Showing posts with label Team SoloMid. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Team SoloMid. Show all posts

Monday, May 4, 2015

Who Can Take The Heat in Tallahassee?

MSI 2015: Stage of Champions

Image courtesy of Riot Esports

Regional champions from around the globe will gather from May 7th-10th in Florida's capital city to attend Riot's new international competition, the Mid-Season Invitational. The four day tournament will feature six champion teams, who'll battle with the hopes of being crowned the MSI Champion 2015. Will it be a Western or Easten team that takes the fame and glory home? Let’s take a look at all the contenders and I'll give my prediction for this wonderful tournament!

By Michael "Tribble" Godani

AHQ E-Sports Club(LMS)

The last time we saw AHQ was in Group A at Worlds 2014, together with Dark Passage, Edward Gaming and current World Champions, Samsung White. Since then some roster changes have occurred. Their jungler, Albis, moved to the support position and former TPS jungler, Mountain, took his place in the jungle. These changes are still very recent, taking place right before the playoffs.

Having dropped only one game in their three Bo5 series to obtain the MSI spot is sure to give a lot of confidence to the team and their fans. They're a team that doesn't seem to struggle with the changes and immediately picks up the title, just like Fnatic.

AHQ's strengths are also their weak points. Westdoor enjoys playing the assassin champions such as Fizz and Zed but has also shown the ability to adapt to the current meta with Karthus and Cho’gath. AN has had impressive results on the likes of Urgot, Jinx, Sivir and Kalista and is able to join Westdoor in carrying the game to good results. Westdoor loves to roam and apply pressure across the map, so his mobile assassins are very important for his playstyle.

But despite being able to carry their team together, they rely too heavily on disengage/peel from their teammates. Once champions such as Janna are taken away from them, they're suddenly incredibly vulnerable. Teams like EDG will be able to punish them for their one-dimensional tactics. Also Westdoor, who is strong inlane, will have it rough against the likes of Pawn and Faker who are easily the top two midlaners in the world.

AHQ are still a very mechanically talented team, and with a couple of outplays and picks they can take control over any game. How will they do at this tournament? I would call it a 4/5th spot team. This all depends Fnatic, the 3rd team that placed themselves for the MSI.

Besiktas E-sports Club(Turkey, ICWI)

The second team to have qualified for the MSI are Turkish representatives Besiktas E-sports Club. Besiktas is a known name in the international sports world when it comes to Football(soccer) and Basketball, and now they've managed to qualify their League of Legends team for one of the biggest events in E-sports.

They haven’t had an easy road to obtain that invitation. They finished first in their region which qualified them for the IWCI tournament, and then they first had to take on the Champions from several other regions including Brasil and OCE. In a nail-biting final, after being down 0-1, they managed to sweep INTZ e-Sports and get their ticket to the tournament. 

We don’t know much about Besiktas, but what we know is that their main carry is in the AD role. He is a strong Lucian player who is both good in a regular lane and in laneswap situations. He is able to impact games as long as he has the sufficient resources to do so. Also, once Besiktas grabs hold of a game, their lead is invested into vision control to be able to deny the enemy team from making plays or grabbing objectives.

This all is relatively strong against the “weaker” opponents in the scene, but Besiktas will meet the likes of EDG, SKT and TSM, teams who have been playing at the top level for many years and who house world champions, so don’t get your hopes up too high. Besiktas will not be able to pull off a trick against any of the competitors that will give them a shot to qualify for the semi-finals.

Fnatic (EU-LCS)

Xpeke, Cyanide, Rekkles and Soaz left Fnatic. The only remaining member was the best European support player, Yellowstar. The addition of Huni, crowned as Spring Split rookie 2015, and Dutch talent Febiven in particular, did the team well. Their naive way of playing has brought them a lot of success and points to work on which they will most likely improve over the next couple of months.

Fnatic made their fans proud by taking down newcomers UoL in the finals of the EU LCS Spring Split in a five-game thriller and regaining the crown they dropped the split before to Alliance (Elements).

