The Recap: North America Week 9

The Recap: North America Week 9

North America and Europe are at opposite ends of the LCS spectrum. Where Europe is awash in parity and rife with upsets, North America shows consistency. If a team has a better record than their opponent in NA, they'll almost certainly win. That paradigm held true in every case this week save one, XDG versus Team Curse.

Games of the Week

XDG vs. Team Curse

Farm jokes abounded as XDG's Sheep matched support wits with Team Curse's Bunny FuFuu in what was the only game that approached an upset on the entire weekend. XDG looked like the Team Vulcun of yesteryear throughout the game due to their aggression, and continuous control over the map from the start. For Curse, the aggressive early game that had been the hallmark of their resurgence over the past two weeks deserted them. The win could be pivotal as the split comes to a close, and the bottom LCS teams jockey for position in order to choose their Challenger opponent during the Spring Relegation Tournament.

Team SoloMid vs. Team Dignitas

When facing the top team in the NA LCS, the idea of just standing on the Rift and swinging often leads to bruised egos, and losses. Team Dignitas decided to try and innovate as they stared down the Team SoloMid barrel in our second game of the week. Quinn came onto the Rift for imaqtpie and Crumbzz brought Kayle into the jungle. Unfortunately, the bully that is Team SoloMid was still able to connect with a quick knockout. TSM beat Dignitas in twenty-three minutes while netting twenty-two kills and only giving up a single death.

Overachievers of the week

Bjergsen

After a forced hiatus from the North American LCS to solve some visa issues, Bjergsen came back with a vengeance in week nine. He posted an 8/2/1 KDA on Zed against XDG and an even more impressive 12/0/8 KDA against Dignitas while playing Lulu. The variety of champions gives Team SoloMid an impressive amount of flexibility moving forward, and will assure that they stay near the top of North America for the foreseeable future.

Shiphtur

Team Coast posted a disappointing pair of losses during Week 9, but it wasn't for lack of trying on Shiphtur's part. The Coast middle laner was the lone bright spot against Cloud 9, and then almost single-handedly brought Coast back against Counter Logic Gaming. Shiphtur's Ziggs in the CLG match was highlighted by a wild Quadrakill which featured him flashing forward into the fight to push as much damage as he could. Team Coast currently sits in sixth, and Shiphtur will need more sterling performances if the team wants to escape the specter of relegation.

Surprises of the week

Nothing. At. All.

North America stayed true to form this week with the higher ranked teams beating the lower ones, with the already noted exception of XDG's win over Team Curse. The top three teams in NA were 6-0, while the bottom three were a combined 1-5. The stark difference between the various tiers of teams has given rise to a pair of separate races within the league. Team SoloMid, Cloud 9, and Counter Logic Gaming are battling for top playoff positions. The other teams, Dignitas, Curse, Coast, Evil Geniuses and XDG, are fighting for fourth and fifth to stay out of relegation since they are at least five games behind the three frontrunners.

Disappointments of the week

Team Coast vs. Cloud 9

This game highlights how a team can both dominate and be dominated in various parts of League of Legends. Team Coast managed to get a pair of nasty counters in the form of Ryze (against Renekton) and Ziggs (against Kassadin). Ziggs should be able to harass Kassadin and slow down his eventual power spike, while Ryze should be able to take the edge off of Renekton's bullying tendencies and scale up into his hyper-carry form quickly.

Coast's advantage coming out of picks & bans was quickly squandered with an awkward 2v1 lane swap during which Coast failed to break the deep freeze that Balls was able to get through the early minutes of the contest. The result? ZionSpartan's Ryze had a tremendous level and CS disadvantage that Cloud 9 exploited to great effect in the form of dives and zoning. The rest of Coast could not hold Cloud 9 off to allow ZionSpartan time to catch up, and the overwhelming pressure gave the current North American No. 2 the win.

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