Misfits joins EU LCS leaders with win over Vitality

Misfits on Saturday joined a group of 3-1 teams at the top of the European League Championship Series that includes Team Vitality, Giants, and ROCCAT. Riot Games

Misfits 1, Vitality 0

Misfits displaced the dynamic on Vitality with a dominating 31-minute win on Saturday in the European League of Legends Championship Series.

Vitality had won each of its three outing thus far in the Spring Split, and it started this game by showing how it had managed to do so. With unrelenting pressure from all angles, the team managed to push all the way to an unheard of 18-minute inhibitor secure -- the fastest of the split by 10 minutes -- along with six towers. It looked like Vitality would once again defy the odds and walk away with a fourth straight victory to remain undefeated. Misfits had other things to say about that, however.

It simply looked as though Vitality got a bit ahead of itself with the strong start, as Misfits showed its veteran presence, completely flipping the game on its head. That change began when Misfits jungler Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian stole the Baron right out from under Vitality's noses with his Kha'Zix, snowballing into a stunning turnaround thanks to unrelenting damage from AD carry Steven "Hans sama" Liv's Kog'Maw. His damage allowed Misfits to win teamfight after teamfight as the game progressed, completely shutting Vitality out of the game. From the Baron steal on, Misfits owned a 13-to-1 advantage in terms of kills while also preventing Vitality from taking any more towers or inhibitors. Vitality is surely one of the best teams in the region, but it has some room to grow when it comes to standing up against the veterans of EU.

Misfits will look to make it four straight when it faces Fnatic at 4 p.m. ET next Friday, while Vitality hope for a bounce back win against FC Schalke 04 at 2 p.m. ET the same day.

--Wyatt Donigan

Giants Gaming 1, H2k Gaming 0

Giants Gaming (3-1) opened Saturday's slate of games in the European League of Legends Championship Series with a quick win over H2k Gaming (1-3).

With the Giants drafting a late-game focused team composition, the onus was on H2k to build up a lead in the early game to keep Giants from running away once the late game hit. From the start, it looked as though H2k was ready to do just that. Jungler Lucas Tao "Santorin" Kilmer Larsen's Jarvan IV picked up an early first blood on Giants mid laner Felix "Betsy" Edling's Azir, which eventually led to three kills for the H2k side before 20 minutes had passed. Despite having three kills, H2k hadn't managed to build much of a gold lead, which kept the team right where Giants wanted it.

Once Giants had farmed enough and gotten the necessary items to build Betsy and AD carry Pierre "Steeelback" Medjaldi's Kog'Maw into massive late game threats, that was just about all she wrote. Giants put its foot on the gas pedal, pushed for Baron, picked up said Baron along with a kill before rushing into the H2k base, laying waste to everything in its path. One last teamfight inside H2k's base, led by a double kill from Betsy, was all Giants needed to easily lock up the game in just over 30 minutes to give the team a surprising 3-1 record after two weeks.

H2k will be looking to bounce back from two straight losses with a match against the Unicorns of Love at 12 p.m. ET next Friday, while Giants will hope to make it three in a row at 1 p.m. ET next Saturday.

--Wyatt Lyles

Team ROCCAT 1, Unicorns of Love 0

Team ROCCAT continued its strong start to the 2018 European League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split with a dominating win over the Unicorns of Love on Saturday.

While both teams drafted plenty of engage options in this contest, only one team managed to put these compositions to use. UoL AD carry Samuel "Samux" Fernandez Fort may have gotten first blood with his Kalista, but that ended up being just one of the two kills the team picked up all game long. The second kill came at the 13-minute mark and did manage to give UoL a sizeable gold lead and momentum going into the mid game. Just a few minutes later, however, ROCCAT flipped the game on its head with strong teamfighting throughout the second half of the game.

