At this point in the split, Origen find themselves in the scariest possible position in the standings: sixth place. As playoff scenarios shrink with each game played, and other teams' results impact the standings as much as their own, Origen have a short timer to prove themselves better than their scoreline.
Origen entered the LEC in 2019 with one of the most well-rounded rosters in Europe, highlighted by the mechanical prowess of Erlend "Nukeduck" Våtevik Holm and the strategical mind of Alfonso "Mithy" Aguirre Rodríguez. After making a convincing run to the finals in 2019 Spring playoffs, they were considered favorites to stay in the top three heading into the Summer Split.
Since their solid performance at Rift Rivals, Origen have failed to make their mark on the top of the table within the LEC. Overtaken by Splyce, Schalke 04, and now Vitality, the team has so greatly distanced themselves from Fnatic and G2 that it's difficult to even discuss the three teams in the same conversation anymore.
Origen's problems boil down to the fact that they're simply not improving as quickly as other teams within the LEC. Mechanical mistakes across the board and slower rotations have followed these players like a rain cloud hanging over their heads throughout the split, and their team play has been sloppier overall.
In an interview with Upcomer at Rift Rivals, Jonas “Kold” Anderson gave his thoughts on the meta in Season Nine, and what he thinks players should aspire to accomplish in their game play.
"I think 2019 League is all about innovation and catching your opponents off guard," Kold said. "You’re not gonna win by playing a completely standard game against the top teams in the world right now. "
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During and after Rift Rivals, we saw Yasuo/Pyke bot lane, Taliyah/Pantheon bot lane, and Camille mid out of Origen's playbook. Since returning to Europe, such innovations seem to have completely disappeared from their drafting and style, and they've returned to playing vanilla comps. It may not be a coincidence that their win/loss record since then is also 2-7.
In their recent match against Schalke-- the team most people likely forgot existed before they crept their way into fourth place-- they all but closed out the game before a lapse in judgement at Elder Dragon allowed Elias "Upset" Lipp to backdoor their Nexus. This type of mistake was so uncharacteristic of Origen that it makes one wonder if internal or communication-based issues are plaguing the team.
While it's important for Origen to focus on locking in their playoff spot, they need a final push in these last two weeks. They face their toughest opponent, Splyce, on Friday, August 9, and play exceL Esports, Rogue, and SK Gaming on the following game days. Assuming they've leveled up at all in the past week, a 4-0 result is possible and necessary for them to look competitive heading into playoffs.
This is a team with Worlds aspirations. A top two squad from Spring that's proven their ability to play the map well, integrate wide champion pools, and adapt in draft.
Whether or not they successfully pull off the sweep, it's still possible for Origen to be edged out of playoffs by teams below them in the standings, particularly Rogue. Players of their caliber and pedigree can't remain complacent and assume they'll skate by for free into playoffs. Other teams are just as hungry; now's the time for Origen to finally show some teeth in the LEC.
Origen play Splyce on Friday August 9 at 1 p.m. PDT, and exceL on Saturday August 10 at 10 a.m. PDT.