Showing posts with label Cloud 9. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cloud 9. Show all posts

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The LCS Returns May 28th

2015 Summer Split Predictions

by Jerrod "Thousand Eyes" Steis

1. Cloud 9

A bit surprisingly, I’ve got Cloud 9 back on top. Hai retired, which is a huge loss for their team, but he’s still going to be around providing insight, meaning his contributions will still be felt. The question becomes, will they have Incarnati0n be a shot caller or transition someone else on the team into it. We have yet to see what Incarnati0n will bring, but he’s kept himself up on the top of the solo queue ladder all this time while he was banned. If that doesn’t say he’s been preparing for this moment, I don’t know what does. The rest of the team is still as strong as ever, and with Balls moving past his slump from the early part of the season and Sneaky putting himself in the running for best ADC in NA, Cloud 9 looks like they’re ready to take back their crown from TSM.

What to Watch:

Incarnati0n is back for the first time since LCS’s inception.
Sneaky needs to keep his success up

2. TSM

There really isn’t much to say here for TSM, everyone knows how dominant they’ve been this season and they haven’t had to change a thing. Their one point of competition was Cloud 9 and Hai just couldn’t perform in addition to some early season slumps from Balls. Lustboy was a monster and Bjerg was Bjerg. Santorin was a surprise to me, as watching how other teams have had promising players come in and proceed to trip their way down the split, Santorin looked very comfortable after the first few weeks. Teams kept trying to tilt Dyrus and it just didn’t work. He kept himself on champs like Lulu and Maokai, who don’t need to get as much gold to be useful, and did his thing. If there’s one chink in the armor though it’s WildTurtle. He has a habit of getting very aggressive and sometimes puts himself in a bad position. The rest of the team has been able to cover that, but this split looks like it’s got even more competition than last.

What to Watch:

Dyrus Dying
WildTurtle positioning

3. CLG

Ahh CLG, always looking great until the end of the season. This might finally be the split to break that though. Link has retired and he’s being replaced almost SKT style by bringing in two different mid laners that CLG plan on swapping back and forth. It’s going to be interesting to see how NA teams handle trying to strategize around 2 possible players. The player to watch here is going to be Xmithie, he had a few chokes late in the split in the spring and it’s going to be on him to try and fix those mistakes coming into the home stretch for worlds. I think finally we’ll see the team start to pull themselves together and make a run for Europe.

What to Watch:

Xmithie needs to step up a bit
How will Swapping of mid laners work for and against CLG

All Photos courtesy of Riot Esports

4. Team Impulse

Impulse started off last split in complete disarray. The dirty laundry of LMQ had been aired out and the only remaining player was XiaoWeiXiao. Impulse pulled in Impact of S3 World champs SKT, which everyone thought would be the big pick up. The player that has really shown up though has been Apollo( formerly WizFujiin). His play really solidified Impulse as a threat to other teams. While they needed time to understand their calls, the team speaks 3 different languages, they seemed like they were going full force at the end of the split and they will most likely be keeping that trend up moving into the summer.

What to Watch:

Continued success from the end of last split
XiaoWeiXiao farming

5. Team Liquid

Liquid looked really strong at the end of the split, finally breaking the Curse curse. The real question now is going to be, “will they keep the momentum or start back from the beginning?”. I’m leaning more towards them keeping it up. Piglet looked more like a former world champion than we had ever seen from him in NA at the end of playoffs and while Quas and Dominate will be the backing veterans lead by Xpecial, Fenix has shown how he can be an up and coming threat and brief Mcmoments from Keith have been great signs on where the team is heading.

What to Watch:

Piglet is looking back to his old form
Fenix keeping heat up in mid

6. Enemy Esports

The new kids on the block, we don’t know that much about them, especially because they got a free pass into the LCS. Innox is back and will most likely be trying to lead the team with his previous LCS experience. Otter and Trashy have substitute experience, so they aren’t going in blind. They absolutely stomped the NACS and I think they will hold their own against the lower tier teams in the league.

What to Watch:

Innox back in a new lane
How will Otter stack up against other ADCs

7. Team 8

Calitrolz is the leader of this team. Which is actually unfortunate for two reasons. One, he’s leaving after this split and if Team 8 survives they need to find a new top laner and they most likely won’t find one with the same level of leadership and knowledge as Calitrolz. Two, the meta just doesn’t favor top lane carries at the moment. Maple and Slooshi are usually behind and Cali can only sometimes even it out Usually a win depends on how Porpoise shows up

What to Watch:

Calitrolz pulling his team up as far as he can
Porpoise needs to make an impact

8. Gravity

Saint is retiring and while his mechanical strengths weren’t all too great his shot calling was what made him the right fit for Gravity. He has a lot of game knowledge and I’d love to see him be a coach one day. Regardless he won’t be on Gravity next season. This is a really crushing blow and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gravity making some bad calls this split. Keane is very volatile and he can pull out some weird picks that either make plays or just lose hard. Hauntzer is very underrated, but he don’t play champs that can carry if other lanes fall behind really hard. Bunny is amazing if you put him on Thresh, but he stumbles a bit otherwise, and of course Cop is just Cop.

What to Watch: 

Who’s going to make the calls in game
What will Keane do next

9. Team Dragon Knights

The team that Alex got into the league, whether you agree with what happened or not, they’re here now. It’s gonna be hard to pinpoint these guys since we don’t even know who their mid laner is going to be. Seraph is here, and he seems a lot more comfortable than he was in CLG, and he’s being put in a position that he is more familiar with not only with his team, but the way the meta is shaping up as well. Altec is rumoured to be in talks to join the team, and if that happens in addition to getting a good mid laner, I could see these guys shooting up. For now though I’ve got them in 9th

What to Watch:

Seraph on smite tele hyper tanks
Mid lane and ADC changes

10. Team Dignitas

I was legitimately surprised that Dignitas beat Fusion. Fusion once again flopped out and choked. This doesn’t really mean much other than one more split. dignitas made no roster changes, and have little to offer outside of great engages from KiWiKiD. Both Gamsu and Azingy have been disappointing as well as CoreJJ and Shiphtur has never lived up to his potential.

What to Watch:

KiWiKiD engages
Surprises if someone steps up


1. H2K

H2K were almost the ones to go to MSI because of a very close best of 5 at the end of the Spring Split. While Fnatic makes their plays by engaging and forcing fights, H2k has a much more tactical approach. With their coach Pr0lly at the helm, they went from being a lower tier team to almost champs in a split. I can only imagine how hungry they are after their small taste of the top and are busting their butts to try and get 1st this split. Their macro game strategy is top notch and a step above other teams in Europe and this is what’s going to take them to number 1.