The avalanche started when ROCCAT jungler Jonas "Memento" Elmarghichi's Jax found two kills in the bottom lane at 16 minutes, and the decimation didn't let up until UoL's Nexus fell at the 31-minute mark. In that 15-minute span, ROCCAT teamfought with no mercy, racking up 11 kills and zero deaths during its push to victory. Leading the way was mid laner Jin "Blanc" Seong-min's Azir and AD carry Martin "HeaQ" Kordmaa's Caitlyn, who racked up a combined 47,000 damage throughout the dominating win. UoL simply seemed too cautious and unsure of how to deal with the amount of damage coming from the ROCCAT side, often giving aways tons of free damage before fights even got underway. While UoL remain the only winless team and continue to look like shells of the playoff team from Summer 2017, ROCCAT looks like a whole new beast ready to contend with the best teams of the EU LCS.

ROCCAT will put its three-game streak up against Giants Gaming's own three-game streak at 1 p.m. ET on Friday, while the Unicorns of Love will hope to get its first win against H2k Gaming at 12 p.m. ET the same day.

--Wyatt Donigan

Splyce 1, Schalke 04 0

Splyce's game plan of drafting for the late game paid off with a victory over Schalke 04 on Day 2, Week 2 of the European League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split in Berlin.

With both teams drafting for the late game, the laning phase mainly consisted of farming creeps until it was time to push for objectives. While creep score was close on both sides, Splyce's jungler Andrei "Xerxe" Dragomir was first to break the farm fest as his Zac successfully ganked top and bottom lane. The two kills that Splyce secured as a result only slightly made up for its small CS deficit, making the mid game fights extremely close.

While Splyce picked up the first two kills, it was Schalke who would push ahead, thanks to a 1-3-1 split push that netted multiple turrets and two Baron's, which were snagged with hardly any interference.

However Schalke's teamfighting struggles were its downfall, as it struggled to find solid engages. Instead of capitalizing on the objective control, Schalke soon found itself clamoring back to its base, forced to clear minion waves while Splyce nibbled away at its opposition's base. After securing its first Baron kill of the game, Splyce needed just one more extended teamfight to finish out Schalke, as AD carry Kasper "Kobbe" Kobberup's Caitlyn earned a pentakill on the way to a 6/1/4 KDA.

Schalke 04 will challenge the upstarts of Vitality on Friday at 12 p.m. ET while Splyce next clash with G2 Esports afterwards at 1 p.m. ET.

--Wyatt Donigan

Fnatic 1, G2 Esports 0

An action-packed game concluded Week 2 of the European League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split as Fnatic took down G2 Esports in Berlin.

Perhaps most surprising about Fnatic's win was the way in which it succeeded. Normally a team that excels in the early game, having averaged a 2,000-gold lead by the 15-minute mark through the first three games of the season, Fnatic struggled to handle early aggression from G2 as it funneled ganks into the top lane. The subsequent kill and turret leads helped G2 earn a slight gold lead and forced Fnatic to turtle into its base, only to expand its reach after achieving a bit of map control.

The only reason Fnatic managed to gain that map control was because of multiple mistakes from G2, as the normally stout lineup got caught out of position multiple times in the middle of the map. However these opportunities where sometimes wasted by Fnatic. After picking off G2's bottom lane duo, Fnatic quickly rotated over to kill Baron, but was only able to secure one turret in the ensuing power play. The side lanes were quickly abandoned as both teams vied for control over Baron, with the pivotal buff looming as a game-clinching objective.

The deciding late game fight went in Fnatic's favor thanks to the mid laner Rasmus "Caps" Winther's Azir who had made clutch Shurima Shuffles throughout the comeback. Caps often caught just the right targets for the rest of his teammates to delete in teamfights, and on top of that, also managed to sneak Elder Dragon and Baron kills late that aided in the winning push, making him an easy choice for the Player of the Game honors.

G2 Esports squares off on the Rift next against Splyce on Friday at 1 p.m. ET, while Fnatic look for another win, this time against Misfits Gaming later that day at 2 p.m. ET.

--Ben Wong