Showing posts with label NA LCS Summer Split. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NA LCS Summer Split. 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

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