What to Watch:

Wins from map control rather than brute force

2. Fnatic

Fnatic showed themselves as a top tier team at MSI almost being the first team to take down SKT in a best of 5, despite that they’re being placed 2nd. They made an interesting swap in picking up Rekkles again after he left Elements. Once again messing with the synergy, which in my opinion was one of Fnatic’s strengths, and swapping out Steelback. Steelback was doing pretty well for himself, so I’m pretty surprised about this. Febiven looked like a monster at MSI and was able to solo kill Faker a few times. Huni is still Huni and Yell0wStaR is always going to be flash Tibbers stunning people all day. Rekkles is a much safer ADC though and I don’t know how well he’s going to handle the aggression

What to Watch:

Rekkles and his ability to mesh with the new team
Huni being cute

3. Origen

I’m probably gonna get a lot of flak for this one. I think Origen is going to end 3rd regardless. xPeke is still very good and Amazing is solid. Niels is also really good at ADC, but I’m too split on S0az. He’s very tilt happy and I’ve seen it cause his teams losses many times in the past. When he’s on, he’s very very good, but he’s prone to just throwing himself at the enemy if he starts to fall behind.

What to Watch:

S0az tilt and how he handles it
Bot lane is relatively new to pro play, Mithy hasn’t played for over a year

4. Unicorns of Love

I love the playstyle, as it’s exciting and unique, but I don’t see Unicorns of Love making it past 4th this split. Their style is inherently risky and can cause them to get stomped sometimes because it doesn’t work. They know what they’re doing but we’ve seen them falter at points. Not only that but this split there are a lot more competitive teams coming in. Hylissang also has some work to do on supports that aren’t Thresh.

What to Watch:
Lots of weird picks
Bot lane camps since it’s their weakest lane

5. Elements

If you can still call them that. The super team that turned out to be a mess and a half. Froggen is the only remaining member. While I think The move to Jwaow is an upgrade, Wickd is from an era gone by, Tabzz is about even, and Dexter is around the same. PromisQQ is a brand new player to the LCS so we don’t have a lot to go on. There’s a lot of team building that needs to happen, but these guys are all, with the exception of PromisQQ, guys who’ve been in the LCS and around the block for a bit, so I don’t see it as being too much of an issue.

What to Watch:

How will the new guy, PromisQQ handle the big stage pressure
Will missteps happen with little time to prepare

6. SK Gaming

Obviously SK didn’t have the end of the split they had hoped for, but they have moved towards a more team oriented approach now. An approach I feel will be better for them. CandyPanda is a much more selfless ADC and that lets players like Fox and Freddy carry more. The only problem this might cause is that it leaves a very open weak spot in SK where they used to have none. SK needs to understand how to play from behind because they might have to with the mechanical downgrade

What to Watch:

Weaker bot lane than last split
Have they learned to play from behind

7. Gambit Gaming

The addition of FORG1VEN is huge for Gambit, but I don’t believe it’s a purely positive huge. While the “See Hero Kill Hero” strategy of Gambit is a better fit for FORG1VEN I don’t believe they have had enough time to mesh and this can cause, and has caused, teams to melt down. Gambit also only barely got going near the end of the split after making a bunch of changes. While it’s possible they can keep that going, it’ll be hard with a new ADC. The biggest questions are going to be how well Gambit can handle strife as they could very easily spiral down quickly.

What to Watch:
Gosu Pepper and FORG1VEN synergy
If things go sour early in the split, how will they handle it?


The way the split ended for ROCCAT a few weeks ago was disastrous, but that really defined the split for ROCCAT. Small mistakes becoming huge problems. They came into the year as huge favorites to be top 2 and then blew leads or just didn’t show up. There isn’t one person to blame here either, which is why they’ve hit the 8th spot here. I don’t think the past few weeks were enough time to really solidify their issues.

What to Watch:

Woolite tilt
NukeDuck tilt
Everyone tilt

9. Copenhagen Wolves

The Wolves have a lot of improving to do this split as their counterparts in the EU have all gotten extremely good. AirWaks is usually a non-factor, and as a jungler that’s a problem, Unlimited also lacks a lot of pressure as well. Youngbuck has been falling off the past year or so and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. They’ve always been the bottom side of the bracket, but this might be the time they fall out

What to Watch:

Freeze is a very strong ADC
Pressure on Airwaks to show up

10. Giants Gaming

PePii and Werlyb have shown flashes of great play, but even when they show these great sides, it’s usually not enough to pull up their slow macro game. Noxiak was a great addition mid way through the season and his Leona helped snowball their carries past a point where strategy was a big deal, I don’t think they’re going to be able to get away with that this split.

What to Watch:

PePii and maybe Werlyb trying to carry
Flashes of great engages from Noxiak

Saturday, February 7, 2015

What to Watch For: NA LCS Week 3 Preview


By Matt “It’s Pure Luck” Lee

So who didn't predict that after two weeks the LCS would have these current story lines: Team Gravity is in a three way tie for first, upstart Team 8 would be in a four way tie for fourth at 2-2 and Cloud 9 would sit in last place.

I admit I can’t raise my hand and say I saw this coming, but I’d argue that outside of the players on those teams, nobody really saw a start like this happening in the spring split. While I like to preach patience and a “wait and see” approach with teams like Cloud 9 (who frankly have earned benefit of the doubt with past performances), keep in mind that after this week the season will already be one third of the way through.

While I fully believe Cloud 9 can turn this around and Team 8 could plummet in the standings (the difference between 4th and last is only one game after all), the clock is starting to tick on teams like C9 and Coast who are in desperate need of at least one win this week. These games are SO crucial with the new format.

With that said, let’s take a look at three key points to look after in this upcoming set of games!

Can Hai step up for Cloud 9? – To be blunt, it has been an utterly dismal start to the season for Hai. The oft maligned midlaner for C9 must pick it up for this team to rediscover the magic it had in the past three LCS splits. The surprising factor here is that C9 looked very solid just over one month ago back at IEM San Jose. All that is forgotten now as they look completely lost. Being the main shotcaller for this team, Hai’s mental state is crucial to Cloud 9. If he can avoid tilting and keep himself calm, this NA juggernaut should be able to right the ship. C9 has two winnable games this weekend (Coast, T8) and I’d argue only winning one would be a disappointment to them.

