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Do Or Die: NA LCS Week 11 Preview


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With the Spring Split coming to a close, each team looks to finish strong in the third and final Super Week of the season. TSM and Cloud 9 are deadlocked in a battle for first place in North America while CLG has cemented their third place finish for the split. Dignitas, Curse, and Coast are all fighting to stay out of relegation. With just a win separating fourth from sixth place, one team will make it safely into the Summer Split and playoffs while the other two will have to battle it out for fifth place. Barring any miraculous upsets, it looks like the final match of the split will determine who will finish in last place. Both XDG and EG are tied with records of 6-18, and it looks like the winner of their final match on Sunday will avoid last place and a date with LMQ in the relegation tournament. It’s do or die for each team in Super Week, so lets take a look at week 11 of the NA LCS.

Standings

TSMLogoBlack50 Team SoloMid (20-4) TSMLogoBlack50

Sporting a 20-4 record and tied for first place, Team SoloMid proved in the Spring Split that they are still a force to be reckoned with in the North American scene. The veteran team hit the ground running with their new mid-laner Bjergsen and have not looked back since. All of the communication issues that seemed to plague the team in season 3 have been fixed, and the team has looked very decisive in their map rotations and teamfights. Boasting the highest KDA(6.25) and GPM(1838) in the NA LCS, TSM’s individual performances have backed up their strong team-fighting skills.

 

If TSM and Cloud 9 both win their other three matches, then first place will be decided when both teams face off in the last game of Saturday. TSM needs to make sure that they do not drop a game this weekend, because they have a slightly easier schedule than Cloud 9. If Cloud 9 loses to a red-hot CLG team then TSM will go into their matchup on Saturday with a 1 game cushion. TSM already has a bye in the playoffs, so their match against Cloud 9 will just be for bragging rights for the first place seed.

C9Logo50 Cloud 9 (20-4) C9Logo50

In the past two splits, Cloud 9 has shown that they are a dominating force in the NA scene with an amazing combined record of 45-7. Much like TSM, they have become known for great rotations towards objectives and amazing team-fighting skills. In the beginning of the season, many questioned how Meteos would react to the new jungle in season 4. Changing from his farm-centric style in season 3, Meteos quickly silenced any critics with an aggressive counter-jungling style of play. His Lee Sin is an almost guaranteed ban in every game, and his league leading KDA of 8.5 is just behind his ADC’s KDA of 8.6.

Cloud 9, like TSM, has already secured their first round bye during the Spring Split playoffs, but will need to play TSM on Saturday to determine who will have first place seeding. Before they face TSM however, they face a CLG team that has been playing extremely well over the past few weeks. CLG looked very good in their win over TSM last week, and Cloud 9 will have to be able to deal with CLG’s rotations if they want to have a shot at the first place seed.

CLGLogoBlack50 Counter Logic Gaming (16-8) CLGLogoBlack50

The hype is real. Since season 2, CLG constantly talked about reaching their full potential as a team in North America. With the acquisition of Dexter in the off season and Aphromoo returning to Rush Hour in the bot lane, the team looks to have finally ascended to the top tier of North America. MonteCristo must have put something in their cereal, because the team has looked amazing with their rotations for objectives as of late. As soon as CLG sees an opening, they will automatically collapse on it and take as much as possible before rotating to their next objective or teamfight. Link seems to be at home in the mid lane and has shown to be a huge threat when roaming with Dexter for early ganks on top or bottom lane.

 

CLG is in an interesting spot coming into super week. They are the only team to have essentially locked their position in for the playoffs, barring any anomalies. TSM or Cloud 9 would have to go 0-4 and CLG would have to go 4-0 for there to be a tie for second place. With that seeming like an almost impossible scenario, CLG will have to play as a gatekeeper for the teams on the bubble. Their game against Cloud 9 is a must win for Cloud 9, and a victory for CLG could possibly tip the scales of first place in TSM’s favor. Curse and Dignitas are in a dead sprint for fourth, so a win over CLG could be a big enough confidence boost to push for the finish.

DigLogo50 Team Dignitas (10-14) DigLogo50

Dignitas started off their season strong, but fell into a mid-season rough patch that left them struggling in the middle of the pack. Dignitas recently replaced their fan-favorite mid laner Scarra with GoldenGlue, who had a decent first week in the LCS. He seems to fit well in the team, and did relatively well against Hai and Pobelter in mid. He did seem to be down on cs in both games, which will be something that he will have to work on going into super week. Dignitas’ problems for most of the season revolved around their early game. If the team could not get the game going early with ganks from Crumbzz, the team generally would stall out in the mid game and eventually throw at Baron somehow. The team would have to rely on Imaqtpie to carry the game for them and would generally lose if he was not on a hyper-carry like Jinx.

Super Week is going to be tough for Dignitas. They are solely in control of their own destiny right now, and must win games against Curse and Coast to secure a spot in the playoffs and avoid relegation. With Curse and Coast just one game back from fourth place, Dignitas could drop to as low as sixth place if they have a bad week. This week will be a huge test for GoldenGlue. Not only is it just his second week in the LCS, but the fate of his team is hanging in the balance. I’m not sure how well he responds to pressure yet, but he will need to step it up to fill the experienced shoes that Scarra had left behind.

