The EU Masters 2022 Summer is next door, and since there’s so many European Regional Leagues existing (11 in fact), most of the people can’t follow what happened in all of the tournaments beyond their national league. If you are interested in the developments of the major leagues, such as France, Spain, Germany, Poland and the Nordics, here’s some stories for you to follow in case you didn’t know, including Karmine Corp falling early in the playoffs, future LEC team Heretics winning Spanish league, Schalke 04 reaching Finals on the German League, or X7 Esports surprisingly losing playoffs in the NLC.
LFL - The fall of the Karmine dynasty
The six teams coming to the LFL 2022 Summer Playoffs could arguably be the most anticipated. With GameWard roster finally clicking and juggernauts such as Misfits Premier and Karmine Corp closing the 5th and 6th place respectively due to underperforming, no surprise came through. The regular season results were as follows:
- LDLC OL
- Team BDS Academy
- Misfits Premier
- Karmine Corp
Round 1 of the playoffs started with a battle between academies and a rematch of the previous Spring playoffs: Vitality.Bee and Misfits Premier. And, coincidentally, the same result came as Vitality.Bee 3-0’d Misfits comfortably, staying ahead almost all the time, especially on Game 3. The most notable players could be Jeskla and Skeanz, but I loved some of Szygenda’splays with Gnar on Map 1. Unfortunately, Misfits had a pretty shaky Summer, with changes on the jungle and top lane made on behalf of the LEC roster
The second match featured two unusual teams this early on in the playoffs: Karmine Corp and GameWard. In a huge upset, GameWard defeated the mighty KCorp 3-1 to secure the 4th and last EU Masters spot for LFL. This series stayed incredibly close most of the time, with lots of team fighting and fiesta from both sides. If I had to choose an MVP for this match, I would say, without a doubt, kamilius, for being a king and playing at such a high level and under pressure besides the circumstances.
Of course, this means that the three-time EUM winner KCorp will miss EU Masters for the first time since his existence in ERL, besides having arguably some of the biggest names in European scenes, such as, of course, Rekkles. It would be easy to dissect why this happened, but I am no analyst and don’t want to get swarmed because of some mistakes I could make. Still, I can surely say that it is always sad to see superteams such as this one not managing to perform, leaving so many fans disheartened.
Round 2 started with one of the most extensive playoffs this Summer in terms of level. LDLC OL, who comfortably went 17-1 in the hardest ERL, faced BDS Academy, who came 2nd in the regular season with a massive eight-game win streak after being 3-7. And, BDS continued their streak, winning 3-1 against LDLC, thanks to Reeker’s Taliyah and Adam’s carry performance, while Exakick forced that Game 4 with a phenomenal performance with his Jinx. This positioned BDSA on the finals, with LDLC having to fight an extra series if they wanted to defend their title.
On the other side, the 4th place in the playoffs was decided between Vitality.Bee and GameWard. This one did not come as a shocker as Vitality.Bee won 3-1. GameWard continued their momentum from their match against KCorp as they won Game 1 thanks to Czekolad and his Taliyah, but after that, it was almost a walk in the park for Vitality, as they closed the remaining three games in less than 30m each. Jesklaa and Jactrol made a fantastic performance, solidifying them as one of the best European botlanes outside of LEC, if not the best (we will have to wait a few weeks to check that). Besides their defeat, it’s nice to see GameWard finally achieving good results, especially after an unfortunate Spring Split, and still have much room for improvement on EU Masters.
The Semifinals started with LDLC OL against Vitality.Bee. In the closest series, LDLC came out on top 3-2 to return to play against BDSA in the finals. None of the ten players could exceed 5.2 KDA, but after seeing how Exakick put the carry boots in Game 4, I think he deserves some praise.
In the end, at the expected Finals, LDLC OL won 3/1 against BDSA to take revenge on the previous series and claim both championships this 2022. In an exciting series, BDS started with the better foot, winning the first match, but after that, the tables turned with LDLC winning Game 2 and 3 comfortably. Game 4 was the best match, with LDLC having to wait until minute 43 to close the game. Eika’s performance in this game was outstanding, as expected from the Summer MVP, with a combined KDA of 16/3/20. Nevertheless, both teams could have won easily, with the same applying to EU Masters.
SL - Heretics’ Amazing Summer
In Superliga, most teams qualified for playoffs got here by the skin of their teeth. Only two teams were mathematically qualified in the last week of the regular season. The season's final game meant that Spring champions Fnatic TQ would miss the playoffs. The six teams coming to the playoffs were:
- Giants Gaming
- Team Heretics
- G2 Arctic
- BISONS ECLUB
- FC Barcelona Esports
Round 1 of the playoffs could arguably be the least one-sided of all the tournament, with both matches with all five games being played. The first series featured the fan-favorite KOI against the G2 academy team, G2 Arctic. By performance, G2 Arctic was expected to win, as their regular season results were much more successful, with KOI only managing to qualify after the last match of the regular season. But, this time, KOI and their star players, with the experience on their side, managed to with 3-2, in a back and forth series where all matches extended well past the 30 minutes until Game 5 came, and Whiteknight stopped with the tank duty to bring a crucial Akali that helped them stomp the game in 27m. Besides the results, G2 Arctic have achieved an acceptable 2022, improving their outcomes since Summer and growing potential stars such as Alvaro for the upcoming seasons.
