We are halfway through the NA LCS split that has gone anything but expected. Immortals have lived up to their namesake while Renegades and Team SoloMid struggled unexpectedly. Finishing up the first round robin, there are some standout players in smaller games to look into and big matches that have the makings for a high fantasy point affair.(Featured Image courtesy of LoL Esports Flickr)
The Freeze ShowEcho Fox and Renegades have had difficult splits with substitutions and problems closing games. While this match isn’t exciting, at least Aleš “Freeze” Kněžínek could pop off to solo carry. The team already attempted to use his famous Draven last week, suggesting the team is well within the mindset that it’s all on Freeze. Consider him a flex pick-up if his salary is low.
NRG vs CLGUnlike the previous game, this is an exciting match. The teams share styles with split-pushing top-laners, but are different in overall team strategy. NRG drafts poke compositions while CLG favors teamfighting. Matchups like these end in one of two ways: the poke composition gets ahead early, controls vision on the flanks to deny engages, and whittles the base down, or the teamfight composition gets on the poke line’s back line early and hammers it down. NRG pulled off the cleanest poke game against TSM in Week 3, but has failed to replicate the performance. CLG, on the other hand, tried to brawl with Immortals and came up short, but have overall been slightly more consistent than NRG.
Interesting to note is how the mismatch the teams have in different phases of the game. CLG has been on point with lane swaps, laning, and objective control, placing third in NA for Tim “Mag1c” Sevenhuysen’s Early Game Rating on Oracle’s Elixir. In contrast, NRG have drafted scaling compositions that suffer early, resulting in them being dead last in Early Game Rating. However, NRG’s scaling compositions take off in the mid and late game, and the team is able to contest objectives and secure victory in that stage of the game so well it is second only to Immortals in the Mid/Late Rating, while CLG’s is considerably worse.
The data suggests that while CLG will get ahead early, NRG could possibly turtle and comeback when CLG stalls out. Because of that, you could draft either side, but NRG has a higher score potential because it will have to fight to comeback into the game. Lee “GBM” Chang-seok stands out as a must-pick up for NRG. He outputs the highest damage on the team at 38 percent, and if NRG are to pick up a win, it’s going to be through him.
Cloud9 vs Team LiquidCloud9 was able to go 2-0 last week, but now has a more difficult schedule. Facing Team Liquid on Saturday, C9 holds most of the cards with vastly superior players and coordination with Hai “Hai” Du Lam in charge. Team Liquid’s angle in is through Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett outperforming Lee “Rush” Yoon-jae in the early game and getting Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin to carry in team fights. However, Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi and Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen are forces to be reckoned with, and C9′s teamfighting outstrips Team Liquids.
The only risk drafting from this game is how quickly C9 could potentially close it. The team has the second lowest average game time in NA at 29 minutes, resulting in it having one of the lower kill counts. Picking up C9 players if they’re cheap just for a few safe points isn’t a bad idea, while gambling on TL fighting a long battle is also feasible, though the edge lies with C9.