Phoenix 1 rose from the figurative ashes and shut down TSM’s unbreakable streak in the NA LCS summer split. 14 match win streak. 17 games in a row. Taken away by lowly P1, a team that a lot of viewers, including myself, shrugged off as mere placeholders for NALCS2’s twitch channel.

If you’re reading this article, I trust that you probably have seen the games – you watched TSM confidently win game 1; you witnessed Sven as Gragas strut his way through enemy vision for Inori’s blue buff; you cheered in utter triumph when Inori, as Rengar, said NO MORE! NOT TODAY SVEN! And so Inori turned, forcing Sven to flash over the wall and feed Pirean that juicy First Blood.

That exchange, that moment when Inori walks  through the river to fight Gragas at his own Blue Buff best represents why we watch competitive League of Legends. It’s the moment when the over-confident team becomes blinded by their own perceived infallibility, and the underdog brings down the hammer, reminding the heroes that the game is still going. That the Nexus has yet to fall. And so Inori goes ham on Rengar, then bms as Rek’Sai, and joins his team in a celebratory huddle.

It should be noted that the other members of P1 played particularly well, or at least TSM’s tilted gameplay made P1’s seem spectacular. Unfortunately for P1, the team fell too hard in the first half of the split and has numerically locked itself out of playoffs. But such performance against TSM demonstrates P1’s ability to play League of Legends, and proves that the team is not going to go away quietly into the night. TLDR; look out for this young group.

On a separate note, TSM now has to face against IMT in the run for first place in the NA LCS summer split. The first place title at this point is largely moot, given that regardless of this weekend’s match both teams have solidly locked up first and second place in the standings, guaranteeing their byes in the playoffs. However, the IMT vs TSM match this weekend promises to deliver the most hyped-match of the NA LCS summer split thus far, as well as providing an opportunity for IMT to attain redemption.

After TSM’s loss to P1, Dylan Falco – coach of IMT – tweeted: “next week vs TSM got a lot more interesting.” I must say, I agree. IMT has now lost to TSM in their last two on-stage matches, with a notable loss in the semi-finals of last Spring split. The tables now seem to have turned, as TSM lost to P1 in an over-confident fashion that resembled IMT’s Lucian Top defeat, and so the question becomes: will IMT be able to capitalize on TSM’s faltering?

On the contrary, losing to P1 was perhaps the best result that TSM could have hoped for leading up to these final matches. As a way to keep the team honest, losing to P1 demonstrated holes in TSM’s game that the team now has the opportunity to fix before the high-stake matches. I do not claim to be an expert analyst on competitive League, but it does not take a genius to point out the over-confidence displayed by TSM in Game 2 against P1, notably: Sven greeding Inori’s Blue Buff; Hauntzer getting solo-killed by Zig in an unsuccessful dive; and the lack of respect for Rengar’s solo pushing with Baron to end the game.

Tune in this weekend to see if TSM can turn it around against the other colossus of NA LCS. Also, of note, there is a small chance that APX jumps NV to secure that lost spot for playoffs. Of course, this means APX needs to 2-0 and NV has to win literal zero matches against two teams who lie respectively lower in the standings. What do you think, can they do it? I’ll root for the old-fashioned underdog story and put my faith on APX. Let’s go.


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