Will the real Team Liquid Please Stand Up? – It was a great start to the season for Liquid. They managed to go 2-0 even with the absence of Piglet as IWillDominate had a masterful Week 1. Week 2 was a bit of a different story. They lost to Cloud 9 and Team SoloMid and weren't competitive in either game (they failed to pick up a kill vs TSM). I think that IWillDominate himself said it best; Liquid perhaps isn't as amazing as they played in Week 1, nor are they as poor as they played in Week 2. Now that they have had a set of real matches to play on the LCS stage with the entire roster, it will be interesting to see how Liquid try and bounce back when they take on a desperate Team Coast and a reeling Dignitas. If C9 has trouble getting their act together, I believe this is the team to beat in North America.

Always Winning Until They Lose: Can Team Coast Recover? – Since EG rebranded and multiple members of the team departed, somebody in the NA LCS had to take up the crown of “losing games that are in our grasp in painstakingly heartbreaking ways.” Team Coast have more than obliged that as they have started off this season 1-3 but I don’t think they have really played that poorly at all. In fact this is a team that is just a couple of bad decisions away from being 3-1 (one being the atrocious Baron call in the game vs Dignitas.) Yes, decision making is a crucial part of this game, but it just felt like they had all of those losses in their favor while watching. Unfortunately for Coast, it won’t get any easier this week. They take on Team Liquid in their first game and have a very crucial match against Cloud 9 on day two. 1-1 would likely be a more than acceptable result for this team this week but it’s a tough task. Maybe it’s time for a few breaks to fall in favor of this team who has played better than their record would show.

Enjoy the games this weekend everybody!

Friday, January 23, 2015

2015 NA LCS Spring Split Predictions

by Jodi "PunkLit" McClure and the LCS FanZone Staff 

If there's anything that can be taken away from EU's crazy start, it's that you can be certain of absolutely nothing when it comes to the NA LCS. Teams have a way of surprising even the most knowledgeable of fans, so take our staff predictions with a grain of salt and probably don't bet your kid's college funds on them. To further cover our asses, we have done this in a Top Three – Middle of the Pack – Bottom Three format.



Cloud 9  The Princes of the NA LCS have no real reason to -not- be listed first. They've had no roster swaps and looked stronger than ever in IEM. Meteos played great, and the rest of the team looked solid. The only potential weak link on the team is Hai, but with such a stable team around him he can take his time getting back to form. Expect at least a top 3 finish from these guys

Team Liquid  Falling under new management and getting new players in the big carry positions, including world champion Piglet, the team appears very strong despite the loss of Voyboy. Fenix is a bit of an unknown, but the rest of the team should be very solid. Quas and IWillDominate are two of the more underrated players at their positions in the LCS and this roster more than any other should be able to challenge Cloud 9 for the top spot. This may be the year that the "always 4th" curse is broken for this team.

Team SoloMid  Santorin and Turtle still don't look their best but unless the lesser teams up their game, TSM should stay nice on top of their throne. While not showing up super strong at IEM San Jose (dropping a series to a team that had never played in LCS), TSM still has a strong lineup and the experienced coaching it needs. If they can become more adaptable in-game, they can keep themselves afloat for another split at least.


Team Impulse  Known as LMQ last year, Impulse's roster does look strong with farming machine XiaoWeiXiao. They brought former SKT 1K top laner Impact over to replace the departed Ackerman and Apollo takes over for Vasilii in the bottom lane, which is likely the biggest concern for this new roster.

CLG   CLG has a really solid lineup and good coaching backup, but from what we saw at IEM Cologne, they didn’t look like the best team. Zion Spartan and Xmithie have both gone a while since being consistently standout players, but they both seem driven to get back on top. Doublelift and Aphromoo will need to be on point this split for CLG to have a shot at finishing in the top 4.

Winterfox  Altec has shown he is as good an ADC as there is in North America. Pobelter has been playing very well in solo queue and he is entering his prime right now. Helios's brother moved into the top lane, and it remains to be seen how he performs in competitive play. May possibly be the surprise team of the split.

Team Coast – Very nearly did not make the LCS but showed some resiliency in getting out of the expansion tournament.  Have not been able to play much together lately, expect Coast to struggle out of the gate this split and likely further into it.


Gravity  Curse Academy did well in the Challenger scene, and under the name Gravity, features several ex-LCS players. If they can keep improving, they can probably climb the ranks, but they also may well continue to be plagued by the same issues they have always been.

Team Dignitas  Very shaky performance at IEM Cologne that almost saw them fall in a massive upset to Aces High. At the same time, Shiphtur showed how good of a player he is as he just about single handedly carried Dignitas to victory in that series. With Crumbzz and KiWiKiD both underperforming at the end of the last split, the magic 8 ball would say "Outlook not bright." If they can pick it up, things will be different, but they left little evidence of that before the off-season began.
Team 8   Whilst Team 8 is a very fun team to watch, they remain the weakest team in the NA LCS at the time. Calitrolz might be a solid top laner, but every single team has a better player in every other respective role. If they want to have a chance of making worlds (or even the summer split) They will have to practice. A lot.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cloud 9 Take Home Intel Extreme Masters Title With Dominating Performance

Congratulations to Cloud 9 as they clinch a spot in the Intel Extreme Masters World Finals in Katowice to take place in March with a 3-0 series defeat of the Unicorns of Love in the finals of IEM San Jose!

Next up for the Intel Extreme Masters series is IEM Cologne which will take place from December 18th-21st. The ESL will also be hosting the EU Expansion Tournament bracket stage at this event.

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Quick Look: Samsung Galaxy Blue vs Cloud 9

Matt “It’s Pure Luck” Lee

Heading into the final day of games last Sunday, it seemed to be a bleak situation for Cloud 9. A loss to Alliance on day three, followed by an Alliance upset of NaJin White Shield put C9 on the ropes and needing multiple things to fall their way. Yet, what was considered nearly unthinkable happened on the final day. Alliance was defeated by the international wild card, Kabum eSports, and Cloud 9 came right back with a clutch victory over Najin White Shield to clinch a spot in the knockout stage.

It won’t get any easier for them from here on out as they meet the OGN’s top seed next in Samsung Galaxy Blue. SSB escaped the “Group of Death” with minimal damage. The only blemish was a loss to Fnatic on the first day, but they bounced back with a vengeance and won four straight games to close the group stage. Eliminating Fnatic had to be particularly sweet for Dade, as they dealt him two losses when he was on SSW (then known as Samsung Galaxy Ozone) in the group stage last year.

