The Draft: 22/07 - 28/07
Hello and welcome to The Draft - a series of weekly installments showcasing five players from around the world who shone in their respective roles this week (one player from each position).
Please note: these lists will not necessarily pick the absolute best players each week, or those who won the most games, but rather those who stood out in their teams, matches or regions and had an impressive week, whether through strong teamplay and careful movements or brave picks and even braver plays.
Top - Impact (Team Impulse, NA LCS)
What can I say? This former world champion had an incredible week in the LCS. Going 15-5-43 over his 3 games this week, TIP's top laner was definitely the superstar of the NA LCS this week.
Impact's first game of the week consisted of him and his Korean pal Rush dominating the map against Gravity, with Impact hitting taunt after taunt on the Shen pick. The constant global pressure he applied along with Rush's Evelynn propelled TIP into a lead, only to swiftly close it out by continuing to hit great taunts on priority targets and close the game out.
Team Impulse's second regular game of the week was against Team Liquid, and although TL won the game in the end, Impact made sure this wasn't an easy feat. With some great teamfighting and Gnar ultimates, Impact was able to keep his team in it until the very end, leading to an exhilarating back-and-forth game that left even Phreak and Kobe breathless.
Impact's performance in his team's defeat against Team Liquid can literally not be understated. He was the chain that would not break, and he would not go down easily. On the Reddit discussion thread of the match, Impact netted himself almost 50% of the MVP votes; incredible for a player on the losing side.
Team Impulse's day did not end there though, and Impact was not ready to let his team lose a second time that weekend. Another incredible Gnar performance from Impact, as well as incredible pressure from his co-Korean jungle buddy, allowed TIP to defeat Gravity for the second time this week and claim third spot in the regular season.
With a fighting spirit that would not quit this week, Impact looks in prime form heading to the playoffs, as he looks to make it to Worlds once more. And it doesn't seem like any player, be it his team or the enemy's, will be able to stop him.
Jungle - Watch (NaJin e-mFire, LCK)
Though they only played one series this week, NJE's jungler made his presence known in his teams 2-1 victory over the KOO Tigers, showing that he too wants to have a spot at Worlds this year.
Though his play this season has been less than consistent, as reflected in game #1, Watch showed in games #2 and #3 that he is still a top tier jungler, and that NJE is serious about making the push to Worlds.
Going 7-0-15 as Rek'Sai in games #2 and #3 and grabbing MVP in game #3, Watch provided unparalleled aggression and control in his ganking and counterjungling, while remaining unkilled in both of his team's wins.
His early ganks allowed his team to find first blood in both games, which he was able to snowball into even more ganks and kills, finding favourable engages with great knockups throughout his team's win.
Though he has been relatively quiet throughout the majority of the regular split, Watch showed this week that he is definitely going to fight to get a spot at Worlds this year.
Mid - Toyz (Hong Kong Esports, LMS)
Another former world champion makes the list this week, as Toyz showed how much he too wants to return and grace the stages of Europe this year.
Playing three Best-of-Five series in as many days, Toyz refused to burn out, and despite losing the Grand Final of the split for a instant pass to worlds, Toyz showed that he is truly still a contender, despite remaining out of the spotlight for a few years.
Toyz was the central pillar that allowed his team to win 3:1 against both Midnight Sun Esports and the yoe Flash Wolves, a feat that no one expected of the relatively new team, and despite losing 3:0 to ahq e-Sports Club in the final series, Toyz put up one hell of a fight against the famed Westdoor.
Toyz was able to stay relatively even in all three games against Westdoor, making big plays in all of his performances to propel his team into short bursts of momentum, and despite the series ending 3:0, Toyz made sure it was much closer than the scoreline suggests (My RECAP of this series can be found here).
Toyz' Jayce in the first game led to some massive shock blasts courtesy of impressive farming and quick item spikes, which netted him massive amounts of damage to do all he could to try win the series. Game #2 showed his style on his famed Orianna, a blast from the past from those who were around during Season 2 Worlds, and some great shockwaves allowed his team to win a few fights and find some objectives, but ultimately fall in that game too.
Game #3 against ahq showed him back on Jayce, and once again, Toyz found big picks and great fights, but it wasn't enough to carry his team to victory.
Toyz showed this week that, like my top and jungle picks for this week, he too wants to make it back to Worlds once more and show the world what he's got, and if he continues the form he played at in his games this week, he just might be able to carry his team through the Regional Qualifiers and grab the region's second slot. All I can say is, I really hope we can see more of Toyz in his powerhouse form.
ADC - Kid (Invictus Gaming, LPL)
Kid definitely showed up this week, playing great for his team to help them into a 3-1 week overall. In each game he played his role to perfection, and even showed a comprehensive understanding of his micro-role in each game, with his wins consisting of a "make big solo plays" Vayne game, a safe ezreal pick up and a carry-the-baby, or in this case, the Kid, Vayne composition.
IG's first game this week was against King, and an aggressive composition from Kid's team left him to fend for himself, but he proved that he was more than capable of doing so, pumping out huge damage and huge plays on the Vayne pick.
Finishing 6-1-7, Kid had a solid performance that prompted KG to react with stronger picks at dealing with him in the following game, with their members picking up a dive composition of their own in Rengar, Evelynn and Diana, but Kid responded still with an insane Ezreal performance.
Somehow managing to stay alive repeatedly through some incredibly long team fights, Kid was able to withstand KG's backline threats and constantly output damage on Ezreal, resulting in another victory for his team.
As IG faced OMG in their second series of the week, they opted for a "carry the Vayne" composition, with Janna and Lulu being picked to protect Kid and zz1tai grabbing Vladimir to soften up the enemy team for Kid.
Kid shone in the composition built for him, zipping around teamfights feathered in shields and speed boosts, and being able to do the team composition justice and destroy the game.
However, OMG learnt from King and opted to focus on shutting down Kid in game #2, which ultimately led to a defeat for Invictus Gaming, but Kid showed this weak that he should, in fact, be called Man, as that's what his immense plays this week suggest.
Support - YellowStar (Fnatic, EU LCS)
Fnatic opted for some colourful picks on their way to a perfect split, and this week was team captain YellowStar's turn to show he can play off-meta champions, picking up Trundle in both of his teams victories this week.
His combined KDA of 30 over two games was the result of Rekkles' ability to play safe while YellowStar made plays around the map, as he played Bora the Explorer and roamed, finding gank after gank with great pillar placement and vision control.
Impressive pillar placement and having more Trundles than the enemy team allowed Fnatic to complete their undefeated in season, making LCS history on the back of their team captain and longest running member Bora(t). All I can say is, I can't wait to see what these guys do next.
Thankyou for tuning into this week's edition of The Draft. Be sure to check out my other posts here and follow me on Twitter where you can see my live game commentary, ask me any questions, and see when I post a new article. I hope you all have another great week I'll see you here in 7 days for the next installment of The Draft.