Giants Gaming keep playoff hopes alive, H2K ends winless drought

Giants keep its playoff hopes alive. Provided by Riot Games

Giants 1, ROCCAT 0

Giants Gaming kept its playoff hopes alive Saturday, taking down Team ROCCAT to kick off Day 2 of Week 7 of the European League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split.

For Team ROCCAT (6-8), this was certainly not the way it wanted its 1-1 curse to end, taking its first 0-2 week of the split. To add insult to injury, this was a game ROCCAT should undeniably have been able to win. The first 25 minutes of the game revolved almost entirely around towers, and thanks to jungler Jonas "Memento" Elmarghichi's superb facilitation of lane pressure as Trundle, ROCCAT's solo lanes quickly got ahead and secured a 6-2 tower advantage. With three members snowballing ahead, and much more room on the map to work with, there's no reason ROCCAT shouldn't have taken home a win.

Unfortunately, sometimes all it takes to turn around a game in League of Legends is one single error. For ROCCAT, this came at 27-and-a-half minutes, when Giants mid laner Felix "Betsy" Edling's Yasuo was split-pushing in the bottom lane. Sensing an opportunity, ROCCAT pounced, with Memento assisting his top laner in killing off the enemy mid. This poor map positioning was all it took to hand the Baron right over to Giants Gaming (5-9).

After giving up the buff, ROCCAT quickly fell apart. The turret advantage it had fostered all game long slipped away, along with the gold lead it had provided. ROCCAT still made an effort to push into the Giants base, but it proved fatal, as Giants took the fight on its own territory and ran straight down bottom lane to end the game in 40 minutes.

With the win, Giants' hopes of edging out a playoff spot are still just barely alive, but it will have to triumph over Fnatic on Friday at 3 p.m. ET if it wants to keep them that way. ROCCAT, meanwhile, is also looking to jump back into playoff contention, and will kick off Friday with a match against Splyce at noon ET.

H2K 1, Splyce 0

H2k-Gaming ended its 13-game losing streak with a win over Splyce in Week 7, Day 2 of the European League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split.

H2k-Gaming (1-13) has brought its split-long losing streak to an end, narrowly avoiding a tie with the longest loss streak in EU LCS history, set by Origen in 2017. It was a surprising end to the matchup at that, as H2k's opening was par for the 0-13 course. An early death in the top lane to a tower dive was followed swiftly by two deaths in the enemy jungle on an ill-advised invade, giving a significant early advantage over to Splyce (7-7).

However, new blood proved to be the cure for H2k, as mid laner Emil "Larssen" Larsson had a solid LCS debut on Azir. Abusing his range advantage over the Orianna of Yasin "Nisqy" Dincer, he was able to amass a beefy CS advantage, as well as facilitate a 2-for-1 exchange around the mid lane in H2k's favor. A similar story was playing out in the top lane, as H2k top Lennart "Smittyj" Warkus was using Gnar to easily building up a farm lead over the Andrei "Odoamne" Pascu's melee champion in Rumble. H2k's pressure advantage across multiple lanes led to a tower lead, evening up the gold and allowing H2k a glimmer of hope.

That glimmer soon became a beacon, as mere map positioning allowed H2k to sneak a Baron at only 22 minutes. H2k's turret lead immediately began to snowball out of control, as Smittyj was able to draw a ton of map pressure through split-pushing. While the teamfights played out as sloppily as one might expect from a last-place team, the gold lead was sufficient to grant H2k the win in 36-and-a-half minutes.

Despite being long-since eliminated from playoffs, H2k can go into its 1:00 pm ET match on Friday against Misfits with newfound confidence. For Splyce, its playoff spot is ever more precarious, and it will need to avoid dropping to a tie with ROCCAT when the teams face off the same day at noon ET.

Vitality 1, Unicorns of Love, 0

Team Vitality closed out a 2-0 week in the European League of Legends Championship Series on Saturday with a win over the Unicorns of Love in Berlin.

With the end of the Summer Split looming, Team Vitality (9-5) is finding its form at just the right time, dispatching the Unicorns of Love (4-10) in dominant fashion. Newly acquired jungler Mateusz "Kikis" Szkudlarek was the catalyst for Vitality early on, ganking all three lanes before three minutes and securing first blood in the top lane. This early kill set up VIT top laner Lucas "Cabochard" Simon-Meslet's Jarvan IV nicely as he would dominate the game, building full damage and relentlessly tormenting UoL's vulnerable backline. Cabochard was so dominant that he held a 3,000-gold lead over UoL top laner Matti "WhiteKnight" Sormunen's Kennen at 15 minutes as VIT dominated early on. Vitality hit some snags in the mid game, with mid laner Daniele "Jizuke" di Mauro's Galio getting caught out repeatedly and the team not respecting the wombo potential of the Unicorns' team composition, but Cabochard and company eventually regained its footing, securing two Barons while finding pick after pick with its plethora of engage tools. With Cabochard leading the way with a 7/1/11 KDA (kills/deaths/assists), Vitality easily cruised to a win and continue to rise up the EU LCS rankings.

