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The Fall and Second Rise of Origen

As 2015 wound down, Origen was on top of the world. After merely a year together as a team, they put in a semifinal appearance at the World Championship tournament, a first place finish at IEM San Jose, and were the only European team to take games off the then-dominant Fnatic roster.

During the offseason, Origen made a huge roster swap: Bringing in Unicorns of Love’s PowerOfEvil to replace xPeke in the mid lane. Many praised the change, as xPeke’s once spectacular mechanical play had begun to decline in recent months and PowerOfEvil seemed to have infinite potential. In short, 2016 looked to be Origen’s year.

But now, after three weeks of play, they’re sitting solidly in the middle of the EU LCS pack with a 3-3 record. What happened?

Strength of Schedule

Let’s get this out of the way: Origen hasn’t had the easiest schedule to start the season. Their three losses have come from H2K (5-1), Vitality (4-2), and Fnatic (3-3), three teams that have shown they’ll be forces to be reckoned with as the 2016 season rolls on.

However, all three have hugely reworked rosters, all put together with very little time before the season’s start. They should have a warm up time, a period of uncertainty and lack of synergy that would lead to early struggles.

Meanwhile, Origen has four of their five players from 2015, plus a player that has been on the roster for nearly three months. Theoretically, they should have had time to come together as a squad and iron out the wrinkles of their game plan. They should have come out swinging with the full experience of a win at an international tournament at their back.

Veteran Leadership?

The major question of Origen’s 2016 season is how the team will recover from the departure of veteran mid laner xPeke. While he had shown signs of decline in skill as 2015 wore on, his experience was vital to the team’s success. One of League’s original superstars, xPeke had more experience than just about anyone. A former world champion with four Worlds appearances under his belt, his knowledge would be invaluable to any team.

Clearly, during the opening two weeks of the season, Origen was missing that leadership. They looked sloppy, making mistakes that would have been entirely out of character just a few weeks earlier. They lacked focus, their traditional safe farming style not as effective as it once was, especially in a meta where early and mid game skirmishes are of vital importance.

They needed to adapt, and the veterans of the team had a tough time building up the relative newcomers of Zven and PowerOfEvil. Thanks to those early season troubles, they went 0-2 in the first week of the season, their first 0-2 week in the team’s professional history.

Building Back Up

Week 2 saw hope for Origen. They brought down EU favorites Unicorns of Love in decisive fashion, with AD carry phenom Zven showing off his ability to hard carry a game. The sheer talent on the team carried them to a win against the first place squad in the league.

But then, their indecisiveness and lacking communication reared its ugly head once again in their match against Vitality. They had a solid handle on the game going into the 30 minute mark and looked to pick a fight around the Baron pit. It proved to be not a great call, with the team scattering, leaving Zven to fend for himself without sufficient peel. Origen may have found their footing in game one, but they hadn’t found perfection quite yet.

Week 3 saw the old Origen back in the saddle. With two more wins now under their belt, they looked downright dominant against Elements and played the close match against ROCCAT exactly like their 2015 selves, playing slowly early and turning on the pressure at exactly the right moment.

The progress has been somewhat slow, but It looks like the Origen squad has figured their game out. As long as they can avoid the inconsistencies they saw at the beginning of the season, they should continue to grow. It just remains to be seen if they can surpass the achievements from the 2015 season. They’ll just have to remember the lessons that xPeke taught them.

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