The League Championship Series (LCS) continues into Week 8 of the Summer Split, and Counter Logic Gaming is sitting pretty. They currently hold second place, tied with Cloud9 at 9-5. There are still worlds where CLG misses playoffs, but they are slim. At this point it would not be unreasonable to see CLG with a playoff bye at the end of the regular season.
CLG faces Clutch Gaming Saturday and Echo Fox on Sunday. Considering these teams are in the bottom half of the standings, the games should be on the easier side. CLG also already beat CG and FOX last time they met.
Day 1 – Clutch Gaming
CG so far really only threaten the early game. They have higher stats when it comes to turrets, dragons and gold at 15 minutes (+563). They generally take the first turret (79 percent) and have an early gold lead. This makes a lot of sense, considering every CG individual except Lira tends to draft champions with more laning presence–Rumble, Qiyana, Xayah, Lux.
Problems arise for CG after the laning phase is over, and they need to play as a team. The gold lead drops (-55 gold differential per minute), they lose fights (0.88 K:D) and fall off damage-wise (~200 per minute less than CLG). CG have found a more unique style than the rest of the LCS, but have not been able to crest the mid game consistently.
CLG actually exhibit a similarly strong early game, but actually scale into late game. They should just stick to their comfort picks and ride out laning phase. Grouping for teamfights will go heavily in CLG’s favor, so hopefully they simply play clean League of Legends on Saturday.
Player to Watch: PowerOfEvil
The perception of CG and CLG’s mids in lane is drastically different. Damonte is expected to draft assassins like Qiyana, Akali and Zed, while PowerOfEvil prefers scaling mages like Viktor, Orianna and Syndra. Although it probably will not happen, seeing PowerOfEvil play something with more laning pressure would certainly throw CG off. Maybe CLG drafts the Leblanc, like versus GGS. Even if he stays on comfort, PowerOfEvil’s teamwork should shine in this game compared to Damonte.
Day 2 – Echo Fox
All of FOX’s stats are abysmal. The have the worst early game and objective control by far in the LCS. FOX has been plagued with roster swaps from Rush to Panda to MikeYeung, Yusui to Fenix, Solo to Lourlo, even breaking up Apollo and Hakuho to play Lost. The organization just sold its LCS slot altogether (not related to performance, obviously).
Champion pool-wise, these FOX and CLG overlap quite a bit. They tend to opt for scaling picks for the mid and bottom lane. Corki and Sivir will be pick-or-ban. Jarvan IV and Sylas will probably, as well. Both squads tend to choose safe scaling champion compositions, but CLG is simply better at getting rolling early and transitioning that to objective control.
Taking all of this into account, anything but a walk in the park for CLG would be disappointing. They have finally won over the faith of fans and analysts, meaning these last few matches should be about solid wins over teams below in the standings. Momentum will be important going into playoffs, and anything but a 2-0 in Week 8 will slow CLG down in that regard.
Player to Watch: Ruin
Regardless of the line-up, Ruin should look to shine in CLG’s match-up against FOX. Solo has been a reliable carry for FOX, while Lourlo has not. Last time they met Ruin played Sylas into Solo’s Gangplank and had a rough early game. He turned it on later, with some crucial stolen ultimates and turned the tide of the game. Hopefully in Week 8 he is able to start on better footing if against Solo, or dominate a bit earlier himself against Lourlo.
All statistics from Games of Legends