Fnatic's (overly) aggressive playstyle has won them the Spring Split 2015 title and their ticket to the MSI and we should all respect them for that. They're a joy to watch with early tower dives, aggressive laners and a bloodthirsty jungler. The entire Fnatic team is a threat in the laning phase. They can get kills and snowball themselves without help, which is what makes them so dangerous. 

For picks, some would say Fnatic has a deep champion pool, but I strongly question the effectiveness of that pool. Their champion mechanics might work against their European opponents, but it will most certainly not go as easy in their favor on the international stage.

A tournament like the MSI is where we compare the players/teams of each region to each other and mechanically, Fnatic has got a long way to go. Meta champions have been of better use in the hands of players from other regions. Still, having won the Spring Split with such a young and inexperienced team shows a lot of potential. It will be interesting to see how the likes of Huni and Febiven do against such superstars as Koro1, Faker and Pawn.

My expectations for Fnatic is that they will battle it out with AHQ for the 4th spot which will qualify one of them for the semi-finals.

Team SoloMid (NA-LCS)

Summer 2014, IET 2015, Spring 2015; they won three of the last four competitions they participated in. They are the uncontested Number 1 of North America and house the best midlaner that can be found in the western region.

Bjergsen is the foundation on which TSM relies, but he is being backed up by Dyrus and Lustboy. Bjergsen is the playmaker, the splitpusher, the ganker, hell you might even call him the carry who supports himself.

Dyrus might not always get the credit that he deserves, whereas he is the black sheep in TSM who will be the first one to be sacrificed when needs be. Dyrus does play to his fullest potential in every match with the limited amount of resources being handed on to him. He is the veteran who survived all the meta changes that you can think of and still sits comfortably in that top lane.

Lustboy was a much needed addition to the team, as Bjergsen doesn't have to carry the games alone anymore. Lustboy is a playmaker. He loves to roam as most Korean supports do and apply pressure on the map. Lustboy's strength lies not only in his mechanics but also in his wide champion pool. If you want a heavy disengage composition, he will be able to play top notch Janna but still make the aggressive plays that he does on the likes of Thresh - but in the Janna way. Lulu, Thresh, Braum, Kennen, he will play whatever is needed for the team.

TSM can play a lot of different styles. For North American teams, they can be a pain in the rear when it comes to team fighting, rotations and split pushing but will this also be the case for the top Asian teams? How well will TSM perform with Wildturtle? A very peel dependent ADC who will have a tough time when guys like Koro1 and Clearlove all of a sudden jump onto the back line. And how will Dyrus, Bjergsen and Lustboy protect their newest member, Santorin, from junglers like Bengi and Clearlove? These are questions we can only speculate about at this point but they will be serious points of interest for TSM and their opponents. 

TSM will continue their dominance this tournament and will fall to either EDG or SKT in the semis. I think that they have a lot of potential but will be mechanically and tactically outplayed by the Chinese and Korean powerhouses.

Edward Gaming(LPL)

Considered by many to be the best team in the world with at least three positions that are filled with the best players in the world for that position. Koro1 in the top lane, Clearlove in the jungle and Deft as ADC.

EDG has always been a very promising team when it comes to international tournaments but for some reason they always failed to deliver. The last chokepoint was Worlds 2014 where they fell short after being hyped to grab the title.

With the addition of Pawn, world champion and Deft, best ADC in the world, EDG have showed a different playstyle during the Spring Split. Their three men gank squad, Clearlove/Koro1/Meiko, have been carrying the team throughout the laning phase into numerous dominant victories over their regional opponents. Their "late game teamfighting and baron" playstyle has changed to a more skirmish based style. EDG is the master in showing up with multiple members, unexpected, in any lane and taking multiple kills followed up by objectives. Does this mean they have left the teamfighting / baron just to be remembered? No, EDG might be the best team to utilize the baron buff. Out of all the teams, EDG makes the best use of the baron and often ignores dragons just to obtain that one baron to turn the game around. They make sure that their side lanes are pushing so that when the baron is slain, they have no problem in applying pressure in all three lanes.

