ultimately could not pull off one of the biggest upsets in EU LCS history. Their chances of qualifying for Worlds are not over yet, however they will have to grind their way through the gauntlet against Giants, Fnatic and H2K/Splyce should they lose this match. That’s as tough a road to Worlds as any, and they would not be favourites to make it there in that scenario. Unicorns relied on veteran top-laner Vizicsacsi and rookie mid-laner Fabian “Exileh” Schubert to mount their challenge against G2, and both performed admirably over the course of the series. They solo-killed their lane opponents, Dae-han “Expect” Ki and Luka "Perkz" Perković respectively, multiple times and were the keys to a Unicorns victory. Alas, as with most teams that come up against G2, Unicorns jungler Min-su “Move” Kang could not contend with G2’s Kang-yun "Trick" Kim whatsoever.
Trick was the difference between the teams this series, completely out-pressuring and out-playing Move throughout the entire series. The fact that it was so close up until the final game should be encouraging for the Unicorns, they have some talented players on their team. Move, however, really needs to find some consistency in his play if he wants to be a top jungler. Too often we see Move fall behind in the jungle, a scenario made ever the more infuriating for Unicorns fans when we see Move doing well, because he then shows his potential.
Move must perform to a higher standard if the Unicorns are to have any hope of beating H2K in this match and earning a less difficult run in the gauntlet. Jankos will be playing in front of his home crowd, however, and that will only spur his will to succeed and give his team every chance of earning a guaranteed Worlds spot. Once again it’s a big ask for the Unicorns to take this series, but if they can leverage Vizicscasi and Exileh again, and Move plays out of his mind, they have every chance of succeeding.
HOPES ON THE LINE
The EU LCS summer split draws to a close this weekend in Kraków, and Saturday’s third-place match between H2K and Unicorns of Love isn’t just a warm-up act. H2K’s hopes of an automatic Worlds spot ride on this series, and if Unicorns want to have a serious chance of qualifying through the gauntlet they must secure third place in Kraków. Tune in on Saturday at 17:00 CST as we kick off the EU LCS summer split finals in Kraków!