FORG1VEN called to serve
At the end of last week’s H2K versus Fnatic game, Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou-Napoleon shared an emotional post-game interview, breaking down multiple times as he announced he has been called to return to Greece to serve a mandatory nine-month active military duty. Needless to say, analyst and fans were shocked at the news.
For those who may not know about Greece laws, Greece instated a mandatory military service (known as a conscription) in 2009 that requires nine months of military service for men between the ages of 19 and 45. FORG1VEN received his letter the morning before the Fnatic game and stated last week will most likely be his last game for the rest of this season and Worlds.
On his Facebook page, FORG1VEN wrote:
“With limited knowledge I have at least until this very moment, it’s highly unlikely that there is a long term solution to my situation. If there is none in the following week, then I will show up to the designated army station to fulfill my duty to the country that I was born and I love. So tomorrow will most likely be my last LCS match until and if a legal solution is being found.
Although my career in terms of team achievements was not the most successful (at least in comparison to individual achievements) I got to view an entire different world, met great players and people from it so I am grateful for what I have experienced in my career.”
The loss of FORG1VEN would be a huge blow to H2K, who currently sit tied for first place with G2 eSports and Team Vitality. The team had already suffered a minor setback when midlaner Ryu had to battle through visa issues and missed several weeks of play. He finally returned in week 6 with the anticipation of H2K fielding their complete roster for the rest of the year.
FORG1VEN has undoubtedly been the star for H2K this year, fielding a 6.8 KDA (4th in the EU LCS), 52 total kills (5th in the EU LCS), 9.2 CS Per Minute (3rd in the EU LCS), and over 5,000 CS total (1st in the EU LCS). His absence won’t only affect H2K as they move forward without him, but the entire landscape of the EU LCS.
For H2K, they have an extra week to find a replacement, with NA and EU games being suspended this week for IEM Katowice.
Currently Kungen is listed as the backup ADC for H2K. That option doesn’t seem realistic though, especially if H2K is looking to find a comparable talent to FORG1VEN. Kungen hasn’t played professionally since 2013, and that was sparingly at best.
One possible replacement could be current NA Renegades ADC, Freeze, if the team faces relegations (which seems extremely likely at this point). Freeze, a natural born Czech Republic citizen, previously played for Copenhagen Wolves and would be a perfect fit for H2K.
Freeze has been the one bright spot for Renegades this year, posting a 9.5 CS Per Minute average (2nd in the NA LCS) and an 80 percent kill participation (5th best in the NA LCS). Would he be willing to play for H2K knowing it would just be a short-term gig until FORG1VEN returns or would he prefer to pursue a more long-term situation? Regardless of who H2K picks up, seamlessly replacing FORG1VEN will be nearly impossible.
Update: At publication time, FORG1VEN had found a temporary solution.
Immortals finally goes down
Just needing one more win to tie Cloud 9 for the longest winning streak in North American LCS history, Immortals found themselves on the losing end for the first time in the organization’s short history. While the loss ends Immortals’ 12 game winning streak, they’re still unquestionably the best team in North America.
CLG played great, no doubt about it, but the pick and ban phase for Immortals felt weak. Huni had fallen into a pattern of picking Quinn top lane, and Darshan’s Fiora with Xmithie’s Udyr made him pay for it.
It definitely looked like CLG prepared for that exact scenario heading into this matchup. Two early ganks from Xmithie in the early game made it impossible for Huni to trade with Darshan in the solo lane. It also enabled Fiora to split push the entire game. Knowing CLG’s win condition would be the split pushing prowess of Darshan, Immortals decided to leave Huni out to dry while they focused on winning the 4vs4 matchup.
A 40-minute baron steal by Xmithie put that win condition out of reach however, with Darshan teleporting bottom lane and backdooring the Nexus while Immortals tried to recover.
For Immortals, their pick and ban phase had become stale and predictable. Perhaps this was the strategy all along, with Immortals preferring to stick with what has been working and holding back on any new team compositions until playoffs start. Regardless, CLG made them pay for it.
Well, that’s embarrassing
In one of the ugliest games we’ve ever witnessed in LCS history, Renegades versus Dignitas reached new lows.
The early game truly felt like watching bronze players battle it out. Starting out our series of unfortunate events, Dignitas misjudged the turret takedown bottom lane. There was literally zero pressure from Renegades bottom lane, leaving Dignitas to take down the tier 1 tower. However, Dignitas misplayed the minion waves, leading to both Billyboss and Kiwikid being executed by the tower.
While Dignitas tried to play it off as planned later in the broadcast, why would Apollo waste his Heal as Billyboss desperately tried to run away?
Meanwhile, Renegades attempted to match Dignitas’ early shenanigans. With Billyboss and Kiwikid busy bottom lane feeding the turret, Renegade’s Hakuho and Crumbzz attempted to take down Rift Herald. They severely underestimated the damage of the Rift Herald four minutes in the game however, and both players were subsequently executed by the giant purple crab.
The early game misplays left shoutcaster’s Zirene and Riv rolling with laughter, as they witnessed history being made. This was the first time at the professional level that four members of opposing teams have been executed by minions/towers in the first five minutes of the game. Taking down an uncontested turret/minion is a rather mundane task with predicable play patterns. Seeing two misplays by professional players against targets that can’t infinitely chase you is as embarrassing as it can get at the professional level.
The game ended just as absurdly as it started. Renegades won a key team fight in the mid lane, securing three kills before pushing for the last inhibitor. Renegades overstayed though as they pushed down the last two Nexus turrets, allowing Apollo and Shiphtur to take back three kills.
As Dignitas looked to capitalize on Renegades mistake and pushed towards their base, Renegade’s Seraph teleported into Dignitas’s base to end the game.
In other League of Legends news
The Cloud 9 versus CLG game was one of the best matches this split. These two teams know each other’s playstyle intimately, and that fact was definitely on full display in this game. Cloud 9 entered the matchup having beat TSM the week before. Meanwhile, CLG just had an epic victory over the previously undefeated Immortals.
On the line was sole possession of second place and the coveted bye week that goes with it.
Skirmishes happened all over the map, with Cloud 9’s Rush making huge plays on Lee Sin. One particular play, where Rush Flashed over a Corki ultimate to survive and then killed Huhi, will be played over and over again for years to come. Both teams played aggressively, trading punch for punch for most of the game.
After securing a Baron, and perhaps afraid of the legendary Darshan split push, Cloud 9’s Hai made a questionable engage on the inhibitor turret mid lane instead of sieging the lane. That ultimately was the nail in the coffin for Cloud 9, and CLG was able to take a ton of objectives in Cloud 9’s base on their way to a 2-0 week.