Professional play for League of Legends kicked off the Sprint Split of its 2016 LCS season last week. A huge number of roster changes, new additions and bought spots in the top-flight league during off-season meant nobody was quite sure how things would go when each team played their first two games. Here's a quick rundown of the headlines.
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In North America, everything went just as planned for the new Immortals side, comprised of ex-EU all-stars. Between fighting off a 2v4 top lane to go 16-0 in kills in their second game of the weekend, and just crushing Cloud 9 in their first with excellent play from WildTurtle, their carry, it was just how you would want your first week at the top to go. Pobelter and Adrian, their mid and support players, were the only two good decisions I made for my Fantasy team across the week.
Meanwhile in the EU, relatively unchanged Origen were expecting to continue a dominant streak against a league that had seen a lot of its best players bought up by American teams. They fell first to a much-depleted Fnatic side that flat refused to disappoint their long-standing fans. Meanwhile it was more surprising when Origen were also beaten by h2k, sporting three new players. Whether it's just a slow start or a sign that Origen's single addition of PowerofEvil has messed too harshly with the group dynamic, they'll want to pick it up quickly if they plan to make the semi-finals of Worlds two years in a row.
Team Solo-Mid are fan-favourites, but have only a single member remaining from their roster of last year. However, with great new hires like taking long-time rivals CLG's Doublelift and another of Fnatic's old players, Yellowstar, over from the EU, they were still picked for good results and a high finish. While they went 1-1 on the first weekend, they looked weak falling to CLG's squad without much fightback in the season opener, while TeamLiquid cocked up impressively to give TSM the victory on Sunday in a game they had no business in. This week will be the true test of if TSM can get over starters nerves and continue their long-held position near the top of American League of Legends or if it's mid-table for them this year.
2-0's on either side of the pond were G2 Esports, H2k-Gaming and Unicorns of Love over in Europe while the brand new NRG Esports and Immortals teams did it for the US with the help of their imports. Week 2 runs Thursday-Friday for EU, Saturday-Sunday for NA. We'll see if anyone can remain undefeated, who was just quick out of the gate and which teams are making a proper run of it.