In terms of teamfighting, Deft's positioning and Clearlove/Koro1's ability to disrupt and neutralize the opponent's carries, leads them to very one-sided teamfights in favor of them. Pawn deals in on this too, as he knows exactly when to jump in and out of fights to maximize his damage and disorient the enemy team's focus.

EDG will not be banned out in the picks and ban phase by any means. Though, if you want to have a chance to make a chance to have a chance, be sure that Gnar and Kassadin are banned. Pawn and Koro1 hold incredible win rates on these champions and will be able to turn games in their favor.

As for Meiko, Deft and Clearlove, these players are just as their other two teammates - unbannable. Their champion pools are gigantic and will perform equally on any of their top five picks.

Applying pressure on Clearlove and Pawn is the only way that teams might be able to get some sort of a chance to win games against this team. Also the dragon buffs are not always on top of EDG’s priority list.

My prediction for EDG’s final result might already be clear. I expect them to win and only drop a max of two games throughout the entire tournament.

SK Telecom T1

After missing out on participating at Worlds 2014, a couple of roster changes brought this team back on top of the Korean standings. 

Impact, Poohmandu and Piglet left the S3 World Champions and got replaced by SKT T1S members. Easyhoon is the most valuable player to mention from the roster changes that SKT made in S5. The midlaner, who was often swapped in to give Faker some rest or to let him grow as a player, has made a huge impact on everyone worldwide. Whereas EH started in the semi-finals against CJ but got swapped for Faker, he did not get swapped in the finals. GE Tigers got swept with Easyhoon and Tom in the starting line-up in all three of the games.

EH's Xerath, Ziggs, Azir and Cassiopeia are world class and the diversity of styles that he has shown as a player is remarkable to say the least. Aggressive or passive, EH can deliver, and the scariest fact of this all is that he isn't even the starting midlaner.

Faker, “The Unkillable Demon King” as OMG’s Cool called him, is the starting midlaner for  SKT. There is not much I have left to tell you about Faker; perhaps that his Leblanc is unbeaten and was released in the CJ series in the fifth game. How about the fact that some players want to win titles, while others are satisfied if they can kill Faker in lane.

The man is the best League of Legends' player of all time and the entire team revolves around him. Faker gets the ganks and the resources and with that, he makes the plays and carries his team.

Their jungler, Bengi, has been performing a bit inconsistently but Tom on the other hand has been looking fantastic. A very young and eager player with the right amount of aggression regardless of the jungler that he plays. Tom is giving Bengi a run for his money, but what will SKT do at MSI? Will Bengi or Tom start?

SKT is mechanically very strong and their rotations and teamfighting is on spot, just their toplaner is not always as good as we want him to be. Marin is a very limited player when it comes to champions like Gnar for example. Multiple times his positioning as mini Gnar has been bad but for some reason he is not being punished by teams for it. His Gnar and Hecarim need some work if he want to compete with the world class toplaners but I guess he is aware of that. His Maokai, on the other hand, is of huge value for his team. Marin loves to rush the homeguards and his teleport plays can be devastating, often surprising the enemy team.

How will SKT perform at MSI? I think they will have a hard time against teams like Fnatic and EDG, who will apply early pressure and try to exploit their toplane weaknesses. A final spot will most likely be obtained but if they're against EDG, they shall not be able to take the glory.

These are my predictions for MSI:
1.     Edward Gaming (LPL)
2.     SK Telecom T1 (LCK)
3.     TSM (NA LCS)
4.     Fnatic( EU LCS) / AHQ E-Sports Club (LMS)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Trouble with Hai

Is it Time for Cloud9's Mid to Move On?

Photo courtesy of Riot Esports

by Patrick Garren

Since the acquisition of Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi from Quantic Gaming on May 23rd 2013, Cloud9 have had the exact same roster. They didn't actually "acquire" Sneaky from Quantic either - they WERE Quantic. Sponsorship issues led to their reformation as Cloud9. Founder and Team Captain, mid-lander Hai “Hai” Lam, chose the name Cloud9 because he believed that professional gaming should be about being happy. But Cloud 9 is the last place they were at the beginning of the 2015 Spring Split, when they saw themselves in a spot they hadn't seen since they made it into the LCS: last place. Read more...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Unicorns of Love Rout Team SoloMid to Reach IEM San Jose Finals

