Amazon EU Masters 2022 summer Play-Ins: Tales from the non-accredited ERLs, part 1

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Modified  23 Aug, 19:18
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The Amazon European Masters is a tournament often touted to feature the next stars of the LEC. It is also a tournament of regional pride, where fans can cheer on their home team and players as they take on Europe’s best.

However, the EU Masters often focus on the accredited European Regional Leagues (ERLs) or major regions due to their larger fanbases and historical success. This two-part article highlights the often overlooked, but no less important, non-accredited ERLs or minor regions as the Play-ins approach.

In part one, we take a trip to the GLL, the Elite Series, and the LPLOL with local casters who preview their representatives and what they expect from them.

Greek Legends League, with caster Antonis “Rev” Stepchenko

Rev

Tell us a little bit about your two representatives going into EUM.

I’ll start with the second seed, Team Phantasma, who people saw almost take a game from X7 Esports last spring. The thing is, it’s the same team. They tried to stir things up a little and picked Rodrigo "Make" Sinovas Sañudo for the primary Support position, but it didn’t work out. The same five players and the same coach are back again with more experience and synergy than ever, especially since they won the Crusaders Crown 2022 LAN event in Oradea, Romania. They are here to prove they are better than last spring. They are the tactical team, often aiming to play “correct” League of Legends.

On the other side, we have our champions Anorthosis Famagusta Esports, who retain the chaotic fighters that past EU Masters outings have shown them to be. They are the team who brought you the Garen Jungle and are still as unpredictable as ever! Instead of fighting the meta with meta picks or strategies, they counter it with their own style while ensuring it’s bloodthirsty as it's spectacular. And you know, the blood-red suits their crown.

Which players should we look out for on the respective teams?

I’m going to pick out two players from each team.

From Anorthosis, I’d say jungler Kacper "Daglas" Dagiel and mid-laner Giannis "Dom1nant" Vorgazlis. I must say, it was hard to choose, as Anorthosis are a five-point strike team. Starting with the latter, the Garen jungle genius role swapping back to mid, and while the meta seemed not to suit his aggressive nature, he has adapted well to all of the control mages and neutral objective rotations while still making sure to punish every mistake the enemy might do. (Fun fact: the only role he hasn’t played competitively is top lane!)

As for Daglas, he’s the diamond that Anorthosis found in spring and is still polishing. Top 10 of EUW SoloQ even before playing in an ERL, rookie of the split in spring, MVP candidate this summer, and ice cool performances on his first LAN event in front of a big crowd. Everyone predicts that he will make it to LEC in two years, and it’s delightful to watch him break every ceiling they had predicted he would hit.

For Team Phantasma, I would pick the solo laners Thodoris "Bako" Bakogiannis and Petros "Peppe" Berdebes.

Bako is one of the best Greek carry top laners, and he has carried so many games in the past and is continuing to do so. Leaving his Camille unbanned equals competitive suicide, and he’s terrorized many opponents throughout his competitive career. Peppe has two personalities: You either find ‘Demon Peppe,’ or you might find yourself within the ‘Church of Peppe.’ Both of them are bad news. Honestly, I cannot remember his last bad game, as he manages to stand out even in his team's significant losses. Be it Viktor, Azir, Akali, or Sylas; he is a force to be reckoned with.

What would be considered a success for you from these teams for EUM? Any teams or minor ERLs you want to beat particularly?

I could chug on (c)hopium and say that both teams' goals are to get out of groups and maybe create some havoc for their opposition afterward, but this time -and only this time- I’ll be realistic: As an ERL, the GLL has to take it one step at a time.

The downgrade from one Main Event and one Play-in spot to two Play-ins spots hurt the ego of our region and maybe deservedly so. That means we need to pick ourselves back up and qualify for the Main Event one way or another. When that is done, we can think and talk about the next steps.

Finally, give us a spicy Play-ins prediction.

