Photo: Riot Games

With only a couple of days left before the start of the 2018 EU LCS Summer Split, let’s take a closer look at this week’s matches! We’re entering Summer with the exact same ten teams from Spring so we have more than enough intel on all competing teams.

There are a couple of key factors that you should have in mind if you’re going to bet this week:

The meta
Coming into Summer there are some really big and pretty confusing meta shifts. With Riot’s balancing still being fresh, we’re witnessing a lot of “off-meta” picks and changes especially in the bottom and perhaps even mid lane. Some teams (as we’ve seen in the Chinese LPL a couple of days ago) are experimenting with picks like Mordekaiser mid and non-AD carries in the bottom lane.

Depending on how all of this goes over, prepare to see a lot more Yasuo/bruiser-centric picks in the bottom lane than before which is pretty exciting overall.

Once all of a sudden all these ADC players have to change their playstyles and adapt to a completely different type of champions in order to play the game at the most optimal level.

It’s also important to highlight that these teams don’t have a consensus on what’s the best and most optimal way to play right now. Because of this the first few weeks of play will be absolutely bonkers since every team will be trying to figure things out for themselves and perhaps even carve out a specific niche strategy.

With Riot’s changes to critical hit items like Infinity Edge, there are only a couple of ADC champions that can still be played at the highest possible level like Lucian, Kai’Sa and Ezreal. In other words, the ADC role has been blown wide open and every pick is fair game.

Be prepared for absolute insanity.

Off-season practice
The very first week of both Spring and Summer splits are almost always carte blanche. We only get the chance to see the very best team in the region go to the Mid-Season Invitational and battle it out with the strongest teams in the world. However for the other nine European teams we know next to nothing on how well their practice is going, how much improvement they made (if any) during the mid-season period and whether or not they’re entering the Summer Split with more or less confidence when compared to Spring.

Because of this when the split begins we will probably witness a ton of huge upsets and overall inconsistent play. After a couple of weeks go by though, things should stabilize.

Without any further ado let’s take a closer look at this week’s matches!

FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2018 – DAY 1

Team Vitality vs. Splyce
An incredibly exciting clash for sure, also a repeat of the third place match in Spring playoffs. Even though Vitality had the upper hand it was Splyce that adapted faster and showcased incredible mental fortitude. (as well as better drafting)

Splyce are entering Summer as the third best European team from Spring and they have a lot going for them. An insanely talented roster that has yet to reach it’s potential and some of the best players in their respective roles. However just how strong they can get remains to be seen as they were often inconsistent when it mattered the most. (that said they did pick up the pace as the split came to an end)

We’re going with Splyce on this one but not with full confidence. With no intel on how these teams prepared for the Summer Split we can only go by what we know from Spring and that’s the fact that Vitality doesn’t adapt that quickly to big meta swings whereas the Splyce boys have a very capable support staff, as well as many veteran players that will be able to clutch things out.

Winner: Splyce, 1.65 (odds @ Betway)

Giants Gaming vs. H2K

This is where things get complicated. Giants were quite a strong team last split however you could argue that the only reason why they were able to even contest for the playoffs was because of their strong late game teamfighting, and while that isn’t anything to scoff at, once the meta changed they essentially crumbled. Hard.

H2K on the other hand though improved with each passing week and when all was said and done they were a Top 5 team without a doubt – as surprising as that might seem. They put up a good fight against Vitality in the quarterfinals but it wasn’t enough. That said they’re entering Summer with a lot of momentum. The fact that they were able to improve so much over the course of just a couple of weeks is a testament to their work ethic and coaching staff and with a couple of changes to their playstyle they could pose quite a real threat.

The addition of Shook completely revitalized this roster so it will be exciting to see just how well they’ll play in Summer now that they had a couple of months to further gel and develop synergy.

Winner: H2K, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

Unicorns of Love vs. Schalke 04

If someone told you that Schalke would be near the very bottom of the standings after Spring Split concluded, you probably wouldn’t have believed them. And with good reason – there’s so much talent on that roster. They were supposed scrim beasts, but when it came to playing on the EU LCS stage in Berlin, they fumbled and failed almost every single time.

They were able to show glimpses of brilliance here and there and caused a fair share of upsets but it was never consistent. Coming into Spring they made just a single roster and that is in the jungle position – Amazing will be starting instead of Pride. Is that the change that will help Schalke turn things around?

Unfortunately not. Amazing simply isn’t playing at the highest possible level right now and we’ve seen what he can do during his short stint with Mysterious Monkeys. He brings a ton of experience and shotcalling but those virtues aren’t permanent and they degrade with time. Pride wasn’t really the shinning star on Schalke but he did good, even better than expected. In the end it seems like this roster will be one of those “super teams” that never really gelled that well.