By Matt “It’sPure Luck” Lee

When the lineup for the Intel Extreme Masters San Jose was originally announced some people seemed to feel that the fans voted in Unicorns of Love simply for their name. Or maybe it was because of the Poppy pick in a do or die games versus Millenium in the EU LCS Spring Promotion Tournament. It simply didn’t seem to fit that a team who recently rose up from the Challenger Series should be voted in to a tournament as prestigious as IEM over a long time standout such as SK Gaming.
Yet in the end it was UoL who proved all doubters wrong as they managed to 2-0 tournament favorite Team SoloMid. The victory earns them a berth in the Intel Extreme Masters Grand Finals to take place later today where they await the winner of Cloud 9 versus Alliance. Using a combination of off-meta picks to catch Team SoloMid by surprise and seemingly impeccable team fighting, Unicorns of Love looked much sharper in this set than they did in their previous series against Lyon Gaming.

It didn’t take long for the mind games by UoL to begin. They caught TSM unaware in the pick and ban phase of game one by baiting Bjergsen into a Xerath pick when Twisted Fate had been taken the previous turn by UoL. The only problem was that it wasn’t Twisted Fate mid; it was going to Kikis in the jungle.  Power of Evil responded by last picking LeBlanc and it was a selection that worked out brilliantly for UoL. Only three minutes into the game, Bjergsen was caught pushed out a bit too far and we saw the first successful Twisted Fate jungle gank off a flash plus gold card combo. The game would calm down for a few minutes until the first Destiny attempt from Kikis came with an attempt to catch Dyrus out in the top lane. It was unsuccessful but it put more pressure on Dyrus who already had a tough matchup as Rumble against Gnar.
Kikis would try his luck top lane again a few minutes later but Dyrus escaped with a sliver of health. However, while this was going on, we saw something that seems to be incredibly rare as Power of Evil was able to pick up a solo kill on Bjergsen. UoL was able to pick up their first dragon a bit after this and they had control of it almost the entire game. TSM was able to pick up a kill on Vizicsacsi in the top lane off of a gank by Santorin, but Power of Evil responded by grabbing a solo kill on Bjergsen again in middle.  Kikis was also able to answer back for UoL in the top lane with a pick on Dyrus with a use of Destiny.
From there the game seemed to snowball out of control for Team SoloMid. UoL would make a few mistakes; including an over aggressive play by Power of Evil trying to zone Baron. But the gold difference was simply too much to overcome and the Unicorns would close the game out in 38 minutes.
Game two would start off slightly better for TSM, but Bjergsen continued to have trouble with Power of Evil in the mid lane. The UoL mid laner was able to pick up yet another solo kill just after the sixth minute mark as Syndra on Bjersen’s Azir. Power of Evil wasn’t shy about using his ultimate whenever he wanted to. Even if he was not picking up kills, he was forcing Bjergsen to return to base constantly.

UoL simply seemed to be one step ahead of TSM the entire way. The gold deficit didn’t grow as fast as it did in game one, but SoloMid just could not cut the gap as much as they needed to. It was Santorin’s steals of dragon that helped ensure they were in this game at all as it progressed. TSM did a better job this game of trading objectives with UoL, but team fighting from the Unicorns was a notch higher than that of the North American Summer champions. The gold lead slowly grew to just shy of 10k after the thirty minute mark and it seemed as if TSM could see the writing on the wall. In a desperation play they opted to try and base race UoL but it didn’t work out in their favor and the Unicorns would take the game in thirty-three minutes and the series two games to none.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

TSM Cruise Past TPA to Claim Spot in Quarterfinals

by Matt “It’s Pure Luck” Lee

This was the moment for Team SoloMid. Courtesy of Star Horn Royal Club’s win over SK Gaming earlier in the day, TSM knew that a win over the Taipei Assassins would put them through the group stage and into the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Championship. It didn't figure to be easy, as they struggled to put away a feisty TPA the previous day. A rabid fan base desperate for a good international showing would only add to the pressure to move beyond the group stage. In the end, TSM was more than up to the task. It was a dominant performance over the hometown Assassins that was finished in a mere twenty-seven minutes.