I’d say the GLL would get more wins than any other minor ERL, but that’s milder than mayonnaise. So I’ll say that either one of LFL or the SuperLiga representatives will bomb out in the Play-ins. For extra spiciness, I believe that while they bomb out, one of the minor ERL teams will advance…and Crvena Zvezda Esports will lose to the third GLL team this summer (the first two were in Crusaders Crown 2022).

Elite Series, with caster Diede “Dino” Baeyens

Dino

Tell us a little bit about your two representatives going into EUM.

I'll start with returning representative and second seed in KRC Genk Esports. They won last spring and went to EU Masters, but they had a rough time there. For summer, they rebuilt their team around dominating the Elite Series and having a better shot at EU Masters. Genk had a rocky start with inconsistencies but ramped up towards the end, and they were the first to qualify for the finals, but sadly for them, they lost the finals 3-2 to The Agency. We jokingly call them the ‘blue fence’ because we hoped they would face off against Karmine Corp (the blue wall)! Genk plays a specific macro style to get early leads in the early game and use them to close out the game in a very controlled fashion.

The Agency is our first seed and a new organization, acquiring the spot of Echo Zulu. They formed a team with very good Benelux staples, some of our strongest local talents like Benjamin "Zhergoth" Sánchez and Brayan "Kruimel" van Oosten and built a team around UK bot laner Fayez "Dragdar" Ahmed. Initially, they had problems as well, but then they went on a massive winning streak, even taking the upset win in the finals against Genk. Regarding how the team plays, it's mainly strong solo lanes and strong laners in the carry positions. They get their leads by laning better than the opponents, which is harder in EUM play-ins, but it’s their best strategy.

Which players should we look out for on the respective teams?

Dragdar is my first pick for the Agency because the team was built around him. I think what sets Dragdar apart is that he has a champion pool that is hard to attack. His Zeri is extra scary, and he can completely take over the game on her. He can also play champions like Ezreal to a very high standard and Miss Fortune, which he used as a counter to champions like Draven and Kalista. The team is built around him so that he's vital in the mid to late-game team fights where he's the one dishing out the consistent damage, and Dragdar fills that role like no other in our league.

For Genk, my player to watch would be Linus "RoyalKanin" Grönlund because his performance impacts the team the most. He came from the NLC, and the team is online when he performs. He has an insane competitive KDA in the Elite Series on Ahri and was unkillable on the champion. What he does as well for Genk is fulfilling multiple roles. He's a versatile player, and we've seen him play Karma and Seraphine to try to get an advantage in the draft for his team.

I also want to shout out bot laner Alan "Tiger" Roger. He came to the Elite series to link up with support Amaury "Moopz" Minguerche again in search of some redemption, and I know in the LFL people knew that Tiger + Moopz was a challenging lane to play against. It could be a great moment for his career if he has a good showing for Play-ins.

What would be considered a success for you from these teams for EUM? Any teams or minor ERLs you want to beat particularly?

Looking at the recent play-in changes, I think we have the odds stacked against us more than ever for any minor region. So for me, success would be to show up against the major region teams, like how mCon LG UltraGear almost beat Karmine Corp in spring. Winning against these teams would be insane, and taking a second seed in a stacked group like that would be improbable but incredible. I would not expect us to reach knockouts due to the format, so if we reach knockouts, that would be huge.

To be honest, we are starting to develop a little bit of a rivalry with LPLOL. We recently released a video on the esports prime channel asking players at the beginning of the season about ERL strength and EU Masters. Except for meming ourselves, the LPLOL kept coming up. But last spring, the LPLOL finally jumped over us a little bit because they had better performances in groups. Even if we don't make it out of groups this summer, if we finish above the LPLOL teams in the same group, I’m a happy camper!

Finally, give us a spicy Play-ins prediction.

