NA LCS Spring Week 4: Finally breaking ties

Jess Carruthers Roar Guru

By Jess Carruthers, Jess Carruthers is a Roar Guru


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    The NA LCS is heating up. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)

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    What a difference a patch makes. In week three of the North American League Championship Series, we saw a significant drop in game time, several champions come in or out of vogue, and of course some great League of Legends.

    Let’s take a look a little more at the changes in patch 8.2 before we get into next week. Our average game time in NA last week was 41:23 – this week, that has dropped by over three minutes to 38:14. Not a single game went over an hour; in fact, the longest game was only 48:12.

    Considering the stopwatch changes haven’t even hit yet, this is likely going to drop further next patch. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know I much prefer the shorter games, and I’m looking forward to the trend continuing over the next few weeks!

    Ezreal and Malzahar, previously two of the most picked champions, have fallen off the map completely this week after receiving nerfs in the new patch. Mystic Shot’s early levels were hit really hard, while Malzahar took nerfs to both Call of the Void’s AP ratio, and Nether Grasp’s cooldown at earlier levels.

    On the other side, Nunu has started to join the party, although not quite as frequently as expected; he was banned once and picked twice, finishing the week with a 50 per cent win rate.

    Part of it comes down to the teams though; the loss was with Akaadian on OpTic Gaming playing against Cloud9. By comparison, Reignover’s 1/0/9 performance helped Counter Logic Gaming take the upset win over Echo Fox.

    We’ll see how these trends develop or change in the coming week, but here’s how it all shook out at the end of week three.

    1. Echo Fox: 5 wins – 1 loss
    2. Cloud9: 5-1
    2. Team Liquid: 5-1
    4. 100 Thieves: 4-2
    5. Counter Logic Gaming: 3-3
    5. Team SoloMid: 3-3
    7. Clutch Gaming: 2-4
    7. FlyQuest: 2-4
    9. OpTic Gaming: 1-5
    10. Golden Guardians: 0-6

    We have two ties in the standings that will be broken by games this weekend. On that note, here’s your preview of the ten matches in week four.

    Team SoloMid (TSM) versus Clutch Gaming (CG) – 9am AEDT Sunday
    In the last week, TSM have leapfrogged CG with a 2-0 week, while CG struggled going 0-2. TSM do seem to finally be finding their groove, although two of their three wins have been against bottom-tier teams. CG may only have two wins to date, but their strength of schedule has been far higher, facing all of the top five teams in the league.

    Winning this game is really important for both teams. It’s still relatively early in the split, but they’re both sitting around playoff rankings right now, and having the head-to-head against a similarly placed team will be very useful as the split goes on.

    Based on TSM’s improving performance, I give them the upper hand here, but this is an important game to kick off the weekend.

    Cloud9 (C9) versus Team Liquid (TL) – 10am Sunday
    Another important game, this is a tiebreaker for second place; if TL wins, they will be in first place for at least a few hours. Both of these teams have incredible botlanes; Sneaky and Smoothie’s synergy has been shining through these last few weeks and, while Doublelift and Olleh are a less cohesive unit, their individual skill is incredible.

    ESPN put C9 at number ten in their global power rankings this week, while TL were sitting at 15. It seems like a lot of that is weighted towards projections of performance in a best-of-five series though, and in the regular season best-of-ones, I expect TL to take the win. Either way, I am hoping to see a high-kill game in this match-up.

    OpTic Gaming (OPT) versus Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) – 11am Sunday
    Neither of these teams are going to be pleased with where they are at, but CLG have seen a marked improvement over the last two weeks, including handing FOX their first defeat in an upset game. OPT’s only win so far, by comparison, is their week two victory over FLY.

    I’ll keep repeating that OPT mostly don’t look bad, they just look outclassed, but it becomes more and more hollow as the split continues and they don’t pick up games. CLG seem very likely to take this one; they have developed a lot over the last two weeks, where OPT seem to just be plugging along.

    100 Thieves (100) versus FlyQuest (FLY) – 12pm Sunday
    100 and FLY both had somewhat rough weeks last week. Though 100 did beat CG, they were taken out by the improving team of TSM. FLY just had an outright tougher week, with games against TL and CLG, plus an apparent lack of synergy with their substitute jungler, Shrimp.

    Moving into this week, then, both teams want to start off with a win to set the tone for their upcoming games. This doesn’t look like it’ll be a chance for FLY to break their losing streak, though; 100 are still a top team, and should be able to outplay FLY with relative ease.

    Echo Fox (FOX) versus Golden Guardians (GGS) – 1pm Sunday
    Sunday closes out with a top-vs-bottom match-up that would need something truly exceptional for it to go in the other direction. FOX should absolutely take this game. What I do want to note, though, is that this is the game that will be played on NA LCS 2 with guest casters.

    This week, the game is being hosted by Ovilee, who will be joined by Doublelift and Biofrost. If this game is the clinic in strong-vs-weak plays that I expect, this should be a particularly good opportunity to tune in to hear a prolific ex-duo talking about what works and what doesn’t.

    FlyQuest (FLY) versus Cloud9 (C9) – 9am Monday
    At the moment, these teams really just are not on the same level. I enjoy seeing both play, and I really appreciate players on both teams, but C9 are leagues ahead of FLY in their performance. I think FLY could be better than they look once their full roster is playing and settled, but I’m not holding my breath for it.

    Golden Guardians (GGS) versus 100 Thieves (100) – 10am Monday
    While GGS have a somewhat better shot in their Monday game, it still is a long one for them. 100 may have dropped a little in the standings, but they’re still certainly a top half team – GGS would have to really step up and hope for their opponents to make some mistakes to take a win.

    Team SoloMid (TSM) versus Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) – 11am Monday
    El Classico is back for the first time in 2018. TSM’s game against CG should be a great early indicator for how this might play out; at this stage, CLG should take it, but if TSM can pull off a convincing win against CG, then the outcome of this match will be much more up in the air.

    Team Liquid (TL) versus Echo Fox (FOX) – 12pm Monday
    This has real potential to be a match to take first place and, even if it doesn’t work out that way, with such strong teams, this should absolutely be a fun game to watch. FOX seem a little more collected in their playstyle so far, so I think they’re a little better positioned to win than TL, but this likely won’t be over until it’s truly over.

    OpTic Gaming (OPT) versus Clutch Gaming (CG) – 1pm Monday
    I’ve spoken about how praising OPT without acknowledging their record so far is ignoring a large part of the picture, but I do actually think they’re in with a chance against this squad.

    CG are a very good team, as I’ve said, but they slip up here and there, and they’ve been a bit variable in their day-to-day performance. I still think CG are most likely going to win here, but OPT may have a shot.

    Last week wound up being a great set of games and, although we’ve not hit the halfway point for this split, these matches are increasingly important. Do you have any dark horse wins predicted for this week?

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