Cloud9 (13-5): Off weekend or worrying trends?

After two losses last week, Cloud9 did a decent job of bouncing back this week.  Starting the weekend with a loss to CLG I was worried Cloud9 was on a downward spiral.  The team bounces back and wins their next two games but now we have to ask, was that just a bad few games?  Overall, yes it was just a bad few games but, it also shows a glaring weakness Cloud9 has, Top Lane.

Cloud9 Jungler Blaber

Courtesy of Riot Games

Cloud9 Jungler, Robert “Blaber” Huang, spends a lot of time Top Side, and has for a few weeks now.  This maybe fine against lesser opponents because they are not going to trade with you on the map.  However, experienced teams will trade with you all day.  While Blaber consistently goes Top, Team Liquid or TSM will take Drakes or gank Bottom and completely snowball the other side of the map.  All the while Cloud9 is left in a coinflip Top Lane with an inconsistent performer.  Overall, moving away from Top Side play is not only the current meta but the only way Cloud9 can get to MSI.

Team Liquid (12-6): Peaking at the right time

Finally the promised ‘3-0’ weekend has arrived!  Team Liquid’s best weekend this season leading into the Mid Season Showdown is a great sign.  Two big things to highlight for Team Liquid: Top Laner, Barney “Alphari” Morris and Mid Laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen.  Alphari’s ability to create leads or stay even in bad matchups is the best in the LCS.  Just smashing his lane opponents in good or bad matchups(having a 50% counter pick rate so he gets bad matchups) Alphari is heading into the Mid Season Showdown as the best Top Laner in the LCS.

Team Liquid's Mid Laner, Jensen

Courtesy of Riot Games

Now, Jensen on the other hand has been doing his normal, stealthy great split.  Boasting great laning stats while also leading the LCS Mid’s in assists, Jensen is spreading the love this season.  What I love about Jensen heading into this tournament is his champion pool.  Playing six different champions in his last six games, Jensen is showing a lot of diversity.  This is great for Team Liquid because it opens up draft flexibility.  If a team wants to throw five bans at Jensen, Alphari gets whatever pick he wants and Jensen still has champion he is comfortable with!  In general, it is tough to call any one team the definite favorite for the Mid Season Showdown but if I had money on it, it would be on Team Liquid.

TSM (12-6): Continuously making the same mistake

Every week I watch TSM and every week I have the same issue with TSM.  They always take fights and skirmishes in bad spots on the map.  Against Evil Geniuses this weekend they are up against a Hecarim, Aatrox, Rell combo.  So, where would you not want to fight that combo?

In tight Jungle corridors?

That is correct!

Yet TSM continuously thinks, ‘yeah we can win this, get in there!’  This is a pattern I repeatedly see in TSM games, they go down in gold and just start forcing fights, just any fight.


Courtesy of Riot Games

However, the most worrying trend from this weekend is the performance of ADC, Lawrence “Lost” Sze Yuy Hui.  First off with Lost, ten of his eighteen games so far this season have been on Kai’sa, which he has looked good on.  Then, this past weekend we see three games non Kai’sa and all three looked mediocre at best (his best game is against the worst team in the LCS.).  So, I worry coming into the Mid Season Showdown that Lost is going to be a liability both in draft and on the Rift.  This means we will need to see TSM’s other members really step up if they want a shot at playing at MSI.

100 Thieves (11-7):  One trick pony

I mean this in the nicest way I promise.  100 Thieves has a very set way they want to play the game and when they are thrown off that it looks less than encouraging.  100 Thieves is a team that wants to get out on the map and stack drakes as early as possible.  They take first drake in 72% of their games and spiral from there.  This desire to always be  stacking drakes first mostly shapes how aggressively their Bottom Lane plays and how their Jungler paths.

100 Thieves Jungler, Closer

Courtesy of Riot Games

The problem comes when any competent team decides they can stop this early drake stacking.  In their match against Team Liquid this past weekend, Liquid pressures the map hard.  So much, that 100 Thieves has no opportunity to take the first drake until roughly eleven minutes in, five minutes later than usual.  This disrupting of pace changes 100 Thieves game plan and leads to a weird game.  100 Thieves tries to match Liquid’s roams around the map but loses a lot of the trades and is just outclassed.  At the end of the day, 100 Thieves is capable of winning some best of fives in the Mid Season Showdown but, I do not think they are capable of going to MSI.

Dignitas (11-7): The Dark Horse Rides

My dark horse pick for the Mid Season Showdown is Dignitas for a few reasons.  First being, nobody respects them so they will catch teams off guard.  Second, they have been playing very well all season.  Third, the writer in me sees that this storyline would be too incredible to not hope for.

Dignitas Support, Aphromoo

Courtesy of Riot Games


However, there is a pretty big glaring weakness the team needs to shore up in best of fives.  As a scrappy styled team that loves to just outplay you in fights, Dignitas really needs to prioritize clean fights in the Mid Season Showdown.  This past weekend the team suffered two losses to Cloud9 and Team Liquid.  Watching that back you can see the disconnect in fights between Jungler/Support and the carries.  There are gigantic gaps, literally, between the initiation and the carries in any fight Dignitas takes. This means, the follow up damage is never there and the fights fail.  As a team who’s identity is scrappy skirmishes,  Dignitas needs to clean it up if they want to run the gauntlet in the lower bracket.

Evil Geniuses(10-8): Don’t look now

Don’t look now but, Evil Geniuses(EG) might be playing spoiler to somebodies MSI hopes.  Coming off of their best win this season, Evil Geniuses are ready to spoil some dreams.  In the past I have talked about Evil Geniuses as the ‘anti-team’ they want to punish your strengths without having their own defined style.  We saw that this past weekend against TSM.  TSM’s weakness is fighting in the worst possible spots so what does EG do? Pushes TSM into the worst corridors for fighting.  This makes EG a very frustrating team to play against as there is minimal counter strats for them, you just have to be confident in your second and third carry option.

EG ADC, Deftly

Courtesy of Riot Games

This could be detrimental for TSM or 100 Thieves should they be knocked to the lower bracket as their second and third options have been hit or miss so far this season.  However, they do have some very defined strengths to keep an eye on in the Mid Season Showdown.  ADC, Matthew “Deftly” Chen, has become a pillar of consistency on this roster.  Not the flashy ADC but rather, a consistent laner who will not be bullied in lane.  This makes him a perfect pair for the aggression the rest of the team carries and also makes him the anchor in these high pressure elimination series.