I'll give you two spicy-ish predictions, maybe even three. The first is the GLL redemption story. I think the fact that they got both seeds moved to Play-ins late in the season felt really harsh, even though it's the only way to make the other changes work. I think they are going to prove that the difference between PG Nationals and the EBL is not big enough to justify this change.

The second one is I don't think the NLC and Ultraliga third seeds are going to be that good. I think JD Excel is plagued with a lot of inconsistency issues and the Ultraliga, in general, is still kind of in the rebuilding phase after the big exodus of talent in recent times. I wouldn't be surprised if they don't make knockouts.

Lastly, I'll just add the Benelux copium and spice: Elite Series makes knockouts. There. Also, Bisons Eclub are cracked, and Phil "Alby" Qin is the best jungler in the world (Benelux pride)!

Liga Portuguesa de League of Legends, with caster Rafael “Ahnyfar” Oliveira

Ahnyfar

Tell us a little bit about your two representatives going into EUM.

First of all, we have For The Win Esports returning to the EU Masters after winning their second consecutive season. They basically kept their entire roster from spring, changing only the top laner, which means they kept their aggressive style, dominant lane picks, and unrivaled late-game decision-making. The biggest difference is the jungler, Tiago "Own3r" Mendes, being in the best form we’ve seen from him since, maybe ever! That’s great news considering it’s his sixth appearance in EU Masters Play-ins…maybe the sixth time’s the charm?

Secondly, White Dragons are back with a vengeance. After not qualifying for EU Masters in spring, they returned with a completely different approach to their roster compared to last year and seemed to have found their formula. With weird picks from Sion and Ornn mid, Kayn and Shaco jungle, and the best Senna bot lanes you can find, they might be the swiss army knife of teams. They usually get ahead by steadily growing small leads, not being overly aggressive more often than not. They are calm, calculated, and thrive when they can play by the book with their unique comfort picks…because no one knows how to go against those!

Which players should we look out for on the respective teams?

Even though I previously mentioned Own3r as a big factor for FTW’s continued dominance, which even got him the Summer MVP award, I think mid-laner Paulo "Noma" Rebocho is a bigger factor. He has a champion ocean, having played a different champion every regular season game, and he adapts to any play style. When he’s performing, FTW seems unbeatable.

As for White Dragons, keep an eye out for top laner Antero "PapiTeero" Baldaia. Last year, he was picked up by Karma Clan as a rookie after only having played one season in the third division. Now he’s on a top contender team, and he’s consistently the best performing member. Whether he’s playing Gnar or Camille, he destroys any top laner who dares to try to trade against him. His growth was huge, and without his map awareness, split pushing, and mechanical prowess, White Dragons, would not have been able to pull most of their wins throughout the season.

What would be considered a success for you from these teams for EUM? Any teams or minor ERLs you want to beat particularly?

It’s hard not to dream big. Following these teams and players throughout the years makes it, so we always expect greatness from them. However, realistically, getting past Play-ins groups has become an achievable goal, and that’s what I’m hoping towards. Still, I'd be ecstatic if we actually managed to win a best-of-three in Knockouts.

As to who I’m looking forward to beating, it has to be the Elite Series teams. This rivalry has been brewing for the past year, and we even import some of their best players from time to time. We usually take them as free wins, but the games are always so exciting regardless! Also, I’d love our teams to take Illuminar Gaming down because they gave us trouble in the past, and I don’t think their roster is as strong as it once was.

Finally, give us a spicy Play-ins prediction.

Spicy take: one of the LFL teams will not make it to the Main stage, especially if it’s up to us to knock them out. Yes, I’m looking at you, GameWard.


The EU Masters 2022 summer Play-ins begins on August 24th. You can catch the action on the many regional channels listed here on lolesports.

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CS Virtual Trade Ltd, reg. no. HE 389299 Registered address and the principal place of business: 705, Spyrou Araouzou & Koumantarias, Fayza House, 3036, Limassol, Cyprus
Copyright © 2022 BLIX.GG. All rights reserved.
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