The Summer 2016 competitive League of Legends season continued its slow ramp up to full pace this past week, adding the start of play in China, Korea and Oceania to leagues already going on in Brazil, Spain and in the European Challenger qualifiers.
The Chinese and Korean seasons both opened with some surprises, both in champion picks (Taliyah made her debut! Swain, Taric and Gnar are getting picked!) and series results. With the big mid-season patch changes now fully in effect for competitive play, there's a new pro meta developing, and as the rest of the world's domestic seasons start, that will come into clearer focus.
This past week, qualifiers in North America and Europe for the second-tier Challenger League were completed, deciding the final two teams in each for the summer season. The NA LCS, North America's top-tier league, also completed its summer team roster, with a final buyer for one of three teams banned by Riot earlier in May.
Below, everything you need to know from the week that was in competitive League, broken down by region:
There were a pair of notable upsets in the LCK: ESC Ever's 2-0 win against CJ Entus announced the former Challenger team as one to be feared of in Korea's top league, but the big shocker was Samsung Galaxy's sweep of ROX Tigers, the defending LCK regular season champions. Samsung Galaxy followed that up with another sweep over Afreeca Freecs Monday, establishing itself as the first-place team after one week of LCK action.
After KT Rolster took Game 1 of its series with Challenger champions MVP, MVP looked to have Game 2 under control, which would have forced the first Game 3 of the split so far. Then, this happened:
Afreeca Freecs 2-0 Longzhu Gaming
CJ Entus 0-2 ESC Ever
ROX Tigers 0-2 Samsung Galaxy
MVP 0-2 KT Rolster
Jin Air 2-0 Longzhu Gaming
Afreeca Freecs 0-2 Samsung Galaxy
|Standing||Team||Series record||Game record||Points|
|2||Ever||1 - 0||2 - 0||2|
|2||Jin Air Green Wings||1 - 0||2 - 0||2|
|2||KT Rolster||1 - 0||2 - 0||2|
|6||SK Telecom T1||-||-|
|7||CJ Entus||0 - 1||0 - 2||-2|
|7||MVP||0 - 1||0 - 2||-2|
|7||ROX Tigers||0 - 1||0 - 2||-2|
|10||Longzhu Gaming||0 - 2||0 - 4||-4|
Most contested picks (12 games)
Top: Maokai (11 picked, one banned), Ekko (eight picked, four banned)
Jungle: Kindred (three picks, nine banned), Nidalee (two picks, 10 banned), Elise (eight picked, two banned), Rek'Sai (six picks, two banned)
Mid: Ryze (one picked, 11 banned) Azir (six picked, five banned), Viktor (eight picked, two banned)
AD Carry: Lucian (six picked, four banned), Sivir (four picked, two banned), Caitlyn (four picked, two banned), Ezreal (six picked)
Support: Bard (six picked, one banned)
Royal Never Give Up at MSI. Photo via Riot Games.
Two familiar teams and two unexpected teams sit at the top of each group after a week. Preseason favorites Edward Gaming and Royal Never Give Up won both of their opening series, dropping a game apiece, but they're joined at the top of the table by two new teams: Game Talents and I May.
I May bought an LPL spot from Edward Gaming's sister team, Edward Esports, after it qualified out of the LSPL, China's secondary league. I May is now the only LPL team that remains unblemished, sweeping both of its opening series (against LGD and Oh My God).
Edward Gaming 2-1 Newbee
Snake eSports 1-2 Game Talents
Royal Never Give Up 2-1 Team WE
Oh My God 0-2 I May
Edward Gaming 2-0 Snake eSports
Game Talents 2-0 Saint Gaming
Newbee 2-1 Invictus Gaming
LGD Gaming 0-2 I May
Royal Never Give Up 2-0 Vici Gaming
Team We 2-0 Oh My God
|Group A||Team||Series record||Game record||Points|
|1||EDward Gaming||2 - 0||4 - 1||3|
|1||Game Talents||2 - 0||4 - 1||3|
|3||Newbee||1 - 1||3 - 3||0|
|4||Invictus Gaming||0 - 1||1 - 2||-1|
|5||Saint Gaming||0 - 1||0 - 2||-2|
|6||Snake eSports||0 - 2||1 - 4||-3|
|Group B||Team||Series record||Game record||Points|
|1||I May||2 - 0||4 - 0||4|
|2||Royal Never Give Up||2 - 0||4 - 1||3|
|3||Team WE||1 - 1||3 - 2||1|
|4||LGD Gaming||0 - 1||0 - 2||-2|
|4||Vici Gaming||0 - 1||0 - 2||-2|
|6||Oh My God||0 - 2||0 - 4||-4|
Most contested picks (24 games)
Top: Maokai (16 picked, five banned), Ekko (13 picked, five banned), Trundle (eight picked, eight banned)
Jungle: Kindred (10 picked, 14 banned), Nidalee (two picked, 19 banned), Rek'Sai (16 picked, four banned)
Mid: Ryze (one picked, 23 banned), Azir (nine picked, 13 banned), Viktor (19 picked, three banned)
AD Carry: Lucian (13 picked, 10 banned), Caitlyn (eight picked, four banned), Sivir (1o picked, two banned)
Support: Bard (13 picked, four banned), Karma (13 picked, one banned)
An "Balls" Le and Lee "Rush" Yoon-jae, both now on C9 Challenger, playing in the spring quarterfinals. Photo via Riot Games.
