Can a new team break into Worlds for North America?

Over the past two seasons we’ve seen North America represented by the same three teams at Worlds: Team SoloMid, Cloud 9 and Counter Logic Gaming. These organizations have become fan favorites for most, but some new challengers have risen this split to possibly take their shot on the World stage for North America. The North American scene seems to be looking better and better. TSM has continued their dominance, while CLG and C9 have had their share of inconsistencies. Cloud 9 have almost guaranteed their spot at Worlds as long as they do well enough in playoffs. Second place for Spring granted them a massive amount of circuit points. With 3rd/4th place teams Phoenix1 and Flyquest looking close out of the playoff race, CLG will need to play well to ensure their spot at Worlds.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the teams that could contend for a spot:

Immortals

Due to Immortals finishing 7th place last split, they have zero circuit points to help with contention. This almost guarantees that they’ll need to earn their spot either by winning Summer or qualifying through the gauntlet. The latter will be the most likely scenario.

Immortals have become known for having great regular seasons, aside from last spring. This split came as a bit of a surprise to most. People expected the jungle swap of Dardoch and Xmithie to favor CLG, but both teams have benefited greatly. Not only the jungle swap, but the hiring of former ROX tiger coach, Kim “SSONG” Sang-soo, has given them the knowledge to properly out-macro opponents.

Every lane seems to have come into their own. Young rookie, Li “Cody Sun” Yu Sun has developed into a top tier ADC this split along with support Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung. Cody Sun is near the top for DPM and DMG percentage among ADC’s. Olleh has shown great performances on playmaking champions such as Thresh.

Immortals is currently tied for first with TSM and CLG. They’ll need to prove that they can finally perform when it matters, not just the regular season if they want to make it to Worlds.

Dignitas

Worlds

Photo via Riot Games

Dignitas stormed out the gates this split, contending for first place for a few weeks before going on a losing streak. They still have their inconsistencies at times. Last week against CLG they flashed the potential to be able to dominate some of the best teams in the league. Other times, they play to the level of their inferior opponents and drop matches.

With jungler Lee “Shrimp” Byeong-hoon taking the reigns as the full time starter now, Dignitas can maybe gain some consistency for a Worlds run. Shrimp has the second highest kill participation percentage among junglers. In the bot lane, they’ve added two veterans of the LCS in Altec and Adrian. It’ll be interesting to see if this becomes the full time bot lane for the team moving forward.

What’s worrisome is how average of a mid laner Lae-Young “Keane” Jang can be. Keane has middle of the pack stats in comparison to the rest of the NA mids. If he can play up to the likes of Bjergsen, Jensen, Pobelter and Huhi, then maybe Dignitas can make it.

Dignitas has 10 championship points from last split which likely means they’ll be battling in the gauntlet for a Worlds spot. If the team can find some consistency, don’t be surprised to see them as real contenders for a Worlds spot.

Phoenix1

Despite Phoenix1 not being far from the playoff race at the moment, and tied for last place, they still have a ton of circuit points that can help them qualify. A third place finish from Spring granted them 50 circuit points, more than a lot of the teams outside of C9/TSM. Even if they don’t qualify for playoffs they still have a shot in the gauntlet based on circuit points.

Rift Rivals was seen as a stepping stone for the team after a rough start to summer split. They had a good performance and were looking to carry that momentum into the second half of the split. That hasn’t been the case as they’ve stumbled coming back. Star rookie jungler Michael “MikeYeung” Yeung hasn’t looked as dominant since he’s returned. The tank jungler meta hasn’t allowed him to show the same carry performances we saw at Rift Rivals.

Mid laner, Ryu “Ryu” Sang-wook, stepping down certainly doesn’t help their cause either. Ryu was an integral part of the team, and it’s hard to say that Pirean can come in and perform up to veteran Ryu standards. If Ryu does return after a needed break, Phoenix1 can definitely make a C9 Cinderella run in the gauntlet.

