Week 1 LCS Recap - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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.

We saw things like AD Kennen and level 1 blue buff kidnapping by Syndra. We saw plays, throws, and fails. Let's take a look at just what stood out from the first week of the LCS in both regions.

The Good

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.

The Bad

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.

The Ugly

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!

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  • #31 Kotetsu534
    Giants' aggression and relentless split pushing against GG really impressed me. Remined me of Najin Sword breaking Frost down with how out of shape GG were getting in response. A few more performances like that and they'll be a big feature of the EU scene.
    Last edited by Kotetsu534: 2/13/2013 10:00:54 AM
  • #29 guy420

    I don't think Gambit was "experimenting", mainly because Darien made an ugly gesture at the end of the match vs GIANTS.

    Which gets me to the next point: GIANTS. Imo, they have potential to be a major european team. Maybe not at top level, but if they train hard and get new compositions they will definetively shine. In their match vs fnatic they were outpushed by fnatics more experience in that kind of situations (having 2 years of competitive experience gives you the wits to stay in the match and do wathever to try a win), and because, lets face it, xPeke is too much of a carry to be dealt with, unless the other 4 in his team are completely destroyed (like the game vs GG). His Nidalee is probably the best one this game has seen (better than HSGG). Also, GIANTS used a pretty bad composition with little to no tankiness. If they had chosen amumu over elise and probably an olaf for the top lane instead of wukong, i think game would have been different.But anyway, they have shown skill (the olaf scape vs voli+rene), building intuition (botrk vs hp stacking enemies, which pretty much destroyed the only way GG had to comeback), map awareness etc.
    Their lacks: champion pool and compositions (specially on their ADC), and definetively more teamwork and strategy to not let teams like fnatic to comeback after building an advantage.

    For wolves, i'd say pretty much the same: Were able to dominate EG early game but their inexperience, specially vs a team as cold and meticulous as EG defeated them. Altough their defeat vs SK clearly showed they arent as skilled as the european LCS average.

    SK is definetively in good shape now, i dont think they will be the LCS winner (EG and GG are going to go fulltryhard now) but anyway they will perform well, and is good to see that they have overcome their team problems (after 2 years WOW) and are able to comeback a match.

    Fnatic... well, sOAZ is too unestable, snoopeh never was a brilliant player (he's good), yellowstar is not rekkles, and nrated and xpeke do what they can, specially peke. Probably the best european mid right now.

    GG... i already said it: i don't think they are in their best shape now. People think very high of korean scene and that makes everyone think GG is superstrong now and were just kidding. But imo, they are now but a shadow of their glorious past, sure they can sometimes perform at a good level, but other times they try and they fail (look at diamondprox fail flash vs EG, or the baron pit Ezreal vs GIANTS. Is that experimenting? I think not. Even Alex Ich had trouble vs Exterminare in lane). They are probably going to take it more seriously now and probably they will end up in a good position, but they lack training imo. Objetively they have played bad despite the picks they did.

  • #26 Mockstar

    Excited to see Complexity in action, as a long time watcher of Bischu's stream (their sub), I'm interested to see how they work.

  • #22 Greenmoloch

    Wouldn't say Gambit Gaming was a shock at all. They picked VOLIBEAR in 2 games and won with it against Fnatic, who are arguably much better than Giants. They're just trying out new stuff, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't....

  • #23 Mockstar

    Gambit being my favorite team, this^ is my only consolation. They were almost trolling. Volibear was them saying "fuggit, we got weeks of this, lets try to make them look bad by beating them with a trash champ".

    And seeing Giants pull Genja's AD Kennen out and use it against him after so long made me smile. Gambit is a team of titans, truly, and it shows when their strategies get emulated for months.

  • #21 hyfe

    Props to sjokz... thought she did a very admirable job hosting the EU LCS.

  • #28 EuWGasgano

    Quote from hyfe »

    Props to sjokz... thought she did a very admirable job hosting the EU LCS.

