What Happened in the EU LCS?

Last week, we shared our quick gut impressions of the LCS rosters announced for 2016. Now that we’ve had time to analyze them a bit more, let’s take a more in-depth look at each team and figure out which players we really want to focus on targeting when Fantasy LCS contests kick off later this week!

Up first, we’re parsing through Europe’s finest squads, who will start playing on Thursday, January 14! You can see the full player rosters and regional power rankings in this post.

Elements

What a mess. They formed their squad at the last minute, forcing them to just drag in whatever players were leftover from other teams. Two are brand new to the LCS entirely. The only members who have played together before this are the top laner and ADC, two positions with little synergy. It’s hard to see this team having any success, but if they do, it’ll be entirely on the shoulders of those two players, who showed some promise on Team Roccat.

Players to Watch: MrRallez (ADC), Steve (Top)

Fnatic

It’s hard to doubt Fnatic at this point. Last year, they took one veteran and 4 rookies through a completely undefeated LCS season and deep into Worlds. This year, they’re starting over again, but have the insanely strong core of Rekkles and Febiven to build off of. The other players are more known quantities this year, though, and what we know actually limits our expectations. Gamsu struggled on Dignitas last year, but Spirit and Noxiak both shows some signs of greatness on their previous teams.

Players to Watch: Febiven (Mid), Rekkles (ADC), Spirit (Jungle)

G2 Esports

The thing I like about this team is that most of them have played together for awhile, which should them beat other teams for the first few weeks. But, there are definite signs for concern. Role swaps have a history of failing in the LCS, and Kikis (former UOL jungler) moving to top lane here is confusing at best. Their two Korean pickups, Emperor and Trick, both underperformed on their former teams. I think they’ll do well early on thanks to synergy, but drop off as other teams with more talent catch up on synergy.

Players to Watch: Kikis (Top), Trick (Jungle)

Giants Gaming

I like this roster more now than I did when I first looked at it. Pepiinero is still in prime fight form and the two player additions, Atom and Kou look like definite upgrades on paper. Kou, in particular, has achieved great things over the past year in the Challenger scene, on multiple teams. Giants have shown flashes of greatness in past Splits. If anyone can step up and help carry the team alongside Pepii, they’ll be a real threat.

Players to Watch: Pepiinero (Mid), Kou (Jungle)

H2K Gaming

Get hyped! This is easily the most exciting roster in EU right now. We all know about Fnatic and Origen, but this is the team with unlimited potential. They’re smart players with top-tier mechanics, and their first appearance at IEM Cologne was very reassuring. They kept H2K’s coach, Prolly, who did great work with the team last season. Looking at their competition in the region, I don’t see how this team can fail. They should get an easy top-3 placement.

Players to Watch Forgiven (ADC), Ryu (Mid), Jankos (Jungle)

Origen

If I had to bet everything I owned on a single LCS team, I wouldn’t hesitate. I’d pick Origen, and then take out a big loan and place another bet on them. This squad looked amazing last year, and they only made one roster change: PowerofEvil in the mid lane. That’s a pure 100% upgrade, especially for fantasy, thanks to his proactive playstyle that’ll make sure he gets plenty of blood on his hands as he helps gets his teammates snowballing.

Players to Watch: All of them. Seriously.

Splyce

This is probably the hardest team to predict in EU. They’re a strong Challenger team (formaly named Dignitas.EU) that only made one roster change during the off-season. We know they play well together and were in line with the top Challenger teams, but I didn’t see anything in their play that makes me confident they can topple the best EU teams. On the other hand, there are plenty of disorganized teams at the bottom of the rankings that they can destroy. Odds are that they’ll be unexcitingly average.

Players to Watch: Kobbe (ADC)

Team Roccat

The good news: They, technically, tried to form a team. I’m encouraged by the organization’s insistence that they’ll be supporting this team and trying to continue their presence in the LCS. But it’s hard to get excited about this crusty old-timer roster. Fredy at least has had success on tanky top lane champions, which look to be the go-to in the current meta. Airwaks has had some decent fantasy seasons, but has never been better than a bench-warmer. Everyone else has fantasy leprosy.

Players to Watch: Fredy (Top), Airwaks (Jungle)

Team Vitality

If you’re looking for sleeper picks in EU, this is your best bet. It’s a new team name and roster, but everyone here has been decent fantasy performers in the LCS before on other teams, and I think they’ll work well together. They’ll need Kasing and Hjarnan to step up as leaders, since they’ve played together, and have proven they can consistently carry from the bot lane. If you’re going to rely on anyone here as an important draft pick, make sure it’s those two.

Players to Watch: Hjarnan (ADC), Kasing (Support)

Unicorns of Love

If you’re feeling risky, this is your sleeper team instead. No one on this team is top in their position, but they all have a ton of experience and are competent at the LCS level. Vizicsacsi has shown proficiency on the tanky champions that’ll likely be the bread-and-butter picks this split, and Diamond was one of the best junglers in the world at one point. I’m not sure they’ll be able to gel together as a team, but they have a lot to prove so you know they’ll be motivated.

Players to Watch: Vizicsacsi (Top), Diamond (Jungle)

The closest Josh Augustine ever got to going pro in esports was beating his older brother at Street Fighter. He works as a game designer at Daybreak Games. He’d love to talk with you on Twitter.