The second match featured FC Barcelona facing BISONS. Apart from being a Bo5 series that almost got reserve-swept by Barcelona, BISONS were able to win thanks to their characteristic drafting habits. For example, Game 1 was stomped thanks to a Gangplank mid and Ziggs bot lane, while the crucial Game 5 was won with a crazy Akali-Xin Zhao-Yasuo-Renekton-Senna draft. If I were to choose an MVP for this series, I would say the coaching staff, as their drafting is a critical factor in their victories. Unfortunately, Barcelona could not continue the momentum generated in the second half of the regular split that helped them qualify for playoffs.
Round 2 of the Playoffs started with the match between the leader Giants Gaming against runner-up Team Heretics, who dominated the regular season just until last week. Giants were the favorites, with a six-game win streak, while Heretics struggled, losing the previous two games. But, as Zwyroo said in an interview here with BLIX, these results are more deceitful than real, as Heretics stomped Giants with a 3-0, with no Giants’ players surpassing the 1.5 combined KDA.
The second match decided the last of the EU Masters spot for Superliga, as KOI faced BISONS in a rematch of the 2022 Spring quarterfinals. Both teams had surpassed expectations, but the previous Spring result happened again, as KOI lost 3-1 to BISONS. The first game was won by BISONS comfortably, but the remaining three games were authentic bloodbaths, two past the 40-minute mark. Alby’s performance, as well as five target bans against KOI’s botlaner Raffita on Game 5, were the critical factors in BISON's victory and a spicy Swain-Yasuo pick on Game 2. KOI might have missed expectations this year, but if they end up on LEC next year, as Anonimotum said in this article, I would still say 2022 was an absolute banger.
The Semifinals were probably the only series not being an upset so far in this playoffs, as the Giants won 3-0 against BISONS. Game 1 initially looked like an easy win for the bison, but as the late game came, the superior team fighting ability from the Giants reserved the game. From then on, BISONS could not pull themselves together and were no rival to Giants the following games. A pretty shocking goodbye for BISONS, who finished Superliga being the most successful team in 2022 as per points, being the only team achieving top 3 and EU Masters both splits.
Finals came with huge hype. The new 2023 LEC team was facing the International Winners Club. But, no win went to the latter, as Heretics won 3-1 against Giants pretty comfortably, ending Heretics' redemption run after a disappointing Spring Split. They are already looking to EU Masters to keep their success.
NLC - DUSTY upsets X7
Besides being expected, the six teams coming to the NLC 2022 Summer Playoffs went in a pretty surprising order. After dominating two-thirds of the regular season, JDXL struggled to find better form after they changed their star midlaner EMENES and got their first spot stolen by an outstanding DUSTY, who ended the regular season with a ten-game win streak. The six teams coming to the playoffs were:
- X7 Esports
- Riddle Esports
- Astralis Talent
Round 1 started with Spring champions X7 Esports facing Bifrost in a Finals rematch. X7 would come out on top again, but this time needing four games to close up the series, besides Bifrost botlaner Odi11 trying his best to keep the team afloat, with some games extending for more than 40 minutes.
On the other hand, Riddle Esports got upset by Astralis Talent 3-1, where Astralis' veterancy and late game drafting proved more successful than Riddle’s. Sencux played a fantastic series with a different champion every game. With this result, Riddle lost their chances to go to EUM after tying for second place in the regular season, but achieving these results with a rookie roster has some promise for the next season.
Round 2 started with a banger of a match between DUSTY and JDXL, and, to everyone's delight, JDXL looked like they had found their form again, with an initial 1-2 for their side, but ended up losing the remaining two games. Still, XL had another chance in the Semifinals for a rematch against DUSTY.
JDXL rival was decided in a match between Astralis Talent and X7 Esports, where the latter destroyed Astralis 3-0 and looked terrifyingly good, with Attila performing at a significant level on his comfort carry picks.
The same happened with the Semifinals, as JDXL simply stood no chance, as X7 players were simply mechanically superior in almost every aspect of the game. At this point, everyone considered X7 as the favorite to win again.
The Finals gave us another Bo5, where DUSTY managed to reverse-sweep X7 Esports to conclude a fantastic and surprising run that no one would have predicted at the beginning of the split. Everyone played amazingly well, but Kerberos' performance with Darius in games 3 and 5 proved to be decisive in stopping X7 and closing the series in their favor.