Meanwhile, the Unicorns of Love did what it could to stop hemorrhaging gold in the early game, and for the most part it looked fine. With a potent teamfighting composition consisting of Yasuo, Orianna, and an Alistar to set it all up, the Unicorns took a couple of mid game teamfights to shrink the gold lead from what was 7,000 early on to just over 2,000. Unfortunately, that wasn't anywhere near enough to allow WhiteKnight's split-pushing AD Kennen to deal with Cabochard, so it was all a moot point. The Unicorns might be able to win some games down the stretch if it can improve on its dismal early game but, at this point in the season, it's too little, too late.

Unicorns of Love next takes to the Rift to battle G2 Esports at 2 p.m. ET on Friday, followed by Vitality taking on FC Schalke 04 in a match with major playoff implications at 4 p.m. later that day.

Fnatic 1, G2 Esports 0

In the European League of Legends Championship Series Match of the Week, Fnatic demolished G2 Esports on Saturday, taking sole possession of second place in Berlin.

It was clear from the draft how Fnatic (10-4) wanted to play this marquee matchup: putting mid laner Rasmus "Caps" Winther on an aggressive carry champion in Yasuo and playing around him in mid game teamfights. Fnatic managed to pick up some early kills early, but still trailed G2 in the gold lead. Once the mid game came, though, Fnatic's strategy of everyone running at G2 and conga-lining in for kills worked to perfection. Teamfight after teamfight went Fnatic's way as it could do no wrong, from bottom lane carry Gabriel "Bwipo" Rau's Vladimir pumping out massive teamfighting damage to jungler Mads "Broxah" Brock-Pedersen using Sejuani to engage for the rest of his team and set up essentially free kills. Once Fnatic took control, there was no stopping this team as it took a 23-minute Baron to seize full control of the game. One quick 4-for-0 teamfight in G2's base later and Fnatic had knocked off the former Kings of Europe in around 27 minutes, securing a statement win as both teams try to jockey for playoff seeding.

The length of the game would suggest that G2 Esports (9-5) got rocked, and to be fair that's sort of what happened in the mid game, but G2 managed to stay competitive throughout the early game. Jungler Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski got the ball rolling as Nocturne early on, picking up a couple of kills while capitalizing on Caps' overaggressive tendencies, but couldn't convert that to a significant lead. Once the mid game hit, G2 simply dropped off, getting run down repeatedly without much by means of counter-play. Things might have gone better for G2 if mid laner Luca "Perkz" Perkovic didn't bungle his first couple of Command: Shockwaves as Orianna but it's unfair to pin the blame squarely on his shoulders. Not only did G2 spend bans on marksmen in the draft when Bwipo has only played mages and bruisers this split, but all of G2 rolled over and died when Fnatic's deathball team composition came online, which is an issue G2 will need to fix as it approaches the postseason or else risk sliding further down the standings.

G2 will look for redemption against Unicorns of Love at 2 p.m. ET on Friday, immediately followed by Fnatic taking on Giants Gaming at 3 p.m. ET.

FC Schalke 1, Misfits 0

FC Schalke 04 closed out Week 7 in the European League of Legends Championship Series with a critical win over Misfits Gaming on Saturday in Berlin.

With just two weeks left in the EU LCS, positioning at the top of the standings is becoming paramount. Schalke 04 (9-5) closed out a 2-0 week to earn a tie for third place, holding a 4-1 record in the second half of the Summer Split and eyeing a top-2 finish.

Both teams contributed to an early bloodbath but it was Schalke who came out ahead. While top laner Tamas "Vizicsacsi" Kiss struggled early as Gnar, getting repeatedly swarmed by the Misfits dogpile composition, the rest of his team picked up the slack. Mid laner Erlend "Nukeduck" Vatevik Holm and rookie bottom laner Elias "Upset" Lipp dealt massive damage as Vel'Koz and Lucian, respectively, set up beautifully by the potent frontline initiation power of Sejuani and Alistar. Ultimately, though, this was a team win. Making the correct mid game calls and taking control of the area around Baron, Schalke scaled up as the game went on and annihilated a discombobulated Misfits. While Schalke's Baron setups were questionable, to say the least, its teamfighting was as clean as you'd like, with Upset scoring a quadra kill in the closing moments of the game to put Schalke 04 on top.

Meanwhile, the Misfits hype train continues to fly off the tracks, finishing Week 7 with a 0-2 record, losing sole possession of first place in the process. Mid laner Chres "Sencux" Laursen continued his monumental slump in the second half of the Summer Split, failing to impress as Galio. Bottom laner Steven "Hans Sama" Liv played his first ever professional game as a mage in Vladimir and it showed, with Hans Sama getting solo-killed by Upset in the mid game and generally failing to make an impact in teamfights. Misfits did a decent job capitalizing on the split-pushing efforts of top laner Barney "Alphari" Morris' Camille in the mid game, but poor late game shotcalling led to Misfits collapsing under pressure. If Misfits wants to avoid falling out of the top-2 in the standings, it will need to get its act together in the face of several hungry teams looking to climb the rankings.

Misfits look to stop the slump when it takes on H2k-Gaming at 1 p.m. ET on Friday, while Schalke 04 faces another top team in Team Vitality at 4 p.m. ET later that day.