The League Championship Series (LCS) returns this weekend for Week 4, as Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) squares up against FlyQuest (FLY) and Cloud9 (C9). Coming off a 2-0 week, CLG comes into their match-ups overall 4-2 record. FLY’s 1-5 standing puts them at the bottom of the barrel, while C9 is looking like the best team in North America. A loss to FLY or a win over C9 could prove vital for CLG’s playoff standings at the end of the season, considering the six-way tie for first.
Day 1 – FlyQuest
FLY has had a tough start to Summer Split. Their 1-5 record does not paint the full picture, though. Other than their match versus Golden Guardians, FLY has either gained a lead or kept the opponent’s gold lead relatively small for the first 20 minutes. And in three of FLY’s past four games, Santorin secured First Blood and first Drake (in the fourth he still took first Drake). FLY’s early moves generally work, but they cannot seem to push their advantages into clear gold leads.
Deaths from Pobelter and JayJ also stand out as weakness from FLY, as both players average the highest deaths per game of starting players at their positions. They also have some of the worst gold and XP differences at 15 minutes in the LCS. Contrasted with Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage and Vincent “Biofrost” Wang, these match-ups look heavily CLG-favored. With ranged supports and control mages getting more priority in the current meta, these positions could be detrimental to FLY’s chances.
FLY’s top side is the one area that could contest CLG. V1per has been having some great games, all things considered, and Santorin has been drafting Elise and Lee Sin. Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min, on the other hand, also has a high average death rate that has been balanced with superior late-game impact. Raymond “Wiggily” Griffin has been paying a lot of attention to the solo lanes in CLG’s games, so the top-side could become pretty volatile. Otherwise, CLG has far greater objective control and teamfighting skills, with better Dragon, Herald, Baron and turrets taken per game.
Player to Watch: Ruin
Ruin’s laning and damage stats look good, but he does tend to become a target for opponents when they start rotating. He and V1per enjoy drafting the bully champions a bit more than others in the LCS. If CLG allows V1per to lock in his signature Riven, all eyes go towards Ruin and the junglers. As the weeks go on, CLG’s top laner should hopefully become a bit more disciplined. In games like this one, sometimes it makes more sense to let the rest of the team carry, while trying to check the boxes.
Day 2 – Cloud9
Cloud9 will be CLG’s greatest challenge yet. After defeating Team Liquid in Week 2 and Golden Guardians in Week 3, CLG looks to break away from “the clump” by taking down North America’s best team currently. C9 come off a bitter loss to TSM, and they did lose to GGS the week prior. They are far from unbeatable, but CLG has their work cut out for them.
Draft will heavily factor into this match-up. C9 has some of the most flexible and unique drafts, especially since they have Blaber and Svenskeren as functional junglers. CLG does not seem interested in running some of the big meta picks, like Sona-Taric, Akali or Irelia, while C9 seems open to all of them. Instead, Lux, Viktor, Caitlyn and Trundle have become power picks for CLG that C9 has to consider. Likewise, C9 is winning with Gragas-Yasuo, Neeko, Hecarim and Azir. With all of these different picks in play, both squads will go onto the Rift with some advantages, while conceding others.
The top lane should be fun to watch, yet again. Licorice has been stalwart in C9’s top lane all year. Watching how much attention CLG pays that lane will be important. C9’s jungler, Svenskeren, is off to an early MVP run, so Wiggily will possibly have the toughest test. Nisqy and PowerOfEvil almost have opposing playstyles, with C9 focusing more attention on mid lane pressure, while CLG pulls PowerOfEvil to the side lanes more frequently. Restricting PowerOfEvil’s options to leave lane may be a weakness for CLG.
Player(s) to Watch: Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes & Biofrost
However, the widest difference between these teams will probably come from bottom lane. Stixxay has been committing to stronger early games than Sneaky. These guys are top and bottom of the entire LCS pool in laning stats, with Sneaky beginning far behind in gold and Stixxay starting reasonably ahead. The Biofrost-Zeyzal match-up could be pretty CLG-favored in the current meta, with C9’s support preferring tanky champions, like Braum and Alistar. C9 should be able to draft around this mismatch enough to avoid a total disaster, but a snowballing Caitlyn-Lux or Xayah-Rakan could win this one for CLG.
All statistics from Games of Legends