Top 10 players who will miss the EU LCS Spring Split
With the progression of the League of Legends Championship series, we have witnessed staggering growth with regards to competition. The 2015 season is less than two days away and while fans, experts and players all eagerly await the start of the league, the list containing the skilled agents who are to miss it became surprisingly large.
For one reason or another, some of the brightest stars in the region decided to take a step back to the Challenger scene while others simply could not find a suitable mixture of players to join. As tradition follows, European teams put good faith in young, up-and-coming players which in turn, made some of the veterans’ careers uncertain. We are yet to see whether this year’s gamble was justified, but historically, results have backed this method convincingly.
In this list, we examine the top 10 agents who will not take part of the 2015 EU LCS Spring Split taking into account both star power and skill in comparison to their peers.
10. Evgeny 'Genja007' Andryshuin, AD Carry; Status: Retired
Evgeny ‘Genja’ Andryshin is a name anyone would recognise. Pioneer, unorthodox marksman and part of Moscow 5 / Gambit Gaming - one of the most successful line-ups in the history of the game. Unfortunately, Genja played his last official LCS match in Week 11 of the Summer Split where Gambit faced the Copenhagen Wolves in the battle for 7th place.
Some time prior to the Promotion/Relegation matches, rumours saying the Russian wants to step down from the main line-up began to surface. Gambit as an organization took their usual stance and did not release any statement with regards to the rumour. Regardless, the switch between Genja and Krislund, who subsequently renamed to P1noy, was made official on the 15th December.
With the loss of Genja, Europe loses another of its historic Season 2 heroes. A unique AD Carry and thinker of the game, the Russian played around his teammates in a manner which few could. Undoubtedly not the flashiest, but a reliable “support-carry” who can always back the front line of Alex and Diamond when needed.
9. Marcel 'dexter1' Feldkamp, Jungler; Status: Teamless
Former Counter Logic Gaming jungler Dexter takes number 9 on our list. After staying in North America for the duration of Season 4 with mixed success, the prodigal jungling son of Europe returned home. However, the change of scenery and post-Worlds environment of the region did not play in Marcel’s favour.
Most recently, the German jungler was linked with Copenhagen Wolves. Due to internal conflicts between the organization and the original line-up, he was tasked with creating an alternate line-up should the original one leave the organization pre-Promotion/Relegation. In the end, the separation did not go through and dexter’s presumed project was scraped.
When the German left Europe he was a top 2 jungler right next to Diamondprox and a prized agent with a good amount of domestic and international experience. The Spring split would have been a perfect time to see whether this still holds. Dexter as a player seems unphased by strong competition, which would fit perfectly in the current scenario. Right now, the jungle talent pool in Europe has never been better - Jankos, Svenskeren, Shook, Diamondprox and H0R0 are some of the names that immediately come to mind. Throw in the veteran German and what you get is an explosive concoction. Definitely a miss in the eyes of the viewer.
8. Alfonso 'mithy' Rodriguez, Support; Status: Challenger Scene
Another member of the Lemondogs squad finds himself on this list. The Spaniard comes fresh off a competitive barring that effectively put his career on pause for the last six months. Despite the initial rumours that he may not be unbanned, Mithy now finds himself one of the most ambitious projects in Season 5 - xPeke’s Origen. Unfortunately for those who enjoy seeing top players in the LCS, we will have to wait until the Summer to potentially see mithy back in action.
To this day, Mithy is one of the most aggressive supports that Europe has known. Constantly trying to outplay, outtrade and eventually, beat the enemy bot duo to a point of no-return, he would have been a perfect addition to the Spring Split. Known as a “teacher” of up-and coming marksmen the Spaniard is also an aggressive play maker who can utilize the explosively growing skilled AD Carry player base in the region. Currently paired with the young hotshot Zvanillan, Mithy has also played with FORG1VEN, Tabzz and Freeze, all top-notch AD Carries in their own right.
Now, mithy starts again where he left off - the Challenger scene. Surrounded by A-tier solo laners, it is simply a matter of time before we see the Spaniard back in the LCS. Fans, spectators, experts and competitors will have to wait until June to see the beast back in his playground.