This will be the biggest test Cloud 9 has ever had. As terrific a player as Dade is, the biggest challenge probably lies with Sneaky and LemonNation in the bottom lane. Deft has repeatedly shown an ability to make himself relevant in games where he falls behind, something that is very tough for the AD carry position to do. If C9 manages to grab a favorable 2v2 match-up, I’d also expect SSB to lane swap on them to try and nullify this. I’d expect Sneaky to lean towards Lucian and Corki this series. Picking Tristana will play into the hands of Samsung; as strong as she is late game, opting to try and beat a team with such great late game prowess is playing with fire.

For Cloud 9 to have a shot in this series, mid game will be key. If they allow Deft/Heart to get ahead, I’m not sure how they will manage to salvage a win. SSB can be taken advantage of early game and mid game and this where C9 must strike. They are fairly passive early on as they are fine letting games go late and winning with their superior team fighting and objective control. This was evident in most of their group stage wins outside the first victory over LMQ. It often felt as if they were just sort of cruising along before they would slam their foot on the gas and take total control.

In the game Samsung dropped versus Fnatic, we may have seen the blueprint to beating OGN’s top seed. Despite being down (albeit only 4-1) in kills, Fnatic left the lane phase with a decent-sized gold lead all around courtesy of creep score discrepancies and taking two of three dragons. After setting a trap and getting multiple picks above the Samsung blue buff in the mid game, Fnatic seemed to take total control and used the team power spike of Lucian to take over the game before Kog’Maw could become a serious issue. Fnatic snowballed the game from that point and took the easy victory, showing that as great as Samsung Blue is, they are beatable. If C9 hope to pull off the upset, this is the strategy they need to employ. Considering how well versed SSB are in best of five series, it won’t be easy.


By Matthew "It's Pure Luck" Lee

Friday, August 1, 2014

NA LCS Week 11 Power Rankings

by Ethan “AkeyBreakyy” Akey and Matt “It’s Pure Luck” Lee

First it was Europe’s turn, now we turn our attention to the North American scene before super week gets under way!  Just a reminder, here are the criteria the teams will be judged on; it is no different than Europe.

• It’s not just your record that determines your ranking. Just because you have a better record than another team does NOT necessarily mean you are better in my eyes.  The proverbial “eye test” is incredibly important. Are you winning games narrowly or convincingly? Did you go 2-0 in a week where you trailed in both games but the other team made massive mistakes and it allowed you to come back? How a team looks is very important.
• Results from the past few weeks.
• General trends of a team’s performance vs upper-echelon opponents in the league. Playing well vs the top tier teams is obviously more impressive than crushing the bottom three constantly.
• A team’s performance historically. This will weight a bit less, but a team like Fnatic will get more of a pass when they are struggling a bit than someone like the Copenhagen Wolves will.

So let’s get right down to it!

1) Cloud 9 (15-9) – Not much room for debate here. Their win over current top-of-the-table LMQ on Sunday was as dominating a performance as we have seen from any team this entire split. Currently sitting at 5-1 in their last six games and 7-3 in their last ten, Cloud 9 seem to have gotten over the middle season slump they had been in. One other impressive thing to note about Cloud 9 is their record vs the other teams in the top six of the standings. The only teams they do not have a chance to grab a 3-1 record versus are compLexity and Team SoloMid. LMQ has been good and currently hold first place, but everything points to Cloud 9 still being the team to beat in North America.

2) LMQ (16-8) – While LMQ clings to the top of the LCS standings, their devastating loss to Cloud 9 last week has dropped them to our #2 spot. Like Cloud 9, LMQ has a 5-1 record for their previous six matches  - their only loss coming from Cloud 9, who hold a 3-1 record against them. The only other teams LMQ has a losing record against are Curse and Dignitas, both of whom face them in Week Eleven. If LMQ can pull wins off in both matches, C9 will be their only losing record.

3) Team SoloMid (15-9) – Week Ten was a very good week for TSM as they went 2-0, including a big win over slumping arch-rival Counter Logic Gaming. It wouldn't have been surprising if TSM had instead struggled the final two weeks of the season while they adjusted to their roster change, but it turned out not to be an issue. One knock against them is that they have been awful vs the top teams in the league, but I’m not sure that is entirely true. Against the top six, they sport a record of 7-10 which isn't great, but neither is it as terrible as it’s been made out to be. They are also the only team in the top six (and one of only two in the league) to have winning record vs Cloud 9. The major blemishes are the current 0-3 marks vs LMQ and Dignitas, and they will get a shot at both of them this weekend. A bye into the semifinals would be perhaps more important to TSM than any other team; the more time Lustboy and WildTurtle have to play together, the better off they are.

4) Counter Logic Gaming (13-11) – After falling 0-2 in Week 10, and losing to their rivals, TSM, we have CLG sitting in the fourth position. Entering Week Eleven, CLG currently only holds positive win records over three of the four  bottom ranked teams. With their most recent loss to TSM, CLG now sits with a even 2-2 record against them. With their starting roster sitting out Week Eleven in order to attend boot camp in Korea to prepare for playoffs, it is highly likely that CLG will land in the fourth or fifth place semifinal spot. We can’t really judge CLG on how well their substitute roster will play, but from recent showings, CLG has fallen to our fourth spot.

5) Curse (10-14) – Curse is one of the more bizarre teams in the North American LCS. They currently sport winning records vs each of LMQ, CLG and Dignitas respectively. And yet at the same time, they are 1-2 vs Complexity and 1-3 vs EG.  Curse have been playing fairly well since they had a poor 3-7 start with a 7-7 streak since then. While nothing amazing, it’s at a level of what you would expect from a team that’s in the middle of the pack in the standings. Despite the fact they are two games behind Dignitas, Curse gets the nod in this spot with the free fall Dignitas are currently in.

6) Dignitas (12-12) – While Dignitas does hold the better record over Curse,  they are another bizarre team that holds winning records over top teams such as LMQ and TSM. At the same time, Dignitas is also 1-3 vs Complexity and 1-2 vs Curse. Dignitas opened the Summer Split with a stunning 7-2 record into Week Five. Since then, Dignitas hasn't had a positive win record from any week. Even though they have two games on Curse, by going 1-5 in the past 3 weeks of the LCS, Team Dignitas falls down to our sixth spot.