The first eight minutes were fairly passive with minimal pressure from the jungle on either side. The biggest discrepancy early on was up in the top lane where Dyrus on Lulu was giving Achie (on Maokai) fits. Applying constant pressure and harassment, Dyrus slowly began to build up a solid creep score lead and delay the ever important Rod of Ages that Achie needed. Even more important was forcing an early teleport out of Achie which seemed to set forth a chain of events in the favor of SoloMid.

Shortly after the game crossed the nine minute mark TSM began a three man attempt on dragon. TPA challenged for it and the teams ended up trading one for one as Amazing took down Bebe but Lustboy would then fall for TSM. Bjergsen was late to join the fight so a teleport from Achie could have pushed the fight to a five on three advantage for TPA, but because of the pressure from Dyrus it was not available.

The chaos settled, but only for a brief moment. Morning tried to make an aggressive play on Bjergsen when both of them returned to mid lane, but bit off more than he could chew in the process and was taken down. It allowed TSM to claim the dragon without contest this time and pushed their gold lead to just under two-thousand gold at the eleventh minute.

TPA knew the game was possibly on the verge of spiraling out of control so they looked to create a pick and found it. In what ended up being one of the last mistakes of the game for TSM, Amazing was caught going too deep in an effort to help Dyrus hold off three members of TPA. The crowd erupted as Achie picked up the kill. The gold deficit was shaved down to just over one-thousand but it was the last positive note for the Assassins in this game.

At this point TSM really began to ratchet up the pressure on the side lanes. Constant explosive shot harass from WildTurtle onto Bebe and Jay slowly but surely allowed TSM to push down the bottom turret. Top lane was no different as the constant harass from Dyrus allowed him to force the top turret down. Winds attempted to help Achie up top with a gank but Dyrus escaped. As a result the bottom lane from TSM knew they were in little danger of pushing down the outer turret and it fell shortly after Dyrus had finished off the one up top. SoloMid found themselves back in a commanding lead of almost three thousand gold at fifteen minutes and they were dictating the pace of the game.

TPA knew at this point they were going to have to make a desperation play to get back in this game and chose the next dragon fight to do it. They tried to execute a pincer move on TSM but did a poor job of it. TSM simply peeled off the dragon and picked up kills on both Jay and Achie while the rest of the TPA was forced to scatter and run. TSM picked up the dragon and expanded their gold lead to over five thousand but they weren't done yet. Multiple members of the Assassins opted to hang around their own jungle with no vision. It was a poor decision as they knew TSM could possibly be there having just killed the dragon.

Jay would pay the price with his life first as he went to ward the bush TSM was hiding in.  Morning and Bebe would follow him to the gray screen shortly after that and the rout for Team SoloMid was officially on; they then had a gold lead of seven-thousand before the game was even twenty minutes old.  There was nothing the former season two champions could do at this point. Another desperation engage was attempted trying to defend their top inner turret but they would once again lose two members while getting nothing in return.

TSM wasted little time in ending the game from here. After finding more picks in the jungle, they would take down the bottom inhibitor followed by the middle inhibitor and push through to the nexus while picking up more kills along the way. With the win, it would be the first team a team from North America would play beyond where they were seeded at worlds since way back in season one.

Game MVP

While his stats weren't quite as flashy as some of his teammates, this one has to be given to Dyrus. His play on Lulu was terrific and he kept Achie down the entire game and never allowed him to use Maokai to become the team fight monster he can be late game.  Achie was unable to have any impactful teleports during the early stages of the game because he was constantly being shoved into his turret.

