5 weeks through the NA LCS and boy, what a split it has been thus far. Two sub-20 minute games, Dignitas still losing games at Baron, we’ve been treated to the works thus far, and we’ve still got four weeks to go. Here I’ll take a look at some of the larger headlines, and what their implications will be heading down the home stretch of the Spring Split.
Immortals are… Just that
There was obviously a lot of initial hype around this Immortals team, bringing in talent from both NA and EU. Both parties have delivered: the ex-Fnatic duo in top and jungle still continue their hyper-aggressive play style and keep their opponents off balance. I think Reignover in particular has stepped up big time for Immortals. Back on Fnatic, a lot of the hype seemed to be centered around Huni who would hard carry games on Ekko or Ryze. This split, however, we’ve seen Reignover step his aggression to another level, even bullying Rush out of his own jungle on Sunday, on Rek’Sai and Nidalee. You also can’t talk about Immortals without talking about their bottom lane, Wildturtle and Adrian. These two have been fantastic all split, amid questions of if they would be able to step up at the start. Turtle, especially, looks like a brand new player and has posted impressive numbers throughout the split. In mid, Pobelter has looked strong, providing a role similar to xPeke’s on Summer 2015’s Origen, not hard-carrying but being consistent and bringing strong damage. While the Cloud 9 game was incredibly enjoyable from a spectator’s standpoint, I don’t think it was the best strategy when looking to beat Immortals. The focus bans onto Adrian were smart, forcing him to play his first game that wasn’t Janna or Soraka, but Immortals seem to thrive on these highly chaotic, always fighting game-styles, similar to Impulse last year. If teams are able to play safe and controlled and look to capitalize on over-aggression, particularly on Turtle and Huni’s ends, then maybe there is a chance someone can upset this juggernaut. Immortals vs. TSM round 2 is probably their most interesting second half matchup, since TSM was able to hang with Immortals for a good portion of the game the last time they met.
TSM Is Starting to Come Together
Week 4 was TSM’s first 2-0 week, but it didn’t come in convincing fashion to say the least, with TSM finding itself at least a few thousand gold behind both of the bottom two teams for a good bit of the games. On top of that their communications as a unit still seemed to be lacking, with people consistently being picked off solo in river or the enemy jungle. Week 5 was a complete, and welcome, turnaround for TSM. Even though TSM was behind in kills for most of the game vs. Impulse, they remained ahead in gold pretty much solely off of farm, the game opened up for them around the 20 minute mark, and TSM ballooned its lead from there. The real impressive game for TSM was its rematch vs. CLG. Both teams had developed a lot since their opening day matchup, so I was expecting another competitive game that TSM just never gave CLG a chance to provide. CLG won the first matchup of this mainly through a stronger team cohesion and shotcalling, but TSM brought plenty of that this time around and just dismantled CLG. If they can continue like this, the future looks bright for the other North American super team.
Echo Fox Looks Good with a Full Roster
While Echo Fox currently sits in a tie for 8th place with Team Dignitas at 3-7, one has to remember that only one of those losses came with its full roster present, back in week 1 vs. Cloud 9, and another was a forfeit to NRG. Fox had a good chance to separate itself from the bottom of the pack with an opener vs. Renegades, which they handled with ease. The same could be said for their game vs. NRG, Fox never really found itself in a position to lose the game. One could attribute some of that to the questionable Evelynn jungle pick by Moon that game, but Froggen put up very impressive numbers both games on Corki, and the team looks ready and willing to rally around his leadership. Fox has another great opportunity this week playing Impulse and Liquid, who are one and two games ahead of them in the standings respectively.