The Recap: NA LCS Week 1
The Recap: NA LCS Week 1
Games of the Week
The North American LCS Summer Split had North America looking more like Europe, with top teams falling to newcomers, epic, drag-down games, and surprising results. TSM remains in second-place, but in an unexpected tie with Dignitas, and under the Chinese imports LMQ, not Cloud 9, as expected. Cloud 9 and CLG staggered their way to 2-2 records, prompting Meteos to say he didn’t think Cloud 9 was that strong as a team.
Day 1: CLG vs LMQ
LMQ is a team known for their early aggression, strong laners, and occasionally sloppy team play and rotations. CLG, on the other hand, is known for exceptional skill at rotating during the mid-game. And yet it was CLG who took an early gold lead, with a well-executed dive on Seraph top, and a baited out kill on XWX mid. Seraph really showed off his reputed skill, starting off 2-0-2 on Jax. And yet LMQ took the first tower of the game, and top, no-less, thanks to Nunu’s Blood Boil.
And yet LMQ took the gold advantage in the mid-game due to fantastic Dragon control and kills, with XiaoWeiXiao pulling out to a 6-1-2 lead, and a 25-minute Infinity Edge, Blade of the Ruined King, and Statikk Shiv. From there, LMQ was able to widen their lead, even taking the game’s first Baron. In response, however, CLG took an inhibitor. CLG managed to claw their way back into the game and take baron. Unfortunately, the resulting team fight did not go well for CLG, and LMQ was only able to widen their lead. Eventually, 7k gold lead in their pockets, LMQ simply pushed up mid for the victory.
Day 2: DIG vs Cloud 9
Dignitas put on a clinic vs Cloud 9. They picked up first blood in mid, and top tower shortly thereafter. Cloud 9 briefly rallied with a 5-man push on mid, but Dignitas was relentless. From their first tower on, they held a consistent gold lead for the rest of the game, taking kill after kill and tower after tower, finishing off Cloud 9 with a 28-minute push for the nexus, 11 kills to 2 and 8 towers to 3. Cloud 9 has certainly lost NA LCS games before, but this is one of the few routs they’ve suffered, and at the hands of the same team to hand them their first loss last split, no less!
Day 3: Cloud 9 vs Complexity
While it was certainly unexpected, Cloud 9’s loss to Complexity was one of the most exciting games of the LCS Super Week, and showed three qualities of Cloud 9 that have been consistent.
First, they struggled in the early game, giving up a 3 for 1 trade bot lane, as well as a death mid lane. Second, they rallied in the mid-game, pulling the gold back to even again and again. Third, while Cloud 9 suffered, Balls was nigh-unstoppable.
As the game went on, despite their gold deficit, Cloud 9 played their team fights exquisitely, managing to catch up with Complexity again and again. However, after finally taking a lead, they focused Westrice’s Shyvana, blowing his Guardian Angel but losing the resulting chase and the game.
The Asian Sensation
LMQ isn’t exactly a surprise; they dominated the NA scene and were a previously established Chinese team before making the move to North America. CLG, TSM, and LMQ basically made up the 2nd - 4th slots in everybody’s minds, but nobody really knew where they were going to fall. And yet week 1 is over and Cloud 9 is not the top team. Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time Cloud 9 struggled to start the season, but we’re not just looking at Cloud 9 losses. LMQ went 4-0, although the only contender team they beat was CLG. Their games vs Cloud 9, Dignitas, and TSM will matter a lot. But they already are starting to look like a top NA team.
NA Super Team
Dignitas replaced its solo laners with Coast’s superstar ex-laners, ZionSpartan and Shiphtur, and it has paid off, with them going 3-1 and taking down Cloud 9. Shiphtur was absolutely godlike, picking up a pentakill in his first game of the split, and Dignitas has started every game well. Of course, Dignitas is known for strong starts that falter, so stay tuned to the progress of every NA team before hyping them, but it’s hard to argue against a team with that much raw talent.
Cloud 9 Knocked back to Earth
For two splits now, Cloud 9 has been a name associated with improvement, consistency, and perfection. They only lost 7 games total in their first two splits.
And yet this week, they seemed to fall apart, losing uncharacteristically to Complexity, and repeating their early Spring Split loss to Dignitas.
Ultimately, their shot calling seems to have faltered a bit as a result of Hai’s absence. Hopefully, they can regain their composure before any more damage is done to their season! Their 4th game of the week - vs CLG - seemed a return to their normal form, with dragon after dragon, excellent team fighting, the first inhibitor, baron, 9 towers, and the win. But losses to Dignitas and Complexity are not expected from the 2-time defending champions, and they’ll need to tighten up their gameplay come the playoffs, not to mention the World Championships.
Mattias "Gentleman Gustaf" Lehman is a League of Legends mathcrafter turned esports journalist who spends his spare time staring at mountains of League of Legends data. Follow him @GentlemanGustaf on Twitter.