After an exciting Spring Split and a highly entertaining European Masters tournament, Spain’s SuperLiga Orange is kicking off again this weekend.
Europe’s strongest regional league will once again be home to top-tier organisations with even more ambitious players eager to prove themselves, which means that we’re in for great matches right from the very beginning.
The first week of the competition will see the following matches:
KIYF eSports Club vs. Dragons E.C
Right off the bat we will be able to watch the return of Dragons E.C. to the scene. The legendary Spanish organisation has reformed with a new roster, and a match against a revamped KIYF will immediately put them to a serious test.
Dragons sport a strong core of three ex-G2V players in the bot lane and jungle, in addition to one of Europe’s best non-LCS top laners in the former KlikTech star Sacre. A yet unproven young mid laner could be a potential weak spot in the team, as KIYF have their strongest player ZaZee in that position. Their talented youngster Orome in the top lane also has a great chance to prove himself against his former Balkan rival, and will surely put up a good fight. However, I don’t think that the rest of KIYF is good enough to beat the new Dragons, particularly when comparing their Czech bot lane to E.C.’s veterans Nixerino and Homi.
eMonkeyz vs. Penguins
The two teams that perhaps disappointed the most last season meet next, and it will be interesting to see what Penguins can bring to the table after a decent EU Masters showing. eMonkeyz, on the other hand, are yet to break a season-long winless streak.
Penguins have retained the bot lane that kept them afloat most of the time in EU Masters, as well as their incredibly volatile mid laner Siler. That alone should give them an edge over the unimpressive roster of eMonkeyz, who are still holding onto three of the players from their awful previous run. An unknown player in the mid lane could be an interesting factor if he is able to play the hard carry his team have desperately needed, but if that is the only thing eMonkeyz can hope for, Penguins should win this match fairly easily.
ASUS ROG Army vs. Vodafone Giants
Two former champions of the league will duke it out in the next matchup. ASUS have made substantial changes to their roster, retaining only their ADC, while Giants are coming off an excellent last season with their squad intact.
ASUS are fielding an interesting team consisting of lower-league veterans with tons of experience in various competitions. Most of them have only ever been role players for their teams, and it is difficult to say if ASUS will have anyone ready to take over the role of a main carry threat. The mismatch in the top lane could hit them the hardest: Kaze has been playing for a long time, but Giants’ Yoppa has been in great shape for quite some time and will likely be significantly stronger. If ASUS’s mid laner Lukezy doesn’t step up massively, Giants should have a much better chance here, based on their established synergy and talent.
MAD Lions vs. Movistar Riders
A rematch of last season’s finals awaits us at the end of week 1. Movistar have had some of their 10 players leave the team, while MAD have retained their entire championship-winning squad and will be looking to smash the competition once again.
Movistar have had problems with synergy over the previous season, mostly due to constantly switching players in and out. They also issues with playing from behind, and not winning early game usually meant a quick death sentence, most notably against Illuminar in the EU Masters. MAD also dismantled them in the same way in the match for the title two months ago.
There is actually not a lot to say about MAD at this point: all of their players (except maybe Falco) have proved themselves to be very capable of beating anyone in the Spanish league, and it will be a wonder if we don’t see them in LCS next year. Anything but a victory for MAD Lions will be a huge upset here.