The week of Feb. 12 – 18 was a bit less hectic than usual because of the lull in the Overwatch League, caused by the end of the first stage of its inaugural season. It all goes back to business this week, however, with the start of Stage Two. That doesn’t mean that nothing happened, though. With the StarLadder & i-League StarSeries Season 4 and League of Legends Championship Series games going on all over the world, there were enough matches for even the most hardcore fan.
StarLadder & i-League StarSeries Season 4
First, let’s get one thing out of the way—while best of 3 series in a Swiss tournament structure give a certain amount of certainty about which team is truly stronger, that doesn’t matter that much when scheduling requires two matches be held at mostly the same time. StarSeries forces fans to choose which match they want to watch more and that’s not cool.
Of course, you can watch both matches but that just results in you not fully enjoying either of the games.
Aside from that, the beginning of StarSeries Season 4 had some great matches and, shall we say, interesting results.
The most hotly contested fights in Round 1 of the tournament were Fnatic vs. Gambit in Denis “seized” Kostin’s debut on the team, mousesports vs. Virtus.pro with Michał “MICHU” Müller appearing on VP for the first time, and Astralis vs. Team Liquid, where Emil “Magisk” Reif debuted on his new team.
Despite seized playing quite well on Gambit, Fnatic came out victorious in the end, winning the series 2-1. Virtus.pro lost to mousesports 1-2 with MICHU trying and succeeding to show everyone that he deserves a spot on the Polish goliath CS:GO team. Astralis was the only team going through a high-profile roster move to win their first round of Swiss in the tournament, against reigning newly-updated Team Liquid nonetheless.
As for the rest of the matches, they went more or less like one would expect. Cloud9 won against Heroic, SK Gaming defeated MVP.PK, FaZe Clan 2-0ed TyLoo, G2 Esports won against Renegades, and Na’Vi proved to be the stronger CIS team against HellRaisers.
In Round 2, we had a couple of upsets. TyLoo not only won but 2-0ed Fnatic, mousesports actually managed to win against SK Gaming 2-1. In fact, most of the games in Round 2 went to the third map bar three. FaZe Clan had their revenge against Cloud9 for the ELEAGUE Major Grand Finals, Heroic knocked HellRaisers up the head quickly, and TyLoo won against Fnatic, as we mentioned before.
In the more hotly contested matches, aside from the 2-1 series between mouze and SK, Na’Vi knocked down one more CIS team in Gambit, G2 surprised a little bit by winning against Astralis, despite their leader Richard “shox” Papillon wrist problems, with shox even being the second best performing player on the team in the stats line, Virtus.pro proved that they aren’t totally hopeless against MVP.PK, and Team Liquid won against Renegades despite having some trouble somehow.
League of Legends Championship Series
The NA LCS continues to be The Twilight Zone. Echo Fox is still at the top of the standings with a dominating 9-1 scoreline, which does not meet what was expected of them before the Split began. In 2nd place, we have Cloud9 with 8-2, followed by 6-4 Team Liquid and, surprisingly, Clutch Gaming. 100 Thieves are falling from their exciting start of the season with 5-5, followed by 4-6 FlyQuest and Team SoloMid. The bottom of the table is rounded out by 3-7 CLG and OpTic and 2-8 Golden Guardians.
These… surprising standings ended up like that after an 0-2 week by Team SoloMid where they lost to both Clutch and Cloud9, Echo Fox going 2-0 against Cloud9 and 100 Thieves. It certainly seems that Echo Fox has finally arrived to the top of the NA standings and are planning to stay there for as long as possible. The brand was always attractive, only held back by the roster that Just. Kept. Losing. Now, when the team is finally winning, more people will probably start rooting for them, which can only be a good thing.
The EU LCS continues to be separated into chunks of teams with the same record. At the top, we now have three 7-3 teams, Vitality, Fnatic and G2 Esports. This situation developed after Team Vitality lost both matches this week, against H2k-Gaming and G2 Esports. On the other hand, Fnatic and G2 Esports shot up after winning both games against FC Schalke 04 and Splyce in Fnatic’s and Vitality and Misfits in G2’s case.
After the top 3, we have four teams with 5-5 scores, Giants Gaming, Misfits, Splyce, and Team ROCCAT. The bottom of the standings belongs to FC Schalke 04 with 4-6, H2k-Gaming with 3-7, and the 2-8 Unicorns of Love.
From the beginning, this split of the EU LCS was quite even. We can only hope it will not continue to be so for the next five weeks. While it does mean that anything could happen in the future when several teams are close to each other at all times, it interferes with our view of the world :D.
What’s Up This Week?
This week, the StarLadder & i-League StarSeries Season 4 Swiss Group Stage continues with Round 3, 4 and 5, followed by the Playoffs, of course. The EU and NA LCS will also go on towards the end of the week. The Overwatch League will return with its Stage 2 and the first ever Polish Dota 2 Major, ESL One Katowice 2018, will be held, starting on Feb. 20.