Although there were far fewer upsets in last week’s North American League Championship Series than in week four, there were still plenty of surprises, and lots of really entertaining games.
The only game I’d call an outright upset was Team Liquid’s loss to Golden Guardians. As someone who isn’t a particular fan of Team Liquid, it was a great watch alongside being totally unexpected.
On that note, here are the standings after week five.
1. Echo Fox: 9 wins – 1 loss
2. Cloud9: 8-2
3. Team Liquid: 6-4
4. Clutch Gaming: 6-4
5. 100 Thieves: 5-5
6. FlyQuest: 4-6
7. Team SoloMid: 4-6
8. OpTic Gaming: 3-7
9. Counter Logic Gaming: 3-7
10. Golden Guardians: 2-8
As usual, some of these are listed as tied on the lolesports site, but once head-to-head tiebreakers are taken into account, we actually have a fully ranked table! Only took us half a split.
Before I go into this week’s games, let’s quickly talk how the first few rematches looked. Two of the five games resulted in a split head-to-head record. This would mean that, if the teams involved were to tie their regular season scores at the end of the split, they would have to play a tiebreaker game.
During the time NA moved to best-of-threes, there were far fewer tiebreaker matches because there was game record as well as match record to take into account. I love a good tiebreaker to close the split, so if last weekend was anything to go by, hopefully we’ll see at least a game or two extra!
100 Thieves (100) versus Cloud9 (C9)
9am AEDT Sunday
Head-to-head (h2h): C9, week 2 day 2
Last week, both these teams lost to FOX but won against their other opponents. There were big differences in those wins though; 100’s came about after an outright misplay from their opponents CLG, while C9’s victory was pretty convincing over TSM.
Despite C9 being handed their second loss of the split, they are absolutely hot favourites for this match. C9’s win during week two was when 100 were looking their strongest; they’re nowhere near that right now, and they would have to do some pretty significant work to be in with a decent shot here.
Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) versus Clutch Gaming (CG)
H2H: CG, w2d1
Two teams that are really night and day. CLG have now lost their last four matches, which is incredibly uninspiring, and Stixxay’s blast cone… play? I suppose you’d call it? in their loss to 100 was just atrocious. Meanwhile, CG are on a four game win streak and in fourth place, securing an important win over TSM to ensure they hold that head-to-head record.
I don’t see this match breaking either team’s streak. I don’t expect the same misplays to come out of CLG; they should be trying to challenge CG, but I can’t see them bringing enough of a challenge that CG will be stopped yet.
Team SoloMid (TSM) versus Echo Fox (FOX)
H2H: FOX, w2d2
TSM had a rough week five with two losses to top-four teams, which is on course to continue into week six. First-placed FOX’s only loss so far was way back in week three, and they show no signs of giving up another tally in the win column.
There has never been an LCS final without TSM, but at the moment I’m questioning if they’ll even make playoffs. For FOX to lose this would be nothing short of astonishing, and they way they’ve both been playing lately, this is entirely their game to lose.
Golden Guardians (GGS) versus OpTic Gaming (OPT)
H2H: OPT, w5d1
For two teams pegged to struggle this split, and who have had a tough time getting out of the gates, this is a really important game to win. Both have a low strength of schedule for their games this week, and given their rankings this could be an opportunity for each to set wheels in motion for a 2-0.
This rematch is so soon after the first game, I feel like I just have to give it to OPT again. I do want it to go to GGS, who have certainly been improving, but last week they only got six kills and two turrets. That’s it. This game is far more likely to go awry than others, but OPT absolutely have the upper hand.
Team Liquid (TL) versus FlyQuest (FLY)
H2H: TL, w3d1
This is going to be a really interesting game. FLY started out okay, and are looking reasonable, but they’ve had a couple of rough weeks and the full roster isn’t quite living up to expectations. TL meanwhile came out the gate guns blazing, but have had stumbled pretty seriously since.
I do feel like TL should take this win, but with the massive caveat reminder that they did lose to GGS last week. TL have the talent they need, as they’ve shown in the first few weeks, but if they make any mistakes, FLY are absolutely a good enough team to take advantage.
OpTic Gaming (OPT) versus Team SoloMid (TSM)
H2H: TSM, w2d1
By the time Monday rolls around, there is a very good chance that these two teams will be sitting next to each other on the ladder. In that case, this will be a very important game for both; this could be a match that ultimately impacts on playoff seedings or eligibilty.
I’m honestly torn on who to call this for. My gut instinct is TSM, so I’m going to go with them, but I could almost as easily see this going to OPT, too. Most of all, I just want to see how this one shakes out!
FlyQuest (FLY) versus 100 Thieves (100)
H2H: FLY, w4d1
This is another game whose outcome has the potential to have longstanding ramifications on how end-of-split seedings shake out. The good news for these two teams, though, is that there is comparatively littly difference between third and sixth come playoffs, especially with how volatile the ladder is in best-of-ones.
With how close the teams are, this is another difficult one to call, but FLY have just been a bit more consistent recently, as well as holding the head-to-head from a couple of weeks ago. 100 are absolutely in with a shot here – after all, unlike FLY they’ve beaten a number of teams ranked higher than them – but FLY come into this with the upper hand.
Echo Fox (FOX) versus Team Liquid (TL)
H2H: FOX, w4d2
At their last meeting, these two teams fought a serious back-and-forth, with FOX not gaining a solid lead until around half an hour into the match. Now, only two weeks later, we get the rematch. There has been a real difference in the team’s’ performance in the interim, however.
FOX should be confident coming into this match. TL have not been showing up of late, while FOX have only looked stronger. If the stars align, TL is good enough to win, but they’ve not proven themselves at all for a while, and I don’t expect that to change in this match.
Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) versus Golden Guardians (GGS)
H2H: CLG, w2d2
These are currenlty the bottom two teams; although relegation is not the threat it used to be, a last-place finish in the first split of the renewed league would be disheartening. Not only that, but as with several games this week, the head-to-head here could wind up being incredibly important.
Throws aside, I do actually think GGS has a good chance of evening out the record in this game. Particularly after their respective performances last Monday, I really see GGS as the more focused team right now, and CLG apparently have at least one loose cannon – what if there are more?
Cloud9 (C9) versus Clutch Gaming (CG)
H2H: C9, w3d2
By the time this game gets played, there is a reasonable chance that a win here could put CG in sole possession of third place. With TL’s performance and strength of schedule this weekend, CG will be looking to gain and push any advantages they can get in their games; a win over C9 would be a massive boost.
Now I’ll be clear, I don’t expect this to happen; C9 may have lost to FOX last week, but they still look markedly stronger than their other near opponents. Still, CG have got a good opportunity to be challenged more here than they will be by CLG, and the quality of this game will certainly highlight their strength relative to the top teams.
And there are our ten games for week six. After this we’ll be two-thirds of the way through the split; unbelievable! What’s been the biggest surprise for you so far?