1. How will Pobelter fare against Bjergsen?
In both games in the regular season TSM defeated CLG largely through the mid lane advantages that Bjergsen accrued. His Leblanc was dominant and really managed to solo carry the game back in week 2 going 8/2/6 and single handedly winning teamfights with his mechanical skill. Pobelter on the other hand had a decent game on Azir all things considered but wasn’t able to match the pressure exerted by Bjergsen on the side lanes. This of course was pre-nerf Leblanc and came on the heels of a 12/3/3 performance on Leblanc the day before so perhaps CLG should have banned the pick outright. The second game in week 5 Bjergsen played his Azir against Pobelter’s Kog’Maw and again defeated him handily with a 15 Cs lead at ten minutes and taking his tower at 12. Bjergsen was able to influence side lanes while Pobelter was consistently forced to last hit under tower while Bjergsen was able to roam. Bjergsen ended up 6/2/7 while Pobelter finished 1/3/4. While Pobelter’s individual performances weren’t bad Bjergsen was able to take advantage of the lack of pressure Xmithie places on the mid lane. The key for Pobelter is to put him on a poke champion that scales well into the late game (e.g. Ziggs, Kog or Azir) and to force TSM to make a play which brings us into our next point.
2. Who will engage first?
Both teams have showed a great affinity towards passive play in the late game. They both wait for their opponents to make mistakes rather than looking for a teleport flank or an engage. Xmithie has been poor at making engages all year and ZionSpartan should not be the primary engage as he excels on carry top laners rather than tanks. My money would be on Dyrus to make the proper engage as he has shown great improvement on his teleport flanks in recent months and his team fighting on carry top laners has been much better. With the MVPs of both teams in Doublelift and Bjergsen being far and away the highest damage threats on their teams a successful kill on either of these players can swing a teamfight easily. However both teams have a similar style where they seek to kite out teamfights rather than make the engages themselves. Lustboy does best when he is counter-initiating and the same can be said about Xmithie, Aphromoo and ZionSpartan. Whichever team is forced to make the first move barring any godlike teleport engages by Dyrus or ZionSpartan is going to have a hard time winning.
3. Can TSM control Doublelift?
Doublelift has been working for this moment for a long time. Since the beginning of CLG Doublelift has been the center of the team. He has put up some of the best numbers out of all the NA AD carries this split. Rush Hour is probably the most potent duo lane in North America and should be able to gain a strong lead over Wildturtle and Lustboy in lane swaps. What is very important for CLG is to make sure that he secures a comfort pick like Tristana. While he has been effective on picks like Ezreal and Jinx against weaker teams, Tristana has been his go-to for almost the entire second half of the split. The main disruptor on TSM is Dyrus. Dyrus sometimes lacks in his laning mechanics compared to some carry top laners but his team fighting presence is strong as ever. Doublelift has a very high Gold consumption but he also deals a high percentage of his teams damage. If TSM can use their draft and Dyrus to shut down Doublelift they will have a very successful series.
I personally think that TSM will win because of Dyrus’s history of stepping up when it counts, their much improved pick/ban phase in the playoffs and the mismatch in mid lane. However, the early game power of CLG especially in the lane swap may create an advantage too significant for TSM to stop. Unless we see huge improvements out of Xmithie and Zion as far as forcing engages or huge mistakes from TSM I predict TSM 3-1 with close games all around.