7. Kevin 'Kev1n' Rubiszewski, Top Lane; Status: Teamless
Ever since his departure from SK, Kev1n has been down on his luck. Continuing his signature performance within the Millenium ranks, the German did exactly what was required of him - be a solid top laner who will not give an inch and provide support to the main carries when needed. On paper, everything looked great. In practice, things did not go well.
Millenium’s results were swinging like a pendulum over 2014, but overall, Kev1n tried his best to remain the only constant. Given the team’s lack of success, his stock logically fell and despite not being considered a top-notch agent by many, the German is easily a quality pick-up for any LCS team. Immense competitive experience paired with a reliable champion pool and ability to stay consistent regardless of who he faces is what this agent brings to the table and it is rather disappointing that he isn’t a preferred support piece to a team based around up-and-coming hotshots.
After the transfer spirits went quiet, it was strange to witness Kev1n teamless and very interesting to see European organizations neglect him in favour of Eastern counterparts. The player took to Twitter and assured his followers that he was not taking a break as rumours were saying, but is rather evaluating his options and eagerly awaiting the Summer Split. With so much experience and reputation of a reliable agent, Kev1n will be missed in the EU LCS and at this point, remains as one of the big “what ifs” in Europe.
6. Maurice 'Amazing' Stuckenschneider, Jungler; Status: Challenger Scene
Upon the German’s return from the World Championships in Korea, few expected him to part ways with TSM. A surprising move in its own right, the domestic championship and Worlds ¼-final exit were not enough to convince Amazing to remain on the team. After heavy speculation, he and the organization officially parted ways which made him one of the hottest jungle agents in Europe at the time.
He and Alfonso ‘Mithy’ Rodriguez were practising with Supa Hot Crew as many speculated that SHC will be the pair’s new home. For one reason or another, the transfer did not materialize. One of the premier European junglers was on the verge to end 2014 teamless and with no future prospect. Fortunately for him, project Origen quickly came into the picture and saved the day by drafting and providing him with hands-down, the best quartet of teammates in his career.
At this point, Origen has virtually no competition in the EU Challenger scene. It is a sad thought that we will not get to see what Amazing learned from playing with the best of the best in North America and Korea. The evolution of a player is an incredibly fun aspect to follow and it would have been superb to witness how the German stacks up next to EU’s best. Fingers crossed that the lack of quality competition in the Challenger scene will not take a toll on the jungler’s abilities and we will see him back in full force for the 2015 EU Summer Split.
5. Jakub 'Creaton' Grzegorzewski, AD Carry; Status: Teamless
Another ex-Millenium agent hits our ranking. The best Polish AD Carry is teamless and will be missing the Spring split of the LCS. While many will be surprised by the high placing of Creaton, few actually realize the strength and qualities the Pole possesses as a player and how valuable he can be should the environment allow him to play his game.
Creaton is unsurprisingly in the same boat as Kev1n albeit not as consistent. Looking back at his career, he was the hottest AD Carry prospect in Europe post Season 2 Worlds. Due to multiple organization switches and an unfortunate medical condition, (Creaton broke his arm early in Season 3) he suffered and could never find a truly stable form during his LCS days. Make no mistake, Creaton is an excellent AD Carry, but when you take a good look at his surroundings you can easily spot that he did not have much to work with. With that in mind and the constant redistribution of game impact and sheer power away from the AD Carry role, we can easily connect the dots and see what allowed his form to drop.
Now that Millenium has disbanded, many would have loved to see Creaton be given a chance in a more motivated and well-rounded (skill-wise) team which can utilize the Pole and use his experience to challenge even the top bot lanes of Europe. While I do not believe a team should be built around him, jungle pressure and a good support should prove a sufficient environment for Creaton to thrive in and return to the monster that he was a year ago. An incredibly skilled agent that, in my opinion, deserves a second chance, it would be a shame to see one of the first aggressive European AD Carries vanish from the LCS.
