This is basically the small preview that shows used to have to do before DVR was a mandatory feature and before Netflix and Hulu paved the way for binge-able content. Remember when shows used to do the “Previously on _____”? It was a lifesaver if you forgot to TiVo something.
Previously on the LCS, North America saw quite the correction from the week 1 performances.
“You’re telling me FlyQuest and Immortals aren’t one of the best teams in North America? You’re telling me Cloud9 were actually right when they said the lack of practice was a problem?”
There are still some shaky points but a lot has been learned about what is going on in the LCS.
Back to Their Regularly Scheduled Programming
Cloud9 meant it when they considered their week 1 struggles being connected to a lack of practice. Their 3-0 performance came as a result of Luka “Perkz” Perković stepping up to the plate, averaging an incredible gold lead of 982 at 10 minutes, a 644 experience lead at 10 minutes and a 656 damager per minute — highest among mid-laners during week 2. He would also participate in two out of the three first bloods, a reminder of how excellent he is when he’s able to be involved early in the matches.
“But they also had an easier week – taking on FlyQuest, Counter Logic Gaming and a Dignitas team that was playing with their academy mid-laner.”
It could be argued that he was deserving of “Player of the Game” in all three of Cloud9’s matches but he’ll settle for taking away two of them. Calvin “k1ng” Truong hasn’t impressed in his six games on stage but week two saw much needed improvement as well as finding more comfort on the LCS stage.
While one team returns to form in a positive manner, another returns to their weaker form.
Immortals appeared to be on their way towards great heights after week one. Taking advantage of the downtime during the mid-season allowed for the team to appear much more in-sync on the rift. But as many college kids know, it was that first week of motivation during syllabus week, only for that second week to hit like a truck.
Temporarily promoting their academy mid-laner did not help. David “Insanity” Challe has slowly become one of the more well-received mid-laners in North America. Prodromos “Pretty” Kevezitidis isn’t bad either but it could be argued that he messes with the Feng Shui of the team.
Immortals aren’t inherently bad, they had tough competition. Facing Evil Geniuses, Dignitas and Team Liquid is a fearsome gauntlet. The concern is how out of sync they looked. Losing sight of their macro strategy that made them a force in week one played a huge factor in their week two woes. Also leaving up Akali in two games did not help either.
Immortals look to be a better version of their 7-11 spring selves. Now, the team just needs to be able to replicate the fire they displayed in week 1.
Nick Smith Is Slowly Doing It Again
Back-to-back 1-2 weeks isn’t something to put on your resume. It isn’t necessarily something to be excited about. But if you are a Golden Guardians fan that had to watch a disaster spring split take place, you’re okay with it.
Nicholas “Ablazeolive” Abbott is one of the top-performing mid-laners in the LCS right now. The person that was always considered to be a step behind Cristian “Palafox” Palafox is killing it in his second split. He ranks first among mid-laners in damage per minute (546), fourth in gold difference at 10 minutes (+198) and is receiving the third lowest percentage of his team’s creeps post-15 minutes (21.7%).
You love to see it.
A lot of it is coming with Golden Guardians seeing a general improvement with their approach to League of Legends. The pieces on the team are being used in a more appropriate manner. And a lot of that should be credited to coach Nick Smith. While the players are the ones playing on the rift, Nick Smith and company have pointed the team in the right direction.
You can finally see Ethan “Iconic” Wilkinson when watching Golden Guardians games now.
They’re slowly putting the pieces together. Again, a 1-2 performance in Week 2 doesn’t mean a lot. But Golden Guardians putting together competitive performances is incredibly important for the vision they pitched at the start of the season. Its a sign that their development project is working.
100 Thieves Are Pulling Us Back In
Victor “FBI” Huang can finally play weakside.
100 Thieves has found success in getting Felix “Abbedagge” Braun and Can “Closer” Çelik on the same page early. Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu and company did an excellent job at bringing one style of play in week one — primarily centered around Abbedagge’s supportive Karma play and aggression from Closer — and flipping it on its head in week two.
Teams are struggling when it comes to draft preparation against 100 Thieves. It does feel like when one door closes for them, another door opens for them. It is still yet to be determined what happens when 100 Thieves doesn’t get a draft they want but right now, their players are playing up to their previous expectations.