    And she looks so pretty :)

  • #30 hyfe

    Agreed.  I thought she looked very classy and not trashy like we've seen from some other hosts.

  • #32 LolLolLolJake

    I still remember Travis mouth breathing into the mic at IPL and Jatt digging for gold live on stream.


  • #19 rhogot

    I only followed the european LCS, but I enjoyed in particular those matches with more unusual team compositions - I hope the teams will continue to try out different things.

  • #18 ulhax84
    I don't think Gambit are out of form. They are experimenting. They have shown in the past they can throw early games while testing different comps at the top level and come back strong when it's required.

    They showed it with the dismantling of Fnatic.
    Last edited by ulhax84: 2/12/2013 6:16:37 PM
  • #17 Sneddles

    Curse and TSM were the most entertaining NA games to watch, really glad Curse made it and are doing as well as they are.

  • #24 Mockstar

    This isn't saying much. The NA games were all abysmally slow and boring. The EU games weren't the greatest, but they were leagues ahead of NA at least.

    I'm sure part of it is to let the stress back off since these guys only qualified in the last couple of weeks, but I'll be really disappointed if everything is that slow. I want to see the old M5 style, the Azubu type rushes, fast paced, "big plays" kind of games. There weren't any "big plays" that stuck in my head well enough for me to remember them now, excepting AD Kennen 1v2 and 1v3ing people at times.


  • #27 blotherman

    I would expect to see less big plays as the game becomes more professional. As with other sports, big plays tend to be traded for proper play as players/team move up in skill level. Although this is an esport, I think it is fair to compare it to a sport like football in that in college there is much trickiness and plays just out of the ordinary, where in the professional league it is much harder to pull off these kind plays.


  • #16 Lipton

    On things that really piss me off is that Riot is not failling stream for the first time. Everybody remembers the  fail at the last world championship. In europe it was 4am and we didnt know if the even was continuing and they had us waiting. I know we are the old continent, but hell , this is not the 3rd world. Wtf is wrong with their infrastructures, and how come they dont fix this ?! As you said EU LCS was really ugly, and staying up all night to see US LCS is too much to ask.

  • #25 Mockstar

    Well, putting together 10 computers and an internet connection is going to be a simple task. Putting together a lighting and technical setup for both a studio audience and a live stream through two sources? Little bit ridiculous to be this mad about some lag.

    Yes, it was frustrating. Yes, it was a problem. No, you can't really blame Riot. Shit happens. They dealt with it as best they could.

  • #14 B3hr7

    Hahahhaha....I gotta see that game with Syndra stealing the blue buff away.

  • #20 darkserenity24

    that's tsm vs clg. link was the syndra.



  • #12 brbafkftw
    I am super excited about the scheduling and the layout. Having the chance to watch live games 4/7 days a week is awesome, and while I was initially skeptical of the Thursday, Friday NA games, I really enjoyed coming home from work and grabbing a drink and watching some League. There were a couple stream and VoD issues, but I'll trust it'll only improve. It is also probably better to have Bo1s because I think the play will end up being more innovative and cleaner overall. Anyways, Go curse! Also good luck to The Brunch club (or Cl now iirc) And dang Giants gaming knows how to up the pressure to 11/10 - looking forward to watching them too.
  • #11 jim1608

    Nice article, but I'd like a bit more technical view on plays picks and items on the competitive scene.

    Most of the changes on the S3 were great, but no one seems to be mentioning thinks like the fact that Supports seem to have less gold in the competitive scene.

    I mean, in many games I watched the winning team's support had only a Ruby Sightstone and a Runic Bulwalk in the end of the game and NO BOOTS. The sightstone gives so much vision to both teams that the support has to waste all his money with early oracles and vision wards that don't last much longer and don't repay it's cost at any point for the supports...

    At low elo, yeah, MUCH more gold, since you can easily win games with NO ward coverage. But at competitive play ALL the money is going to a ward-clearing fight between the supports...

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