After months of trials and tribulations, two teams have risen to the occasion, emerging as the European LCS finalists.
One team's presence was a foregone conclusion before the season even started, but the other managed to evolve and adapt during playoffs, exceeding everyone's expectations, including its own.
The signing of Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage's was one of the biggest acquisitions during the off-season, and many were able to sample what Origen could become at IEM San Jose, the final tournament of 2015.
The adaptation to the new season and new roster was a trying matter, but Origen overcame its initial jitters during playoffs, eventually becoming 'the team to beat' as previously stated on ESPN's offseason report cards.
Because of problems Origen underwent during the regular season, the team decided to reconnect with Enrique "xPeke" Cedeño Martinez. His return as a player marked the end of the adjustment period Origen underwent with PowerOfEvil, and it also marked a return to form--a timely return, as the playoffs loomed close.
Suddenly, the team was able to capitalize more frequently off Paul "sOAZ" Boyer's pressure on the side lanes, a tactic that persisted despite the recent shift in meta. Maurice "Amazing" Stückenschneider also quickly acclimated to the flavor picks of the week, adding more flexibility to how the team approached its lane swaps.
More importantly, the team didn't miss a beat, whether xPeke was on the sidelines or on Summoner's Rift. But despite the massive improvements, Origen was still coming in as the underdog against G2.
At least it was--until its playoff performance. Origen has since claimed first blood 63% of the time (with and without lane-swaps), a staggering 62% dragon control rate, and 75% of the initial Baron Nashor takedowns.
On the other side of the Rift, G2 has built synergy that has endured the test of time and competition. Through continuous adaptation to the meta, it has broken down the game to its simplest component: map pressure.
But the team never firmly stuck to the meta--instead, G2 optimized its team compositions depending on the opponent. Mateusz "Kikis" Szkudlarek is no stranger to adaptation and unconventional creativity with the Unicorns of Love in 2015, and he's found a continuation of this trend with G2, despite the roster shuffles.
When it comes to taking neutral objectives, G2 is one of the best. With a 75% first tower takedown rate, a 67% dragon control rate, and a 52.5% jungle share rate, the team is poised to resist early-game pressure. G2 can leverage its map pressure with vision to create picks, convert that into more objectives (like Baron Nashor, a prize it claimed 50% of the time during the regular season).
The team's strongest player is also the team's most decisive player: Luka "PerkZ" Perkovic's positioning in team fights has surprised and isolated overextended opponents numerous times. And with picks like Teleport Ryze and Lissandra, he has global map pressure. With that in mind, G2 can send in Kim "Trick" Gang-yun with the guarantee that PerkZ will follow suit no matter where his location is.
The match-up cannot be decided based on individual skill alone, since the players have fine-tuned different strengths: Kikis's sound teleport calls. sOAZ's continual lane pressure.
Amazing and Trick have different focuses--one leans towards ganking; the other would rather deprive his opponents of farm and towers.
Everything hinges on G2 and Origen's abilities to take advantage of each other's weak spots.
Origen needs to spot when G2's players select hard-scaling champions in a bid to take over the map slowly and steadily. In fact, Origen may choose to follow suit--playing G2's game for the long haul--or pick champions with lower scaling requirements like Fnatic did.
The two teams also need to be mindful of positioning. PerkZ is known for catching out glass cannons and blowing them up into smithereens while Zven has been the type of player to spiral out of control if left unattended. Plus, both frontlines will be hard-pressed to protect its precious damage asset.
If Origen claims the upper hand, G2 needs to play patiently and read the situation carefully, lest it falls into the same trap as it did against Fnatic during semifinals. Ultimately, the deciding factor is whether G2 and Origen are willing to fight--either in defense of an objective or as the aggressors--and how much each team is willing to invest in these skirmishes.