With Super Week just on the horizon, each team in North America is preparing for a grueling schedule of four games over a three-day span. Team SoloMid and Cloud 9 are currently sitting on top of the standings with CLG quickly approaching in their rear view mirrors. Dignitas and Team Coast have separated themselves from the middle of the pack and are looking to posture for a sprint to third place. EG, Curse, and XDG find themselves at the bottom of the standings, and will look to avoid relegation and a meeting with a very strong LMQ. Anything can happen during Super Week, and a four game swing for any team could shake up the standings. Lets take a look at where each team is at, and what they need to do in the second half of the split in their race to the finish.
Just one game ahead of their rivals Cloud 9, TSM comes into Super Week without their superstar mid laner Bjergsen due to visa issues. The team will once again rely on Reginald in the mid lane. With Bjergsen in the lineup, the communication issues that plagued the team in season 3 have seemed to be resolved, and the team always seems to be clear and concise in their calls. They always are focusing the same target and will immediately switch once it is called out by their shot caller. TSM’s strength right now seems to be in their lane dominance and amazing team fighting skills. Everyone on TSM tends to win their lanes, which allows TheOddOne to counter-jungle, control objectives, and apply jungle pressure freely around the map. With Cloud 9, CLG, and Dignitas stepping their game up as of late TSM may face tougher matches in the second half of the season. I don’t see them slipping below second place, but they face a tough challenge to hold onto their top spot with a substitute mid laner and Cloud 9 waiting in the wings.
Sitting just a game behind the first place TSM, Cloud 9 looks to finally take their place on top of the North American LCS. Cloud 9 burst onto the scene last season with a dominating 25-3 record and a trip to worlds. They brought the same dominance in the first half of the split, showing strong team fighting and early objective control. There were questions pre-season about Meteos’ ability to adapt to the new jungle changes, but all questions were silenced when Meteos led the league in the first half of the split with a 10.2 KDA. Like TSM, Cloud 9 doesn’t seem to have any weak lanes. Balls, with a KDA of 7, and Sneaky, with a KDA of 7.1, join Meteos in the top 5 KDA list for the NA LCS. Two of the four Cloud 9 losses were lost in the pick/ban phase. Against XDG, they decided to try out a double AP pick comp and picked it into a Shyvana and Lulu. If they stick to the meta and continue to play at the level they are playing at I believe they are a strong top two contender.
I don’t know how many different ways I can say this, but the hype is real. CLG burst out of the gates with their completed lineup and went on a 5-1 tear over the past three weeks. Their single loss was a tough match against a first place TSM that could have gone either way. Dexter was a little shaky at first, but has settled into the jungle and has shown what can happen when CLG finally has a jungle main in the jungle. Link has been playing out of his mind since his transition back into the mid lane, with a KDA of 28 and 13 in his first two weeks back in the role. His ability to roam while keeping even in CS against his lane opponent has given CLG another threat for teams to deal with. CLG plays Dignitas, TSM, and Cloud 9 in super week, so a 4-0 sweep could catapult them to the top of the standings.
After going on a five game win streak in the beginning of the season, Team Dignitas has had a shaky road back to their winning ways. Scarra has been hit-or-miss for the team, and Imaqtpie has been inconsistent in the bottom lane. Early on in the split, it looked like Qtpie would be able to carry the game if he was put on a hypercarry like Jinx. Even though he is 5-1 overall on the season with Jinx, he seems to have been favoring Sivir and Caitlyn as of late. Crumbzz has been one of the main factors in Dignitas’ new look. His early jungle pressure and decisive shot calling allows Dignitas to rotate effectively around the map. In the second half of the split, Dignitas needs to snowball the early leads that Crumbzz provides into the late game and avoid throwing at the Baron pit.