CurseLogo50 Curse (9-15) CurseLogo50

After a crazy offseason filled with tryouts and role swaps, Curse came into Season 4 with high hopes for their team. With only Cop and Voyboy remaining from the Season 3 roster, Curse started the split strong with two quick wins. After dropping 5 out of their next 6 games, Curse decided to replace Zekent with SaintVicious in week 4. The replacement only lasted for four weeks, with Curse replacing SaintVicious with BunnyFuufuu in week 8. Curse’s main problem this season seemed to be their inability to close out games. IWillDominate’s early aggression often builds up a lead for the team, only to have it all go to waste when Curse enters the mid game and effectively stalls their lead away. They were devoid of a single shot caller–and it showed–when games that should have been won were thrown in uncertain rotations or teamfights that were started prematurely. If Curse wants to finish the season strong, they will need to focus on closing out games when they are up, and not allowing teams to stall out and get back into the game.

 

Tied with Coast and just a game behind Dignitas, Curse has three must-win games against Coast, Dignitas, and EG in Super Week. They are on the bubble, and must claw their way to a fourth place seed if they want to do well in the playoffs. A sixth place team would face a very tough match of CLG in the quarterfinals, and Curse would much rather play Dignitas or Coast first than have a chance to get knocked into the consolation bracket. Curse played very well last week against TSM, and it looked like they would be able to take a game off of the first place team. They have to be able to close out their games and not allow teams like TSM to stall out and get back into the game.

CoastLogo50 Team Coast (9-15) CoastLogo50

Team Coast has had a tough Spring Split, and has yet to find their stride. Before the split started, DontMashMe stepped down as ADC and was replaced by WizFujiiN. The team has had trouble finding pressure out of the jungle, and has relied mostly on a carry from either Shiphtur or ZionSpartan to win games. The strategy really hasn’t paid off, with Coast once again finding themselves towards the bottom of the standings. Coast is in an interesting position right now. They dominated when they played in the NACL during the offseason, but seem to struggle against teams in the LCS. If they want to have a successful playoff run, NintendudeX needs to step up for the team and exert jungle pressure on not only his lanes, but on the enemy jungler as well.  Coast has to find a way to not rely solely on either Shiphtur or ZionSpartan getting fed. Teams have caught on to this and will most likely develop strategies for the playoffs to counter the top and mid lane from Coast.

Team Coast has a very rough Super Week. Not only do they have must-win games against EG and Curse, but they have to also deal with Cloud 9 and TSM. They have to pick up at least a win from one of the top two teams, or pray that Dignitas or Curse drops more than one game each. Coast has to leave Super Week on a high note if they want to attempt a playoff run like they did in Season 1. Going 0-4 wouldn’t put them in relegation just yet, but going into playoffs on a four game losing streak is not a place where you want to be if relegation is on the line.

eglogo Evil Geniuses (6-18) eglogo

 

When Snoopeh and crew came across the Atlantic to try and set up shop in North America, many people thought that the European team would have success in the states. When Krepo, Yellowpete, and Snoopeh added Innox and Pobelter to their roster, everyone–including the team–was very optimistic about EG’s future. EG looked very strong in their relegation matches when they 3-0’d Determined Gaming and earned their spot in the LCS. The team has struggled since then, only picking up 6 wins and becoming cannon fodder towards the bottom of the standings. There were flashes of a great team throughout the season, but those moments never seemed to stick through more than one or two games. EG, especially Snoopeh, likes to pull out niche picks that–although fun to play–have not been very successful. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with the team, they just seem to fall behind early in the game and in turn make unnecessarily risky plays to try and get back in it. They need to work on their mid game rotations and not allow that lull in the action that allows team to expand on their early gold lead.

 

EG has a tough schedule for Super Week. They have to play TSM, CLG, and Curse before their final showdown against XDG. If both EG and XDG are not able to upset anyone, the final game of the split will determine who will be in last place and be forced to play against LMQ in relegation. EG will also be in  “pray and wait” mode, and as cruel as it sounds, have to hope that XDG will lose all of their games leading up to their match on Sunday.

Vulcun Logov2 XDG (6-18) Vulcun Logov2

After a poor showing at Worlds in Season 3, Team Vulcun decided to re-brand their organisation into XDG to symbolize a fresh start. The team also decided that Zuna and Xmithie would swap positions because it was easier for Zuna to shot call from the jungle. The move didn’t pan out for the team, and they seemed to be searching for their comfort zone all season. After six weeks of not finding any success, BloodWater was benched, Zuna moved from jungle to support, and NickWu was brought in for a trial run in the jungle. NickWu didn’t work out, and Sheep was eventually brought in on support, moving Zuna back to ADC and Xmithie to the jungle. A lot of XDG’s woes have come from their inability to get adjusted to their new roles. Aside from Mancloud and Benny, everyone was constantly changing their positions and having to learn new roles on the fly. Mancloud also suffered for a majority of the season without Xmithie in the jungle to back him up. The team seems to be stable with everyone in their season 3 roles, but it just may be too-little-too-late for XDG.

XDG is in the same boat as EG coming into week 11. They have to hope that EG loses all of their games and hope that they can pull of a victory against them on Sunday. I don’t see XDG pulling off any upsets this weekend, so their only hope at this point is to root for Curse in their game against XDG. If they are able to leapfrog EG in the standings, they may be able to survive relegation if they don’t have to face LMQ.

That wraps it up for week 11 of the Spring Split. TSM and Cloud 9 face off on Saturday for claim to the top seed heading into playoffs. Barring any upsets, EG and XDG will fight it out for last place–and LMQ–on Sunday.

Be sure to catch all of the action on www.lolesports.com, starting at 3pm EST/ Noon PST.


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Anthony Young

Born in SF and raised in Hawaii, I recently moved back to the Bay Area to pursue a career in the gaming industry. I am an avid League of Legends player and huge fan of the LCS.

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