Europe's top semi-professional tournament is underway. What is the story so far?
EU Masters Main Event Week 1 Recap
The EU Masters – the biggest League of Legends semi-professional event – has gone into its main stage, where the 16 best teams of the national leagues square off. After its first week, we have seen some likely favorites, but plenty of questions remain.
What is the European Masters
The tournament, which replaces the earlier Challenger Series after Europe’s premier LoL league moved to a franchising model, brings the top teams from the European regional leagues together. This year, it features a record 28 teams, competing for a prize pool of € 150,000. Just as importantly, it serves as a showcase for up-and-coming players and many future LEC top stars debuted there, such as MAD Lions' Matyáš "Carzzy" Orság.
The tournament started with the play-in stage on April 6th, 16 lower seed teams competed for the 4 main stage spots, which eventually went to Germany’s Team GamerLegion, Czech eSuba, Dutch DefuseKids and Polish K1CK Neosurf. After a pause to focus on the LEC playoffs, the European Masters continued on April 22 with the Main Event group stage, where they joined the 12 top-seeded teams. The groups have a double round-robin system (every team plays every other team twice) with the top two teams advancing to the playoffs.
Week 1 Recap
With no less than 24 games played over the week, we saw plenty of teams stepping up, but unfortunately it looks like there are some clear underdogs. Alongside eSuba and DefuseKids, Nordic Champions Team Singularity and UK’s second seed BT Excel have all failed to pick a single win and are almost certainly out of contention for the playoffs.
Here is how the groups look at half-time:
Groups A and B have clear leaders – France’s GamersOrigin and Spain’s Vodafone Giants respectively, both undefeated after the first week. One game behind them are Team GamerLegion and France’s LDLC OL at 2:1. The champions of Poland, AGO Rogue, and Italy, YDN Gamers, round out the groups, currently at 1:2. While some fans expected more of them, Germany, France and Spain have historically been among the three strongest regions at the EU Masters, so this result is not surprising - yet with three more games to go, they can easily at least tie for second place if any of the favorites stumble.
In groups C and D, however, the first week ended in three-way ties for first place with all the teams ending with a 2:1 record. The DACH region champion FC Schalke 04 Evolution started with a loss to K1CK Neosurf, but bounced back and has now tied the Polish team and Spanish runner-up Movistar Riders.
Arguably the biggest surprise so far came in group D, however, where Balkan champions Energypot Wizards managed to score an upset win against UK and Ireland champions Fnatic Rising after getting very far ahead in the mid game and then managing to close it out despite some stellar saves by their opponents. DACH runner-up Mousesports is also currently at 2:1 and remains a narrow favorite over Energypot Wizards due to their head-to-head win, but this is arguably the group where we can see the most upsets.
If you want to learn more about the EU Masters, check out our previous coverage:
The EU Masters continues on Wednesday, April 29. If you want to see the next generation of top European LoL players duke it out, make sure to check it out and come back for a recap here at EarlyGame.