Week one of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) was explosive, to say the least. There were a lot of close games and a lot of not-so-close games. The league seems to have several teams which are clearly top dogs, some that are clearly down in the dumps, and some which the jury is still out on.
With week two right around the corner, the picture of where the teams stand will become a lot clearer, and points of improvement will be more easily identifiable. A lot of questions will be posed, but certainly, a lot more will be answered.
Who are the contenders? Who are the bottom feeders? Why is the beginning of the season in NA such a ‘clown-fiesta?’ Read on to find out.
Golden Guardians Vs. Counter-Logic Gaming: Trash can or can the trash-talk?
These two teams are a mixed bag. But is it a mixed bag of garbage or a mixed bag of somewhat good things? That is what is on the line for this team.
Golden Guardians (GGS) are coming off of a playoff berth last split, and honestly, they look pretty good. On Saturday they handily disposed of Dignitas (DIG) in a convincing fashion, though that doesn’t seem to mean a whole lot right now. More importantly, on Sunday they looked competitive in their loss to a resurgent Team Liquid. They had a legitimate shot to win. For Golden Guardians, this game will be about firmly distinguishing themselves as better than the bottom teams as a team that can put themselves in the playoffs for the second split in a row.
For Counter-Logic Gaming (CLG), this game is about redemption. In their first game of the split, CLG was ‘perfect-gamed’ by Evil Geniuses. Does that mean CLG is as atrocious as they look or that EG will be able to mount a real challenge for the championship? Based on CLG’s performance last split, the former seems more likely. To their credit, they did rebound from a deficit to absolutely stomp Immortals in the second half of their game last Sunday. CLG needs to show they have something up their sleeve against the competitive-looking Golden Guardians if they wanna have any shot of playoff contention this split.
Who will be down in the dumps after this game? Find out at 9 p.m. EST on Friday Night League!
TSM Vs. FlyQuest: Real or no-real
Just like Golden Guardians and CLG, both FlyQuest and TSM sit at 1-1 in the standings. However, most would not put them in the same group. At least, not yet.
FlyQuest (FLY) looks to be on form coming into summer. The rumor mill says they have been looking strong in their scrims, and they have been cited as making a lot of growth in the offseason. This bodes incredibly well for FLY, as an improvement over an already second-place finish certainly can’t be bad. The question is, has their competition outscaled them? FLY did look competitive against Cloud9 (C9). Well as competitive as any team can look against C9. Anyways, they took a commanding early game lead before faltering to C9’s superior macro-game and objective focus in the mid-late game. Then, on Saturday they thoroughly dismantled a struggling Immortals squad. This will be FlyQuest’s chance to answer the questions surrounding them, is their team truly good enough to compete with the big boys? This game will be a good way to prove that the last split’s second-place finish wasn’t a fluke.
For TSM, this game will be about stability. TSM talked a lot of smack in the off-season despite rumors of lackluster scrim performances, and the latter half of that seemed to be what showed up on Saturday. TSM seemed completely lost in their game against Team Liquid (TL), and the scoreline reflected that. TL won the game in just over twenty-five minutes, and it was an utter-smackdown. But, on Sunday, TSM looked like a whole new team. They had a game plan, an identity, and they executed well on all of their goals on their way to destroying Dignitas. To that end, it is debatable whether that speaks to TSM’s potential or DIG’s lack thereof. I think it is somewhere in-between. So, which TSM is the real TSM? The team that gets dismantled by TL, or a unified force on the rift that can destroy DIG in the same amount of time?
See which team rises to the occasion at 5 p.m. EST on Saturday.
Team Liquid Vs. Evil Geniuses: Who can challenge the kings?
As good as FlyQuest is, we know they are not up to challenge the kings of North America, Cloud9. The next best thing? The two teams tied with them at 2-0 after week one. Now, yes, while this match does take place after EG plays C9 on Saturday, it may have implications for the season.
These two teams seem to be the real deal off of their week one performances. EG started their season with a convincing win over 100 Thieves before beating CLG in a perfect fashion on Saturday. They look to be improved over their spring split iteration, which is nothing to scoff at since they finished third. Colin “Kumo” Zhao, the team’s weakest link last split, seems highly improved. This game will be important for him to maintain his form against one of the league’s most experienced top-laners.
The old kings seem to be rising from the ashes. Team Liquid does look very, very strong after convincing week one wins against TSM and GGS. Is TL as good as their previous selves? That remains to be seen. But Edward “Tactical” Ra certainly seems to be up to the task of filling Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng’s shoes. The most important thing is that head coach Joshua “Jatt” Leesman has taken a team of champions who couldn’t even find their old way to play last split and turned them into a team that appears to have a new lease on life. This team has never played the way they are now, but who knows if it is enough to put a real challenge to their successors, C9. The first step is to beat EG.
Catch this match at 4 p.m. EST on Sunday!
You can find more coverage of all things LCS and LEC in our League of Legends section.
Nicholas Kanan is a student, writer, gamer, and human being. In that order. Nick has been an avid follower of esports for the better part of a decade, beginning with Starcraft II in 2011 and switching focus to League of Legends since 2013. He is a regular viewer of the LCS and makes it social, introducing friends and family into the world LoL Esports. Check out my Twitter for more of my thoughts.