Sports are way more fun when you have a team to cheer for. League of Legends is no different. The 2016 LCS season is fast approaching, but first we have IEM Cologne – the last major League of Legends tournament of 2015. The three day tournament will take place at ESL Studios in Cologne, Germany from Friday December 18th to Sunday December 20th and features six teams from all around the world.
The tournament will showcase 2 North American teams (Dignitas, Cloud 9), 2 European teams (Fnatic, H2K), 1 Korean team (Ever), and 1 Chinese team (Qioa Gu Reapers). Here is what you need to know about each team:
Dignitas is coming off a summer split in which they suffered a playoff defeat to Team Impulse. I don’t think Dignitas really minds the fact that they were swept 3-0; the split prior they found themselves on the brink of being eliminated from the LCS. Playoffs is progress.
This is the roster Dignitas will be using for IEM Cologne 2015:
- Top: SmittyJ
- Jungle: Kirei
- Mid: Shiphtur
- ADC: Apollo
- Support: Jesiz
Team Dignitas is the clear underdog of this tournament. SmittyJ and Kirei are relative unknowns. They are both European imports from Gamers2 and Denial eSports respectively, and have yet to play in the LCS. Shiphtur is the longest serving Dignitas player coming to IEM, and will get another chance to play with former Coast teammate Apollo, who Dignitas picked up when Team Impulse disbanded. Jesiz will be playing support for the team, his third role swap in the past year.
It should be noted that Jesiz is not set to be replacing KiWiKiD for the upcoming LCS season, but will be playing the support role for IEM Cologne, as KiWiKiD has other commitments.
Qiao Gu Reapers
The Qiao Gu Reapers (QG) are the only Chinese team participating at IEM Cologne. QG are coming off a 3rd place finish at the 2015 China Regional Finals and have proven to be a competitive team in the LPL since coming out of the LSPL (Chinese Challenger series).
Qiao Gu Reapers roster for IEM Cologne 2015:
- Top: V
- Jungle: Swift
- Mid: Doinb
- ADC: TnT
- Support: TcT
Avid NA LCS fans may recognize QG support player TcT – he formerely went by ‘Mor’ and played support for team LMQ in the 2014 NA LCS Spring split.
Cloud9 was able to make miracles happen at the end of last season, but the magic ran out at worlds when they were sent home during group stage. The team will be bringing a familiar roster into IEM Cologne 2015, with a few potential exceptions.
Cloud9’s roster for IEM Cologne 2015:
- Top: Balls
- Jungle: Rush
- Mid: Incarnati0n
- ADC: Sneaky
- Support: Hai (Sub: BunnyFuFuu)
This will be the first time we get to see C9 Rush, as well as Hai playing the support role competitively. There’s also a good chance we see BunnyFuFuu get to play. The general consensus is that Hai will be working with BunnyFuFuu on his shotcalling, and will eventually allow himself to retire in peace.
This will be a good tournament for Cloud9, a notorious slow starting team, to begin to build chemistry before the 2016 LCS season begins.
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H2K proved last year that they are a good European team, but not a great one. This year they have assembled a new roster as they aim to try and dethrone the Fnatics and Origens of Europe. This tournament will be the first time we see the mostly-new roster in action.
H2K’s roster for IEM Cologne 2015:
- Top: Odoamne
- Jungle: Jankos
- Mid: Ryu
- ADC: FORG1VEN
- Support: VandeR
Although H2K was unable to lure former free agent jungler Svenskeren, Jankos is a very good consolation prize. This is a competitive roster that is certainly has a shot at performing well at this tournament. The biggest concern will be communication and chemistry. Will the new roster additions be a natural fit?
Ever is a wild card. Nobody knows what to expect from this team. A challenger team from South Korea who lost 3-1 to SBENU Sonicboom in the LCK Promotion tournament, but then proceeded to sweep SKT1 and CJ Entus to win the KeSPA Cup last month. Which Ever are we going to see at IEM?
Ever’s roster for IEM Cologne 2015:
- Top: Crazy
- Jungle: Ares
- Mid: Athena
- ADC: Police
- Support: KeY
Last year Fnatic was incredible. They demolished the EU LCS, not dropping a single game during the regular season and winning their 5th EU LCS title. Fnatic was 1 of 2 Western teams to make it out of group stages at the 2015 World Championships before getting swept by Korea’s KOO Tigers in the semifinals. Last year was an exciting year for fans of Fnatic, but significant roster changes may leave fans concerned about the new Fnatic.
Fnatic’s roster for IEM Cologne 2015:
- Top: Gamsu
- Jungle: Spirit
- Mid: Febiven
- ADC: Rekkles
- Support: Noxiak
Huni, ReignOver, and YellOwStaR are all gone. Gamsu, Spirit, and Noxiak will take their place. IEM will be the first time we get to see just how good of a coach Deilor really is. The significance of losing a veteran shot caller like YellOwStaR should not be underestimated. Who’s going to pick up the slack?
IEM Cologne 2015 offers an exciting preview of what’s to come for professional League of Legends in 2016. Tune in on December 18th to see which teams off-season moves paid off, and which teams are likely to begin trending downwards.