With just over half of the games of the NA LCS completed, Team SoloMid and Cloud 9 have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. CLG and Dignitas are in a battle for third place, with both teams seeming to hit their stride in the past few weeks. EG, Curse, and Coast find themselves tied for fifth place while XDG rounds out the bottom. With Super Week just around the corner, lets see if anyone can pull away from the pack. Here’s a look at week 7 of the NA LCS.
Saturday, March 1st
XDG (3-11) vs. Cloud 9 HyperX (11-3)
In week 6 we saw yet another roster change from XDG, moving Zuna from the jungle to support and having NickWu fill the vacant spot. NickWu didn’t do well in both of XDG’s losses, and it looks like XDG will be making yet another swap to their lineup. Zuna will be going back to AD carry, Xmithie back to the jungle, and Sheep from Curse Academy has been brought in to fill the role of support. With Zuna and Xmithie finally in roles that they may finally feel comfortable with, XDG will have to shake off the rift rust to bounce back in the second half of the split.
Last week we learned that Balls can lift, and apparently his strength at the gym carries over to summoners rift. Balls ended week 6 with a monster KDA of 31 in his two games on Shyvana. Cloud 9 looked sharp as always in their games against Curse and EG, rotating well and taking objectives as they pleased. Their team fighting continues to be one of their strongest attributes as a team, and it doesn’t look like they will slow down in the second half of the season.
XDG comes into their third matchup with Cloud 9 down two games. Although XDG has Xmithie back in the jungle to gank for Mancloud, both Xmithie and Zuna will have to shake off any rust that may have accumulated from their time in other roles. Although they did get to worlds last season with their current roster (minus BloodWater) I don’t think that one week is enough time to jump into old roles and be LCS ready. Changing roles is tough as it is, but having to do it and face a very strong Cloud 9 in your first game back is a tall order.
Counter Logic Gaming (8-6) vs. Curse (5-9)
Did everyone get their tickets yet? The CLG hypetrain has left the station and is officially barreling down the tracks at full speed. With two very decisive wins over Coast and XDG, CLG is looking to separate themselves from the middle of the pack and fight for a top spot in the NA LCS. Dexter looked strong in week 6, seeming to have resolved any issues about being overly-aggressive and antsy towards the late game. With 100% kill participation versus Coast and a monster 7/2/6 Kha’zix game against XDG, Dexter is starting to cement himself as a threat out of the jungle.
Curse had a rocky week 6, dropping both of their games against TSM and Cloud 9. While they did have to face the top two teams in the LCS, they didn’t put up a strong showing. The two losses dropped them into a three-way tie for fifth with EG and Coast. Curse’s rotations in both games were very sloppy, and Saint’s shot calling may come into question if the team doesn’t turn it around in the next few weeks. Fights are still being started prematurely, and it has to change if Curse wants to pull away from the middle of the pack.
Curse is going to have their hands full with CLG. Curse has yet to take a game from CLG this split, and will have to work on their rotations around the map if they want to stay relevant in the mid game. Link and Dexter have been playing amazing as of late, and the only hole in CLG’s game seems to be from their top lane. If Nien can hold on to the early leads that he normally gets on his opponents, I don’t see Curse causing any problems for CLG.
Team Dignitas (7-7) vs. Team SoloMid (12-2)
Team Dignitas is coming off of two unpolished performances in week 6. Their first game against EG was as one-sided of a stomp that was painful to watch. They got caught in a great level 1 gank from EG and could not regain the lead. Cruzer and Scarra were constantly camped by Snoopeh on Pantheon in the jungle–something that Dignitas still doesn’t have an answer for. While they did win their second game against XDG, they were playing against a XDG team that lacked any form of jungle presence.
Team SoloMid also went 1-1 in week 6, with a win over Curse and a heartbreaking loss to Coast. In their game against Coast, TheOddOne over-committed to a level 1 fight at red buff that led to first blood. They showed solid rotations and team fighting, but fell behind early to Coast. They managed to stall out a huge Coast lead and looked like they would come back, only to fall prey to a backdoor from Shiphtur. TSM bounced back in their second game of the week against Curse though, dominating team fights and rotations around the map for a decisive victory. TSM also announced that Reginald will be subbing in for Bjergsen this week to allow their mid laner to go back to Europe and renew his visa. The team will go back to their Season 3 roster, but we will have to see how Regi will do after a 6 month break from competitive play.
Dignitas has yet to take a game off of TSM, and I think that they will continue to have a hard time doing so in their third matchup. I’m not sure what will happen in the mid lane for TSM. Regi is coming off of a 6 month hiatus from competitive play and has a tough lane opponent in Scarra. I’m guessing that Scarra and Crumbzz are going to look to give Regi the HotshotGG treatment and camp mid lane to get Regi behind. There were a few communication errors with Regi in the past, and we may not see the same TSM with Regi in the lineup. If Crumbzz can camp mid and snowball Scarra’s lane, I think Dignitas can steal a game from TSM.
Team Coast (5-9) vs. Evil Geniuses (5-9)
Team Coast is on top of the world right now, coming off the most exciting game yet in the NA LCS in their win over TSM. It was the Shiphtur show on Saturday, ending the very close game by backdooring the nexus with a DFG. When he bought an early sheen in lane I questioned the build path, but that’s why he plays in the LCS and I write articles about him. The team played well in the early game, but it was evident that they were playing “not to throw”, allowing TSM to stall out until late game. Although they played great against TSM, they did not fare as well against CLG. Dexter caused havoc in the lanes of Team Coast, and the cow delivery system for Orianna’s ultimate proved too much for Coast to handle.
