NA LCS Week 9 – The last week
The 2016 NA LCS summer season is coming to an end, bringing a close to one of the best splits we’ve seen in league history. The introduction of best of threes for every single matchup has taken entertainment to new heights, with nail-biting series in just the regular season. We’re seeing teams come together stronger than ever with leaders emerging and identities forming. North America has come a long away, however, just over the horizon, are some of the dankest memes; 1-15 Echo Fox, the rising Phoenix, bug catcher Sneaky, TSM microwave curse the list goes on. But what will bring more excitement and even better games are the playoffs that are right around the corner.
Immortals vs. TSM
The. Game. Of. The. Split. TSM vs. Immortals. Want to walk into playoffs with conviction and confidence? Want to prove that you’re the best team in NA? Want to grab the hearts of fans and casters? Then win.
In the top-lane match up we have NA’s heavyweights Huni and Hauntzer. Both top laners are very similar in their play style, that is, they love to fight, consume less resources and while dishing out ‘tons of damage’. The main difference between Huni and Hauntzer is that Huni is prone to get more kills, while dying a lot more. It is evident that Huni can be both a huge play maker, a sponge or perhaps a feeder.
Sven was hailed as the most aggressive jungler that Doublelift had ever seen. Sven matured this aggression into both suppressing the enemy jungler while boosting his team. Sven participates in first blood the most out of all NA junglers. But Reignover on the other hand has an extremely high kill participation. So will Sven push the advantage or will Reignover take over the game?
Bjerg and Pob are both monsters in the mid lane. They tick all the boxes of playing at the highest level. This is a clash between two of the most consistent mid-laners in NA. The most important aspect of this matchup is what champions will be chosen; whether Malzhar slips through champ select, the availability of Taliyah or will they fall to default picks like Viktor and Azir?
Overall, this is an extremely close matchup and the odds are going to show for it. Both teams are equally likely to win. Immortals haven’t dropped the ball at all since they lost to TSM, while TSM are equally as solid (we’ll just kick the Phoenix1 game under the fridge).
Prediction: Immortals 50% | TSM 50% (I’m gonna have to go with TSM slipping a win and continuing their dominance)
Phoenix1 vs. Team Envy
Out of the ashes of 9 consecutive losses, the Phoenix rises. The Phoenix rises higher and higher, shaving Dyrus’ head, dropping dank memes and creates the biggest upset in NA LCS Summer. I always saw potential in Phoenix1 (legit though if you look back at my previous previews I was always quite nice to them), I’d call them things like ‘not that bad’ or ‘could cause an upset here’ and ‘yeah they’ll beat Echo Fox’. But to beat TSM? Seriously?
Beating the best team in the league doesn’t make you the best team. In fact, Phoenix1 probably went from a low-key, bottom tier team to one that everyone is going to take seriously.
Last week, Team Envy got torn apart by Cloud 9 and TSM. They were simply outclassed in all aspects of the game, despite the strong performances from Team Envy against weaker teams.
While Team Envy are favourites to win this match and finish the season in a stronger fashion, this may not entirely be the case. Phoenix1 thrive in chaos, games that get dragged out to the point where fighting is all that determines everything. Should Phoenix1 survive the early game, they could potentially take one game… or maybe two?
Prediction: Phoenix1 40% | Team Envy 60%
Odds are actually very close; which may have inflated Team Envy odds. Could be decent value to bet for a Team Envy win.
Counter Logic Gaming vs. NRG Esports
After a rough start to the season, CLG are finally hitting the ground running after solid performances in the past couple of weeks. CLG should be looking to consolidate for a 4th place finish to the regular season and head into playoffs seeking to defend their championship title.
NRG on the other hand are locked into the relegations tournament. The reality for NRG is that they’ve all been underperforming, far from their former glory. And it’s sad to see such players come down like that, to finish in that 8th or 9th position. If they’re going to turn things around, then they need to do so right now, not during the relegations tournament, not during the break, but right now.
CLG has demonstrated a very high degree of fortitude, taking their Liquid match to game three and persisting through even the hardest of fights and decisions. While CLG are far from ‘clean’ and playing with conviction like TSM and Immortals, their current capabilities should suffice in taking down NRG.
NRG do not possess a strong early game in a majority of their games, their losses stem from deaths from Quas and sometimes even GBM. Poor decision making and positioning from Kiwi also contributes to free kills over to the enemy team. All-in-all, NRG have ran out of time to polish their stacked roster, and only time will tell if we see them again next year.
