NA LCS Summer Week 4: Rounding up the big team movements

Jess Carruthers Roar Guru

By Jess Carruthers, Jess Carruthers is a Roar Guru

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    LCS veterans CLG are sitting tied first at the top of the ladder. (Image: Riot Games)

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    We’re now a third of the way into Split two of the North American LCS.

    The teams are starting to separate out – we now only have one true tie, for first place – but not in the way most of us would have expected a month ago.

    1. CounterLogic Gaming (CLG): 5-1 in matches; 11-6 in games
    1. Team Dignitas (DIG): 5-1; 11-6
    1. Immortals (IMT): 5-1; 10-5
    4. Team SoloMid (TSM): 4-2; 9-5
    5. Team EnvyUs (NV): 3-3; 7-8
    5. Echo Fox (FOX): 3-3; 8-6
    5. Cloud9 (C9): 3-3; 8-6
    8. Team Liquid (TL): 1-5; 3-11
    8. FlyQuest (FLY): 1-5; 4-10
    10. Phoenix1 (P1): 0-6; 4-12

    Although FOX and C9 have the same match score and game score, C9 hold the head-to-head record from the week two fiesta. Despite the tied rankings, every other team holds a spot of their own.

    As teams have now had some time to settle into the split, a few roster changes have come out from teams across the board, as well as a few rumors.

    Team Dignitas: Acquired Altec and Adrian
    DIG are one of the top teams so far this split, so this announcement came as somewhat of a surprise. Coach Cop has said that bringing the pair in will “strengthen [their] line-up,” which indicates that despite their results so far, he’s not entirely happy with the team’s performance.

    Neither of these players have graced the LCS stage so far in Split two Altec has been on the FLY bench since they acquired WildTurtle in the off-season, and while Adrian has been a sub for TL, he didn’t have a chance to play in lieu of the regular Support, Matt.

    Altec was a reasonably strong AD Carry in Split one While I would certainly consider WildTurtle and upgrade for FLY, Altec had one of the better AD Carry KDAs in the league, a pretty standard DPM, and solid (though not outstanding) other stats.

    LOD’s stats, by comparison, belie his more volatile play. While he has a reasonable KDA and death rate, his gold difference and experience at ten mins, and damage output are the lowest of all AD Carries in the league. Credit where it’s due, he has looked good in some series, but DIG’s successes have largely come off the back of Ssumday as a primary carry for the team.

    Adrian has a lot of rumors surrounding him personally, but professionally he has shown results on the version of P1 that took third place last split. He put out a pretty solid amount of damage for a support, especially considering he is better known for his more support-ey supports like Janna.

    Big has performed reasonably well this split, but rather than leading to a strong botlane, the player getting the most out of him is Ssumday. Now, Big seems like a really good person all around, but he doesn’t have the proven track record that Adrian does. I feel like this is less of a looking-for-a-replacement signing, and more likely to lead to fielding both players depending on their opponents.

    Overall these are two solid acquisitions for the team, although they come at an interesting time. DIG are playing against IMT at 8am AEST on Sunday, and C9 at 8am Monday; so far it doesn’t look like the starting line-up will change, but keep an eye on the news just in case.

    Phoenix1: Acquired MikeYeung and Xpecial
    From two very fresh acquisitions to a pair that have now had a brief moment to settle in. As a pair, these two are very different; Xpecial has been in the pro LoL circuit for what feels like forever, where MikeYeung is the first and only rookie to play so far this split in the whole region. While they have very different backgrounds, they both played really quite well, and made P1’s losses look a lot closer than they have in previous matches.

    Game wins aside, MikeYeung had an excellent opening weekend. Despite losing four out of six games, he currently has the highest DPM among junglers by far, and although his CS and XP scores are on the low side, it’s likely because he put quite a lot into ganking.

    Comparing his performance so far to the other two junglers hardly seems fair. Meteos seems to have forgotten how to play entirely (although in fairness, three games isn’t exactly a huge sample size) and although Inori has had some reasonable games, and a couple of wins, he seems to have lost a lot of confidence since P1 picked up Meteos.

    Xpecial joined the team with a vengeance in the series against CLG. Not that Tahm Kench is a high skill champion, but he looked very comfortable with it, and his voice and leadership really seem to have made an impact on the team as a whole, even though they had less than a week to practise together.

    Shady wasn’t as terrible as fans seem to think, but he certainly didn’t have this same kind of impact on games. I expect him to stay on the team and continue to improve, but with Xpecial available, I just can’t see any reason for him to start any games.

    P1 play against FOX at 11am Friday, and then TL at 5am Monday. Considering last week they played against two of the top teams, this week is a comparatively easy strength of schedule. If they field a roster with MikeYeung and Xpecial again, they have a serious chance to pick up their first series win, and maybe even move out of tenth place.

    Team SoloMid: Trialling MrRalleZ
    Okay, so this one isn’t anything official yet, but I want to have a quick look at it. TSM said at the start of the split that they wanted to field a 6-man roster, and find a new AD Carry for Doublelift to split time with. TSM currently only use one import slot with Svenskeren, who will also soon be considered an NA player.

    MrRalleZ is a Danish player who has been in the scene a long time, although he has never had particularly outstanding results. Most recently, he qualified for the EU LCS on Fnatic Academy, however when the team was bought he was not offered a new contract, and has since become a sub under Rekkles on Fnatic.

    I don’t have a whole lot to say about this, other than finding it a very interesting move. There aren’t a whole lot of high-level free agent AD Carries around that I can find, so TSM already had an uphill battle in finding their sixth player. MrRalleZ had a good spring split in the EU CS, and if TSM are going to take on a player whose native language isn’t English, a third Danish player wouldn’t be the worst option.

    There’s currently no word on how the trial will take place, or when we might hear about an outcome. This could well be a move towards preparing for franchising with a solid starting point for an academy team. I suspect this is already on most people’s radars, but I know I’ll be keeping an eye on Twitter over the next couple of weeks.

    There are some great games scheduled for this week, especially those for P1. What are the games you’re most looking forward to? What roster moves are you most excited for, or what moves would you like to see?

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