EU LCS Week 8 Preview | LoL Esports
EU LCS Week 8 Preview
With over 12 games to watch on Week 8, the EU LCS teams are on the home stretch, racing desperately to claim or defend their rankings as the relegation series swiftly approaches. With only three weeks left, only Fnatic can breathe a little easier, with a solid win/loss buffer to ensure their grasp on the rank one crown. The same cannot be said for SK Gaming or EG Raidcall, as pressure mounts to excel and improve or be buried by a win streak from the rapidly improving bottom four teams.
But before they can worry about getting hunted by wolves or giants, they first have to worry about their more immediate rivalries.
We've been down this road before, right? The landmarks certainly seem familiar. The SK vs Fnatic throwdown is one of the most venerable conflicts in European esports , two organizations that have shot, blasted and zapped each other since first-person shooters were the games du jour. EG Raidcall versus Gambit BenQ is an almost equally classic parallel, stemming from their long-standing Season 2 rivalries.
Is it just a coincidence that these two match-ups are back to back on the first day of Week 8, just as it was in Week 1? Maybe, but it sure makes for good esports. Even as Fnatic has a safe margin, SK's not going to let them rest easy, eager as they are to displace Gambit BenQ from the #2 spot.
In fact, the Russians are under siege this week. It's not just SK seeking to undermine them , as both Evil Geniuses and Fnatic are hammering on their front gates this week. And just a little behind the both of them, the Copenhagen Wolves are circling, eager to test their mettle once again. Alex Ich didn't fare too well against Bjergsen's aggressive assault last time, though Gambit's better coordination won out in the end.How well they'll fare this time is anybody's guess.
Of course, this being Gambit BenQ, it's usually a mistake to bet against them. They've proven, time and time again, that not only is it fiendishly difficult to win against them in the first place, but also that losing only makes them bounce back harder.
Proof of Valor
Though the Ozone GIANTS have wavered in the bottom four ranks, they are the only team in the EU LCS that can claim to have a winning record against Gambit BenQ – a boast that even EG Raidcall cannot make, at least until after their Week 8 match. But that impressive claim is tempered by a plague of inconsistencies, and though they've proven capable of sniping out games from the top teams, their match against the late-blooming Copenhagen Wolves will put their resolve to the test.
It is particularly worth keeping track of the Wolves' progress, as they've become the Cinderella story of the EU circuit. Without their alpha leader Bjergsen, the team was a disorganized mess. Though their early games showed individual promise, the lack of coherent strategy started them with an overwhelming nine-game loss streak – the worst suffered by any team on either LCS circuit.
But the difference between the Wolves' pre- and post-Bjergsen era is like night and day, as their most-recent game against Gambit BenQ demonstrated. Though it would result in a loss for the Wolves, it was not without impressive showings, with Alex Ich outplayed by Bjergsen and both teams toe-to-toe on kills before Gambit's better objective control slashed down the Wolves' ambitions. With the Wolves' thirst for Russian blood not yet slaked, they will be facing off again in a grudge match on Sunday – the very last game of Week 8, and one that should absolutely not be missed.
Meanwhile, with the Wolves on the rise, somebody had to take their place at the bottom of the ladder. The Dragonborns' most recent game against GIANTS forced an unwelcomed mantle onto them, adopting Copenhagen's ignoble nine-game loss streak as their own. Their successes against SK Gaming and EG Raidcall earlier in the season has since been overshadowed, and EU's mad mavericks now merely look befuddled.
Their recent acquisitions of Dexter1 and YamatoCannon, bumping the latter up from substitute status, were last-minute bids for redemption. But with Dexter1 replaced once more by Malunoo, it appears the change was all for naught. Though it might be too late to improve their rankings in any substantial manner, improving their team cohesion may as yet allow them to retain their spot in the league.
The EU LCS has famously demonstrated that the difference between their top and bottom teams are primarily a matter of consistency, not skill, and that a shocking upset is just around the corner. Will Shushei spearhead his team's recovery? Or will they yet again fall victim to the Copenhagen uprising?
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