Photo via Riot Games/Flickr (Licensed)
Just over four months ago, Splyce was locked in a five game thriller with Giants to see which would return to the LCS and which would drop down to the do-or-die promotion match. Now, they're entering the playoffs as the number two seed in Europe after a dominating regular split. While this was a surprise to many, for Splyce AD carry Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup, it was just step one.
“We were doing really well a couple of days after we started scrimming prior to summer split," he told me. “The way our practice was going I thought we could easily make playoffs.”
That’s not to say it was easy. The team struggled to translate their practice form into results at the start of the split. Ever confident, Kobbe says he was “never really worried” about being held to ties early on, and he was right. It wasn’t long before Splyce kicked into the next gear and started tallying up the 2-0’s.
The surprise for Splyce came from the fact that the lineup had barely changed from their disastrous Spring Split. The only new addition was rookie support Michael “Mikyx” Mehle.
“I think Mikyx was a great addition to the team.,” Kobbe said. “He brings a ton of mechanical skill and he learns really fast.” An undefeated Bard is only the tip of the iceberg for Mikyx, who’s found success on a versatile and adaptable champion pool, a rare trait in rookies to the LCS stage. Despite the success of their newcomer, Kobbe insists that it was the entire team that stepped up, not just their newcomer.
“We fixed a lot of issues which weren’t related to the support change in between the splits” he said. “I think people are going over the top when they say that it is the only reason we are doing so good “
Switching up to the top side of the map, Martin “Wunderwear” Hansen has turned his LCS form around. Throughout the Spring Split, critics were calling for his head. In Summer he silenced them. Whoever made the decision to revert Wunderwear to aggressive champions over supportive tanks deserves the plaudits, and represents a change from the days when Chres “Sencux” Laursen was cited as the only carry threat on the side.
“I think in the few matches we won in spring Sencux had some great games, but having one carry on a team is a bit of a meme to me,” Kobbe said. “Now I see my teammates as some of the strongest players in their respective roles, which allows us to be able to carry from all lanes.”
The correlation between Splyce’s success and the change in LCS format to best-of-two seems to indicate that Splyce benefitted from the change. Kobbe feels differently, however. “I don’t think the format helped us or anything, I don’t think so," he said. His team did pick up a number of ties in the early portion of the split but towards the end were simply dominating their opponents with clean 2-0 victories.
Turning his attention towards the upcoming European Playoffs, the Danish AD carry believes Splyce have no plans of slowing down. His team is “confident of winning against any teams [Splyce] have to face," he said.
He’s right to be confident.
It looks likely that Splyce will face off against Giants if the third-place side is able to overcome Unicorns of Love in the quarterfinals. Clocking two series wins over Giants in the regular season puts them in a great spot to take the team on and potentially progress to the finals, and that’s when sights can be set on qualifying for Worlds.
“Yeah we could make worlds, but it would most likely be through the gauntlet,” Kobbe told me, “I think it’s nearly impossible through points, and otherwise we would have to win playoffs which will be very hard but not impossible at all.” We’ve seen miracles in the gauntlet before, when North American fan favorites Cloud9 ran the entire gauntlet last year to secure their spot at Worlds. If they can do it, Splyce certainly can too—that is, if they don’t outright win the playoffs anyway, though likely finalists G2 Esports would prove to be tough competition.
Kobbe is keeping his expectations in check before looking too far ahead though. The prospect of playing the world stage is exciting, but first Splyce have to perform in the playoffs for the first time in their careers. “For now our focus is to go as far as possible in playoffs” he said. “But of course it would be exciting to play against foreign teams. How we will stack up against them is hard to say.”
The burning question when it comes to Splyce is whether this is their final form. We’ve seen teams rise and fall in the regular season but it’s the matter of keeping consistent and rolling that form into the following splits that’s most important. Kobbe is of the belief that “You can always improve” but that still doesn’t answer the question: Will they actually improve? “I think we have a high skill ceiling,” he says. “Especially as individuals, so only time will tell.”
Splyce kick off their Playoff campaign on Aug. 20, and due to the nature of the bracket could face Giants, Fnatic, or Splyce, depending on results in those semi-finals. The team is carrying a lot of confidence from the regular season and will be looking to try and make that push for an elusive World Championship spot, whether it be through the gauntlet, or from one of the most surprising title winners in EU LCS history.