The League Championship Series (LCS) moves into Week 2 on June 8 and 9. Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) matches up against 2-0 OpTic Gaming on Saturday, and 1-1 Team Liquid on Sunday. These best-of-ones should be quite different, as OPT and TL showed differing strategies in Week 1.
Day 1 – OpTic Gaming
CLG’s first game should be much more dynamic than their second. OpTic brought out a split-pushing Twisted Fate composition against Clutch Gaming and essentially won one big teamfight to win against 100 Thieves. Meanwhile, both of CLG’s games involved a winning bottom lane, Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage frequently roaming to side lanes and early assistance from Raymond “Wiggily” Griffin in top lane.
While both teams averaged gold leads at 15 minutes, CLG’s was much larger (2,957) than OpTic’s (977), despite playing against TSM instead of Clutch. CLG ultimately lost to TSM, but that was largely due to their inability to deal with the hyper-speed Hecarim, which OPT most likely will not draft.
However, this Saturday matchup could turn into a unique dance between CLG looking for fights and OpTic splitting. Both Niship “Dhokla” Doshi and Lee “Crown” Min-ho seem interested in staying in a side lane, but PowerOfEvil and Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min frequently pulled together for teamfights. If CLG are able to repeat their early game strategies, then they should be able to finish the OpTic game out like their match versus 100 Thieves. OpTic may try to draft a scaling composition similar to what TSM had, but they most likely will not execute it at the same level.
Player to Watch: PowerOfEvil
Crown got lucky he only faced Tanner “Damonte” Damonte and Max “Soligo” Soong in LCS Week 1. For Week 2, he has to face CLG’s PowerOfEvil, who averaged ahead in gold, CS and XP in Week 1, despite facing Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg instead of Damonte and despite roaming constantly on Orianna.
With Crown facing a more formidable mid laner, OpTic may not be able to pull off the Teleports, splits and picks that they did in Week 1. PowerOfEvil is an expert at controlling his lane and showing up exactly when the team needs him. He can also be known to draft surprise picks, so CLG should not necessarily be as caught off guard by things like Twisted Fate and Vladimir mid lane.
Day 2 – Team Liquid
Team Liquid honestly feels like a better version of CLG. Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen is the only mid laner with a higher gold, CS and XP lead at 15 than PowerOfEvil, and he got matched against Bjergsen and David “Yusui” Bloomquist in Week 1. Team Liquid prioritize dragons and bottom lane control, which is one of the strengths CLG showcased last week. Finally, both teams rely heavily on their junglers to execute early strategies that mirror their draft, and they like to group up and teamfight.
Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in’s poor engages in the late game, and a god-like performance out of Colin “Solo” Earnest, proved detrimental to Team Liquid in their match against Echo Fox. It honestly feels like a one-off loss for them. CoreJJ does not have those performances often. CLG could realistically try for the Gangplank-Skarner-Galio “throw everything at bottom lane” composition, and maybe even pull it off in the early game. But TSM showed that a scaling composition with hard engage could really throw CLG off, and that is TL’s bread and butter.
The draft is the other big elephant in the room for CLG. PowerOfEvil seems uninterested in picking Akali, while Jensen will happily play her. Also, since solo lane champions have been getting picked in the second round of the draft generally, Ruin or PowerOfEvil will probably get counterpicked. Since Team Liquid tend to give Impact the least resources, it will probably be mid lane. In the same way CLG may expose OpTic by targeting Crown, TL might expose CLG by targeting PowerOfEvil.
Player to Watch: Stixxay
Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng is Liquid’s greatest strength, based on LCS Week 1. He had the best laning stats and gold per minute of any player. But one player on CLG follows closely behind: Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes. Stixxay’s gold per minute, CS difference, XP difference and gold difference at 15 minutes closely mirror Doublelift’s. He and Vincent “Biofrost” Wang had really great laning phases versus OpTic and 100 Thieves.
The big difference, though, between Doublelift and Stixxay is their damage. Doublelift is cranking 497 damage per minute, good enough for a 30.4 percent share of Liquid’s damage. Stixxay averaged 371 over his two games, which is just 23.7 percent. Of course, statistics are only part of the story, but the point remains: Doublelift was way more efficient transforming his laning lead into actual damage. Stixxay will need to do the same if CLG expects to out-teamfight TL this weekend.
All statistics from Games of Legends