4. Mitch 'Krepo' Voorspoels, Support; Status: Teamless
Europe’s sweetheart, Mitch ‘Krepo’ Voorspoels, is a name which you’ve heard at least once while watching western League of Legends. An active part of the highest echelon since Season 2, the Belgian is a familiar face as well as a good competitor within the game. After completing a full cycle at Evil Geniuses, Krepo returned home with a renewed vigor, possibly looking at his last calendar year of competitive play. Unfortunately, Europe was not as welcoming as one would imagine.
It does not take long for one to notice that Krepo does not only bring a strong fan base with himself. The Belgian still possesses a wide range of in-game qualities paired with a decent mechanical prowess, but the icing on the cake is his competitive experience as a veteran and in-game knowledge. All these taken together make Krepo a solid choice and sources were even whispering of a possible Alliance (now Elements) pick-up which unfortunately, did not materialize. In the end, he was left teamless and chose to stream under the Cloud 9 network while continuing to evaluate his LCS options for the Summer Split.
While it is true that there are more skilled support agents out there, the margin isn’t that big and the true reason why the Belgian is in the fourth spot is his huge power in terms of exposure. With almost 210,000 Twitter fans, signing Krepo as a free agent could not only have given certain European teams a reliable and level-headed support player with tons of experience, but possibly the new face of your brand which could benefit the organization in more ways than one.
3. Paul 'sOAZ' Boyer, Top Laner; Status: Challenger Scene
2014 was not sOAZ’s year. Despite winning the Spring Split for a record third time, the Frenchman and his crew barely scraped to the Summer Split final after a narrow 3-2 victory over ROCCAT. Their winning streak was broken by a hungry Alliance who put an end to the fnatic era of LCS domination. Fans and experts quickly pointed their fingers at the top lane where a tired sOAZ was having an unconvincing performance against players he was demolishing a year ago. Some even went overboard and tried to pin all the blame on his rather lackluster year.
The truth is that despite taking a step back to the Challenger scene, sOAZ is still one of the two S Class top laners the old Continent has. While it seems that the stale meta and lack of quality top lane action have taken their toll, it is far from the truth to suggest top lane was a source of in-game turmoil. A warrior at heart and unaffected by popular opinion, the Frenchman literally had 2 players who can stand-up to him in the past year - ZoroZero due to his incredible skill, understanding of the top lane dynamic and tireless work ethic and SK’s new and transformed Fredy122 who does not shine in the traditional, hard-carry sense, but left sOAZ with a bitter taste after demonstrating how confidently he can hold off the Fnatic top laner while exerting pressure on other parts of the map. The fact that he never lost a playoff game to both these incredible peers goes to show what kind of star we will miss in the Spring of 2015.
Following Peke to his new home - Origen, sOAZ will be looking to “restart” his career in a significantly less competitive environment. Whether that will have a positive or negative effect on his form is yet to be seen. One thing is for certain - there is not a fan of LoL who does not want to see the same prime sOAZ who brought Jayce and Kha’Zix into competitive play. We give him away to the Challenger scene with a heavy heart, but sincerely hope it is for the best.
2. Enrique 'xPeke' Martinez, Mid Lane; Status: Challenger Scene
A legacy player, superstar and an incredibly skilled agent in his own right, xPeke is a great loss for the European LCS. With the decision to end his legendary stay at fnatic and start anew like his countryman Ocelote, Peke opens a new chapter in his competitive career. Surrounding himself with skilled and hungry peers, the Spaniard hopes to quickly qualify for the LCS and challenge for the European title as the king of his own castle.
With his departure, the LCS loses probably it’s most impactful big game player to ever play in the region. As proven in the Spring Split, the Spaniard may have a mediocre season, but when the big games come, he shifts into a gear you thought was long forgotten. Seeing xPeke on his Nidalee, hitting spears and turning fights effortlessly or applying pressure during a siege or an objective contest was a sight for sore eyes. To this day, I believe he was out right robbed of an MVP award during the Spring Split final simply because Rekkles had better stats, but in no way bigger game impact. The way Peke handled a dangerous SK was reminiscent of his IPL 5 performances where he and sOAZ would terrorize the whole map with their double teleport combination.
