Battle of the Atlantic - 5th Place Game, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Riot’s ‘Battle of the Atlantic’ is right around the corner. With that being said, there’s a lot to talk about going into this event. A lot of these teams have never faced off against each other, and the ones that have, already have a ‘rivalry’ on the go (I’m looking at you Fnatic/Cloud9). But with roster changes galore going on, and these teams not playing competitively for months, it’s almost impossible to tell who will come out victorious in this event.
Team Alternate vs. Counter Logic Gaming
CLG are the absolute masters of roster changes, seemingly having a roster change between every single event. This break was no different, with CLG announcing that Chauster would be retiring and Bigfatlp would be moving to a sub position. They replaced Chauster in the support position with Aphromoo, who has played for CLG as a Support before but voluntarily left. The Jungler they picked up was an amateur Jungler known as TrickZ (not Trick2g). TrickZ seemed like a really good thing for the CLG roster, he played extremely aggressive which is something CLG has lacked throughout its history. He seemed extremely talkative in scrims and it looked like he was to fit in well with the team. This made it all the more surprising when CLG said they were going to replace him after only playing one event with him: IEM Cologne, where the team lost 2-1 in their only game of the tournament to Fnatic. It is currently unknown who they are replacing TrickZ with, but rumours suggest that it will be Dexter, the previous Jungler for Lemondogs, who came first in the EU LCS Summer Split.
Team Alternate have also undergone roster changes of their own. Their star Mid-Laner ForellenLord has been benched by the team and replaced by Kerp, who is moving to Mid from Top. The Top-Lane position will then be taken by Kev1n, the ex-Top-Laner of SK Gaming. Alternate originally said that this move was only for the Battle of the Atlantic, but Alternate just announced that he will be their starting Top-Laner for Season 4 of the LCS. This is probably a good sign for the team. It means at some point between the initial announcement and now, they changed their mind, and why would they changed their mind if they weren’t having success in practice with Kev1n?
We have yet to see Alternate play with their new line-up. This will be their debut. When ForellenLord was released from the team he made a Facebook post about it. In this post, he acknowledged that despite the teams dominant early performance in the EU LCS, they ran into a lot of trouble as a team. Quite a bit of it was due to unforeseen circumstances such as their AD Carry; Creaton breaking his hand, but still, the team had issues. They had lost their drive, their desire. They were not functioning as a team properly, and this led them to finish the Summer Split in 6th position, despite going 5-0 in their first week. In the playoffs they managed to beat NiP, who were also having trouble as a team, to save themselves from the relegation tournament. In terms of pure talent, the team hasn’t suffered. Kerp is an all-around all-star player, as well as being a solo queue monster, so he will probably be able to move into the Mid-Lane position without too many hiccups. Their new Top-Laner Kev1n is an exceptional player and during his time on SK he grew to be respected as one of the best Top-Laners in Europe. He’s also an extremely experienced player, playing for an incredibly long time in the professional scene. This means he’ll also probably be able to blend into the team quite well. The main question left is whether this will reignite their passion though. Was ForellenLord really the root of all trouble? Or will the team need more changes to get back on form?
Looking back at Counter Logic Gaming, we saw them play with Aphromoo in the Support position at IEM Cologne, and whilst they did get eliminated, they managed to take a game off of Fnatic, who are considered one of the best teams in the world, coming 3rd/4th at the World Championship. This shows that their line-up definitely has something going for it, especially considering they weren’t together for very long up to this point. However, for some unknown reason, CLG decided to change their line-up once again… surprise, surprise. This time they removed TrickZ from the team and replaced him with (if the rumours are true) Dexter. Dexter is ‘new’ to the professional scene, with Lemondogs been his first ‘professional’ team, but that hasn’t stopped him making a name for himself. His team played in a grand total of zero tournaments before qualifying for the LCS Summer Split, where they proceeded to finish in first place, beating European giants such asFnatic and Gambit Gaming. It’s safe to say he’s pretty good. This doesn’t say much about how he’ll fit into CLG though. It’s good to see CLG actually picking up a Jungler to play Jungle, instead of an AD Carry or something. I still feel that TrickZ was a really good fit for CLG, and they might be making a mistake replacing him just for someone more famous.
Overall, I think this will probably be one of, if not, the closest games of the Battle. Both these teams had real trouble during the Summer Split of the LCS and have since undergone roster changes. We’ve seen CLG play and they did reasonably well with their new roster however, we have yet to see Alternate play, so I will give a very slight edge to them. I still think this is going to be a close game, and will probably be an entertaining game to watch, as is often the case when CLG is involved.
- Article by Dominic “HanzoKurosawa” Broadhead