Vitality picks up win over ROCCAT, UoL keeps playoffs hopes alive

Team Vitality took down Schalke 04 and G2 Esports during a three-way tiebreaker in the European League Championship Series. Provided by Riot Games

Vitality 1, ROCCAT 0

Team Vitality bounced back from a slow early game to decimate ROCCAT on Saturday during the European League of Legends Championship Series.

After picking up wins over both G2 Esports (8-3) and H2k Gaming (0-11) in its last two outings, ROCCAT (6-6) looked poised to win a third straight game early in this contest. With jungler Jonas "Memento" Elmarghichi locking in the volatile Nocturne and using the champion to help top laner Profit's Kim "Vladimir" Jun-hyung secure first blood, ROCCAT was in control of the proceedings during the first 13 minutes of the game.

With the lead in hand, though, ROCCAT got a bit ahead of itself and engaged in a fight that flipped the entire game on its head. Known for its blistering teamfighting, Vitality (7-5) followed its usual script with a 5-for-2 ace out of nowhere at the 14-minute mark. Support Jakub "Jactroll" Skurzynski and his Rakan led the way with two kills in the fight to raise his KDA (kills/deaths/assists) to a flawless 4/0/2 up to that point in the game. That single engagement was all that Vitality needed to put itself in the driver's seat.

Throughout the next 22 minutes, Vitality asserted its dominance across the entire map, grabbing teamfight wins that turned into objectives. Vitality didn't give up a single dragon in the game, while knocking down 10 towers and losing just three of its own. With ROCCAT having no means of making a comeback once Vitality secured the only Baron at 30 minutes, it wasn't long before Vitality wrapped things up after the buff expired to claim a 35-minute win with a 20-to-7 advantage in kills.

ROCCAT will look to get back on track against FC Schalke 04 at noon ET on Friday, while Vitality plan to try and make it three straight when it takes on Fnatic later that day at 4 p.m. ET.


Unicorns of Love 1, Giants Gaming 0

Unicorns of Love won a close battle against Giants Gaming on Saturday during the European League of Legends Championship Series in Berlin.

With both teams sitting near the bottom of the standings, both Giants (3-9) and Unicorns of Love (4-8) had plenty to play for in this match. A loss means that playoffs hopes would be all but dashed while a win would keep hope alive in the final five weeks of the summer split. Throughout the majority of the game, that fact was plainly clear as the teams fought tooth-and-nail for an advantage of any kind.

Many of the biggest teamfights didn't come until the final few minutes of the game, which meant that objectives and a solid macro game would be paramount to success. Expectedly, given the team's relative position in the standings, both took turns taking major objectives, which kept the game close the entire way. Unicorns won a few of the earlier engagements to take a slight gold lead, but it was Giants that battled back and secured the first Baron of the game at 27 minutes to try and gain control of the game.

Unfortunately for Giants, though, that Baron wasn't enough to fully push off the Unicorns squad that was seemingly content to secure its late game items and prepare for the biggest teamfights of all in the late game. Soon after Giants' buff expired, Unicorns moved right into the Baron to secure the powerful objective for itself. That Baron secure led right into the cleanest teamfight of the game that went 5-for-0 in favor of Unicorns, allowing it to lock up the win in 35 minutes.

Unicorns will continue the playoff hunt against Splyce at 3 p.m. ET on Friday, while Giants will try to kickstart a miracle playoff run against the vaunted Misfits earlier in the day at 1 p.m. ET.


Schalke 1, G2 0

Schalke 04 brought itself within one game of opponent G2 Esports with a victory in Week 6, Day 2 of the European League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split.

Schalke 04 mid laner Erlend "Nukeduck" Vatevik Holm decided to double down on the hype surrounding him this summer, picking the first Zed of the split into the Yasuo of Luka "Perkz" Perkovic. A classically risky pick, it quickly became clear that Nukeduck's Zed would not find the early momentum it needed in his own lane, as Perkz consistently reacted to the Razor Shuriken animation with Wind Wall to negate much of Nukeduck's damage.

Luckily for Schalke (7-5), G2 jungler Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski was more than happy to oblige. Jankos consistently failed to respect Schalke's map presence, starting at just six minutes when he walked too close to the enemy jungle and handed Nukeduck first blood on a silver platter. He was repeatedly picked off for the next 15 minutes or so, giving Nukeduck a 3/0/0 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) by the 20-minute mark while Jankos himself was 0/4/0.

This was not remotely the extent of G2 Esports' (8-4) woes. While its bottom lane had managed to find a single kill, this was all that had been accomplished anywhere on the map. Schalke had a 3-0 turret lead as well as the only dragon of the game, and the gold difference was fast becoming unmanageable. While the next few minutes were slow, a 28-minute 3-for-0 teamfight out of Schalke granted it an easy Baron, which it used to end the game in 31-and-a-half minutes.

Schalke 04 will look to climb towards the top of the standings in the opening game Friday against Team ROCCAT at 12 p.m. ET. Later that day at 2 p.m. ET, G2 Esports will look to hand H2k-Gaming its 13th consecutive loss of the split.

--Brendan Hickey

Splyce 1, Misfits 0

Splyce landed a huge upset on Saturday with a win over the first-place Misfits to close out Week 6 of the European League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split.

The early game was painstakingly slow in this matchup, with more turrets than champions falling in the first 20 minutes, leaving the gold roughly within 2,000. For Splyce (6-6), this was ideal, despite it being slightly behind. Aside from the Splyce's well-established affinity for the late game, the lack of a dedicated tank on the side of Misfits (10-2) meant that the Jhin of Splyce AD carry Kasper "Kobbe" Kobberup, as well as the Zoe from mid laner Yasin "Nisqy" Dincer, would gain astronomical damage potential as the game drew on.

For most of the game, the kill score sat still at 1-3 in favor of Misfits, with only the outer turrets down on both sides, as Splyce slowly built up farm and took all but one dragon. Finally, at 38 minutes, everything came to a head. After Nisqy landed huge poke damage onto multiple members of Misfits, Kobbe's Curtain Call lived up to its name, quickly taking out two enemy champions while forcing a third directly into the jaws of his mid laner. Just like that, it was all over for Misfits. The two remaining members of Misfits were summarily picked off as Splyce pushed into the base and took the Nexus just seconds after the 39-minute mark.

This win puts Splyce into a tie for sixth place, the last playoff spot, and it will start looking to secure a postseason berth up against Unicorns of Love at 3 p.m. ET on Friday. Misfits, meanwhile, still controls first place, and will keep working towards a first-round bye when it takes on Giants Gaming at 1 p.m. ET.

--Brendan Hickey