Entering this week, we knew Team Envy would be replacing Renegades in North America's top-flight league, but the new organizations in the other two spots made available after Riot banned three teams from competitive play were unknown.
Phoenix1 will replace Team Impulse in the NA LCS, while Eanix will replace Team Dragon Knights in the North American Challenger series. Phoenix1 also announced its roster, including former Team Impulse starters Choi "Pirean" Jun-sik, Brandon "Mash" Phan and Austin "Gate" Yu and rising Challenger prospects Derek "zig" Shao and Rami "Inori" Charagh.
Team Liquid suspended starting jungler Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett for "insubordination," and says the team is looking into a possible transfer. That means former starting NRG jungler Galen "Moon" Holgate, replaced this offseason by the team in favor of Lucas "Santorin" Larsen, will most likely be the starting jungler for Liquid.
The Challenger Series qualifier finals also took place, but were not streamed, and no VODs were available.
Cloud9 Challenger 3-0 Destined For Glory
Arsenal 0-3 Dream Team
Most contested picks (6 games)
Top: Ekko (four picked, two banned), Maokai (five picked), Trundle (four picked), Swain (three banned)
Jungle: Nidalee (six banned), Kindred (five picked, one banned), Graves (three banned)
Mid: Ryze (one picked, five banned), Azir (three picked, three banned), Zed (one picked, three banned), Diana (three banned), Zilean (three picked)
AD Carry: Lucian (two picked, four banned), Ezreal (four picked), Sivir (three picked)
Support: Braum (six picked)
Unusual picks: Veigar support, Zyra
Challenger qualifiers also wrapped up in Europe, but these games were streamed (with a round-robin stage/playoff stage set up that made a lot more sense).
After strong starts to the tournament by Low Priority and K1ck Black, SK Gaming and EURONICS made late charges to qualify for the playoff round. But it was the No. 1 team from each group, British side Misfits and Italian organization Team Forge, who ended up winning the playoff series and qualifying for the summer season.
|5||Melty eSport Club||2-3|
Misfits 3-1 EURONICS
Team Forge 3-1 SK Gaming
Most contested picks (20 games)
Top: Trundle (seven top, six support, four banned)
Jungle: Kindred (10 picked, 10 banned), Nidalee (five picked, 13 banned)
Mid: Azir (four picked, 15 banned), Viktor (11 picked, six banned), Ryze (four picked, 13 banned),
AD Carry: Lucian (10 picked, 10 banned), Sivir (13 picked, two banned), Caitlyn (seven picked, three banned),
Support: Braum (15 picked, two banned)
When Flash Husky, the junior team of LMS winners Flash Wolves, won promotion to the LMS, it was just a matter of time before the spot was sold. This week, the buyer was confirmed as Team Mist, per Xander Torres. Torres also said Flash Husky's players won't be transferred and Flash Wolves will likely move the team back to Challenger.
Brazil: Taliyah made her professional debut and won (VOD), picked by Operation Kino's Bruno "Goku" Miyaguchi. In the next game of the series, CNB's Gustavo "Minerva" picked Malzahar jungle, which also won in its pro debut (VOD).
In a matchup between the CBLOLs top two teams, paiN Gaming came out on top of KaBuM! e-Sports, sweeping the series 2-0 and taking first place in the standings.
Japan: The LJL season has started, with 7th heaven, defending champions DetonatioN FocusME, and Rampage winning series in the first week.
Oceania: Legacy eSports, Chiefs and Tainted Minds are the three teams on top with undefeated series records after a week of play, with Legacy leading the group at 2-0 (with a perfect 4-0 mark in games).
Russia: As expected, Albux NoX Luna (the defending LCL champions, formerly known as Hard Random) have jumped out to a 2-0 start, but the team has been joined by fellow undefeated contenders Gambit.CIS and Vaevictis. Albux NoX will play Gambit.CIS this week.
Latin America South: Argentina's Isurus Gaming has bolted off to a 4-0 start in the LAS Closing Cup, sweeping fellow Argentinian club Hafnet eSports (currently in second place) and Chile's Kaos Latin Gamers.