Despite failing to reach the knockout stages of Worlds, xPeke demonstrated that he is not afraid to take on anyone. His battle with Samsung Blue’s living legend dade, proved once more that the former can rise to the occasion and deliver an outstanding performance. Put almost 450,000 twitter followers into the equation and the bottom line becomes rather sad - Europe lost one of it’s superstar mid laners for a whole Split.
Fortunately, I do not see any serious obstacle in Origen’s way to the LCS. What is more, the prospect of having xPeke paired with a jungler who is overall superior to Cyanide is what makes this project so irresistable to follow. Whether Origen will make it big and quickly become a strong European contender, only time will tell. One thing is for certain, the Spaniard will do all in his power to return to the top once more.
1. Erik 'Tabzz' van Helvert, AD Carry; Status: Teamless
In a flurry of events, featuring a fnatic-Alliance trade rumour, a straight-forward ask.fm response and two of the best European marksmen, Erik ‘Tabzz’ van Helvert was left teamless. The fact that one of the best European performers of the 2014 is without a team is baffling. With the addition of Rekkles to the LCS in January, many were praising the Swede and were expecting an IPL-esque level from him right from the get go. The boy delivered a good stat sheet, but lacked solid game impact, putting up good numbers in a rather defensive manner instead. Tabzz was in the same situation as his Swedish counterpart. As the final piece to the Alliance puzzle, Tabzz had to show everyone why he got the spot. And he did.
After ending the Fnatic dominance and snatching his first LCS title, Tabzz held the mantle of Europe’s best AD Carry up until Worlds. Looking closely you can see how much the Dutch marksman grew - from slowly adjusting in the superstar mix to dominating the Summer Split playoffs. In arguably the best series of the European playoffs, Alliance faced SK Gaming for a chance at the final. In a 4 game nail-biter, Tabzz died only once and was a major threat along with Froggen. Despite an unconvincing Worlds performance, the Dutch player remained a superstar in the region and a top 2 in his position. When news broke out that he had left Alliance, many were puzzled as to what could happen next. The obvious choice considering the rumoured Rekkles move was for the Dutchman to join Fnatic and form a formidable partnership with YellowStar - a good bot lane duo fit given their play style similarities.
Unfortunately, due to Fnatic’s internal problems that did not happen and Tabzz’s name appeared neither in the Fnatic player sheet, nor in SK or any other top tier team for that matter. Whether he declined offers or was simply not given a good one to begin with is yet to be seen. With all that in mind, it is a rare occurrence that such a high skilled agent, a former champion as well, is left teamless at the end of the big transfer fiesta and the tournament which he championed months ago will begin without the him.
One can trace Tabzz’s career all the way back to Season 2, but we can all agree that there was definitely more game to be played from him. Few expected the Dutchman to challenge Rekkles as the Swede was hailed as the new king of bolts, arrows and bullets even before entering the LCS. In reality, Tabzz successfully fought and even at times outperformed Rekkles in every aspect, despite not having the luxury of playing with a proactive support who does not shy away from combat.
It was a hard choice between xPeke and Tabzz for the first place and although Tabzz does not bring the social media presence of xPeke, the rather inconsistent play in terms of impact from the Spaniard (except for the aforementioned high-profile matches during Spring) put him in second place. In comparison, Tabzz started rather slow, but finished his domestic run in a spectacular manner, helping Alliance make history and be the first team to win the EU LCS whose tag was not Fnatic. In addition, when a Worlds ticket was on the line, he put in a lot of effort and together with Froggen, pushed his team across the finish line and onto a plane headed to South Korea. Losing a beloved star player is never easy, but leaving an international representative and arguably the best European marksman of 2014 teamless raises a wide array of questions - from the decision of top-tier teams not to go for Tabzz to the fate of the player. And while his future plans continue to be shrouded in mystery, Erik ‘Tabzz’ van Helvert remains EU LCS’ biggest loss for the 2015 Spring Split.
Do you agree with our top 10 list? Tell us what you think in our comment section below.
Daniel Yordanov is an esports journalist writing for onGamers and SK Gaming. You can follow him on Twitter.
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