NA LCS Spring Week 7: Consistency and volatility in the league

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By Jess Carruthers, Jess Carruthers is a Roar Guru

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    We had some very interesting games of League of Legends in the sixth week of the North American League Championship Series.

    Echo Fox were handed their second loss of the split; it came at the hands of none other than Team SoloMid who finally had their first 2-0 week since week three.

    We’ve now ended up with two true ties, but notably they’re both outside the playoff ranks. Spots three through six are extremely volatile; it would only take a single win to shift things substantially. Here are the full standings:

    1. Echo Fox: ten wins – 2 losses
    2. Cloud9: 9-3
    3. 100 Thieves: 7-5
    4. Team Liquid: 7-5
    5. Clutch Gaming: 7-5
    6. Team SoloMid: 6-6
    7. FlyQuest: 4-8
    7. OpTic Gaming: 4-8
    9. Counter Logic Gaming: 3-9
    9. Golden Guardians: 3-9

    The sun has now set on patch 8.3 in NA, with patch 8.4 looking like it will have shorter, sharper games. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m looking forward to seeing how the gameplay shakes out.

    With so many changes, we will hopefully see a new suite of OP champs come in. Personally, I’m crossing my fingers for a Fiddlesticks appearance!

    Team Liquid (TL) versus 100 Thieves (100)
    9am AEDT Sunday
    Head-to-head: 100, week 2 day 1

    Kicking off the weekend with a bang, we will see two of the top teams, with tied scores, face for the second time. TL have had a few weeks with pretty average results, and will be wanting to start the new patch on a high note. 100 have seen a little more success recently after stumbling around week four, and also hold the head-to-head in this match-up.

    100 have the upper hand here, although that’s far from guaranteed. Their win against C9 last week was decisive, and should be indicative of their play against stronger teams. That said, their botlane has shown a lot of weaknesses in past games; TL could well try to take advantage of that to gain a win here, and even up the head-to-head.

    Team SoloMid (TSM) versus FlyQuest (FLY)
    10am Sunday
    H2H: FLY, W1D2

    It’s been a good long while since we last saw these two teams meet, and the league has shifted a lot in the meantime. That first match was 50 minutes long – and wasn’t the longest at the time, by any means – and FLY had to wrest control back from TSM midway through to secure the victory.

    Coming into this week off the back of a double win, TSM should be able to take and hold onto a lead against this team. With FLY taking the first win though, and ranked right behind TSM, TSM have got to make sure they don’t give FLY a look-in; if they do manage to pick up a win here, TSM’s playoff berth looks much, much less certain.

    Cloud9 (C9) versus Counter Logic Gaming (CLG)
    11am Sunday
    H2H: C9, W1D1

    In another callback to the start of the split, we get to see two of the classic LCS teams face off. The difference this time, though, is that we’ve now seen both teams in action. We have a pretty good idea of the way this may play out; these teams’ scorelines to date are the mirror image of each other.

    Despite dropping a game last week, C9 are still a powerful team, and I expect them to take a win here. I will note that CLG have pulled out a surprise or two this split – particularly their defeat of FOX back in week 3 – but that was the last time this team put a win on the board, and I don’t see them breaking that streak against C9.

    Golden Guardians (GGS) versus Echo Fox (FOX)
    12pm Sunday
    H2H: FOX, W4D1

    Of GGS’ three rematches so far this split, they’ve managed to even out the head-to-head record twice, which is no small feat for a team with only one prior win on the board. Still, their strength of schedule this week is not forgiving; FOX are unmatched in first position, while GGS are tied for last place.

    There are upsets and there are serious upsets, and if FOX somehow drop this game it will be a serious upset. This is their game to lose. GGS shouldn’t be completely without hope, of course – they’re good enough to take advantage of any opportunities they’re given – but I don’t see those opportunities coming up in this match.

    Clutch Gaming (CG) versus OpTic Gaming (OPT)
    1pm Sunday
    H2H: CG, W4D2

    These two teams both performed as expected in week 6. Both went 1-1, taking a game off a lower-ranked team on Sunday, then losing a game to a higher-ranked team on Monday. These are a pair of consistent teams, but CG have consistenly been the better performing team this split.

    And because of that, CG are pretty solidly set to win this match-up. OPT’s last – and only – win against a higher ranked team was against FLY in week two. CG has never beaten a higher ranked team, but they’ve also not dropped a game to someone ranked lower, either.

    Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) versus Team Liquid (TL)
    7am Monday
    H2H: TL, W5D1

    While TL aren’t looking as dominant as they have in past weeks, they still are probably going to take this match. CLG haven’t managed to win a game in three weeks now, and I don’t see this being their week; their strength of schedule for the remainder it the split isn’t promising.

    Team Liquid’s League of Legends team (Photo: Team Liquid)

    OpTic Gaming (OPT) versus Echo Fox (FOX)
    8am Monday
    H2H: FOX, W3D2

    FOX is a bit spoilt this week, playing two of the three lowest-ranked teams. OPT haven’t managed to pull out any surprise wins this split yet, either, so they’re not in a good spot to take this. Things will change if FOX continues to pull out unusual strats, but it seems unlikely that they would risk it at this stage in the split.

    100 Thieves (100) versus Team SoloMid (TSM)
    9am Monday
    H2H: TSM, W3D2

    This is an incredibly hard game to call. I have a feeling we will see TSM take this; they’ve shown in the past that they know how to take advantage of 100, and they’re looking considerably stronger now than they did in week three. Still, 100 have been on a tear; they absolutely have a shot in this game.

    Cloud9 (C9) versus Golden Guardians (GGS)
    10am Monday
    H2H: C9, W1D2

    This should definitely be C9’s game. Looking on the bright side for GGS, this weekend they knock out their games against both of the top two teams in the league, which gives them a much better shot at improving their standings in the last couple of weeks of the split.

    FlyQuest (FLY) versus Clutch Gaming (CG)
    11am Monday
    H2H: CG, W5D1

    Closing out week 7, we’re likely to see CG take a second win for the weekend. As I’ve said, they’re an incredibly consistent team, and with FLY still not turning their fortunes around, it seems a pretty significant challenge for them to take a win off a team slated for playoffs.

    I can’t believe we’re two-thirds the way through the split! That’s 60 games in. How are your pre-season expectations holding up to reality?

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