Summer Challenger Series: Recap

Richard Wells - July 9th, 14, 10:39 am


2014 EU Challenger Summer Series I Review

What Happened Last Split?

Three teams were directly seeded for the Summer Challenger Series I: Denial eSports.EU, H2k Gaming and Ninjas in Pyjamas. Remaining competitors were chosen directly from Summer Challenger Series Play-in Matches. The draw was filled with SMW, Gamers 2, Lublin Shore (Reason Gaming), SK Gaming Prime and Unicorns of Love. These final 8 challenger teams would begin their journey to fight for a place in the LCS.

Breakdown of the Split:


Alex Ich Left Gambit for NiP to spend more time with his family


Those cute little Unicorns from the UK weren’t too lucky, with the draw determining that they would face NiP, one of the most experienced teams in Europe. Nukeduck and crew, with new top laner, Alex Ich, from Gambit Gaming, swept UoL aside in two easy games. NiP showed dominant experience with great picks & bans strategy, going wombocombo with Orianna, Lee Sin, Yasuo, Twitch and Nami. The game was pretty much over before it even started. UoL fought well, but they couldn’t win a game against the better prepared, much more experienced team.

The second match saw German side SMW take on Ocelote’s Gamers 2. In Game 1, G2 went with a Nidalee and Lucian comp, allowing them to poke and siege, with Morgana’s protection. SMW couldn’t find a way to fight this one, especially having left Jax open for Jwaow. G2 took the game easily with SMW managing just 2 total kills. The second game was just a question of rinse and repeat for the superior G2. SMW made a mistake leaving LeBlanc open, which G2 abused to great effect. Ocelote got fed early and started snowballing. The Game finished with a 20k gold advantage for G2.


Denial.EU couldn’t live up to their recent performances


Denial.EU then took on Lublin Shore (Reason Gaming). Led by three members of the ex- MeetyourMakers lineup (Makler, Libik and Kubon), LBS went 2-0 against Denial.EU. In Game 1, DNL went with Mundo against Irelia, which is not the best matchup in teamfights, Irelia simpy doing more damage than Dr. Mundo. They also made Kassadin, Karma and Graves picks, but the advantage of CC on LBS proved decisive. Nevertheless, the 2 teams produced a pretty close first game. In the second game of the series, DNL left Irelia open for Kubon once again, and in combination with Lulu knock up and Twitch ultimate, resulted in stronger team fights for LBS. P3rmm’s Ziggs wasn’t able to impact the game too much, but it was no matter as the DNL bot lane performed exceptionally well.

The final tie of the bracket gave the viewer’s their first real glimpse of the new H2k Gaming lineup as they took on SK Prime. Game 1 was pretty even until 28 minutes, where rotations from H2k paid off. SKP realized they were unable to fight H2k directly in 5v5 teamfights, so they tried to base-race. Better positioning in that moment led H2k to grab inhibitor faster than SKP, and cycle into the base, taking game 1. Trashy was the player to watch in this game, who played very well with Evelynn (6-3-7), outclassing Gilius with his ganks and map control. The second game was more of a dominant display for start to finish by H2k. They left Jax open for Smitty, but by denying creeps from him and securing Odoamne a 50+ CS lead on Shyvana, probably won early and mid game for them. A team comp with Vi, Orianna and Lucian, helped them to win this game with more than 20k advantage over SKP.

The Semi-finals brought us two very intense matches, both going the distance in the BO3s. The first game of the series between NiP and Gamers 2 saw NiP produce a crushing display, leading many to believe that the series would be a whitewash. However, this was not the case. G2 played a much smarter game 2, controlling Baron and team fight engages, forcing NiP to constantly play on the back foot and G2 took a hard fought game 2. Their joy was short lived however as great synergy between Alex Ich’s Jax and Exileh’ Orianna produced a fairly dominating display and gave NiP a relatively comfortable victory in the 3rd to take the series.


Ocelote’s side weren’t quite strong enough to defeat NiP


The second semi-final game proved to be an absolute classic between H2k and Lublin Shore (Reason Gaming). H2k took first game pretty easily, with AoD and Odoamne performing expertly on Karma and Kayle respectively. To a lot of people’s surprise however, LBS outplayed H2k comprehensively throughout the second game, controlling the map completely, isolating Febiven and Trashy. Great rotations by LBS, with help of super minions and Kubon on Jax (7-1-4) saw LBS close out the second game and tie the series. The deciding game of the series produced 55+ minute match of almost pure fighting. LBS seemed to have the upper hand for the majority of the game, but despite a noticeable kill and gold deficit, H2k showed great strength in the late game. The last team fight turned on its head with a brilliant engage from AoD on Morgana, separating LBS and resulting in a team ace. H2k then proceeded to rush into the enemy base and finish a very tight encounter. It was to be their toughest test of the entire challenger series.

The Final
Despite somewhat turbulent journeys to the final, the 2 teams most expected to reach it, had done so. NiP vs H2k. The match was played in front of 12,000 at Wembley Arena, as a part of the EU LCS. NiP were without Alex Ich as a result of RIOT’s controversial visa issues. But we should point out that his replacement Mozilla played well as a stand in, though he still struggled to make much if an impact over the two games.


Game 1 saw NiP leave LeBlanc open for Febiven, a mistake which he punished them for, going 11-2-14. Hjarnan also had a stella game on Lucian thanks to some excellent positional play, leaving him with an 8-1-11 final score. Trashy absolutely dominated jungle and a very clever opening manoeuvre executed by himself and Jax leaping over the Dragon pit, gave H2k first blood in mid lane. And while, H2k experienced some scary moments, including losing a team fight to a Yasuo quadra kill, they still ran out winners in fairly comfortable fashion.

It would be easy to say that NiP showed no fight in the second game, but in truth, it was an almost perfectly played game from start to finish from H2k. AoD was fantastic on Tresh, especially in the last team fight landing a crucial hook onto Freeze. Yet again, H2k showed great map control, and NiP’s decision making and targeting issues halted any chance of a tight game. NiP will sight Alex Ich’s shot calling absence as the main reason for this, but in truth, they were outclassed all over the map. H2k displayed smart and calculated plays, managing to almost zone Yasuo out of both games with hard CC. Twitch and Braum for NiP was also a fairly risky lane early game, and H2k used that to their advantage, leading Hjarnan to a big CS disparity over freeze. Trashy again went with Jarvan, for the second time in this series, and again showed great synergy with his team despite only having just joined H2k. Odoamne played very well on Lulu, and Febiven yet again, on LeBlanc, showed his great mechanical skills. Overall a great performance from H2k, especially considering that they had been unable to train much due to school and other commitments in the weeks leading up to the event.


H2k were dominant throughout the final in London


H2k begin the second half of their campaign tomorrow against GG Call Nash.

Will this series be as exciting as the last split? Tune in on RiotGames Tomorrow to check out the EU Summer Challenger Series II

Article by Tomislav Jurić

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