7) Evil Geniuses (7-17) – EG had a rough super week back in Week Seven when they went 0-4. But since then they have played to the tune of a .500 record, winning three out of their past six games and beating Curse twice and CLG once. EG also seems to be the team who lose more heartbreaking games than anybody else (Curse might argue that point though), often giving some of the top tier teams all that they can handle. More often than not, it seems that Altec is the catalyst for this team, especially if he gets his hands on Twitch or Tristana. It will be interesting to see how the Evil Geniuses finish the season as they draw both Cloud 9 and LMQ this week.

8) compLexity (8-16) – Now that we have reached the bottom of our rankings, it’s hard for fans to not expect compLexity to sit at the eighth spot. The difficult decision of whether coL or EG should be at the bottom was decided by the potential that EG shows against top-tiered teams, compared to what compLexity has to show. The only glimpse of light that compLexity has shown this season is the winning record they have over Cloud 9, although one of these wins was coming out of a Super Week when it's easier to snipe a top tier team. In the past six games, compLexity is 2-4, and they haven’t had a winning week at all this split. It will be interesting to see how they fare against Evil Geniuses this week, as they could potentially can finish the season off with a draw.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Who’s on Track for Season 4 Worlds?

by Reece "Sabrewolf" Dos-Santos

This season is shaping up to be the first season of NA where the three spots for worlds are not completely predictable. The NA LCS, by the half-way point, has already seen a good share of upsets, turnarounds, and explosive matches. By week six, the usually dominant Cloud 9 have already picked up their most losses in a split and appear to mirroring their European counterparts, Fnatic, in putting up inconsistent showings that vary from world class dominance to frighteningly average slumps.  When looking at the NA LCS with an objective view of only this split, it’s hard to deny that the three teams currently in pole position look to be the ones that push for the three NA spots.


CLG have consistently shown superiority in rotations, and mid to late game clarity in their game play.  They know what they’re working towards in almost every game and cleanly achieve their goals. The only team CLG cannot seem to overcome at this moment is Cloud 9, who delivered two of their four overall losses. LMQ got off to an electrifying start in the NA LCS, and while there were concerns about their ability to hold it up, they have been addressing the critics with particularly strong performances from Vasilii and three time "MVP of the Week," XiaoWeiXiao. Performances that are being backed up more and more by an improving Ackerman. Meanwhile, Dignitas have shown that they mean business with their additions of ZionSpartan and Shiphtur, and they have honestly shocked many watchers with their overpowering form in the first half of the split. However, like the other two front runners, Dignitas show signs of cracks. These cracks were clearly evident in their complete decimation at the hands of compLexity. Dignitas, out of the three, has had the best showings, but also put out one of the worst. The key to securing the Worlds' spot for them is simply consistency.

Despite being the favorites and the biggest NA names, Cloud 9 and TSM have had some substandard performances and only recently began clawing their way back. TSM, in particular, have begun to find some sort of form since the addition of Locodoco as a coach, but their main problem as a team is their inability to take games from the top teams in NA. They have a clean 6-0 record against the bottom three but are 0-5 against the top three. If TSM can work out how to challenge the top teams, they can push their way in for one of the spots at worlds, but unfortunately, a perfect record against EG, COL, and CRS won’t get TSM anything more than a mid-table finish. In almost a complete opposite regard, Cloud 9 are 2-0 against CLG, yet they haven’t been able to pick a win against the two bottom teams in the NA LCS. Whether it’s an issue with underestimating the lower tier competition or simply a bad clash of match-ups, Cloud 9 are sitting in fourth place solely because of their inability to take games from the lower tier competition. Both Cloud 9 and TSM can make it to Worlds, but only if they look at each other’s weaknesses and learn from them. The NA LCS is no longer their playground - it’s a battleground.

NA LCS Dark Horse: Evil Geniuses

The Evil Geniuses were mediocre at best last split and looked to repeat that form this split until they swapped out Snoopeh and Yellowpete, who honestly were well past their prime. The additions of Altec and Helios have completely revitalized the team and seem to have brought out the best in Pobelter, Krepo and Innox. Their performances have suddenly become fluid, calculated and hard-fought, and they only look to get better and better as they become more adjusted to each other - which is a scary thought when considering how good they looked in Helios’s first week. EG may sneak their way into playoffs and could be the team to upset the war between the Top Five.

The EU LCS: 

EU, however, isn't as much of a tight contest compared to NA.  Alliance are already an almost guaranteed spot with a completely dominant 10-2 record, with losses against SHC and GMB which honestly seemed like they had simply removed their foot from the gas pedal. Alliance was a team created by Froggen to go Worlds, and honestly it seemed shaky at the start of the Spring Split, but then the team grew used to each other and almost perfectly synergized. We have to give it to Froggen, he knows how to create a top tier team. At this point, the only plausible way Alliance could not make it to Worlds is through a monumental internal explosion between them, the chances of that are highly unlikely. But EU have shown that any team can slump their way out of first place in the blink of an eye. Alliance’s test now is merely breaking that stereotype, which shouldn't be hard for them.

The other team that looks jet set for Worlds is SK gaming who, like Alliance, completely shot out from the bottom of the table into complete bliss in the second half of spring. SK has shown complete dominance in their team-based game play and map rotations, and clarity in ending games where they are comfortably ahead. Jesiz, in particular, has blossomed into a hero that SK Gaming can rely on in almost every game, along with consistent performances from CandyPanda and Nrated, with Freddy and Sven rarely making mistakes themselves. Two of SK’s four losses are against Alliance and  that's perfectly understandable considering the depth of Alliance’s dominance in the first few weeks of summer.

The third EU spot for worlds is where things heat up as there is no clear team that looks set to take it. The main battle seems to be between Supa Hot Crew, Fnatic, and Millenium, all of whom have put up good performances but still have consistency issues that hold them back. The one thing that unites all three teams is the talent of their mid lane: Kerp, Selfie, and xPeke are all world class mid laners who can easily carry their teams on a good day, but have also shown that they are not exempt from being shut down. Similarly, all three teams also have standout ADC’s in Creaton, Mr RalleZ, and Rekkles, who are complete monsters when left unchecked. The battle between these three teams is where EU playoffs will become interesting, as SHC and MIL have mirrored Alliance and SK’s resurgence from the bottom two teams into top of the table powers, but Fnatic are three split champions for a reason. They always find a way to weasel themselves into pole position when it matters, but this split will be their hardest test yet.

