European Scouting Grounds – Players to look out for
After another edition of Copenhagen Flames’ European Scouting Grounds, the short-term five man rosters led by Wickd and NicoThePico featured a few promising talents to keep tabs on heading into the 2018 season.
Experience meets potential
The two coaches for the European Scouting Grounds event followed different philosophies when it came to picking the rosters to win the tournament. NicoThePico favored experience and past working relationships for the players he chose. His first pick was none other than LCS veteran Woolite as he built his team around the hyper carry threat. While Woolite was by far the biggest name of the tournament, his LCS career has been plagued by a lack of consistency at the top level, and some of those mistakes were showing once again as he found it hard to stay proactive on champions that lacked the mobility.
Wickd followed a precise counter plan to the Woolite pick as he picked up Quixeth and XDSmiley for his bot lane. Quixeth was by all accounts the most promising Support talent to feature in the tournament. Wickd mentioned his past solo queue experience with him as well as seeing his performances in Day 1 of the tournament was the biggest factor in picking him over Mystiques. Wickd mentioned that Quixeth’s ability to roam and constantly land those crucial skill shots would prove to be a useful counter to the bully style of Woolite, and for much of the final series he was proven right as Quixeth showed great versatility on champions like Thresh and Alistar.
Game 1 of the Finals went according to plan for Team Wickd as the synergy between XDSmiley and their young Polish Jungler InspireD was the backbone behind that win. After a few great plays in the early game from InspireD on the bot lane, the strength in numbers was simply too much as they took out a baron right from under the noses of Team Pico and charged to a triumphant first win. InspireD started the tournament as the lowest rated Jungler of the three Junglers featured, but by the end of the Finals there was absolutely no doubting his skill and propensity to shine on a variety of champions and playstyles.
The experience and poise from Team NicoThePico would show through in the following games of the series. Finnish Jungler Taikki was lauded for his communicative skills and teamplay ability from both coaches before the Finals began. As the series wore on his ability to seemingly be everywhere on the map at once proved overwhelming to Team Wickd as he got Woolite and Mid Laner xPriskornet off to great starts. Once Woolite got his hands on a mobile champion like Tristana in Game 2 his fortunes turned as he finished that game with no deaths on his KDA. Game 3 was more of the same as his damage output on Varus doubled that of every player on the opposing team, Mystiques showed off his Janna skills keeping Woolite’s Varus alive in many situations during teamfights.
Woolite tried to put his stamp on the series in Game 4 picking up his trademark Kog’ Maw, but Zoiren and XDSmiley did not bend to his will as their performances on Corki and Ezreal carried the series into a Game 5. Zoiren seemed rather average for a majority of the series until he turned it on with the Corki pick, racking up a massive ten kills within 20 minutes of game time. As his threat started to be neutralized by the enemy team, XDSmiley picked up the pieces on Ezreal as they rode out a rocky early game to even the series.
Team of the Tournament
The last game of the series was the most contested of any game of the tournament as Team Wickd pulled away with the victory in a heated 50 minute finale. The Most Valuable players in each role at the end of the tournament were decided by the coaches and casters as Doxy, Taikki, xPriskornet, XDSmiley and Quixeth earned the honors. Doxy was the most consistent player on Team NicoThePico as his Gnar and Shen play did well to push his team to win when ahead, and stall the win for his enemies on defeat. Overall it was a promising showcase of skill for these teams as four of the five candidates for MVP were heavily debated in the post-game discussion amongst the casters.