EG split week 6 with a stomp over Dignitas and a loss to Cloud 9. EG dominated Dignitas from the first minute of the game with a great collapse on Crumbzz for first blood at level 1. The team didn’t let up their pressure, having Snoopeh repeatedly gank top and mid lanes. Although they were dominant against Dignitas, they looked shaky against Cloud 9. Pobelter had a few questionable Lulu ults and the entirety of EG’s focus seemed to be on Annie.
I’m excited for this matchup not only because of its implications in the standings, but I want to see how the teams bounce back from week 6. With Coast, it seems like one of their solo laners has to go off and carry the game for their team. EG has a lot of different strategies, and it always seems like a crapshoot of which team you’re going to get. I’m curious to see who is going to get targeted in the pick/ban phase this week, and if EG will let Shiphtur on Ahri or Zion on Jax. I’m giving Coast a slight edge this week. They showed some improvement on managing and closing out a game to a point where I think that they can finally hold an early lead into the late game.
Sunday, March 2nd
Cloud 9 HyperX (11-3) vs. Team SoloMid (12-2)
With Super Week just a week away, the battle for first place continues when Cloud 9 and TSM square off for a third time. They come into the rubber match at one game apiece, but there is much more on the line for Cloud 9. If Cloud 9 wants to take over the first place spot, they will have to win their game against TSM and hope that TSM loses their game against Dignitas. On the other hand, TSM can solidify themselves at the top of the standings with a win over Cloud 9.
I was initially excited to see the TSM vs. Cloud 9 matchup, but with Regi in mid I don’t think that TSM can win this one. Hai is going to be a brutal lane for Regi to come back to. If he gets demolished in lane it will force TheOddOne to babysit mid, allowing Meteos to counter-jungle and gank as he pleases. I don’t think that TSM will team fight as well as they normally do with Regi in the lineup. If Cloud 9 can bring their amazing team fighting skills on Sunday, I don’t think that there is anything that TSM can do to win this one.
Evil Geniuses (5-9) vs. Team Dignitas (7-7)
EG and Dignitas come into their third matchup with one win apiece, and look to settle another rubber match in the NA LCS. We will have to see if Dignitas can shake off last week’s stomp and come back strong. EG seemed to be in control every step of the way in their 30 minute game, and Dignitas has a week to find an answer to the aggressive ganks from Snoopeh.
I think this is going to be a great game from both teams. Both teams still have a lot to prove in the LCS, and undoubtedly want to come out on top after two games with very different results. I’m looking at the matchup mid as the deciding factor in this game. In their two previous games, Pobelter and Scarra played Zed and Ziggs. In the first game, Scarra was able to snowball an early lead. In the second game, it seemed like there was nothing that Scarra could do against a dominant Zed getting constant ganks from Pantheon. In a perfect world, I’d like to see them both choose the same champions so we can settle the score for the first half of the season, but look to see a surprise pick from one of the mid laners.
XDG (3-11) vs. Counter Logic Gaming (8-6)
In yet another rubber match, XDG and CLG come into their third matchup tied at a game apiece. In their first game, XDG played an incomplete CLG roster with Link in the jungle and Chauster in the mid lane. They did not fare well against a complete CLG roster last week, which may be due to the lack of jungle pressure from substitute jungler NickWu. It didn’t help that Zuna was constantly caught out in precarious positions, but it may change now that he is back on ADC.
This game may get ugly for XDG. CLG has been on a tear the past two weeks and don’t seem to be slowing down one bit. I’m curious to see if the synergy still exists between Mancloud and Xmithie, because XDG’s mid laner has not played well throughout the first half of the split. It is well known that Xmithie was a huge factor in Mancloud’s success in mid, and they have to hope that they can just pick off where they left off last season. Zuna and Sheep will also have a tall order to fill when they take on Rush Hour in the bot lane. Aphromoo and DoubleLift have been playing out of their minds as of late, even picking into unfavorable matchups because they are confident enough in themselves to know that they can win the lane. This may be dangerous for CLG if they underestimate XDG, because at this point, they have nothing left to lose.
Curse (5-9) vs. Team Coast (5-9)
Curse and Coast face each other for the third time with the heated battle for fifth place on the line. Curse is up two games on Coast, and will have to make it a sweep if they want to rise from the middle of the pack before Super Week. Coast found themselves throwing at Baron in their two previous matches, so they will definitely have to stay away from the B-word in their third match.
In their previous matchups, none of the solo-laners for Coast were productive in the game. I say this over and over again, but the game is going to fall on the backs of either Shiphtur or ZionSpartan. WizFujiin has yet to show me anything spectacular, and NintendudeX seems to have hit a rut. Curse is coming into the game with SaintVicious calling the–sometimes questionable–shots for the team. I think the game is going to come down to the shot calling for both teams. Both teams have made questionable calls in the past weeks, and this game can’t turn into a contest to see who can throw harder at Baron.
That wraps it up for week 7 of the North American League Championship Series. With Super Week quickly approaching, lets see who can win the battle for 5th place, and if any of the teams can separate themselves from the middle of the pack. Cloud 9 and CLG look to climb the rankings, while TSM looks to cement their place at the top.
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