Week 1 of the LCS for both North America simply lived up to the hype. Riot proclaimed to the world that Season 3 would be bigger, better, and more exciting than ever and the first week set the stage for what will truly be a must-watch affair for even casual LoL fans.
12 of the 18 teams have already played a minimum of 2 games at the LCS. Only 1 of those 12 managed to go undefeated. Curse Gaming has come a long way in recent months, and is on top of North America after a 3-0 start to their season. They have wins over the likes of CLG (2-1) and Dignitas (1-2) already, and deserve to be considered the #1 team in North America right now.
Everything is clicking for the Curse boys, who had to fight their way through qualifiers to make it to Season 3, but have proven to be stronger for it. Saintvicious is on top of his game making plays in the jungle and forcing the issue while everyone else on the team has elevated their level of play. The team certainly has room to improve, but for a team that was always considered second tier after the likes of Dignitas and CLG, Curse has shown that hard work truly does pay off.
So who is the best team in Europe right now? 3 teams are tied on top of the standings at 2-1. EG, Fnatic, and SK Gaming all managed a winning record in the first week, but the European scene seems more muddled than ever.
The best team I saw over the weekend from Europe was SK Gaming. A year ago an SK team that lost another heart-breaker to Fnatic in the first game would have played on tilt the rest of the tournament. This iteration of SK showed resiliency and proved that their lead against Fnatic wasn't a fluke even if they didn't get the result they wanted. Kevin is performing well and the team isn't relying on Ocelote to make every single play any more and suddenly SK is frightening again. They'll have to stop throwing games against Fnatic at some point if they want to win the European LCS, but they seem to have EG's number of late.
A quick aside on Fnatic- they would have gotten this spot had they beaten Gambit to go 3-0 in the first week. Both of their wins were ugly, but they have a penchant for being clutch when it matters and that can carry a team fairly far. However, watching them of late it just seems like they miss Rekkles at ADC and rely on Xpeke to play out of his mind in order for them to win.
It's hard to talk about the bad without mentioning Dignitas' performance in the first week (1-2). This team has talent and the ability to be the best team in North America, but looked disjointed and unprepared in their first week. Their match against TSM especially was one of the biggest stomps of the weekend, and not many people thought it would be TSM who was wearing the boot in that game.
Even in their win against Vulcan, they jumped out to an early lead and then almost gave it all back with poor decisions. Dignitas had a week one where they just simply didn't perform to the level needed to be a top team, but that doesn't mean they will stay that way. Kiwkid showed his inexperience in top lane, but the only way for him to get better is to play in high pressure situations. Every team will likely have a week where they don't perform at the level they want in the LCS, and luckily for Dignitas it came early enough that they have the chance to build and learn from it.
The real shock of the LCS came out of Europe. Gambit Gaming, fresh off their demolition of Azubu Blaze and Frost at IEM Katowice, looked dismal in their first week of play. They were outpicked and seemed disconnected from each other in their games.
Gambit will need to stop this Jekyll and Hyde act eventually, but they have shown even when they show poorly in an event they have the mental toughness to rally and come on strong late. No one thinks this type of thing is what we will see the whole season from a team who perennially dominates, but their first week definitely left something to be desired.
Riot deserves to be praised for how well their ideas have to fruition and how they have have been able to truly put e-Sports on the map with Season 3. The North American LCS at the Riot studio looked and felt incredibly professional, and seemed to raise the bar to new heights for e-Sports viewing at its finest. However, the same cannot be said about the EU LCS.
Vicious lag spikes and long delays marred the EU LCS particularly on the first day. Nothing is more frustrating for the community than trying to watch a highly anticipated match live only to catch parts of three team fights and then have the victory music play far too early for a team that hasn't won yet.
The ESL studios will almost undoubtedly be improved as early as this week for games, but the frustration was evident across social media, reddit, and forums alike as fans were dismayed at not being able to watch their favorite European teams compete like their North American counterparts did just two days before.
It's hard to truly criticize Riot for not being able to foresee every issue that could arise at their events, but they have set the bar so high for themselves it's hard not to hold them to their own standards. They have the games streaming on Youtube, and VoD's available almost immediately after to compensate, and this is undoubtedly a huge step in the right direction. Riot is doing a wonderful job overall, and hopefully the issues for the EU LCS will be resolved EG plays against Dragonborn this Saturday.
So RoG'ers what were your favorite moments and matches from the first week of the LCS? Who surprised you and who were you disappointed in? Let us know your thoughts on the LCS in the comment section and stay tuned to ReignofGaming for all your LoL-related needs!
Follow me on twitter here!