At the end of Week 2, Counter Logic Gaming and TSM have combined for… two wins! As they say, you hate to see it. We’re already in peak Worlds form just two weeks into the season. Aside from that, we have one undefeated team (Echo Fox) and one winless team (Golden Guardians). Here are 10 thoughts going into Week 3 of the NA LCS!
The fox and… the hounds? Huni’s impact both on and off the Rift has made him a quick fan favorite (again, holo) as he’s led Echo Fox to an undefeated start. He’s the early frontrunner for the MVP award, but the rest of his team is also playing well — Dardoch and Fenix are having monstrous splits themselves. That said, it’s easy to be cheery when things are going well. What happens when things turn sour? Even Copper turned on Tod, you know?
Ryu: The Rogue MageWe’re happy to introduce our new Ryze rework. We call it Ryu. His Q now also does damage to structures. His W sends an arrest warrant for you to your local authorities. Nobody actually understands what Ryze’s E does and neither do we, so we just left it alone. And finally, his R teleports him back a few seasons to when he was considered one of the top mid laners in the world. 100 Thieves still have some kinks to work out — especially if they lose mid control — but this is a team with a lot of veteran presence. I don’t expect losses to rattle them too hard.
Major weekendA loss on Saturday didn’t faze Cloud9 at all as they bounced back to beat 100 Thieves on Sunday. This weekend saw them claim victories on Overpass, Inferno, and Summoner’s Rift — it was a truly versatile performance. Credit to Reapered for helping his new players fit in already. The Mic Check featured him doing brain checks on Svenskeren and Jensen — this is the kind of thing that makes C9 so loveable. I think they’re a great example of a team with a defined culture that new players can easily adjust to. Maybe there’s something in those Chipotle bowls after all.
KleptocratsWhenever Team Liquid uses Kleptomancy, the money they get from the Rune is actually transported directly into their banks. It’s part of their contract stipulation with Steve. That’s why they’re finding success with the likes of Bankplank. So far, so good — Liquid looks like one of the strongest teams in the league. Doublelift is disrespecting anyone and everyone again as trash collection is now a weekend event. They’ve got relatively easy matches against FLY and GGS coming up, too. Surely things will continue to go well, right, Liquid fans?
Team Solo TopClutch Gaming continues to do what I talked about last week — beating teams they’re expected to beat and then losing to teams they’re expected to lose to. That’s clutch in a way, I guess. It also means they could be in for a tough time this week against 100 and C9. It’s a great chance to buck that trend, though. Someone other than Febiven is going to need to step up — he’s not going to get pentakills every game. I think a lot of eyes should be on Solo for his matchups this week against Ssumday and Licorice. How he does against a bonafide star and then against a rookie will be a good litmus test for his standing among top laners this season.
Birds of a featherFlyQuest has done well to pick up two wins in Fly’s absence. It’s tough to really say much about this team until we see their full roster — a single person can make such a massive difference. And nothing against Keane (who has been playing well enough), but not having your starting mid laner is going to be difficult for a team from both a mental aspect and on the Rift. Right now they’re just kind of flying by and hoping no one notices they’re still in the middle of the pack. Act like you belong, right?
Running it at midI think when we implemented the ? ping, we had CLG’s game against CG in mind. Even Febiven was confused as to why it was so easy. What he doesn’t understand is this is all part of CLG’s long con. It’s a classic case of CLG — it’s supposed to not make sense. Now when they play against each other again, instead of just running into Azir to give him kills, they’ll just not run into Azir to give him kills. It’s the kind of thing that you just need to do so that you can know not to do it next time. CLG did snag their first win of the split, though, and Darshan seemed confident that they’ll be alright. Perhaps that’ll ease CLG fans’ concerns (if that’s possible).
Almost only counts in horseshoes and grenades and Lux ultsOpTic has actually looked better than their record might suggest. Unfortunately their record is still 1-3, which is the only thing that’s going to matter in the long run. I’ve followed sports for long enough to know that “we almost won” eventually becomes more depressing than just actually losing (ask Falcons fans). At least Arrow is looking more like he did during his MVP split — if they can shore up their decision making in the mid and late game (and they’ve had a lot of practice with that on stage now), then perhaps they can straighten out their wall.
10k Au PbOne other way of reading “10k gold lead” is that lead (Pb) is pretty heavy (so is gold), and being heavy in League of Legends is a bad thing. So you can you really blame TSM for dropping that one against FOX? TSM’s slow and methodical gameplay isn’t yielding them the results they want (this may surprise you after their slow and methodical gameplay… also failed to yield results at Worlds… and MSI). Part of that is definitely because of this meta, though. Maybe the new patch will help them readjust. Out with the old and in with the Yeung?
All that withers is goldIf you’d told the Guardians before the season they’d be right next to TSM in the standings after two weeks, they’d have been golden. But… not like this. They’ll play Saturday for, at best, a tie for dead last. The silver lining for them is that they actually held significant leads this week before making critical blunders. The team appears to be improving which is maybe all you can ask for from a fully North American team (ayy no flame). At least fans can turn to their NBA team for some solace?
There isn’t a single matchup between teams with winning records this week — only the C9 vs. CG game on Sunday even has the potential for that to happen. So, instead, let’s look at a tale of things gone wrong. GGS were expected to do poorly and thus far have lived up to that reputation. It seems the team is still out of sync sometimes when it comes to big plays they want to make. Teleports are late or engages are mistimed. They’re not struggling in the early game as much as people may have expected, though, and their synergy issues can be fixed with time. TSM suffers from similar issues — especially when it comes to decisiveness. Their sole win thus far came off an excellent engage from mithy’s Ornn. They need him to pull the trigger more frequently. I think Bjergsen and Zven are two of the best players in the West when it comes to following up on a play — TSM may do well to generate more chaos in fights. They need something to change. Unlike GGS, TSM was expected to do much better. Before the season, I think I would have given you the over-under line at three losses for this squad, but they’ve already hit that mark. I think they’re still a safe bet to get it together, though. They always do. This matchup, though, could break any sort of attempt at gaining morale. Hai and Bjergsen are very different players and I expect mid lane to serve as the catalyst for plays elsewhere on the map. Can Hai finally match up to Bjergsen again on his new team, or will TSM’s ascent begin here?