Questionable Decisions

One has to wonder why the Taipei Assassins did not attempt a lane swap this game. I thought this myself at the game start and it was brought up at the analyst desk after. The biggest problem they had was essentially they had chosen two losing side lanes and they were unable to handle it. Winds, unfortunately, cannot be everywhere at once. Even when the camera was not focused on a certain lane, a quick check of the minimap most always seemed to show the members of TPA under their own turret. When you compound that with the fact that Bjergsen picked up a solo kill on Morning, it was a disaster. Willingly picking Twitch into Tristana with the intent to lane 2v2 against it was a poor choice by the Assassin’s and it cost them. With all three lanes losing there was little Winds was going to be able to do to rectify the situation.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Official Worlds Groups

Final List of the 16 Teams Going to Worlds

North America
Team SoloMid (TSM) #1
Cloud9 (C9) #2
LMQ (LMQ) #3

Alliance (ALL) #1
Fnatic (FNC) #2
SK Gaming (SK) #3

Samsung Blue (SGB) #1
Samsung White (SGW) #2
NaJin White Shield (NJWS) #3

EDward Gaming (EDG) #1
Starhorn Royal Club (SHRC) #2
OMG (OMG) #3

Southeast Asia & Taiwan
Azubu Taipei Assassins (TPA) #1
Ahq e-Sports Club (AHQ) #2

Turkey, Russia, & Oceania
Dark Passage (DP) #1

Latin America & Brazil
KaBuM e-Sports (KBM) #1

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cloud 9 Reigns over the NA LCS

Celebrating their win beneath a shower of glittering confetti, Cloud 9 looked happy. Not ecstatic. Not Overjoyed. Just...happy. Because long before the third game of their NA Championship series vs TSM ended, they knew they had it in the bag. The raucous jubilation that usually comes with a hard fought victory will have to wait for the teams in relegation. Having eyed the throne all season with an assortment of swords and poisons in their bags, Cloud 9 quietly disposed of all fake kings and seized the NA Kingdom, undaunted by the chants of the masses - and now, all TSM fans can do is bow to them and recognize their serfdom.

Grats Cloud 9...and hail to the kings, baby!


Wild Turtle enjoys a beverage backstage before their match vs Cloud 9.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NA LCS Playoff Predictions

NA LCS Playoff Predictions by antdrioite.

I’ll try and explain why I believe each team will win. Note that I add percentages to some matches. I believe those have more chance for an upset.

1.  Quarterfinals

CLG – Coast H2H (4-0) Expectations (2-0)

Even when CLG didn’t have Dexter on the team they had no problems with Team Coast. CLG has shown they can adapt quickly to new patches and clearly have a better mid/late game than Coast. If ZionSpartan or Shiphtur don’t get too big in the early game, CLG will just walk over them with good rotations and objective control. Dexter just has to control the pace of the game, and lane swapping can lessen the impact Zion has early in the game. Link can definitely handle himself against Shiphtur and the rush hour botlane has not shown fear of to many other botlanes. If both teams get evenly strong team comps then CLG should have no problems closing out the series in two quick games.

Dignitas – Curse H2H (1-3) Expectations (2-1) 60-40%

Curse has been in a weak spot the last couple of weeks and will need to prove themselves during the playoffs. A win against CLG (who were obviously not taking the game seriously and had problems with the Shen bug) doesn’t convince me that Curse is back. Even though Curse has a lead in the head to head, Dig won the last game and has shown much improvement since Scarra stepped down as mid and became the full-time coach of Dignitas. Both teams have some unorthodox picks and might surprise each other with that, but Dig has shown that they can adapt quickly. Curse could definitely take a game off Dignitas with some strong picks or early snowballing but Dig shouldn't be surprised twice and I give them a good chance of winning the series 2-1 or even 2-0. Curse can’t be underestimated and will definitely show a good match, I give them a 40% chance of actually making an upset and winning the series but I do not expect them to actually win it.