EU LCS Dark Horse: Roccat

Roccat are undeniably talented. They are one of many teams to deny NiP a space in the LCS and showed overpowering form in spring that led them to finish third place overall. They, however, inherited the “first place slump” that so greatly affected Fnatic, and have only recently begun to recover with two back to back 2-0 weeks (partly due to one of the matches being a forfeit). Roccat’s point to work on is simply closing out games and playing with more of a passion rather than playing not to lose. Their overly passive game play was the main catalyst of the ward chanting and Mexican waves from the London LCS crowd that sought entertainment.  

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Thursday, May 29, 2014


Written by Hussain Moosvi

At the end of a fantastic Super Week in the NA LCS, the results have left a bigger question mark on roster changes than before the split started. The hope was that Week One would show the impact of those changes, but the only immediate difference was seen in Team Dignitas. With the jury still out on the others, and Week Two having an incredibly competitive schedule, fans hope to have some of their questions answered in what is sure to be a memorable week in the 2014 Summer Split.


Counter Logic Gaming (2-2) vs Team SoloMid (3-1)

The day starts off with one of the best rivalries in League of Legends. CLG had a decent Week One with the addition of Seraph and they show promise for the rest of the split. There were good signs for fans in the form of CLG's early game, which only lost to C9, and the rush hour bot lane looked as solid as ever. Link seems to have improved his laning phase quite a bit, and has shown that his trip to All-Stars was well worth it. With that said, CLG's shot calling had some glaring mistakes and it is clear that Seraph is not up to par with the other high tier top laners in terms of his understanding of the current meta. This was touted as a problem by CLG's coach, MonteCristo, and should not be a concern for CLG fans moving forward, as Seraph will only be improving from here.

TSM had a good week with their only loss to Cloud 9, but it is important to note that they had a fairly easy schedule. EG and Complexity are by far the weakest teams in the split right now, and if TSM wants to compete with the better teams they need to improve their vision control and early game rotations around the map. Amazing had a strong showing in Week One with a 10.2 KDA, while Gleeb showed potential, but against some relatively weaker bot lanes. This game will be key in scouting the strength of the TSM bot lane against arguably the best bot lane in NA. It will also give a good idea of where each team stands, with TSM finally facing a higher caliber team and CLG's two wins being against weaker teams in EG and Curse.

All that aside, TSM vs CLG matches are always instant classics. Make sure you're strapped into your seat to witness what is undoubtedly going to be an explosive match.

compLexity (1-3) vs Evil Geniuses (0-4)

compLexity and Evil Geniuses looked way out of their depth in all their matches. EG's performance made it clear that they had a lot of work to do with their new roster, and despite compLexity's huge upset win over Cloud 9, they looked lost in all their other games. This is expected of compLexity as they're coming into the strongest collection of teams the NA LCS has ever had, and with their constant "need to improve" attitude, compLexity looks to learn as much as they can from this split. EG showed a few moments of good play in mostly bad rotational decision making (Baron for Nexus is worth, right?), but that is to be expected from a team with a new player and their previous split record. EG knows that they need to make changes to improve their form and with the competitive nature of this split, they are bound to improve.

One important thing to note is that compLexity will be fielding a new mid laner in mancloud while pr0lly deals with some family obligations for this week. Despite EG's problems, this should give them a heavy advantage and it will be up to mancloud to fill some very vocal shoes in pr0lly's position. mancloud is a player with a lot of experience and an immense amount of skill, and while the change does make EG the favorites, a surprise upset from compLexity is not out of the question. Keep an eye out for the mancloud vs Pobelter match-up as it will be crucial in deciding the winner of this match.

LMQ (4-0) vs Team Dignitas (3-1)

The second highlight of the week, this match-up is going to be crucial in determining the true strength of the Dignitas roster with their new support staff. LMQ has looked dominant, especially with XiaoWeiXiao's CS numbers in every game. Vasilii seemed like a hit or miss player coming into the week with his aggressive style, but his 17.7 KDA says everything about his skill. Individually, LMQ have looked near perfect across the board. While DIG's solo lanes have been heavily upgraded and look formidable so far, it is going to be up to the "kiwipie" lane to withstand the threat that is Vasilii.

Despite LMQ's dominant performances, their shot calling at times has looked a bit shaky. It will be very hard for DIG to individually outplay their opponents in this match-up and they'll have to look at outplaying LMQ around the map. With shaky shot calling against compLexity and dominant shot calling against Cloud 9, this aspect of DIG is still up in the air. The key match-up in this game will be Shiphtur against XiaoWeiXiao. Shiphtur has looked incredibly good in DIG but has fallen behind in his CS during laning phase in every game so far. This is because of various factors and so far hasn't been too big of a concern, but against a player like XiaoWeiXiao, Shiphtur's performance is the key to a Dignitas victory. With LMQ's team aggression meeting Crumbzz's early game aggression, the first fifteen minutes of this game should be explosive and will likely decide the winner.

This is a key game during Day 1 as it sets up our expectations for both teams going forward into their equally tough Day 2 schedules. Have your popcorn ready before this starts because you won't want to miss a single second.

Cloud 9 (2-2) vs Curse (1-3)

Our last match-up of the day features two teams that have confused the minds of most fans. On one hand, we have Cloud 9, one of the most dominant teams in the history of the NA LCS. Two time consecutive NA split champions, Cloud 9 were expected to show up insanely strong at the start of this split. The losses that occurred were a huge shock to every viewer watching. A lot of fans are worried that this might be the beginning of the downfall for Cloud 9 but it is important to remember that the team was playing with barely any practice with their primary shot caller, Hai, and Cloud 9 has always recovered from losses with a vengeance. Despite their initial stumble, Cloud 9 are still the heavy favorite in this match and will most likely show the world their true strength as a team. Hai is a passionate player and doesn't take losses lightly. He'll be coming into this with something to prove.

Curse has had a very strange time so far. In all of their games, Curse looked just a tiny bit away from winning their games and the consistency with which they managed this feat is a troubling issue. Curse lost their early game in the majority of last week's matches but still gave their opponents a solid fight through good picks. They also scored a victory over Team Dignitas, who had beaten Cloud 9. The scary part about Curse games is that the issues for the team to fix aren't as blatantly obvious as some other teams. Curse plays a good game, but never a great game. Their early game needs to improve and their mid/late game, while good, could be better. Curse has been constantly improving since Spring Split, and if that trend keeps up, then this match will be a very good game to watch for the sheer rotational outplays that are bound to occur.