As for the Unicorns they’re a different kind of beast. After an abysmal start to the Spring Split they were able to carve out a unique identity (as they almost always do) and quickly started playing like a Top 6 team. Unfortunately their start was way too bad and they couldn’t contest for the playoffs but at least they showed a lot of promising signs. They’re a fairly capable roster with some potential but if Exileh doesn’t step up then they’re destined to remain in the middle of the standings – at best.

The last time these two teams met was on March 3rd and the Unicorns took the win. Going into this match however it can really go either way. We’re going with Schalke 04 however as the Unicorns of Love are entering the first couple of weeks of Summer with a substitute in the ADC position. The loss of Samux will be a big one as he was their biggest catalyst more often than not. Schalke should by all means be more than capable enough to take down a weakened UOL roster.

Winner: Schalke 04, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

G2 eSports vs. ROCCAT

Will we see the rise of the G2 dynasty once again? Only time will tell. Coming into Spring they’re automatically predicted as a Top 3 team at worst and with good reason. They’re a very capable roster with a ton of potential. They have a chip on their shoulder coming into Summer and they want to retain their throne from Fnatic.

Roccat on the other hand is no slouch – far from it. Blanc and Memento proved to be more than just a formidable duo when they played in Spring however it was the rest of the team that was slacking behind. They reached the playoffs but they were without a doubt the weakest team among the Top 6.

We’re going with G2 on this one. They’re simply too strong regardless of the meta and Roccat did little over the course of Spring to warrant any benefit of the doubt against such a powerhouse.

Winner: G2 eSports, 1.45 (odds @ Betway)

Fnatic vs. Misfits

To finish off the first day of competition we have an incredibly exciting clash between Fnatic and the team that took just a single year between the Challenger Series and challenging SKT T1 to five games at Worlds – Misfits.

However if we’re going to judge from their level of play from Spring they’re far from their 2017 Worlds form.

They remain an enigma. You could never really deduce their real power level in Spring as they played like beasts in one match and then like a bottom tier team the very next day. After their sensational performance at 2017 Worlds everyone expected them to enter Spring as a Top 5 team at worst even with the two roster changes that they made.

That was far from the case as they ended the Spring Split as the seventh ranked team with a fairly unimpressive eight wins and ten losses.

That said it was always evident that they needed just a little bit more time to synergize and that their “final form” was constantly within reach.

Unfortunately regardless of their mid-season practice and hypothetical improvement, they’re up against Fnatic which is almost surely a loss barring any wild illogical drafting from the current kings of Europe.

Winner: Fnatic, 1.40 (odds @ Betway)

SATURDAY, JUNE 16, 2018 – DAY 2

ROCCAT vs. H2K

This match really depends on how both these teams perform on day one. H2K should have the edge overall but it’s too early to tell as ROCCAT are far from a weak team. That said when these teams concluded their Spring Split run they were on completely opposite trajectories – H2K was on the rise whereas ROCCAT failed to sustain a formidable level of play.

We’re going with H2K on this one, but not with full confidence.

Winner: H2K, 1.70 (odds @ Betway)

Misfits vs. Unicorns of Love

Regardless of how you spin things, Misfits should have the edge in this one. Even though they failed to leave a mark throughout the Spring Split they still showed glimpses of a top tier team, and were the only team that was able to outperform Fnatic on more than one occasion. They have a lot of work to do but the level of talent that’s present on this roster is undeniable and if they used their off-time accordingly they should be entering the Summer Split with a lot of momentum and confidence.

The Unicorns are no slouches either but we’re going to give Misfits the benefit of the doubt on this one.

Winner: Misfits, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

Giants Gaming vs. Team Vitality

If there is always one thing that Vitality didn’t lack it was confidence. They never doubted their team cohesion (even when they should’ve) and individual skill and against a middle-of-the-pack team like Giants that should be more than enough. Jiizuke (Rookie of the Split in Spring) is an absolute beast and their bottom lane even though they can feed at times is very formidable, perhaps even Top 3.

Betting on Team Vitality seems like the more logical choice. They want to start Summer off with a bang and this is the way to do it.

Winner: Team Vitality, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

Schalke 04 vs. Fnatic

Regardless of how well Schalke might look straight out the gates, there’s no way that they will be able to match Fnatic’s strength. With a new jungler they will need more time to fully synergize and adapt to Amazing’s playstyle and to make matters worse Fnatic has the best players in the region in essentially every single role.

Winner: Fnatic, 1.40 (odds @ Betway)

Splyce vs. G2 eSports

This is where things get very interesting, very quickly. Could Splyce “upset” G2? Absolutely – there’s no doubt about it. But because they failed to play at a consistent level throughout Spring and because G2 was able to step up and reach the finals, it’s hard to have full confidence in the Splyce boys – at least right now. The former kings of Europe are favored in this one and with good reason, but Splyce aren’t lacking at all, and have in fact shown more creative drafts and strategies in general which could be their path to victory.

Make sure to watch both teams on Friday to get a better idea on their power level because this could be a match where you could win big if you bet on the underdog.

Winner: Splyce, 2.20 (odds @ Betway)