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ROCCAT defeats Millenium, avoids relegation ... for now

That ... was not a pretty series.

Riot Games

Team ROCCAT avoided its first landmine on its hunt to re-qualify for the EU LCS next season, defeating second-seeded Challenger side Millenium 3-2 Thursday in the first round of the EU 2017 Promotion Series. It was a sloppy series for both teams, but ROCCAT overcame disastrous Games 2 and 4 to take the win and advance to the next round, where they will face FC Schalke 04 Friday.

It was an excellent series for ROCCAT AD Carry and series MVP Pierre “Steeelback” Medjaldi (18/2/22 in ROCCAT’s three wins) and Millenium top laner Quentin “Kaze” Gourbeix. Each was able to consistently win lane (Kaze was helped by Millenium almost exclusively using its bans to target his lane opponent) and carried their teams to their respective wins.

You can find VODs for the games here. Here’s how it went down.

In Game 1, ROCCAT overcame macro and micro mistakes to win a close game. The team allowed Millenium to pick Malzahar second rotation, one of the strongest champions in the current meta, and counterpicked itself by choosing Ekko into Fiora. The latter matchup hurt a lot early, as Kaze picked up four early kills, but late-game decision making errors negated much of his power as the game went on.

Millenium jungler Charly “Djoko” Guillard stole the first two Dragons of the game after Roccat simply refused to clear wards in the Dragon pit, and the Challenger squad looked like it might be able to run away with it thanks to significant gold leads in both solo lanes. But ROCCAT wasn’t the only team with sloppy play — after winning a 4-0 team fight 28 minutes in, Millenium allowed ROCCAT jungler Jonas “Memento” Elmarghichi to steal Baron.

The game went south from there for Millenium. A few minutes later, Kaze attempted to start a team fight by jumping into a group of four ROCCAT players, but quickly died, resulting in a 4-1 fight for ROCCAT. Steelback (6/1/13 on Sivir) and mid laner Felix “Betsy” Edling (6/1/9 on Swain) were able to snowball that advantage into better items and more damage for ROCCAT, closing out the game 19-15 in 41 minutes.

The second game was an entirely different story -- one dictated by a single champion choice. ROCCAT made an extremely unusual choice by opting for Sona mid as the last pick in the draft. On the one hand, it looked partially inspired: it seems like a decent pick into Kassadin, and she’s very strong on 6.14.

On the other hand, Millenium had already drafted Hecarim, Shen and Tahm Kench: three champions with easy access to your back line, making a champion like Sona without any natural escapes extremely vulnerable. That Hecarim made Sona’s life extremely difficult, as she died three times to ganks in the first 10 minutes, with three kills going to the Kassadin. Betsy finished the game 0/8/3 on Sona, as Prodromos “Pretty Kevezitidis’ Kassadin went 11/3/5 in the 22-6, 36-minute victory.

ROCCAT was able to rebound in Game 3 thanks to a horrible error by Millenium in the lane swap. Once a pretty solid lane swap team by Challenger standards, Millenium has recently been scrimming on 6.15 in a post-lane swap world, and the rustiness showed. Millenium didn’t reach the top outer tower until ROCCAT had already taken down the bottom outer to less than half health, and ROCCAT gained a tempo advantage of nearly a whole minute as a result.

That dictated the rest of the game, as ROCCAT gained leads in every lane and exploited those to take objectives. Even six kills for Pretty’s Kassadin wasn’t enough, as Betsy’s Karma was a much more efficient counter than Sona and the Kassadin died five times. ROCCAT took this one 16-8 in 36 minutes, with Steeelback shining once again (7/0/5 on Lucian).

In Game 4, Millenium allowed ROCCAT to pick basically the highest priority champion at four out of five positions: Hecarim in the jungle, Malzahar mid and a Sivir-Alistar bottom lane. It looked over from the start, especially when ROCCAT was able to take some early advantages.

It was still another sloppy game. How sloppy? This sloppy.

But ROCCAT threw away its lead at a disastrous Baron fight, allowing Millenium to pick up the objective and the ace and take the gold lead at 38 minutes. A series of mistakes in the following minutes allowed Kaze (5/6/9 on Jax) and Tabzz (11/0/7 on Jhin) to pick up a bunch of kills, acing ROCCAT and ending the game 23-19 after 46 minutes of action.

Game 5 had a slow start, with everything now on the line. Kaze and Steeelback continued their strong series by building up early leads, and Kaze’s ended up key for Millenium — an advantageous team fight for ROCCAT was countered by a solo kill for Kaze (who already had one kill and Rift Herald buff), keeping the gold pretty much even.

Kaze picked up his third kill a few minutes later, but an ill-advised two-man Baron attempt gifted Memento his third kill of the affair. At 25 minutes, Kaze picked up another solo kill, and a 2-for-1 two minutes later increased Millenium’s advantage and brought Kaze up to 5/0/1.

ROCCAT was able to take the lead back after excellent team fight play from Betsy’s Swain led to a Baron. That led to an Elder Dragon, which ROCCAT used to pick up three kills and the crucial win.

Team ROCCAT has been in the EU LCS since Spring 2014, finishing 3rd that split and fourth that summer. Fortunes haven’t looked quite so well since then: the team has finished 8th, 5th/6th, 9th and 10th in the splits that have followed. ROCCAT will have to defeat either FC Schalke 04 or the loser of Origen vs. Misfits to stay in the EU LCS.

First formed in 2011 with YellowStar and Soaz on its roster, Millenium was in EU LCS for 2014 Spring (8th) and Summer (6th). After winning the Challenger Spring regular season, the team was knocked out in the semifinals and missed the Summer Promotion Series. Millenium finished 3rd in Challenger Summer regular season and 2nd in playoffs, and will now be returning to the Challenger Series next year (unless they sell their spot).