The following are the power rankings presented by Paravine. Special thanks go out to Chase Wassenar, Hermit, Striatus Veteran, and ROCCAT Fly for discussing the teams which helped create the list below.
Europe is divided into three tiers: the top three teams, the five in the middle of the pack and two at the bottom. How teams perform against the others in their tier, as well as ensuring they consistently perform strongly against teams that are lower will be the key to deciding where each team ends up at the end of the split. For the lower seeds, pulling out upsets against teams ranked in the upper echelons of the standings will be critical. Not only in avoiding relegation matches, but also in staying out of the unforgiving last place that will automatically prevent a team from attending the World Championship.
- SK Gaming
One of the best teams of the Summer Split last year, SK look set to be the number one team coming into the Spring Split. After a disappointing performance at worlds they removed the two players believed to be their weakest links in favour of challenger Mid Hampus “Fox” Myhre and AD Carry Konstantinos “Forg1ven” Tzortziou. Forg1ven looks to prove to doubters that he is a world class player in his role, following his voluntary departure from the Copenhagen Wolves in spite of being one of the best at his position. The aggressive style of Jungle Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and his taste for aiding the bottom lane should ensure the success of their new star AD Carry. The one thing preventing them from truly dominating the European scene was their lack of raw mechanical skill in comparison to the other elite teams and these changes address that problem.
After narrowly missing the chance to compete at last year’s World Championship, ROCCAT look to try and contend for the top spot in the league this split. By moving Mid Remigiusz “Overpow” Pusch to top lane and acquiring star player Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik Holmthey they have increased the strength of their solo lanes to make them both high level threats. Additionally, Overpow and his diverse champion pool will be a great asset in the draft phase. Replacing Pawal “Celaver” Koprianiuk in the bot lane is a more aggressive carry in Pawel “Woolite” Pruski, which should free up the decision making of Oskar “Vander” Bogdan in the bot lane. With all three lanes looking incredibly strong heading into the split star Jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski has been set up for success. This line-up should easily place in the top three in the league with a strong chance to be crowned the kings of Europe.
The final team in the European upper echelon is the old Alliance roster re-branded as Elements. Over the offseason the team decided a roster change was necessary, and elected to pickup superstar AD Martin “Rekkles” Larsson to solidify their place atop the European standings. This move didn’t address any of the core issues the team had while other top level teams were more proactive in fixing their weaknesses. There are still major concerns with the ability of Mike “Wickd” Petersen to play multiple champions, as has been his biggest flaw in the past. Questions have also arisen around their Jungle Ilyas “Shook” Hartsema since the World Championship. He too struggles when pushed deeper into his champion pool and must demonstrate to the world why Henrik “Froggen” Hansen, thought he could be a superstar. This team has great individual ability and they have proven that by dominating Europe. The key for Elements will be to optimize their individual skill and transform into a more strategically sound squad.
The Fnatic of old has departed and left a new crew to take over the reigns, but the team isn’t as weak as expected. The remaining veteran Bora “YellowStar” Kim is still undoubtedly one of the premier support players in the Western hemisphere and can help guide the team. The first step in filling in the roster is young and talented AD Carry Pierre “Steeelback” Medjaldi who was handpicked by YellowStar. Their top laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon is an unknown in many regards, but early reports of his time on the team indicate he is doing well and could make a name for himself as a force to be reckoned with. Stepping into the Mid lane will be a player who made a big splash in the EU promotion tournament Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten. He is expected to help carry the mantle for this team and prove he can play at the same level as some of the region’s best. The big concern surrounding this team’s placing lies with their jungler Kim “ReignOver” Yeu-jin who failed to impress during his time in OGN, and early reports indicate a lack of improvement in scrims. How the team works together will be a huge factor in their success.
- Gambit Gaming
While remaining a popular franchise, this is not the traditional Gambit roster that people know and love. Their Jungler is still veteran Danil “Diamondprox” Reshetnikov who has been considered one of the premier junglers in the World. His innovation and aggression have helped define Gambit and the jungle position as a whole . Joining him from the Gambit glory days is support superstar Edward “Edward” Abgaryan who looks to capitalize on the raw talent given to him in his new AD Carry Kristoffer “P1noy”Albao Lund Pedersen to make the Gambit bottom lane one of the most feared in the region. Their new top laner Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet who performed well against CLG’s Darshan “ZionSpartan” Upadhyaya at IEM Cologne, will play a key role in strengthening the line-up. Ultimately the team looks to be in the middle of the pack, but with the new and veteran talent on this roster they have the potential to reach higher in the league. Figuring out how to synergize while the team lives in multiple locations will be important factor in determining how well the team ends up doing come the start of the split.
