H2K punched its ticket to the European League of Legends Championship Series regional gauntlet finals on Saturday with a hard-fought 3-2 series win over Unicorns of Love in Berlin.
After a lackluster exit from the Summer Split playoffs, H2K managed a sweep of Splyce in its first gauntlet matchup, but the team struggled against a Unicorns of Love lineup that lost plenty of its punch as the aforementioned split dwindled on. To UoL's credit, it looked much better than the team that got swept by Misfits Gaming a few weeks ago in the playoffs, but it wasn't enough to stop H2K from moving on to a Sunday showdown with Fnatic.
Unicorns took an early edge in Game 1 after sending several members to harass H2K early, with UoL mid laner Fabian "Exileh" Schubert securing first blood as Cassiopeia. H2K's attempt to respond was repelled by UoL AD carry Samuel "Samux" Fernandez-Fort, who picked up a double kill as Tristana. Those kills gave UoL's potent teamfighting composition all the resources it needed to snowball ahead.
H2K started showing life late into Game 2. Jungler Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski had a much better performance as Sejuani, locking down UoL and giving H2K control of the map after a tumultuous early game.
From there, the series devolved into a battle between Samux and his H2K counterpart at AD carry, Sin "Nuclear" Jeong-hyeon. Nuclear got the upper hand in Game 3 as Sivir thanks to resource-building from the rest of H2K so he could scale up into a late-game nightmare. With Ricochet criticals bouncing throughout UoL in teamfights, it didn't take long for Nuclear to take over; he posted a 9/0/4 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) for 74 percent kill participation in the win.
Samux got his hands on Tristana, his best champion, for Game 4, though. With support from his teammates, Samux and UoL ripped through H2K with a surprising amount of ease and forced the series to Game 5.
After a game prolonged by cautious play, H2K figured out UoL's tactics, shut down its Ivern and kept its 2017 world championship dreams alive. Although H2K looked far from the intimidating regular-season squad that took first place in its group during the EU LCS, its teamfighting and composure in tense late-game scenarios stood strong in the end, despite Jankos failing to establish vision control early.
Now, all that remains is a rematch against Fnatic to determine which European squad will join G2 Esports and Misfits as the region's representatives at Worlds. The match will take place at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday.