I posted my NA LCS “one-sentence” power rankings yesterday, and here are my preseason thoughts on Europe.
10. Giants Gaming
I don’t see enough talent in this lineup to challenge for the playoffs.
9. Unicorns of Love
With Fox and Steeelback leaving, UoL have taken a big step back.
I’ve never been very high on Splyce, and they haven’t done anything to change my mind yet.
7. Schalke 04
Fox is pretty good, so Schalke should be better than they were last split–say goodbye to “Elements tier”?–but the improvement is unlikely to be enough to climb the ladder, unless Roccat or Vitality really falter.
Betsy is really underrated, and could be poised for a big season with Steeelback joining him as a one-two punch, but the rest of the roster still carries some question marks for me, for now.
I’m definitely not in love with their roster changes, not because I don’t like Forg1ven or Hybrid as players–they’re strong–but because I lack confidence in their ability to work as a unit.
Cabochard, Nukeduck, and kaSing are a very solid core, but it’s unclear to me whether the Koreans, Mightybear and Police, will be meaningful upgrades over Shook and Hjarnan, so I’m keeping my expectations moderately optimistic until I see how well the lineup integrates.
I’m on record as saying that Freeze will be an upgrade over Forg1ven, and I think H2K will be an all-around better team, but they still need to prove that they can find better playmaking and engages and be a more proactive team.
Fnatic somehow managed to look like one of EU’s better squads despite shaky performances from Klaj, who was put in a tough spot when he joined the team mid-split, and with Yellowstar’s proven synergy with Febiven and Rekkles, I think we’ll see his strengths re-emerge.
1. G2 Esports
G2 won the spring split and have, on paper, improved their roster, which makes them the team to beat, even if we still need to see how well they’re able to distribute resources in a team with Trick, Perkz, and Zven.
Some of Europe’s best teams made on-paper improvements, and I think coaching will play a huge role in who emerges at the top of the pile.
Ultimately, I don’t think we’ll see a massive shake-up in the balance of power in Europe. I expect that we’ll end up with a three-tier setup, with a relatively clear distinction between spots 10-7, 6-4, and 3-1.