Prime League - Schalke 2020 vibes
The six teams coming to the Prime League 2022 Playoffs were decided pretty quickly, as GamerLegion’s poor performance meant that on Week 8, all playoffs spots were locked. As such, the teams coming to the playoffs were:
- Unicorns of Love Sexy Edition
- SK Gaming Prime
- Berlin International Gaming
- Schalke 04
- Eintracht Spandau
Round 1 started with a classic match between MOUZ and BIG, which extended until Game 5, with BIG coming out on top in one of the most extended series this season, with all five games going past the 33-minute mark, one of them even lasting 44 minutes. Harpoon played a key factor in their success, as his comfort Jinx, which he played all series, smashed MOUZ in the last two games. On the other side of the bracket, Schalke 04 faced Eintracht Spandau in another five-game series, where Schalke came up on top, with Decay performing at a high level in games 2 and 3, but overall their victory came as a team effort.
Round 2 did not last much, as both series ended on a quick 0-3. First, UOL swept the floor with SK Prime, ending the series in less than 90 minutes, with their jungler Lurox finishing with a combined KDA of 41. On the other hand, a more surprising result came with Schalke stomping BIG, as TakeSet played three excellent and perfectly balanced Sivirs for a combined KD of 20/1. With this result, BIG will miss EU Masters after losing the tiebreaker for a guaranteed spot in EU Masters in the regular season. Which ultimately comes to an unsuccessful 2022 for the Berliner organization.
Again, the Semifinals gave us another 0-3, but with Schalke as the victors instead of SK Prime, with TakeSet on carrying duty once more. Schalke’s performance surprised everyone, reminding me of those legendary playoffs run back in LEC 2020 Summer, where they got an 11-game win streak when they were not even expected in playoffs that year. At the same time, SK Prime did a fantastic regular season run but left the playoffs without winning a match, ending with a bittersweet taste.
Ultimately, the Finals faced UOL, the strongest team on paper, against Schalke 04, the miracle runners with plot armor. But, this time, UOL won their first Prime League title 3-1 against Schalke, where the combined experience of the team and the mechanical upper hand of Shiganari and Summer MVP Ruby gave them a deserved victory. Nevertheless, Schalke still exceeded expectations this Summer, and they're one of the teams I’m more interested in this upcoming EU master.
ULTRALIGA - SVAKA CAST DOKTORI
Image Credit: Ultraliga
Ultraliga Season 8 Playoffs featured six teams, of which the only team that could’ve been missed was Forsaken, with names such as LeQu and Mystiques, although they missed playoffs by one game. As a whole, the regular season results were as follows:
- AGO Rogue
- Zero Tenacity
- Illuminar Gaming
- Gentlemen’s Gaming
- Iron Wolves
Round 1 of the playoffs saw both teams coming from the former Baltic Masters region, Goskilla and Iron Wolves, being defeated 3-1 each by Gentlemen’s Gaming and Illuminar Gaming, respectively. The first match, between Iron Wolves and Illuminar, was won thanks to svns aggressive performance with Kalista and Draven. In contrast, the second match between Goskilla and GG was surprisingly close, with all games surpassing 30m and the gold deficit never being higher than 5k (gold graphs in these matches are all rollercoasters).
The most remarkable statement I can give about this first round is what a success the merger between Baltic and Poland ERLs. The two newcomer teams managed to stay in the top half of the league (Iron Wolves even ended 3rd in Spring) and brought some freshness to a league that still has an issue of talent draining.
The top 3 of the league was closed by Illuminar Gaming, who, after defeating Gentlemen’s Gaming 3-1, fell against a Zero Tenacity that swept them 3-0. Vzz went sigma mode and played 3 Draven's with a total KDA of 22/12, while mumus100 only died twice in the whole series while playing Gnar and Camille. Illuminar closes the last EU Masters spot for Ultraliga and will see them shortly in the Play-Ins.
In the end, a pretty exciting Final between the huge favorite AGO Rogue and challenger Balkan team Zero Tenacity didn't have the result we all expected. A delay in AGO Rogue’s midlaner Nite meant that he missed the first two games of the series while being subbed by their coach Blueknight. This meant that besides some weird strat, like AGO moving their botlaner Lucker to midlane with Yone in Game 2, Nite faced an 0-2 situation when he finally played onstage. Game 3 was carnage, with the lead going back and forth between both teams, and a final team fight won at minute 40 by AGO looked like a first win for the team. Still, Sivir, being a balanced champion, deleted all AGO players with the nexus staying at 80 HP, closing the series for Zero Tenacity.
It’s heartbreaking to lose in this situation, but I don’t want to take credit away from Zero Tenacity. This ambitious organization wanted to go big at a significant ERL after disappointing results in EBL and managed to go to EU Masters twice and win.
We have been against one of the strongest versions of AGO Rogue since probably 2020 Summer.