Four Things to Look for in the First Week of the NA LCS Spring Split
1)Drama. Lots of it.
Last year’s NA LCS ended with the oldest rivalry clashing in Madison Square Garden. The conclusion of the NA LCS season could not have been more dramatic. The biggest rivalry in League of Legends left a sour taste to TSM fans as CLG made its way to an easy 3-0 victory. North American teams focused on the World Championship in the remainder of the 2015 season, regional rivalries went unnoticed, but not for long.
In what would become the most controversial transfer in League of Legends history, “Doublelift”, former star player and AD carry of Counter Logic Gaming was fired from the organization. In less than forty-eight hours, he had signed a contract with CLG’S biggest rival, TSM. What followed was an offseason overshadowed by the “Doublelift transfer”. A video was later published by the TSM organization where Doublelift throws the CLG jersey into a trashcan infuriating “Hotshotgg”, owner of CLG. Insults, public statements, relationship endings and lots of drama dominated this last off-season, and as if that was not enough, the two teams will inaugurate the 2016 season.
No matter what the outcome of the first game, the two teams will leave everything on the Rift. We can surely expect both teams to have studied each other, we can expect both teams to want to beat each other more than any time before. The post game interviews should make clear that these two teams do not like each other. League of Legends’ oldest rivalry escalated into a war-zone, and Saturday the 16th will be the first battle of the season.
2) Froggen’s struggle continues
Arguably the best Western player of all-time, new Mid Laner of Echo Fox “Froggen” has a lot to prove this season. It has been a long time since Froggen has been able to carry his team into victory. After finishing 7th in both splits of the EU LCS in season 5, and being eliminated in the group stage in season 4 of the world championships, Froggen’s inability to carry has become the norm. In light of his unsuccessful attempts at creating a world-class team, the community does not doubt that Froggen’s talent is still there. The consensus seems to suggest that lack of talent on his team is the cause of the lack of success as a professional player in his later years.
Froggen has landed in America and is ready to play, but the norm continues. The European superstar will be around players that few of us have heard of before. Echo Fox should win its first game against TIP, if they do not, it would be catastrophic. If they do, they will have beaten the team with the lowest talent in the region. The true test will come on Sunday when they match against C9. With Rush coming into the jungle and a successful finish in last year’s regional qualifiers C9 should be the favorite. Froggen will do everything he can in the mid-lane until the screen says defeat.
3)A lot of downtime
Games have been a lot quicker in solo queue. The game has shifted into an extremely fast-paced meta. There are more ways than ever before to extend a lead. It seems unlikely that we will see a lot of comebacks. Therefore, we will either watch more of the analyst desk, or the broadcasts will end quicker. Maybe this is just Riot getting ready for the Summer format of Bo3’s.
Extremely large patch change during the off-season, almost every team has switched at least one player(some of them changing a lot more), and a snowbally meta-game is the recipe for a chaotic style of play. Teams have not figured out what is the best way to play on this patch. Players have not figured out what the best champions are. As the season progresses, and the meta-game is established, we should expect to watch a more standard way of playing. In the mean time, fasten your seat belts because games should be very entertaining unless they are too snowbally.
Cheese picks, cheese strategies should be seen like when “Hai” opened the season with a mid Teemo in the spring of 2014 against TSM. Even though teams will bring out their best during the first week of competition, it will not be a defining moment as to whom will attend worlds. With that in mind, it should be the most exciting first week of any NA LCS so far.