The 2015 EU LCS Spring Split is now in full swing and the new season has brought a fresh batch of teams, players, strategies and a revolutionised SK Gaming.
The start of the split has been almost perfect for the German-based team, as they open the seasons with a flawless 8-0 record, one which very few would have predicted.
In the 2014 LCS season SK looked less than impressive, finishing 5th place overall and 3rd in the playoffs behind Alliance and Fnatic. The 2014 League of Legends World Championship was the final showpiece of SK’s performances and although a 9th-11th placing was highly respected amongst their fans, they acknowledged the squads potential for greatness.
Alterations were afoot in the off-season and on November 24th SK announced that their new line-up would consist of Fredy, Fox, Forg1ven, nRated and Svenskeren with Forg1ven replacing CandyPanda and Fox coming in for Jesiz. As the new squad prepared for the 2015 season, the German power-houses drafted in Joe ‘Innerflame’ Elouassi, a UK born coach to help with the teams’ strategies, pre-game picks & bans and general in-game organisation.
(Picture Courtesy of lolesports)
However, as the 2015 Spring Split drew closer, there were only two teams on the lips of fans and analysts alike, Elements and Fnatic. Both teams had made changes during the pre-season and drafted in star-studded players to bolster their line-ups, culminating in the curtain-raiser match on the opening day of the split, which Fnatic won with relative ease.
Yet, while the two pre-season favourites were slugging it out in week one, SK were quietly putting all their hours of practise and preparation to great effect, as they toppled Roccat and Meet Your Makers. Impeccable positioning and team-fighting from Forg1ven (5-0-7) and Fox (4-0-5) saw SK dominate Roccat in their opening match before a much closer game between SK and Meet Your Makers in which SK squeezed through with Forg1ven going 3-0-4 on Graves.
Following SK’s perfect opening week, Konstantinos ‘Forg1ven’ Tzortziou stated;
‘My team played really good and I was just part of it, maybe even a minor part of it. It was a team effort, not an individual effort.’
Forg1ven’s words, combined with SK’s outstanding performances, really epitomises the level of growth the team has accomplished since the previous season and highlights how well the recently formed squad has meshed leading into this split.
Heading into the second week of the split, SK Gaming were determined to prove that their opening results were not simply a fluke. Gambit Gaming were the first organisation in line to feel the SK pain train, losing to the German side with SK controlling the game with 15 kills to Gambit’s five. Within their week two performances, it soon became extremely apparent that SK’s philosophy centralised around the composition of the team, as opposed to winning individual lanes.
Svenskeren picked Rek’Sai in both matches and his performances and map presence was nothing short of outstanding. A 1-2-12 game from Svenskeren, followed by a 5-2-13 game in SK’s victory over the Unicorns of Love, propelled the organisation to a 4-0 start to the split.
Although Svenskeren ended up negative as Rek’Sai against Gambit, his ability to make calls and get his lanes rolling saw his team snowball to victory. By week two, it was clear to see that this new, revitalized SK team were focused upon doing whatever they needed to ensure they win.
(Picture courtesy of lolesports)
The Svenskeren show continued into week three of the split. SK faced H2K in the opening game and Svenskeren was breaking the established mould of the jungle meta by becoming the first player in the 2015 EU LCS to pick Nidalee. His pick couldn’t have been more efficient for his team, a third minute invade of H2k’s red buff saw Svenskeren get first blood and the game snowballed from there, with the man from Denmark participating in 15 of SK’s 16 kills.
In SK’s second match of week three they faced Elements and Svenskeren took the opportunity to out-shine himself once again. His 100% kill participation combined with some exceptional team fighting in Elements’ jungle won his team the game. Svenskeren and his SK team were down eight kills to two before an organised and well-calculated team fight led to a four for one for SK and the Baron Nashor to follow. Svenskeren led the charge for his team in a match that looked lost but clear calls and good plays from the experienced jungler saw his team stretch their record to 6-0. Svenskeren’s impressive performances on Nidalee and Jarvan led to the Dane being awarded the MVP for week three in the EU LCS.
(Picture courtesy of lolesports)
By the time week four of the EU LCS rolled around, SK had become the team to beat and it was apparent to the opposition that it wouldn’t be easy to counter their strategies. Svenskeren’s impeccable map control, Forg1ven’s ability to stay alive with a high damage output and the teams almost perfect 5v5 fighting, meant SK’s nexus still remained untouched.
SK’s first match of week four was against Copenhagen Wolves and it was nothing short of a demolition. Thirty-five minutes and 20 kills later, SK found themselves 7-0 in the split. Their final match of the week was against the Spanish team Giants Gaming, who despite having an impressive early game, couldn’t stop SK extending their split record to 8-0.
With the split coming up to the half way mark, SK have shown their abilities to close out games, come back from deficits and display outstanding teamwork to overcome anything that has been presented in front of them. Week five will be a real test for the SK squad as they face the 6-2 Fanatic and the 4-4 H2k Gaming.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest gaming and eSports news via our Twitter: @GfinityOnline
If you enjoyed this content, feel free to follow its author Stephen Gaskell