Vitality shaky in win over H2k, Fnatic outlasts Splyce

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, H2k 0

Team Vitality got back on track with a quick, but shaky win over H2k Gaming to open Saturday's European League of Legends Championship Series slate of games.

With Vitality (10-6) dropping a game to FC Schalke 04 (10-5) on Friday, it was understandable to wonder if the team were losing a step in the last few weeks of the season. While it may have gotten the win Saturday, it wasn't pretty, and demonstrated a few concerns that could bite the team come playoff time.

Coming out the gate, Vitality was well in control of the game, picking up a 2-for-0 in the bottom late just four minutes into the contest. That gave the team plenty of confidence to move around the map, securing a couple early dragons and towers. By the time 12 minutes passed, Vitality was enjoying a 7-to-1 advantage in kills and looked to be well on its way to an easy victory. Ever resilient though, H2k (1-15) didn't go down without a fight.

After Vitality secured its seventh kill of the game, it got a bit too comfortable around the Draven of Patrik "Sheriff" Jiru and he made them pay in the form of two kills. While not enough to fully slow down the momentum of Vitality, it was a sign of things to come as Vitality's carelessness led to unnecessary deaths. The team would again act thoughtlessly, this time in the mid lane, when it gave up three kills to H2k, which allowed it to march right towards Baron and secure the major objective. Thankfully for Vitality, it was at this point that H2k's lack of quick decision-making came into play as it never did anything at all with the buff. Vitality was content to keep farming its way to full item builds so that once 5-vs-5 teamfights eventually broke out as the game progressed, it won every single one. That was enough to keep Vitality moving on the path to a 29-minute victory to salvage its week.

Vitality now looks ahead to a match with Misfits at 4 p.m. ET on Friday, while H2k will next take on Unicorns of Love at noon ET earlier that day.

--Wyatt Donigan

Unicorns of Love 1, ROCCAT

Heading into this game, ROCCAT (6-10) had an outside chance of breaking into the playoffs. It would have likely needed to win out, but there was a chance nonetheless. Unicorns (5-11) weren't content to just get walked over, though, and played the part of spoiler in this match.

While this game only lasted 34 minutes, it was an absolute bloodbath from start to finish. Jonas "Memento" Elmarghichi's Camille opened things up by giving ROCCAT an early lead, but it was a lead that didn't last too long. Unicorns didn't let ROCCAT run away with the early advantage and started keeping pace as the teams began to trade kills back and forth. For most of the game, the kills came in chunks. Anytime one team would win a major teamfight, the other would answer back with a big win of its own. This led to a virtual stalemate until the late stages of the game.

Despite being down in kills due to ROCCAT winning engagement after engagement, Unicorns never gave up and seemed to be looking for one big fight to close things out. Unicorns got exactly what it was looking for when ROCCAT picked a poor fight around the Baron at 32 minutes that led to a pair of crucial deaths, allowing Unicorns to walk right into the base and secure the win.

ROCCAT, now eliminated from playoff contention, will look forward to a match with Fnatic at 1 p.m. ET, while Unicorns take on H2k Gaming in the preceding match at noon ET.

--Wyatt Donigan

Giants 0, Schalke 04 Esports 1

Giants (5-11) came into this game looking to keep its hope alive for its miracle run to the playoffs, which the team had under a two percent chance of making. Not only would the team have needed to win out, but it would have needed plenty of help from the teams above it in the standings. None of that matters anymore, though, since Schalke (11-5) put together one of the most complete performances of the Split to crush Giants' hopes and dreams.

For as one-sided of a game as this ended up, you wouldn't have guessed that by just watching the first 17 minutes. Through that point in the game, neither team had made much ground as they seemed content to just farm and wait for the perfect opportunity to let loose with a teamfight. At the 18-minute mark, though, Schalke finally broke the stalemate with a pair of clean kills in the bottom and mid lanes that kicked what ended up being an avalanche of destruction.

In the final 14 minutes of the game, Schalke could do no wrong. It tallied a whopping 15 kills in that span and gave up none in return. Not only that, but it exerted its pressure all across the map, picking up objectives with relative ease. Once it secured what was easily its cleanest Baron of the Split about 30 minutes in, there was nothing more that Giants could do as the players had to watch as their playoff hopes tumbled into the abyss.

Schalke, now tied in wins with Fnatic and Misfits, will try and lock up a playoff bye when facing Splyce at 3 p.m. ET next Friday, while Giants take on a hungry G2 Esports in the preceding game at 2 p.m. ET.

--Wyatt Donigan

G2 Esports 1, Misfits 0

The Summer Split has been a shining moment for Misfits (11-5) as the team has been running the gamut from start to finish on its way to a top seed heading into the playoffs. For all of its prowess, though, it could do nothing to stem the tide that is G2 Esports (11-5) in this game.

G2 made sure to let Misfits know its place from the very start with an early first blood just a few minutes in. While the teams ended up trading kills back and forth during the next portion of the game, G2 was squarely in the driver's seat due to better control over the macro game. As the game progressed, G2 easily secured objectives while Misfits sat by with no way of getting back into the game. Any time that Misfits tried to get something going during an engagement, G2 was there to shut it down.

There was no better example of this than when Misfits picked up a kill 26 minutes in and started moving towards the Baron. Even though it ended up securing the Baron, G2 popped off with four kills of its own to nullify the buff and keep control over the game. That was all that G2 needed to begin moving towards the victory, as Misfits still had no means to mount a comeback. As such, it wasn't long before G2 closed out the 31-minute win to move into a tie with Misfits near the top of the standings.

With both playoff byes still in play, Misfits will try and bounce back against Team Vitality at 4 p.m. ET next Friday, while G2 prepares for Giants Gaming earlier in the day at 2 p.m. ET.

--Wyatt Donigan

Fnatic 1, Splyce 0

It might have taken 53 minutes, but Fnatic (12-4) eventually took down Splyce (8-8) to move into sole possession of first place heading into the final week of the season. There certainly was plenty of shaky points throughout the marathon, but Fnatic prevailed and made a strong statement to the rest of the region.

With star AD carry Martin "Rekkles" Larsson back on the bench, all eyes were on Rasmus "Caps" Winther and his interesting Wukong pick in the mid lane. For a time, it looked as though the pick would end up backfiring as Splyce opened with a slew of kills from the outset of the game. Splyce kept a hold on the contest during the first 20 minutes, but once Fnatic woke up, things got wild and wacky.

Fnatic gained its footing with a 2-for-0 teamfight win at 22 minutes that lead right into a Baron secure and gave Fnatic hope at a quick win. That wouldn't be in the cards, though, as Splyce continued to persevere, outlasting a variety of potential game-ending engagements but never doing enough to turn the tides in its favor. Sure, once the contest crossed the 40-minute mark, it was truly anyone's game given how much one big fight could swing things. Any time an engagement broke out, though, Fnatic was usually on top. Indeed, that was the case during the game's final fight that saw Fnatic pick up a game-clinching ace to take the win and the top spot on the standings.

Fnatic will try and defend that spot when it faces Team ROCCAT at 1 p.m. ET on Friday, while Splyce will try and climb the standings against FC Schalke 04 later in the day at 3 p.m. ET.

--Wyatt Donigan