This has been the 100 Thieves team people have been waiting for for years. It is the championship formula teams are always searching for — great side-lanes along with an excellent mid-jungle synergy. Its just so hard to trust them.
North America’s Bad Good Teams
Four teams that were expected to either establish themselves as potential candidates to represent Worlds or fall into obscurity are still trying to define themselves.
They were who we thought they were.
Narrowly avoiding an 0-3 week wasn’t on TSM’s radar after a strong showing in week 1. Early game struggles continue to be a barrier they have been unable to break through — averaging a team deficit of -754 at 15 minutes on the split and -1092 in week two.
It hasn’t just been on one player this split, it’s been a team effort in both wins and losses. Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage continues to have some of his weakest performances on Lucian. Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon still manages to lull fans into a false sense of comfort and will proceed to sprint it down the next game. And their $6 million man doesn’t look like one.
The face of the franchise Mingyi “Spica” Lu still hasn’t sold himself as the long-term keeper of said title with his performances in 2021. And Lawrence “Lost” Sze Yuy Hui hasn’t sold himself as the long-term marksman of TSM.
It is still crazy that a lot of areas of concern can be pointed out and then TSM just goes 3-0 in the next week as if none of these bad things happened.
Any week that Team Liquid doesn’t have Barney “Alphari” Morris starting despite him being on their payroll is a bad week for the organization. It isn’t to say that Thomas “Jenkins” Tran is performing poorly — he hasn’t. It is just a brutal reminder that Team Liquid benched their best player because he may have been negative when referring to the weaker players on the roster.
Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen continues to be the “west-coast offense quarterback” of the mid-lane — holding his own in his respective area but not necessarily leading the charge to victory. He would also have a pitiful performance on Viego against Evil Geniuses that would raise some questions yet overall, it’s been another Jensen start to the year.
And once again, Edward “Tactical” Ra has been given the opportunity to put the team on his back and establish himself as a star but has failed to do so. He once again was caught out in a critical moment that Evil Geniuses were able to capitalize on and win the game.
Despite their 1-2 week, Dignitas has a lot to be optimistic about from week 2.
David “Yusui” Bloomquist would make his return to the LCS stage and didn’t look individually terrible against strong opponents. Toàn “Neo” Trần would try out new champions and find success on Samira. We won’t talk about Neo on Seraphine.
Their team fighting approach to competitive League of Legends is perfect for the current meta that we’re witnessing, it is just a matter of cleaning some of the rough edges. Coach Jimmy Harrison has displayed some struggles in drafting (see: Neo’s Seraphine) and at times has been crippling the potential of the team.
But again, they were playing with a substitute mid-laner during a week where they would face the two finalists during the Mid-Season Showdown. It is easily to attribute some of the problems being connected to facing better teams.
EG games’ are fun to watch. It probably isn’t fun to be a fan of them.
The duality of Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro remains in full swing as times he would impress and at times, make you slam your head against the desk. However, he does have one of the best Pro Views out there.
Jeong “Impact” Eon-young hasn’t had the start to the split he was expecting. After an incredible spring where he would simply be able to bounce back from any situation, he hasn’t been able to do so this time around. Potentially a result of the meta, his return to aggressive top-laners has been a welcoming reminder of just how talented and versatile he really is.
Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki has been fine in his rookie split, showing moments for both brilliance and greenness. He is someone that can be built-up and Evil Geniuses appear to be looking to do so. Its now just a question of whether they can do that this split as they’re struggling to find any resemble of a foundation.
One Big Thing About Week 2
North America has introduced the happy of “giving people opportunities at questionable times.” Pretty and Yusui were promoted out of nowhere, stalling what had been a great start to the split for both of their respective teams. Danny was promoted to the starting roster for Evil Geniuses after one split on their amateur roster. Getting stage experience is critical for young talent.
But giving it to them now? Are we sure about that?
Teams are still attempting to figure out the concept of talent development. It is a complex task to handle and the scene is filled with relatively young and inexperienced adults. Testing and experimenting may seem to be the best option but terrible experiments are still terrible experiments.
Hopefully, the takeaway is that these types of moves aren’t positive changes and that a negative reception is understandable.
“From Our Haus to Yours”