North American League of Legends Championship Series – Week 10
Team Solomid – This week (1-1), Overall (20-4)
TSM showed a chink in its armor this week when it fell to CLG and struggled with Curse. The team was able to win its second game, but it was not in the easy, fluid way that we have become accustomed to over the course of the season. Bjergsen was completely shut down versus CLG, but eventually found a return to form in the Curse game. TSM showed that even though the whole team is strong, they do rely heavily on the play in the mid lane and ultimately Bjergsen. TSM now finds itself tied with Cloud 9 at the top of the league.
TSM is still the best team in North America, but the gap is closing. Both Cloud 9 and CLG have beaten it and the team seems to be taking a slight downturn at exactly the wrong time. The new patch might have thrown TSM for a loop because the team thrives for consistency and small changes have big impacts. I am expecting a return to form coming into super week, but if the struggles continue, it could put TSM in a bad mindset heading into the playoffs.
Cloud 9 – This week (2-0), Overall (20-4)
Cloud 9 has been fairly quiet and businesslike throughout the season and this week was no different. It wasn’t a tough week for the team, facing two teams from the bottom of the standings. It dispatched Curse easily and then managed to take down Dignitas in a much closer game than the score reflected. With TSM losing, Cloud 9 finally finds itself at the top of the standing in a tie, with Cloud 9 holding the tiebreaker. Cloud 9 has a much harder schedule in super week, having to face both CLG and TSM so it will need to be at the top of its game.
Cloud 9 has kind of breezed through the split and been almost under the radar with TSM being on top most of the season. This has allowed the team to refine its strategies and play with no pressure. Now it is in prime position heading into super week and I look for them to be the overall favorites to win the split.
Counter Logic Gaming – This week (2-0), Overall (16-8)
Counter Logic Gaming had the strongest performance this week. The team played a very hard-fought and exciting match against TSM and managed to get a victory. Both dexter and Doublelift played new champs, Lee Sin and Lucian, and looked like season veterans on both champions. CLG also avoided the upset by destroying a downtrodden XDG and cemented its hold on third place.
CLG continued to be the team on the rise. By beating TSM this week it became the only team that has beaten both Cloud 9 and TSM. If not for the awkward start to the season, with multiple substitutes while they waited for dexter, the team could be fighting for the top spot. A good super week could give CLG a mental edge over the other top teams. The team is really starting to mesh well and all of CLG’s previous issues with consistency seem to have been worked out. If the team can reach its full potential it will make a serious run in the playoffs.
Team Dignitas – This week (1-1), Overall (10-14)
The huge news this week came from Team Dignitas. Iconic mid laner Scarra has been replaced by Complexity.RED mid laner, goldenglue. It’s a huge move for the team as Scarra has always been the face and leader of the team. Unfortunately for goldenglue, he faced a large task of taking on Curse and Cloud 9 while Dignitas tries to avoid relegation. The team performed well, if a little disjointed, in its game against Curse and picked up a very important win. However it couldn’t pick up a win against top team Cloud 9.
Even though Dignitas couldn’t defeat Cloud 9, ultimately it doesn’t really matter. The win versus Curse gives the team an important advantage if the teams find themselves tied in the standings. A victory against Cloud 9 would have been icing on the cake. Bringing in goldenglue and moving Scarra to coach might be the spark Dignitas needs going into the super week, but it remains to be seen if the team can adapt quickly enough to take advantage.
Team Coast – This week (2-0), Overall (9-15)
Coast continues to be a hard team to figure out. Sometimes the team plays a well-coordinated, well-executed game and win easily. Sometimes, it seems like the team isn’t even communicating. This week it took down the helpless XDG and a struggling Evil Geniuses. Shiphtur continues to impress with his mind blowing mechanics and ability to control the game from the mid lane. The two wins allowed Coast to leapfrog Curse and take over the all important fifth place.
The key for Coast is for the rest of the team to get on the same level as Shiphtur and ZionSpartan. The top and mid laners are the heart and soul of this team and the other lanes are just along for the ride. This strategy has carried them into the LCS, but it still hasn’t come together against the top teams of the North American standings. If the other players can’t get on their level it may be time to look for replacements. That is, if Coast can solidify it position in the summer split.
Team Curse – This week (0-2), Overall (9-15)
Curse had a major opportunity this week to solidify its position in the top five and avoid relegation, but it faltered against rival Dignitas. The stage was set to pick up the victory, but it just couldn’t pull it off. It looked like Curse might turn it around against TSM, with a huge lead early, but TSM was able to come back and in the end dominated Curse. The team is struggling with group play. It can get a lead early, but when it comes to team fighting, Curse can’t seem to get on the same page.
Curse is such a strange team. It can beat any team in North America, but tends to make a lot of questionable decisions that put the team behind in games. If Curse can survive the mid game, it snowballs to victory, but it rarely survives. As with most of the bottom teams, super week will tell the tale for Curse. A solid performance will allow the team to avoid relegation while a poor performance could lead to disaster. Of course, losing the fifth place spot to Coast doesn’t help.
Evil Geniuses – This week (0-2), Overall (6-18)
Evil Geniuses had the full team this week for one game, but were still unable to emerge from the bottom of the standings. The schedule was in its favor, having to only face off against Dignitas and Coast, but the team couldn’t capitalize. Even one win would have really helped EG going into the super week, but the team just couldn’t get on the same page to pull off the win. The match versus Coast was hard fought, and even had a double ace at one point, but the opponent proved to be too much and picked up the win.
The NA LCS experiment for Evil Geniuses is not going how it would have liked. The solo lanes for EG tend to shine in games while the Europeans struggle against their North American counterparts.Having to go a week with three subs didn’t help the cause and put them in a pretty deep hole. Relegation is all but assured for EG, but sometimes it looks like the team doesn’t want to be here anymore anyway.
XD.GG – This week (0-2), Overall (6-18)
The fight at the bottom of the League is still strong, but not because teams are winning, mostly because all the teams are losing. XDG needed to take advantage of Evil Geniuses being without its normal roster for the last two weeks and it hasn’t. Instead, the team looked even more disjointed than in previous weeks. Zuna picked Twitch both games, which is a common strategy in the Korean scene, but was punished by poor positioning. It showed that XDG was hoping to catch teams off guard, but Zuna’s mechanical deficiency didn’t allow the pick to shine.
It is relatively certain that XDG will be facing relegation this season unless it has a flawless super week and either Curse or Dignitas implodes. It is going to be tough and the team looks visibly frustrated. The question is can XDG stay out of the bottom spot and avoid facing LMQ. However, even if it can manage that, making the summer split is not assured at all. The team is struggling, both in the game and out, which makes it very hard to win.