Cloud 9 wants vengeance for their losses, and Curse wants to desperately prove that they belong among the top teams in NA. Both teams are thirsty for a win, and because of that, be ready for a fantastic match to end off Day 1 of the second week of the NA LCS. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

NA Summer Split Preview:

Things are HEATING UP in the NA LCS!

by Pieter "antdriote" Cnudde

All-Stars is over and Korea still owns us all. But how did this off-season really affect the NA LCS scene? Many teams have made significant adjustments and this is my breakdown of all the teams and how beneficial those changes should be for them.

-Cloud 9: 1st Place team in the Spring Split (regular and playoffs).

Even without Hai, they had a good run at All-Stars. They've been the best team in NA for two splits in a row and they are the only LCS team that has stuck with their line-up. C9 works great together and every role has accomplished players. Balls was a big carry during All-Stars, the bot lane held their own, and Meteos is still praised by junglers worldwide. While Hai couldn't show his skill against Faker or the other mid laners at All-Stars, he's eager to play with the team again and prepare for worlds.

They come out of the off-season with all the benefits: no roster swaps, excellent synergy and good international experience from All-Stars. They are the smartest tactical team in NA and probably have learned a thing or two from playing SKT T1 K. The only thing that could hold them back would be Hai’s health.

Prediction: First place -  99% sure for both playoffs and regular season.

-Counter Logic Gaming: 3rd Place team in the Spring Split (regular and playoffs).

Top laner Nien voluntarily left CLG after folding to fan criticism following his weak performance during the playoffs. CLG immediately started searching for a suitable replacement. Shin "Seraph" Woo Yeong presented himself to CLG’s coach and he is now living in the CLG gaming house to see if he can work with the team. A substitute for Najin White Shield in OGN, the mechanically-sound Seraph has been wrecking NA solo queue since the day he arrived in LA, playing a wide variety of champions from meta picks like Renekton and Shyvana to less orthodox picks like Lissandra and Yasuo. His English is good enough for in-game communication and he has a great work attitude. Little LAN experience is his only downfall. (He's played just one OGN game in his life.) Only the future will tell how strong the "shinergie" will be with his team.

Doublelift and Link should bring fresh All-Stars' insight on Cloud 9 and the international teams. CLG might struggle a bit in the beginning of the season (a new player always takes time to adapt,) but Seraph really wants this and he'll work hard to help them become a great team.

Prediction: Top 2 or 3 at least and might upset C9 in the playoffs.

-Team SoloMid: 2nd Place team in the Spring Split (regular and playoffs).

Sadly, the General stepped down, replaced by MVP jungler, Amazing, from the Copenhagen Wolves. Amazing has shown brilliance in the EU LCS and ended the split with the highest KDA and total gold for a jungler. Nervous TSM fans will point out that the team picked him up without trying him first, but Regi has never made a bad roster choice in the past. Mechanically, Amazing is definitely an upgrade for TSM. TheOddOne lived his glory days. He had issues adjusting to the new jungle and his pressure and duel skills were probably the worst in the league.

The departure of Xpecial was a big surprise. At first benched for his attitude, Reggie then traded him to Curse. Now Gleeb, former support player for Cloud 9 Tempest, is taking up the role. I don’t feel Gleeb is an upgrade for TSM. He is a challenger support with little experience at the top level and TSM lost a good shot-caller in Xpecial. However, he could bring some new life to the team.

This is the first time TSM has replaced two players at once, so it might take time for them to get back into form. They are a strong team that, with even poor shot-calling, could still beat most of the lower LCS teams.

Predictions: Top 4 in regular split, will try and compete for worlds. Can only go super wrong if the new players don’t fit with the team and more swaps or time is needed.

-Dignitas: 4th Place in the regular split and 5th in playoffs.

Dignitas narrowly escaped relegations by beating Coast in the playoffs with the aid of retired player, Scarra (who is now their coach). The team received an upgrade in mechanics with Zionspartan and Shiphtur, but neither player brings much by way of shot-calling ability or insight. Strategy-wise, Dig is still a very low tier team. As a coach, Scarra will try to fix many of these issues so they can contend for a top slot again. Dig now has three strong lanes, but they need to have a good transition into the mid game and fix their shot-calling issues. I don’t feel they will grow insanely this split, but they can work towards the next split and make life hard for most teams.

Predictions: Around 3-6  in regular and semis in playoffs.

-Curse: 5th Place in the regular split and 4th in playoffs.

Pleased after ending fourth, Curse didn't seem to look for a roster swap until they saw the opportunity to pick up Xpecial as their new support. Xpecial seems like an advantage for the Curse line-up:  a decent shot-caller and top NA support to help Cop realize his full potential.Curse has always shown great early strategies and fighting ability, but they look like a group of kids playing the game for the first time when they go past the 20 minute mark. Hopefully some coaching and the addition of Xpecial's voice will help Curse become stronger in the upcoming split. Both Curse and Dig have made mechanical upgrades, but their core issues are still there, so they are pretty even to each other. Curse will have problems in their solo lanes, though, in the head-to-head games.

Prediction: Around 3-6 in regular and maybe semis in playoffs.

-Evil Geniuses: 7th Place in regular split.

The only team that didn't get relegated during the promotions tournament. They haven’t announced any official roster swaps but are supposedly doing some try-outs. EG will need to improve a lot in their laning and skirmishes. They are tactically not the worst team in NA, but they fall too far behind in gold to fight for the objectives they want to take.

Innox has a small champion pool with almost no meta picks. He might become more relevant now that the tank meta top is shifting a bit. Pobelter seems to be godlike, but only on rare occasions. When he finishes high school in June, he should be able to work on his consistency and perhaps live up to the hype that surrounded him earlier in the season. Help will still be needed for Snoopeh and Yellowpete, who don’t seem to be able to handle the competition in their respective roles. The try-outs might help EG a bit, but if they just get outplayed mechanically, it will be hard for them to win a lot of games. I’m fearing for the boys in blue - but there's always hope.

Prediction: 6-8 (and probably relegations again).

-LMQ (aka Chinese overly-hyped train)

Yes, LMQ swept the challenger scene. No, they won’t just come in and win NA LCS. You put any LCS team in challenger and they will also dominate the scene (eg. Coast in NACL) but that doesn't mean they would be tops in the LCS. LMQ is created from a secondary Chinese team that has great mechanical players (like most Chinese teams) but they lack any strategy and seem to experience a lot of LAN nerves.

