The first week of the North American Champions Series spring split playoffs has concluded. The results of the first round held many surprises, as Team Liquid defeated Counter Logic Gaming to secure a spot in the semifinals. The most important result, however, is the victory by Team Impulse to book their ticket to the semifinals. TiP, after a close Game 1, went on to steamroll Team Gravity 3-1, a series that some analysts favored Gravity to win.
This creates a semifinals bout between two LCS powerhouses: TSM and TiP. This has been a highly anticipated matchup, especially in the mid lane as two of North America’s best mid laners will compete head-to-head. Originally a superstar for the EU team Ninjas in Pyjamas, TSM’s Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg has been an explosive component in the TeamSoloMid machine since joining the team in 2014. Not only was he voted into the 2014 LCS All-Star challenge that same year, he was also an important part of TSM’s quarterfinals run at the World Championships last year. This year, he posted a KDA (kills+assists/deaths ratio) of 6.8, which was third in this split. He hopes that his dynamic gameplay can help lead his team to victory.
On the other side of the Rift is TiP’s XiaoWeiXaio. Staying a member of the team after LMQ was rebranded, XiaoWeiXaio looked to continue his dominance of mid lane after a highly successful 2014, when he lead LMQ to Worlds. Although he only post a KDA of 3.9, his presence in-game is undeniable and his impact on the team is as strong as Bjergsen’s is on TSM. What separates both players is their play style. Whereas Bjergsen is known for perfecting his craft as a player of range-based champions and assassins, XiaoWeiXaio has a vast champion pool. He has played such unique champions as Karthus , Kassadin, and even champions that aren’t strong on current patches, like Yasuo.
The biggest factor is this duel may not be the individual players skill but more so the synergy they have with their team. XiaoWeiXiao has the unopposed skill of TiP’s jungler Yoonjae “Rush” Lee, whose outstanding knowledge of the jungle and impressive gank and countergank ability has put many a wrench in opposing teams plans. For TSM, Bjergsen will rely on the combined skill of the league’s best support, Jang-sik “Lustboy” Ham, who is actually in the top five for KDA as well as number one in total assists and kill participation,and the consistency of Lucas “Santorin” Larsen, who is in the top five in KDA and total assists.
|College||KDA||Total Assists||Kill Participation|
|TSM Lustboy||6.5 (5th)||205||78.5|
|TSM Santorin||6.6 (4th)||169||N/A|
The teams will play each other in a best of five which is being hosted at the NA LCS studio in Los Angeles, CA. Tickets are on sale here at http://na.lolesports.com/tickets-are-now-on-sale and the live stream of the event can be watched at lolesports.com. Thank you and have an action-packed day!
– Cole “Action Aldridge” Gibson