One team was going to fall, and the other was going to stand tall. At the end of Week 4, Cloud9 was the team standing tall after they took down FlyQuest in a very exciting series filled with awesome plays and great storylines. C9 remains undefeated, but it was not easy, and even in their series against Liquid, they looked like they could have lost. The coming few weeks will be interesting as we will see if any team will be able to take down Cloud9. Here are the takeaways from Week 4.
Cloud9 are still the top team but there’s cracks in their play
Let’s just get it out of the way. C9 almost lost to Team Liquid in a close three game series. TL did improve in Week 4, but they are still one of the weaker teams in the league, and C9 should have obliterated them on paper. That was not the case, however, as they struggled against Liquid and even dropped a game to them. Against FlyQuest it was the same story, as C9 suffered in the same area once again. Their early game seems to be the most vulnerable stage of the game. Mid to late game they pick it up and they can win against any team in the NA LCS, but when it comes to early game, they are definitely beatable. Statistically speaking, C9 are not super dominant and they have a lot of work to put in if they want to keep their 1st place spot.
Another 2-0 week for Echo Fox
Once again Echo Fox was able to pick up two match victories in a row against Counter Logic Gaming and Team SoloMid. And not only that they won, they looked dominant while doing it. Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham continues to be super impressive as he has been the main person behind Echo Fox’s impressive early games. They are the best team when it comes to First Blood percentage, and the rookie jungler has been part of nearly every first blood for Echo Fox. Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok has also been quite impressive managing to pick up wins and doing well with Singed, a champion that is not really in the meta, but works for Echo Fox. They are able to play around Looper very well despite him being a Korean import. His communication with the team seems good, but it can also be a little lacking at times.
Team SoloMid suffered their second 2-0 loss
It happened, and it didn’t look pretty. The only loss TSM suffered was to Cloud9 at the start of the split and every other match they have won 2-1 excluding their 2-0 victory against Team EnVy. But against Echo Fox, the reigning champions of NA looked very lackluster and uncoordinated. It’s more than clear at this point that the loss of Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng has not only hurt their shotcalling, but also their team coordination. Will they be able to fix it? It’s going to be hard, as coordination issues are not that easy to fix. The team dynamic with Jason “WildTurtle” Tran instead of Doublelift just seems much different as a whole. This is not even related to WildTurtle as a player, but more so how he fits within the team and how he affects the team playstyle and dynamic. While Doublelift’s shotcalling made TSM a really aggressive and swift team, without it they just seems directionless at times and even passive to some extent. Because it is TSM it’s safe to assume they will be able to patch it up and do well going into playoffs. However, whether it will be enough to win NA or do well international remains to be seen but it seems unlikely at this point.
Phoenix1 is showing a potential major weakness
It was not a good week for P1, as they lost both of their matches to FlyQuest and Counter Logic Gaming. The problem with P1 seems to be Rami “Inori” Charagh‘s unreliability on junglers that aren’t Kha’Zix or Rengar. He hasn’t looked too good on Ivern or Rek’Sai this split, and it’s showing because he has barely won any games with those champions. This is easily fixable if Inori learns to play those champions better and keep his early game impact at a good level whenever he isn’t on Kha’Zix or Rengar. However if he is unable to adapt in games where he is banned out, P1 will have a tough time winning against teams that can exploit this weakness.
Immortals are slowly improving
Although their performances weren’t anything largely impressive, Immortals showed that they will improve slowly with enough time. They looked more solid in Week 4 and picked up two 2-0 victories against Team Liquid and Team Dignitas. Not the strongest opponents for them, but they played more consistently and didn’t make huge individual mistakes or team blunders that cost them any of their games. That’s a really good sign, and if Immortals can keep going in an upwards direction, they may join the top teams eventually. Most importantly for them is the level of play that Li “Cody Sun” Yu Sun showed. Let’s be honest. He hasn’t had the best of games so far. He’s been quite inaccurate with his skillshots such as Ashe’s Enchanted Crystal Arrow so it was nice to see him playing well in Week 4. The Immortals jungler, Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett stated in an interview that he stepped up not just in terms of individual play but also in terms of shotcalling for the team. With Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung‘s English being decent and Lee “Flame” Ho-Jong‘s English improving, Immortals’ communication and coordination issues might get solved soon.
It was an exciting week of play, and while Week 4 was all about Cloud9 facing off against FlyQuest, Week 5 will be about TSM facing off against both of those squads. It’s going to be an uphill battle for Team SoloMid but if they really want to show their fans that they can do well without Doublelift, they need to go 2-0 and prove all of their doubters wrong. Meanwhile other team such as Immortals and Echo Fox will want to continue performing well after their 2-0 week and keep the momentum rolling into next week.