After their impressive Rift Rivals performance, the North American teams have returned to their homeland. The question is, were able to maintain their performance? And which other teams will fall or rise as the regular season draws to a close? Here are the takeaways from Week 6 of the NALCS!
Team SoloMid had some struggles against…Team Liquid
TSM having struggles is nothing unheard of. But against the 10th place team of all teams and right after their dominant Rift Rivals performance? That was certainly a surprise. Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng stated in their post-match victory that their understanding of Patch 7.13 isn’t that great. It definitely showed as TSM was having trouble knowing how to play out the early game and TL capitalized on that with two strong early games in a row.
It was only in the later stages of the games that TSM was able to win simply through better teamplay. Doublelift had a great performance on Tristana outside of lane and he carried some important fights for TSM. Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg was also a top performer as he managed to solo kill Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer in both games. This game TSM the freedom to make mistakes and get away with it simply by having more control in the mid lane. It’s clear though that TSM is having a rough time on 7.13 but luckily for them 7.14 is coming up and it’s likely they will perform better after having a week to adjust to it.
Cloud9’s troubles continue
The only NA team that had a mixed performance at Rift Rivals was Cloud9 as they finished 3-3 in the group stage. It really seems like the team relies on Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen to win his lane so hard to the point where he’s able to influence the whole map. And if it doesn’t work out then C9 just crumbles. We’ve already seen that C9 has good players in all roles that can carry games for them. So relying purely on Jensen is a flaw in itself.
Whether C9 does this because it’s how they like to play or because they feel like they aren’t good enough, it’s clear that putting their eggs in the Jensen basket is not going to continue cutting it anymore. C9 needs to pick up new styles and Jensen needs to start playing supportive mid laners. If they don’t do this then the team is just going to continue running into the same problems over and over and they will never be able to win the NA LCS.
Disappointing return by Phoenix1
After their very surprising and great Rift Rivals performance, P1 was expected to come back to NA and pick up some wins. Sadly that didn’t happen and the team went 0-2 losing both of their matches. It just feels like the team couldn’t ride its momentum into at least one series win and now it’s very likely that they are out of playoffs contention with EnVy’s two victories over C9 and Echo Fox.
In P1’s defense they had to play not only against TSM but also against an improved Team Dignitas that just picked up Adrian “Adrian” Ma as another support for the team. With such a hard schedule it’s hard to fault P1 for losing. Michael “MikeYeung” Yeung played well as a whole but it’s clear that he’s less comfortable on tankier junglers like Sejuani. If P1 just focuses on improving even further they still have a chance at making playoffs. But considering that they have to face CLG, C9 and TSM in 3 of their remaining 6 matches, it’s going to be a tough task for them to make it into playoffs.
The constant roster shuffles by Team Liquid and Echo Fox are ineffective
It seems as though both teams are experimenting quite a lot to figure out which roster combination would work for them. For Team Liquid it’s not a huge surprise. The team barely has any hopes left of making it into playoffs. They would have to win at least 5 of their 6 remaining matches to have any chance of making it and that seems unlikely in their current state. It’s normal that they would want to try and figure out a way to fix their roster and find a line-up that clicks together.
Echo Fox on the other hand is very puzzling. They still have a realistic chance of making it to playoffs with a 4-8 record. They are only two games behind Cloud9 and considering how much C9 has been struggling lately, Echo Fox definitely has a chance of overtaking them. But with how they’re swapping their roster around it seems very unlikely. And not only that but they have also started swapping out Henrik “Froggen” Hansen and Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok, a mind-boggling decision considering both of those players are their stars. It’s clear that so many roster shake-ups only disturb the way the teams function. While TL has a reason for doing it, Echo Fox should definitely stop it and try to focus hard on winning their remaining games.
With the three Rift Rivals representatives showing their own struggles, things have definitely gotten interesting. Teams like Dignitas, Immortals, CLG and EnVy are pushing for a top spot and with the way things are going we might have some very competitive playoff matches this split!
Photographs taken by Riot Games
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