The Unicorns came as close as they ever have to a spot on the Worlds stage, but couldn’t fully complete the gauntlet run. Despite decisive wins over Giants and Fnatic, Splyce proved too strong for the Unicorns over five games. The closeness of the series testifies to Unicorns’ improvement over the course of the playoffs, considering they were up against the regular season and playoffs runners-up.
Read on for a match-by-match breakdown of the EU LCS Regional Qualifiers.
Unicorns 3 - 0 Giants
The 2016 EU LCS Regional Qualifiers began with an EU LCS quarterfinals rematch between regular season 3rd-place finishers Giants, and 6th-place finishers Unicorns of Love. Just like in the playoffs, the Unicorns began their run with a decisive victory over Giants, this time winning three games unanswered. Unicorns continued the impressive form that saw them go toe-to-toe with G2 and H2K in the playoffs, but Giants looked like a shell of a team. Internal issues caused Giants to forgo scrims in the lead-up to the tournament, and they certainly looked like a team that had lost the belief that it could progress to Worlds.
Unicorns dominated the first game of the series, as mid-laner Exileh solo-killed Rookie of the Split NighT repeatedly. Game 2 was a decidedly different affair, however, as Giants brought back a glimpse of the form that saw them finish 3rd in the EU LCS regular season. It didn’t matter in the end, however, as Giants proceeded to throw two major fights in a row, handing the Unicorns the victory while still at a 3,000 gold deficit. Unicorns returned to form in game 3, closing out the series in just 25 minutes as Veritas condemned solo queue to a week of Vaynespotting with his pocket Vayne pick. With this victory, the Unicorns earned a place in the next round of the gauntlet against Fnatic.
Fnatic 0 - 3 Unicorns
Though Giants did not prove to be a tough test for the Unicorns, many expected Fnatic to finally recover from their slump and put on a good showing against the Unicorns. The former Worlds semifinalists struggled in the last few weeks of the regular season, dropping from 2nd place to 5th and picking up former G2 top-laner Kikis. They had three weeks to practice after crashing out of playoffs against H2K, but Unicorns are no pushovers, as Fnatic soon found out.
Unicorns continued their charge, dismantling Fnatic in game 1 and dumpstering Febiven. Game 2 was much closer, and it was Kikis’ turn to bring out the solo-queue pick Yasuo, but Veritas proved too strong on Sivir and Unicorns closed the game out after taking all three inhibitors. Unicorns closed out the series with game 3, a tale of two supports: YellOwStaR went full troll, while Hylissang led the Unicorns on a magical journey to the gauntlet final.
Splyce 3 - 2 Unicorns
After sweeping aside Giants and Fnatic, one final boss remained: Splyce. The Danish wonderboys (featuring Mikyx) were coming off a crushing defeat at the hands of G2 in the EU LCS Summer Final in Kraków, and the gauntlet offered the last chance for either team to make it to Worlds. With two of Europe’s best top-laners on show, and a battle between rookie mid-laners as support act, the chances of this series being an easy 3-0 for either team were slim to none, and the series came down to the wire.
Splyce beat the Unicorns convincingly in game 1. Vizicsacsi’s Renekton pick did not have the impact he wanted and was easily countered by Wunder’s Kennen. Unicorns recovered for game 2, taking a 34-minute victory before a mammoth 60-minute, back-and-forth game 3 eventually went Splyce’s way. Hylissang brought back the Bard for game 4, as Splyce’s bot lane crumbled under the power of Meeps before a pre-game rendition of the tune Silver Scrapes got everybody’s adrenaline flowing for game 5. The final game was all Splyce, until some late-game throws resurrected the Unicorns’ hopes momentarily. Thankfully for Splyce’s coach YamatoCannon, his tears signified joy and not sadness, as Splyce eventually emerged victorious from a hectic, entertaining series, and earned their spot as EU’s third seed at Worlds!
The Road to Worlds
With every Worlds team now confirmed, we look to Saturday’s Group Draw Show to see which teams EU’s best must compete against on the Worlds stage, beginning with the Group Stages in San Francisco on 29th of September. Tune in to the show live on Saturday at 20:00 CEST to catch the draw! Check out the graphic below to see which teams from around the world EU LCS Gauntlet winners Splyce could face in San Francisco.
North America - NA LCS
- 1ST Seed - TSM
- 2ND Seed - Counter Logic Gaming
- 3RD Seed - Cloud9
Europe - EU LCS
- 1ST Seed - G2
- 2ND Seed - H2K
- 3RD Seed - Splyce
Korea - LCK
- 1ST Seed - ROX Tigers
- 2ND Seed - SKTelecom T1
- 3RD Seed - Samsung Galaxy
China - LPL
- 1ST Seed - Edward Gaming
- 2ND Seed - Royal Never Give Up
- 3RD Seed - I May
Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan - LMS
- 1ST Seed - Flash Wolves
- 2ND Seed - ahq e-Sports Club
International Wildcard Qualifiers
- INTZ e-Sports (Brazil)
- Albus NoX Luna (Russia)