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The week in pro League of Legends: Upsets, wild finish in Korea, Dardoch suspended, rosters finalized in NA

Plus, Taliyah's pro debut and Challenger qualifiers complete in North America and Europe.

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
1 Samsung Galaxy 2-0 4-0 4
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
5 Afreeca Freecs 1-1 2-2 0
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)

Unusual picks: Blitzcrank (VOD), Lucian mid (VOD), Swain (VOD 1VOD 2), Taric (VOD), Veigar (VOD), Zyra (VOD)


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)

Unusual picks: Evelynn (VOD), Kha'Zix (VOD), Jhin (VOD 1VOD 2), Swain (five picked! five banned!), Veigar (VOD)

North America

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.

Group A Team Record
1 Misfits 4-1
2 SK Gaming 3-2
3 Low Priority 3-2
4 Tricked eSports 2-3
5 Melty eSport Club 2-3
6 Fnatic Academy 1-4
Group B Team Record
1 Team Forge 3-2
2 EURONICS Gaming 3-2
3 K1ck Black 3-2
4 mousesports 2-3
5 Szef+6 2-3
6 G2 Vodafone 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)

Unusual picks: Annie (VOD), Aurelion Sol (VOD), Draven (VOD), Irelia (VOD), Lulu jungle (VOD), Quinn (VOD)

Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau

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.

Other regions

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.