It was a decidedly even week in the NA LCS
The schedule wasn’t the only thing that seemed European this week in the North America segment of the League Championship Series. With EU heading to London for the weekend, the American matches were played during the week for the first time this season. And the results were decidedly European—unpredictable, with teams trading games left and right.
Every single team in the region went 1-1 this week, leaving us exactly where we started: Five teams are one game away from first place, and three teams are one game away from last.
That means every team had their time to shine. Counter Logic Gaming beat LMQ, but then lost to Curse Gaming. LMQ salvaged the week, ending a losing streak, by beating Cloud9. Dignitas dinged Team SoloMid before underestimating Complexity, who were obliterated by Evil Geniuses on the first day of play.
That leave us no closer to figuring out just who are the best teams in the regions.
The Bowl Cut Bowl: Dignitas (8-4) vs. Team SoloMid (7-5)
The Dignitas and Team SoloMid match on Thursday took a page out of the WWF when the coaches of each team, Dignitas’ William “Scarra” Li and SoloMid’s Yoonsup “Locodoco” Choi, bet on the result. The loser would have to suffer a fate worse than death - a bowl cut, joining fellow bet loser Alan “KiWiKiD” Nguyen with the worst haircut in the LCS.
Choi had made comments regarding the aesthetic nature of Nguyen’s haircut on his last appearance on talk show Summoning Insight, so you know he really wanted to win. But his team let him down.
Danny “Shiphtur” Le continued his superstar play in the mid lane with a 6/0/5 KDA on Orianna, and the team needed his shields, too. His ability to protect marksman Michael “Imaqtpie” Santana’s Jinx was critical in the team fight at Baron that decided the game, allowing Santana to clean up SoloMid and post an impressive KDA line of 5/0/7.
For SoloMid’s part, the game was incredibly close a definite improvement over their unorganized efforts early in the season. If they keep playing like this, they are a definite contender.
Evil Geniuses’ (3-9) new hope, Shin “Helios” Dong-Jin
Last week the team went 0-2 with their new Korean jungler, but he seemed to bring a dimension the team lacked in the early game. This week they made a statement against Complexity, emphatically showing that they don’t want to stay at the bottom of the standings by blowing them out while only dropping one death. But their second game wouldn’t go as smoothly, as Team SoloMid shut down both Shin and Evil Geniuses’ budding new superstar, marksman Johnny “Altec” Ru. Ru managed to escape without a death, but the man ranked second overall in kills so far this split failed to post a single one against SoloMid.
Inconsistency: Counter Logic Gaming (8-4) and Dignitas (8-4)
Both teams won tough matches that secured their spot atop the league in the first match of the week. Counter Logic Gaming put LMQ into a losing streak by obliterating them with a standout 10/2/8 performance from Yiliang “DoubleLift” Peng. Dignitas took home the grudge match against a surging Team SoloMid. But then both teams dropped the ball on the second day, seemingly overlooking their foes in games that could have put them in sole position of first place.
Counter Logic Gaming dropped their match against the 4-8 Curse Gaming, letting a few early misplays snowball into an insurmountable advantage for Curse. Dignitas were blown out by the last ranked team, 3-9 Complexity, in a game where Complexity did what Dignitas usually seems to do to their opponents. Complexity was one step ahead of Dignitas in every lane and map rotation, winning a game that was almost embarrassing for Dignitas.
It seems like Counter Logic Gaming and Dignitas underestimated their day two foes, and that’s deadly in an LCS where every team is dangerous.
Cloud9 (8-4) can’t catch LMQ (7-5)
It was the perfect opportunity for last season’s champions to return to the top of the standings. LMQ looked like they were in a slump, mucking through a 1-1 week against two bottom tier teams last week before losing on Thursday to Counter Logic Gaming. Cloud9 slowly seem to be coming around to the current metagame.
But LMQ managed to take the win, despite Cloud9 jumping out to a lead. A quadra kill by Hai Lam on Kassadin gave Cloud9 the baron and a big lead, but they quickly squandered it by engaging in a bad position at the dragon river. A perfect Orianna ultimate trapped the team into Jarvan’s cataclysm, and LMQ wiped Cloud9 to take control of the match.
LMQ’s star player Yu “XiaoWeiXiao” Xian’s poor performances in the team’s past two games were a large reason why the team lost, but he was perfection with Orianna against Cloud9, putting up a 4/0/6 KDA line while throwing in a couple absolutely game-changing ultimates.
The Chinese team seems like they will live and die based off Yu’s performances, but that’s hardly a bad position to take. Yu has emerged as one of the superstar carries in the league.
We didn’t learn too much in Week 5, except that no team can be underestimated. The standings look the same as they did a week earlier, and that’s just a reflection of how competitive the NA LCS really is this season.
Next week we should expect a bloodbath at the top of the standings.
Team SoloMid will put their new coach to the test with games against Counter Logic Gaming and LMQ. Wins could vault them to the top of the table. Dignitas will also face the same schedule, meaning that each of the three top ranked teams will play each other.
Cloud9 is the only top team left out, so they’ll have a chance to gain ground in the standings if they don’t fall to the same trap many others did this week. Complexity and Evil Geniuses should be wins for Cloud9, but this week showed that anything can happen.