After a slow start to the beginning of their season, Team Coast has gone on a 5-1 surge in the past three weeks. Coast is an interesting team for me. They rely on either ZionSpartan or Shiphtur to have a strong laning phase and carry the game. When either of the solo laners gets ahead, they rarely give up a lead and snowball the game. On the other side of the coin however, if their solo lanes get shut down Coast generally has a tough time. WizFujiiN is a solid ADC, but generally just goes even in lane. NintendudeX has had a rough start to the spring split, having trouble creating jungle pressure for his lanes. The team still looks indecisive in their late game calls, and seem to play “not to throw” rather than playing to finish. If they can start to finish games more decisively, I think that Coast will be a contender come playoffs.
The Evil Geniuses are still waiting to find their stride after making the trek across the Atlantic into the North American LCS. Aside from their domination over Dignitas in week 6, they haven’t really found success in playing teams towards the top of the standings. It’s difficult to really pinpoint the exact problems that EG are facing. Their lanes tend to go even or get ahead with ganks from Snoopeh, but they don’t normally translate the lead into anything. While they do have good dragon/objective control and rotate well for towers early, it seems like there is a constant lull in the mid-game for EG. The team also makes questionable engages towards the late game that swing the advantage to their opponents. I believe that EG’s roster is strong, but they need to work on their shot calling and decision-making in all phases of the game.
After a slow start to their spring split, Curse decided to swap out their support player Zekent with veteran jungler SaintVicious. The move has not been as successful as Curse would have hoped, with the team going 1-5 in Saint’s three weeks back. While IWillDominate is known for his aggressive early jungle pressure, he has not had much of an impact for his team in the past few weeks. Voyboy has had trouble adapting to the mid lane, and the constant calls for jungle help takes away from the rest of Curse’s lanes. Map rotations also seem to be an issue for the team. Rather than being the ones making aggressive rotations for turrets or dragons, they are constantly playing catch-up and having to react to other teams. Saint’s initiations have also led the team into trouble on more than one occasion. He tends to start fights before the entire team is there, having his teammates react to his split second decisions to engage on the enemy. It was just announced that SaintVicious is once again stepping down from Curse and will be replaced by Bunny FuFuu. It is still unclear if Bunny FuFuu is being brought in to be a dedicated shot caller or if the reigns will be passed to IWillDominate, but Cop will have to work to create a synergy with his 5th support down in bot lane.
It finally looks as if XDG has settled on a roster that they are comfortable with. After moving Zuna from ADC to the jungle, then to support, then back to ADC, the team looks comfortable back in their original positions. Xmithie looks like he was able to pick up where he left off in the jungle, and Sheep had a successful first game with a win over the second place Cloud 9. While I don’t want to take anything away from XDG, Cloud 9 picked a double AP pick comp into the obvious all-in comp from XDG. So far we have only seen Zuna play Caitlyn, so I’m curious what he has waiting in the wings if teams target him this week. The team looks much better than they were in the beginning of the season, and I think they may be able to turn it around to possibly avoid relegation.
Matches To Watch:
Coast vs. TSM: The exciting re-match from week 6’s amazing backdoor finish from Shiphtur. I’m excited to see how Reggie does against a Shiphtur. This match will set the tone for Super Week for both teams. Coast look to get a four game jump in the standings, while TSM looks to hold onto their place on top of the league.
Curse vs. XDG: This game will also set the tone for both teams this Super Week. In a battle for last place–and relegation matches versus LMQ–both teams look to make a jump in the standings with a 4 game swing. XDG came out swinging with their new roster, and is looking to take their first win of the season from Curse on Friday.
EG vs. XDG: This is another battle at the bottom of the standings. EG and XDG are both looking to separate themselves from the bottom of the pack, and will have to climb over one another to do so.
Any CLG match: With Bjergsen out, this may be the time for CLG to strike. Riding high on a four game winning streak, the team looks to make it another four and jump to the top of the standings. They play TSM(1), Cloud 9(2), and Dignitas(4); all contenders for top spots in the LCS. If they can pull off a 4-0 sweep, they will finally remove all doubt and cement themselves as a top team in North America.