Despite losing their star Mid lane the upcoming split still looks promising for this roster. Their Top laner Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu has long been the best top laner in challenger. Some think he may be one of the best in all of Europe, and now is his time to prove it. His team will count on him to carry games as well as their new mid laner Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook who left behind a strong career in Korea. Although his performances have not been at that level since his arrival in Europe, the hope is that he will regain his old form. Their jungler Jean-Victor “Loulex” Burgevin has proven himself to be capable and will have to ensure his solo lanes can be successful for his team to win. Overall this team looks to be solid with some great potential in the solo lanes and would surprise people if they failed to make the playoffs.
- Meet Your Makers
Formerly Supa Hot Crew the team looks to once again be average and attempt to avoid relegation. AD Carry Rasmus “MrRallez” Skinneholm was considered a good player in the LCS last season and one of the shining examples on a team that struggled. Their solo lanes also went unchanged but both still raise concerns. Top lane Mimer “Mimer” Ahlström has been around the game for a long time and yet has never proven himself to be a top tier player at his position within the region. Their Mid Marcin “Kori” Wolski formerly known as “Selfie” managed to play 12 different champions last split but was average at best on most of them. The Jungle is also uncertain, as Cho “H0ro” Jae-hwan did not perform well during the expansion tournament with Millenium. He did, however, play well in OGN last season which should give fans some hope. The biggest unknown is their new support Nicolai “Nisbeth” Nisbeth who will be debuting with the squad and looks to make a strong first impression. The split will likely be rough for the team, however if they perform at their best they should be able to squeak out a high enough placing to avoid relegations.
- Unicorns of Love
The team comes into this split with a lot of unknown factors to their play but after upsetting TSM at IEM San Jose they will not be taken lightly. Jungle Mateusz “Kikis” Szkudlarek proved that he can play unconventional champions with success which is a huge asset for the team. Their mid laner Tristan “PowerofEvil” Schrage has also proved himself against top talents, and will be key in avoiding relegations. Their top laner Kiss “Vizicsacsi” Tamás played phenomenally well at IEM as well, but in a region flooded with so many high caliber top laners he is going to have to step up even further as to not weigh down the team. These unconventional pocket picks will strengthen their draft phase especially in a best of 1 LCS format and take their opponents off-guard, but ultimately they still look to be in position to be in the next relegation tournament.
- Copenhagen Wolves
Consistently one of the worst teams in the European LCS this split doesn’t look to be any brighter for the Wolves. Their bottom lane could be promising with the addition of, Aleš “Freeze” Kněžínek who is a veteran of the scene and has proven he is an LCS caliber AD Carry. Their first question mark is Jungler Karim “Airwaks” Benghalia who did not impress in his first split with the team last summer, but now has time to demonstrate that he is an LCS capable jungler. The second is their new Mid lane player Søren “Soren” Holdt Frederiksen who doesn’t have much competitive experience, but hopes to make a name for himself going into this split. The team looks poised to once again finish at the bottom of the standings, hopefully avoiding the dreaded automatic relegation.
As the last team to qualify for this split of LCS they might not be able to stay around for long. The star of this team is certainly in the mid lane; Isaac “Pepiinero” Flores showed incredible promise in the expansion tournament. His play on TF and Xerath were particularly impressive, and may be banned against him the majority of the split which would free up the rest of his team. Unfortunately mid lane is very strong in Europe at the moment which will make it difficult for him to single handedly carry his squad. The rest of his team will hopefully be able to utilize the bans and attention aimed at him to perform at their highest levels, however they seem to be outclassed in every other position by the majority of the league. Their players will need to significantly improve if they hope to avoid relegation matches but overall it looks like that is where they will end up. With so many unproven names and a general lack of experience don’t be surprised if the Giants disappear as quickly as they came.