2.  Semifinals

TSM – CLG H2H (3-1) Expectations (1-2) 35-65%

Fans will hate me for this but I just think TSM is a bit weaker these days. They also admitted to having problems adjusting to new patches. With patch 4.5 being such a big one, CLG will have a clear advantage in that point. TSM got a few blows during Super Week, losing to last place XDG and getting (sorry for my words) crushed by C9. CLG had a much better game against C9 and were on a mission the last day of Super Week. CLG has admitted that TSM is a strong (maybe even stronger) opponent, and much will be decided in the pick and ban phase. TSM can choose which side they start on, so they have a small edge in that if they want to counterpick mid twice or just have the strong first pick jungle/adc. TSM wins most of their games by having strong lanes and forcing team fights in the mid game so they can take an objective after they win that fight.
     Dexter is a bit stronger in the jungle than OddOne. If CLG can have even lane match-ups, they should have the edge transitioning into the mid/late game. They have stronger rotations and are clearly better in lane swapping. If Bjergsen and Dyrus don’t get too big, Dexter should be able to control the pace of the game until his team's rotations help them close out the game. Much will be decided in the botlane since both botlanes have shown they can carry the game. Wildturtle’s Twitch can’t be underestimated and neither supports should be given Thresh for free. Dyrus might not be the shining star of TSM, but he's been their rock for a long time and will have to be at his best if TSM wants a chance to win this series. I believe CLG can win this series 2-1, but TSM will not just roll over and die. I do fear their slow adjustments to new patches and worse objective control/jungle early will cost them. Whatever the outcome may be, this should be one hell of a series to watch for all the fans.

Cloud 9 – Dignitas H2H (3-1) Expectations (2-0)

Cloud 9 has been on fire. They evened their win streak record and after being in TSM’s shadow for most of the split, they want to show they are still the number one team in NA. Dignitas beat them once in the start of the split but these aren’t the same teams anymore. C9’s rotations are almost perfect and even if the lanes falter, Meteos can step up and solo the game.  
     Dignitas will not surprise Cloud 9 with special picks. All lanes are solid and if one gets behind, the rest will step up to carry the game. Dignitas fans might hope on a miracle but a focused C9 is almost unbeatable. Dropping only seven games in two splits and ending number one in both those splits tells enough, in my opinion. The team also has the biggest KDA and much better synergy than the new Dignitas with Goldenglue. This will probably be the most one-sided series of the playoffs and is mostly just preparation for C9 to win the playoffs. Dignitas should just try and show they can perform and take lessons for the third place match against TSM.

3.  5th and 3rd place match.

Coast – Curse H2H (1-3) Expectations (2-1) 50-50%

Both teams are at the bottom of the table and have problems being consistent. Coast has shown some improvement in the last few weeks and I always have the feeling they can win the game they are playing. Like Scarra said, up until they lose the game, they're winning. Shiphtur and Zion are incredible sololaners and show time and again that they can take control of a game. But winning is a team effort and league is a five man game, so the rest of Coast will need to step up to help get themselves out of relegations.
     Curse shows some life now and then but they lack consistency and a solid plan when going into pick and ban phase. If Coast can pick up LeBlanc or Nidalee for Shiphtur, then Curse will have a lot of problems dealing with both him and the always strong Zionspartan in the top lane. I feel those two might be just enough for Coast and they can avoid relegations if the rest of the team just doesn’t fall behind in this match. Curse has the advantage in the head to head standings and might take that to the playoffs but will not have it easy. I believe both teams are evenly matched but Coast will take the series on the backs of Shiphtur and mostly Zionspartan.

Dignitas – TSM H2H (0-4) Expectations (0-2) 30-70%

TSM will be hungry for the victory after their most likely close loss to CLG and will not give Dignitas an easy time. The head to head record shows that TSM have had no problems with Dignitas this split and I think that will continue into the playoffs. Bjergsen will have little issues with Goldenglue and the superior laning should give TSM the match quite convincingly. Dignitas should definitely show some strength after their games against C9, but I believe TSM will win this match without many issues.

4.  The Finals

Cloud 9 – CLG H2H (3-1) Expectations (3-1) 60-40%

Cloud 9 proved to be the superior team in their last two meetings with CLG and, with near flawless rotations, they deserve the number one seed they earned this split. But they showed some weakness in their last game against Coast, and CLG will exploit any weakness that they can find. The pick and ban phase of every game will be very important for the outcome of the match. Both Cloud 9 and CLG have great rotations and the small skirmishes around objectives like dragon will probably decide the outcome of every game.
Dexter and Meteos will watch each other, and the team that wins the jungle battle will most likely come out victorious. If their latest match in Super Week was a taste, then this will definitely be the best series of the weekend. I expect both teams to show everything they have, but C9 will have a clear edge because they are the older and a more consistent team. Dexter has made big impacts for CLG and they will keep growing, but C9 has proven and should prove that they are still the number one team in NA.

