League of Legends NA LCS Week 3 Preview
After an exciting week 2, the NA LCS is moving into it’s third week. This is where it gets interesting as both undefeated teams will face a sizable challenge this week, as well as a few lower ranked teams looking to pick up those all important wins. Without further ado, let’s get into our match of the week. Team Solomid vs Cloud9 When I first started following the NA LCS late in Season 3, the matchup that was always the most exciting was Cloud9 vs Team Solomid. Three years on, the matchup has lost some of it’s drama in favour of the CLG vs TSM matchup, but it’s still one of the highlights of the season when these two veteran teams meet. TSM currently occupy joint first place whilst Cloud9 are just behind them, sharing third place with IMT. The biggest matchup here will be in the midlane. Both TSM and Cloud9 have Danish midlaners, which is not the only thing the two players have in common. They both share similar playstyles and like to play aggressive, often killing their opponents in tense 1v1 duels, in addition to having large champion pools and great teamfighting skills. Lately, Bjergsen has been looking great on Vladamir which is a champion that Jensen looked less than convincing on when he played it against Echo Fox. Look for this champion being targeted in bans by Cloud 9. Elsewhere, both midlaners are fantastic Victor and Azir players which I expect will be picks traded between series. The botlane is also a point of interest. I expect that Cloud 9 will start Bunnyfufu over Smoothie, as Bunny has shown more consistency thus far and his playmaking ability will be needed as they face off against NA’s number 1 team. Bunny and Sneaky have already dismantled one of NA’s best botlanes in Aphromoo and Stixxay this split and will look to do the same to Biofrost and Doublelift. “Biolift” are no pushover, however. Biofrost has shown that he is an excellent Bard player, and Doublelift has been playing out of his mind lately, heavily favouring Lucian 2 weeks into this split. I predict that the series will go to 3 games, and Cloud9 will take it 2:1. Immortals vs Envy The battle for first place extends into our second match of the week with Immortals taking on the undefeated Envy. This match represents a chance for Immortals to prove that they deserve a spot in the top 4, as their loss to TSM last week showed that they are no longer the best team in NA. Likewise, this game represents Envy’s first real test as a team as it is their first chance to test their metal against another team in the top half of the standings. In terms of lane matchups, the most exciting will definitely be in the toplane. Both Seraph and Huni are no strangers to putting their teams on their backs and will both be looking for a chance to play Irelia. Huni has now played 6 straight games on the champion while Seraph played it 3 times last week. It will be interesting to see which get their hands on the champion, or what counters they have prepared for it. The difference in playstyle is also interesting as Huni is very much a mechanics focused player, whereas Seraph is more of a macro player. A large factor in the games will definitely be which of these players can gain an advantage in the toplane. Reignover vs Proxin in the jungle will be another interesting matchup. Proxin showed last week, as many other NA junglers did, that he can play Olaf in the jungle with the champion being very strong at the moment. Reignover , on the other hand, has been playing Olaf since the beginning of his career, and has always had the pick up his sleeve. Priority on this champion is likely. Outside of Olaf, the two share very little in common when it comes to champion pool. Proxin favours carry style junglers, like Graves and Nidalee. Reignover, whilst he can play Graves and Nidalee, prefers, or at least looks better on tanks such as Rek Sai and Gragas. I predict that this will be Envy’s first series loss with Immortals taking the series 2-1. Team Liquid vs NRG Whilst the battle at the top of the table may be exciting, there are also exciting games to watch at the bottom half of the table. Team Liquid and NRG are both part of a 4 way tie for 6th place, and both teams will be looking at this match as an opportunity to pick up some much needed points. Although Dardoch was Rookie of the split last season, it’s former owner of that title Santorin who trumps him in every stat. Santorin has an 82% kill participation (2nd highest in the league), whereas Dardoch only has a 56.9% kill participation, which is actually 4 thlowest in the whole league. Unsurprisingly, this also translates into the player’s KDA stats as Santorin has a respectable 5.7 KDA which is 2nd highest for junglers. By contrast, Dardoch has an abysmal 1.9 KDA. In terms of Champions, both have played Rek Sai and Graves but Dardoch’s preferred champion is Lee Sin who he has solo carried many games on in the past. By contrast, Santorin’s most played champion is Gragas, showing that he prefers a high impact team-fighter to a more carry style champion. It will be exciting to see these two styles clash in the jungle. In the mid lane, we have the clash of two of last split’s biggest midlane threats. Both Fenix and GBM are known for their play on control mages which is great for them, as control mages are very valuable in the meta right now. Fenix is known for his flashy Azir plays, whereas GMB opts for Victor and Gangplang. Both midlaners have had a rough start to the split but will be looking to gain some ground in the coming series. I predict that NRG will take the series 2-0, based on their current form. Although the ceiling of TL is much higher than that of NRG, they look very out of shape as a team at the moment.