Prediction: Counter Logic Gaming 60% | NRG 40% (CLG to take the series)
Apex vs. Liquid
Apex vs. Liquid. Now that’s an interesting one. While Liquid can afford to lose a game or even two in week 9, Apex must win in order to make it in for playoffs. But how does Apex fair in the face of a formidable opponent like Liquid?
Apex posses only a single trump card: Ray. Ray brings about enormous value to Apex. He is a top-lane threat that cannot be underestimated. Especially when he leans towards cheesy picks that deal unprecedented amounts of damage. While Apex is quite a top-centric team, I am not convinced that they have the coordination, proficiency or team cohesion to play around him. Dardoch is the superior jungler in this match-up, which places a lot of pressure on Apex lanes to both watch out for ganks and counter ganks.
Overall, Liquid outclass Apex in many ways. Apex needs to take advantage of Fabbbyyy’s supportive ADC style and seek to crush Liquid’s bottom lane, all while suppressing the mid lane monster Fenix. If this is too much to ask for, then we should see a swift 2-0 Liquid victory.
Prediction: Apex 40% | Team Liquid 60% (Team Liquid victory)
Cloud 9 vs. Echo Fox
It was Rick Fox’s birthday about a week ago. And based on his twitter he only wanted one thing. For his League of Legends Foxes to take home a victory. Looks like he’s in for quite a big disappointment.
Cloud 9 have made a decent run in the last couple of weeks, only losing to the likes of TSM, CLG and Immortals. With strong performances out of Jensen and Sneaky (whipping out three penta-kills between the two of them) backed up by Smoothie, Meteos and Impact. Cloud 9’s team fighting has been exceptionally strong, able to work around an individual’s power spikes and cool-downs efficiently to bring down the enemy together, as a team.
Again, Echo Fox continue to tank the losses. Surprisingly, they manage to start games off strongly, with first bloods in games against TSM and Cloud 9, however, they never ever seem to build up enough momentum to take early leads into the mid-late game.
Echo Fox peaked during their entrance into the NA LCS and everything from that point onward has been a downhill battle. This is the end of the Fox.
Prediction: Cloud 9 75% | Echo Fox 25%
Phoenix1 vs. Immortals
Immortals – the crusher of newbie teams. UNLIKE TSM LAST WEEK. Immortals are sure, no, certain to beat Phoenix1. Mark. My. Words.
In the face of cheese and adversity, TSM would stick to the same tactics, the same meta picks, the same aggression that has been doing them wonders. But what would Immortals do? Immortals hit cheese with their own cheese, drawing on the deep champion pools of Huni, Reignover and Pobelter (Reignover is the OG of Rengar).
While I have shown respect towards Phoenix1 and underestimated their potential against TSM, their victory was truly a black swan event. This will not happen again.
Prediction: Phoenix1 25% | Immortals 75% (Immortals to take the series)
Liquid vs. Cloud 9
A throw back to a few weeks ago where I said “Cloud 9 should win against Liquid”. Cloud 9 proceeded to lose. So now we’re once again at the crossroads between Liquid and Cloud 9.
Lourlo = Impact. They’re quiet similar top laners, usually always fighting the other top laner while keeping an eye out for chances to teleport. Lourlo and Impact have very similar statistics, almost too similar. They both have KDA’s of 3.8, kill participation of 62% and deal a total of 18-19% of their teams damage. That being said, Lourlo is more inclined to get kills while Impact is much more supportive and tends to die for the team.
Dardoch > Meteos. Dardoch farms harder, earns more money, participates in more kills and deals a truck load more damage for his team.
Fenix = Jensen. Both Fenix and Jesen are two of the best mid laners in NA along with Pobelter and Bjergson. Fenix and Jensen are the quiet heros for their teams, contributing an insane amount of damage and attention to their lanes.
The main difference between Cloud 9 and Liquid is their bot lanes. While Sneaky also puts the team on his back at times, Fabbbyyy is extremely quiet, receives less resources and does a lot less damage. It’s sad to say that Dardoch deals more damage to champions that Fabbbyyy.
Overall, I still hold my position that Cloud 9 will beat Liquid in this match up. While it is indeed a very close one, and the odds speak for how neck and neck these players are, I still believe that Cloud 9 are the stronger team. Hopefully they don’t let me down again.
Prediction: Liquid 45% | Cloud 9 55%