5.  Persons to watch

Zionspartan is the strongest player from Coast and is also their voice. If the team gets into late game, he will be the man that gives the commands and will lead Coast to victory. Not just through skill but through leadership. If he has a good game and the team doesn’t fall behind, anything can happen for Coast.

Bjergsen is maybe new to the shot caller role but he'll need to be at the top of his game if TSM wants to end in the top three and maybe even win the playoffs. TSM is solid and will fight for every game, and Bjergsen will definitely not be easy on his opponents. Watch out for TSM when they get to the midgame with a good teamfighting comp or with Bjergsen on LeBlanc in a strong pickcomp. Even his Syndra should spread fear to his opponents and not to be underestimated. TSM won’t win or break with Bjergsen but he will have a big part in their victory.

Meteos and Dexter: Both junglers help their team immensely during the early game and their control around dragons and buffs will determine the success of their matches. Both junglers should be feared, but note that without their team they can be punished for aggressive behavior. Meteos might opt more to farm and Dexter to roam but if they get a small lead, they will be aggressive and dominating throughout every game.

These are my predictions for the NA LCS playoffs. Whatever you might believe or agree too, just support your team and enjoy the matches. They should be amazing!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Question of the Day:

Patch 4.5 will be live in the play-offs. Which teams do you think will be most affected by the changes?

Here were some of your responses:

‏@MikeakaCopper wrote: it will be @theAllianceGG thier pure awesomeness will lead them to victory even after such a short time of practice on 4.5!

@MadCastEmperor wrote : C9. Not in a bad way. They've shown how versatile they can be with their champs. Looking forward to seeing that versatility again.

@AbePringle wrote: TSM. They mentioned how they have a hard time adjusting to patches. They were all on last night learning the changes.

@PattonDidlt wrote: Nocturne will be back so Meteos will get targeted hard. C9 needs serious watching

@nuggetsauce wrote: TSM :( The 4.5 changes trade defense for early aggression. AS Quints buffed might mean we see some Udyr or Xin jungle. Aatrox back in EU.

@JesseVind wrote: All the bottom teams that can't adapt. CLG and C9 will play best on it.

‏@Reckcer wrote: feel like CLG because of the Lulu nerfs because they ran her a lot to get a ton of wins in the middle of the season.

‏@Im_Brandeezy wrote: Bjergsen will be hit with the Gragas nerf/buff if he decides to run a game of him. Although he has plenty of tricks with Gragas...

‏@HermanWiffler wrote: idk why but I just got a feeling Dig might just start going ham at Playoffs. Dont quote me on that though.

@Konman81 wrote: TSM because they suck at adjusting, also SK was super strong on old patches it may wear off now...

@GoonLvOver9000 wrote: XDG because...they are XDG
Got an opinion? Send your answer to @punklit and we'll add it to the forum. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

NA LCS Sun, April 6th - Super Week

Today's Matches: 

1. Team Dignitas vs Counter Logic Gaming
2. Evil Geniuses vs Curse
3. XDG vs Team SoloMid
4. Cloud9 vs Team Coast
5. XDG vs Evil Geniuses

One last chance at redemption for all....


Saturday, April 5, 2014

NA LCS W11D2 Sat, April 5 - Super Week

Today's Matches: 

1. XDG vs Team Dignitas
2. Team SoloMid vs Team Coast
3. Curse vs Counter Logic Gaming
4. Team Dignitas vs Team Coast
5. Counter Logic Gaming vs Evil Geniuses
6. Team SoloMid vs Cloud 9 HyperX

The last game of the day is going to be one hell of a sweet match-up! 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

NA LCS W11D1 Thur, April 3 - Super Week

Today's Matches:

1. Cloud 9 HyperX vs XDG
2. Team Coast vs Curse
3. Counter Logic Gaming vs Cloud 9 HyperX
4. Team Dignitas vs Curse
5. Evil Geniuses vs Team SoloMid