Worlds

Photo via Riot Games

With only two and a half weeks left in the split, any team can make a late run for Worlds. Will it be CLG, Cloud 9 and TSM at Worlds once again for North America? Or will a new team emerge from the ashes?

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Cover photo by Riot Games

 

 

Worlds

Possibilities for NALCS Worlds teams

There are only three weeks of the regular season remaining in the LCS. Teams are jostling for playoff spots and each game could decide whether a team gets a spot in the top six. With playoff contention on the line, each match is all that more exciting.

Playoffs are the route to the big stage, the only competition that really matters in the end: Worlds. Rift Rivals gave us a small taste, a brief glimpse, a cracked window into the competition that we will see at Worlds. However, the real story is here in the trenches of each league. No team at Rift Rivals is guaranteed a spot at Worlds.

NA LCS has a few favorites. Before the beginning of Rift Rivals, there seemed to be a top four, those being C9, CLG, TSM and IMT. However, with C9 suffering a loss to NV and CLG taking a loss to DIG, those standings have been shaken up a bit. The teams that seem middle of the pack have now proven they can take wins against top tier teams.

Most likely to make Worlds

Worlds

Photo Via Lolesports Flickr

No Worlds spot is safe. TSM has a good chance to go, being the team with the most points from their Spring Split victory. They are also the favorites to win Summer Split and have two very likely avenues back to Worlds. They would have to throw a lot of games away the last few weeks and have an abysmal playoff run to not make Worlds.

Cloud9 seems to have the Worlds spot in their grasp too. Though they didn’t have the best record going into Rift Rivals, they have a fairly easy schedule the final few weeks of LCS, only facing one top four team. However, they suffered a loss to NV their first game back. Cloud9 does have the second place Spring finish to work with, and will likely still make playoffs. They have the chance to go to Worlds on points, if TSM wins the playoffs, but will likely have to have at least a third place finish.

IMT and CLG are in the same basket. Neither has enough points to bank on that route. They will either have to win the split out right or battle their way through the gauntlet. Either team will have a challenge in the gauntlet because the mid-tier teams are making a surge for the top spots. CLG does have the 10 points from the previous split. A second place finish from them and a fifth or sixth place finish from C9 will give CLG the championship points needed to go to Worlds.

Dark horses

Worlds

Photo Via Lolesports Flickr

NV picked up a win against Cloud9 in a 2-0 series on Saturday. The team looked good all around but more importantly proved they can win against top tier teams. They will have to make playoffs, and likely at least win in the first round, in order to have enough points to qualify for the gauntlet. At this point in the season, with the performance they had in week 5, it is definitely possible.

If NV does pick up some championship points they have the skill and ability to make a run at the Worlds stage through the gauntlet. A dominant win over C9 shows that.

DIG has something that NV does not, and that is 10 championship points. They will still have to make playoffs in order to qualify for the gauntlet, but have the advantage of doing so over NV. DIG started out the split strong, but have slumped in these middle weeks. They have just taken a win over CLG, however, and like NV have proven they game take series wins off of top tier teams.

P1 has a whopping 50 championship points from their third place finish in the spring, but they are sitting towards the bottom of the standings as of right now.  Rift Rivals has shown us that they aren’t a team to be trifled with and they are definitely on the upswing. They did eat a 2-0 loss to TSM, but P1 does have the potential to take some wins away from other top tier teams and climb the rankings. Depending on who makes the playoffs and finishes where, P1 might not even need to make the playoffs to make the gauntlet, but it would certainly help.

Nearly impossible

Worlds

Photo Via Lolesports Flickr

FLY, TL and FOX are all very unlikely to see playoffs, and by extension Worlds. These teams have had lackluster splits so far and have little to no redeeming qualities. Flyquest does have the benefit of having 30 championship points. P1 is playing so well that it wouldn’t come as a surprise if FLY end up in the relegation tournament.

The close standings of this NALCS split have opened the door for a lot of teams to see the Worlds stage. It’s far from the usual Cloud9, TSM, CLG. Instead, there’s a significant chance that only one of those teams will be attending the World Championships.


Cover Photo Via lolesports

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