LMQ will make every game hard for the bottom teams because they mechanically outclass them. They can win the solo queue way - stomping lanes and having better team fights. But the smart teams can just avoid the fights they don’t want and play safe or use lane-swapping to diminish the early lane bullying from the Chinese team. C9 showed at IEM and All-Stars that Chinese teams can be beaten and this team is much weaker than WE and OMG. I don’t see the team picking up an analyst or coach anytime soon, so they will probably be a Chinese TSM - strong lanes, good fights, but poor decision making. We’ll see how far they can make it in the split against the growing NA scene.

Predictions:  3-5 in regular and semis in playoffs.


The third-seeded challenger team may have beaten Coast, but they don’t look any better than them. Westrice had great issues against Zion and it seems only PR0LLY is really at a decent level to compete in the LCS. They are just a challenger team that will soon realize their solo queue mentality alone won’t make them a successful team in the LCS.

Predictions : 7-8 (At this point, I don’t see a way that Complexity can avoid relegation.)

The first Superweek will give us a better view how the teams look with their new rosters. The teams that ended the LCS with the same rosters they have now will have a great advantage going into playoffs and should be the highest seeded teams.

Thanks for reading my NA LCS preview. Thoughts or comments? Leave them below or tweet me @antdrioite

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Welcome To Paris : A Fast Look at All-Stars

by Jt 'Ribbwich' Egbert

Halfway to worlds, the leagues are all ready for a chance to take a warning bite out of each other. As the All-Star hype train reaches critical mass, let's look at how these five teams have earned their invitations. We start with the kings:


Korea is being represented by the winner of the Season Three World Championships, SK T1 K, although it is pretty well-known they aren't the strongest team in the region. (A title that probably belongs to one of the teams in Samsung Galaxy's stable.)

Why They Can Win: Mechanics, Mechanics, Mechanics. All of the pros in this region are 100% entrenched in their teams. This makes their personal mechanics match their team play mechanics. They time things to the millisecond, and outplay opponents on a large scale. Even the most solid teams end up tilting after experiencing SK T1 K's abuse.

How They Can Lose: Overconfidence is a weakness most Korean teams share. If their opponents remain calm and poised and stick to what they know (instead of going on a tilt trying to counter them,) any team has a chance of beating the god-kings.


We had our first taste of China in the World Finals, when we got to see Royal Club's Tabe drop bears on people's heads. This time, we'll be seeing the Chinese team, OMG.

Why They Can Win: Aggressively striking from the shadows with fearless precision, the deadliest Chinese team is the unseen one. This team could take the win from nowhere, and you won't even see them first.

How They Can Lose: Vision. Other teams can pressure them out of their comfortable, unseen presence if they have a well-warded map. Get them on a tilt and the "W" is yours.


The surprise winners of the Season Two World Championships, the Taipei Assassins are going to this years All-Star challenge as well, and they're riding the momentum of an undefeated spring season.

Why They Can Win: This region is always an unexpected treat - mixing Korean mechanics with Chinese aggression - but their best shot at winning lies in the fact that other teams are coming in crippled. SKT is slumping. C9 doesn't have Hai. OMG is playing with a rusty Cool, etc.

How They Can Lose: They don't really posses any team-fighting skill, so they need a lot of practice. Considering they'll be up against the best players in the world, the answers to this question are pretty much endless.


Europe is one of the most competitive regions in the world, with some of the closest records we've seen in a single split. The European playoffs were hard fought, but ultimately they went in favor of perennial favorites, Fnatic.

Why They Can Win: Fnatic have great potential if they wear their amazing pants to these games. Fast reflexes, excellent mechanical skills and good rotations can lead Fnatic to victory.

How they Can Lose: By not bringing those pants. Fnatic has shown many times that they will attempt to try new things and push the meta as far as it will go. If their picks are bad and their play inconsistent, it might not be an impressive showing by Xpeke and the boys.

North America:

Who can say no to apple pie? Undefeated playoff contenders and double split winners, Cloud 9 HyperX, face their first Korean challenge in SKT T1k, and look to exact revenge against EU rivals, Fnatic.

Why They Can Win: Cloud 9 will come into this series prepared. They have done the legwork. They know their enemies...and LemonNation's legendary notebook has something in store for every one of them. Early Jungle pressure and superior rotations should keep even the best opponent on their toes - as long as they can synergize with Hai's replacement, Link.

How They Can Lose: C9 might have trouble keeping their collective cool under the immense competition these teams are sure to bring them. If they get out-pressured and over-aggressed, places where C9 has shown weakness before, it will spell the end of the red white and blue at All Stars.

That's all I have, thanks for the read, I will see you all in Paris! (Well, in twitch chat!)

League of Legends : Ushering in World Peace

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Link at All-Stars : The Unseen Threat

By Jeremy Heimann and Jodi McClure

Counter Logic Gaming's Link has a lot in common with a Teemo mushroom. Quiet and very low-key compared to his larger-than-life teammates, the young mid-laner can sometimes be invisible to LCS fans, but ignoring him on the playing field is deadly. He'll explode on you if you're not paying attention, and even though he's small in stature, this mechanically-sound eighteen-year-old can pack a lot of punch. Similar to Hai, (the recovering Cloud 9 player he'll be replacing at All-Stars,) Link has a large champion pool to draw on and heavily favors current meta bullies like Lulu and LeBlanc. And like Hai, he's familiar with a team that likes rotations. Plus, like Hai, Link excels at late-game shot calling. In fact, he's practically the ideal made-to-order player for those mid-less white-hoodie-wearing gangstas.

For both parties, the temporary trade appears to be an excellent deal. Cloud 9 gets a competent replacement and CLG gets an interesting look inside the enemy camp. Besides gaining experience on the international stage, the understated Link will have a chance to infiltrate Cloud 9's mind and maybe steal a glimpse at the sacred pages of LemonNation's notebook (and copy them with a pen camera, if he's got any James Bond in him at all.)

Call it a sweet but smart move by CLG, who won't be getting much practice in anyways with Doubleleft away at All-Stars. No downside, huge upside, and great exposure for the unusually wraith-like Link, who's only been growing in confidence since earning a spot on CLG's starting line-up. He'll go to All-Stars. He'll blend in. And he'll do for Cloud 9 what he does best - silently playing the ghost in the machine while his cyborg mind absorbs everything. And then he'll bring it all back to his team. C'est la vie, C9!