Here are 10 thoughts, opinions, and questions I’m mulling over going into NA LCS Week 1.
These are all opinions and speculations, and I welcome criticism, naysaying, and other forms of antagonistic discussion.
- Cloud9 vs. TSM. All eyes will be on the mid lane, but I’m more curious how Top will play out. Neither Balls nor Dyrus was especially impressive last split. Who will play a larger role in this game? C9 could stick with the tried and true “camp Dyrus” approach, but TSM should be expecting that. They’ve had some time to work on counterstrategies. If they still haven’t found a way to shore up that weakness, then Locodoco’s coaching award from last split should be revoked.
- As far as Incarnati0n goes, I’m less interested in how well he’ll match up against Bjergsen in lane, and more interested in how C9 will balance their carry threats between Mid and ADC. With Hai last split, it was obvious that Sneaky would do most of the carrying. What will it look like if Incarnati0n is able to shoulder a larger damage share? It could either free Sneaky up to do even more, or it could throw off C9’s usual approach to team fighting. Something to keep a close eye on.
- TDK vs. Team Liquid. Even if they weren’t using three substitutes, TDK would be massive underdogs here. Now it’s more a question of how disciplined Liquid will be. I want to see them use standard picks and really win convincingly. No style picks! Even though I love watching Piglet play Vayne, it would just be a bad sign for the team’s approach to the split. They need to be all-in on tryharding from start to finish if they want to topple TSM.
- Pobelter or HuHi? It shouldn’t matter too much at this point. The play style won’t change significantly. The bigger question is who is picking up Link’s shot calling slack. The natural choice would seem to be Aphromoo. That’s who I’ll be watching closest on CLG this weekend.
- As for CLG’s Game 1 opponents, I’m guessing they’ll be up against Annie and Alistar bans. KiWiKiD will need to keep pace with Aphromoo somehow for Dignitas to have a chance. Will it be a Thresh pick? I don’t remember seeing KiWi on Nautilus before but I could be wrong.
- Team 8 made the smartest roster change of the offseason, in my opinion, when they added Nien. He perfectly fills the hole they had in late-game carry diversity. If opponents don’t shut Nien down early, they’ll be up against a big threat later in the game. That will take some pressure off of Calitrlolz in the laning phase, which is exactly what he needs. It will also make Porpoise’s early game posting harder to predict, I expect. I would not be at all surprised to see Team 8 in the playoffs this split.
- Team Impulse has had some downtime for Rush to climb some more solo queue ladders. I’m not sure that will solve his problem of being less effective on tank champions. I think TiP will need two weeks to get their team play fully back in sync. Up against T8 and CLG, I’m predicting a 1-1 record. Couldn’t tell you which one will beat them, though!
- Gravity lost their shot caller in Saintvicious and arguably their best player in Cop (I know I’ll get done flak for that one!). Hauntzer is still super solid, Keane has moments of brilliance, and Bunny will probably play the same enabling role for Altec that he did with Cop. But the team has a lot of change to deal with, and that’s going to put them behind the curve against TSM, Team Liquid, and Team Impulse. Cop had better be a good coach if they want to catch up and make playoffs.
- Enemy’s 14-2 Challenger Series record makes it look like they completely dominated, but a lot of their wins were quite close. That’s why they aren’t getting hyped up as much as past rookie teams like Cloud9 and LMQ. NME had decent potential if their coaching staff can learn quickly from their LCS opposition. Flaresz and Trashy are really good, and InnoX is their ace in the hole. (No, that’s not a hint at a mid-lane Caitlyn.) Otter and Bodydrop have a lot to prove, though.
- My predictions for day 1:
- TSM beats C9
- TL beats TDK
- CLG beats Dignitas
- TiP beats T8
- NME beats GV
What are some of the storylines and players you’ll be following closely this split? Let’s talk!