The start of the 2017 NA LCS Summer Split was perhaps the most bizarre start we’ve ever seen. While teams that struggled last split have started off great, the top teams that were expected to dominate are at the bottom of the standings. Certainly a surprising start that will have a lot of people shaking their heads. Here are the takeaways from the opening week of the 2017 NA LCS Summer Split.
The Xmithie-Dardoch trade has paid off big time
Although it’s too early to jump to conclusions, it’s safe the say the trade of junglers between CLG and IMT has been beneficial for both teams. Counter Logic Gaming looks revitalized and more active than before. Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett despite not having a particularly impressive first week with CLG, brings more energy and proactivity to the team. Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black was the MVP of CLG’s matches, making insane plays on playmaking champions such as Bard and Rakan. Good things are heading CLG’s way if they are able to keep this level of play up.
Mostly the same story with Immortals. The team just seems to click better with Jake “Xmithie” Puchero as the jungler. He doesn’t force ganks and has a more controlled style which allows Immortals’ lanes to shine more. Eugene “Pobelter” Park is the main beneficiary of this as he had a monstrous Week 1 performance. Li “Cody Sun” Yu Sun and Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung have improved a lot as a bottom lane and are finally starting to show up. And Lee “Flame” Ho-Jong in the top side of the map is finally playing to the expectations that many fans had of him when he first came to North America. All in all both of these teams have benefited from this trade and it’s very likely that one of them or both of them will be in the top half of the standings at the end of the split.
Disaster for the top teams from last split
Starting off with Cloud9, the lack of leadership on the team is definitely noticeable. While Jeon “Ray” Ji-won has been improving and he is a good laner and mechanical player, he doesn’t bring as much direction to the team as Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong does. This was Cloud9’s main issue in their first two matches of the split. While they were able to create advantages in half of their games, once it gets into the mid game they just lose direction and don’t seem to know what to do. These leads to them making mistakes that cost them big time. The solution to this is simple. Either someone needs to step up and act as more of a leader or the team needs to bring back Impact and rely on him to improve their shotcalling.
Phoenix1 also had a rough start to the split, losing both their matches. Similarly to C9, they just had a lack of direction in their games, not knowing what to do after making good plays. The bright spot for P1 is Rami “Inori” Charagh who seems to have adapted to champions that he wasn’t comfortable on such as Ivern. P1 can definitely bounce back from these losses but they need to pick up at least 1 win next week to avoid having their losing streak spiral out of control.
Team SoloMid also showed some problems despite Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng returning to the roster. While they were able to defeat Cloud9 2-0, even in that series they showed some mistakes that would have been punished hard by stronger opponents. And these mistakes were on full display in their 0-2 loss against Immortals. Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell has not had a good split so far and has been consistently caught out or dying a lot in TSM’s games. Their drafts still don’t seem too good sometimes, and their shotcalling, despite Doublelift being back on the roster, still isn’t at that same level from Summer of last year. It’ll take some time for TSM to shape up and performing at a high level again, but they can definitely get there.
Impressive start for Team Dignitas and Echo Fox
Both of these squads had a great Week 1, winning both their matches. Dignitas’ new acquisition Terry “Big” Chuong showed up hugely and played great. His Thresh in particular was very impressive. Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho has also stepped up and has been playing better than he did last split, pulling off carry performances on things like Rumble and Lucian.
Echo Fox remains as the only team that hasn’t dropped a single game yet. Although they’ve had trouble closing out some of their games, Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok and Yuri “Keith” Jew have both stepped up and are performing better now. Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham andHenrik “Froggen” Hansen are still the heart and soul of the team’s impressive early game. If Echo Fox can learn how to close games properly, they will become a very powerful team that can stay at the top of the standings and possibly even challenge for the title.
Same old results for Team Liquid
Although the fans were promised that things would be different this time despite the roster staying the same, things have also stayed the same. Team Liquid started off 0-2 and looked like the worst team in the league right now. Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer continues to have no presence in the mid lane, even being subbed out for Andrew “Slooshi” Pham in the series against Echo Fox. Samson “Lourlo” Jackson is also not doing too well. But perhaps the biggest disappointment so far is Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin who has looked fairly awful in all of Liquid’s games.
The bright spot for TL seems to be the bottom lane where Matt “Matt” Elento is doing alright and Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin is doing what he can to try and carry the team to victory. Hasn’t worked out so far and knowing the team’s history, it’s unlikely that it’ll work unless Liquid goes full in on playing around Piglet and his strengths as a player.
The opening week of the NA LCS Summer Split was definitely one of the strangest starts to a split. But if there’s one thing that is certain, it’s that the NA LCS never disappoints from a storyline perspective. So we are bound to have more twists and turns throughout the summer!