The end of the split was but a far flung dream two weeks ago, but the end of the split is finally here. With their two games this week, Cloud9 looks to match Immortals from the 2016 NALCS Spring Split record of 17-1.
Previewing Week 9
Evil Geniuses (9-7)
Evil Geniuses, are extremely hot right now. Currently on a five game win streak. With wins over Golden Guardians, Counter Logic Gaming, Team Liquid and Dignitas, they successfully completed the sweep of the bottom four of the LCS. Their win over FlyQuest shows they may have overcome their fairly obvious synergy issues they faced early in the split. Evil Geniuses, TSM and FlyQuest are all fighting for 2nd place and a chance to avoid Cloud9 for as long as possible. But Cloud9 look to rain on Evil Geniuses hot streak in both team’s first game of the final week of the LCS Spring Split.
The first match between these two ended with a clear Cloud9 victory in Week 4. Even with their unexpected struggles last week, this match is heavily Cloud9 favored. C9 will continue their dominance and will look for more spicy picks, as they are locked into first place. Evil Geniuses, while being tied for 2nd, still have not secured a playoff spot. If Evil Geniuses lose both games this week, their other game is against Immortals who are also in the playoff soup, there is a chance they could miss playoffs. Expect Evil Geniuses to pick meta picks to attempt to ensure their victory in this game, although Evil Geniuses may just mimic the draft TSM used to defeat Cloud9.
Player to Watch: Jiizuke, Evil Geniuses
He is the true wildcard of the team. Jiizuke has always played very aggressively and depending on his opponent this means either feeding or snowballing. That reason is why he needs to be watched. If he can get a few early kills, Jiizuke will spread this advantage over the map. LeBlanc is a high priority pick for Jiizuke, she is strong in this meta and Jiizuke has a 70% win rate on her. If neither team bans LeBlanc in the first ban phase, expect to see Evil Geniuses pick her up.
However, there are many more factors that would contribute to an Evil Geniuses loss. Jiizuke has three games with five or more deaths, none of them resulting in a win for Evil Geniuses. If Cloud9 can capitalize on his aggressive play, there is a strong possibility of defeating Evil Geniuses. Cloud9 could also hard camp Jiizuke, although Nisqy can handle his aggressiveness by roaming more often. Overall, an Evil Geniuses win or defeat is strongly affected by Jiizuke’s play.
Prediction – Cloud9
Team Liquid (7-9)
What better way to end the split than the exact same way it started? Cloud9 will look to dominate Team Liquid once again. The first meeting ended with a win for Cloud9, but was also a warning sign of what was to come for Team Liquid. To put it simply, Team Liquid have not lived up to the expectations a four-time reigning champion earns. The issues for Team Liquid range from some players not adapting to the meta very well and possible behind the scene issues.
This is a must-win game for Team Liquid, even more so if they beat FlyQuest in their first game this week. That is a tall order as FlyQuest remains in the top half of the LCS for this split. Fortunately for Team Liquid there are some major differences between this game and their first match against Cloud9. First being that Broxah is finally in North America and has practiced with the rest of Team Liquid. Team Liquid have been an unremarkable 5-5 since Broxah arrived. Which is a better record than without him, but improving to average isn’t exactly a feat. On the other more positive hand, Doublelift no longer has to play Senna as a carry. He played Senna in the first match against Cloud9 and has been vocal about not wanting to play her.
Player to Watch: Vulcan, Cloud9
Vulcan has emerged as the unsung hero of Cloud9’s historic split. This game will serve as another reminder that Vulcan is the top of the LCS for support players. He will once again face off against World Champion and MVP CoreJJ, who Vulcan outplayed in their first game.
With this being the last and possibly an inconsequential game, Vulcan may throw caution in the wind and pick something off-meta. Maybe another Senna/Tahm Kench lane where Vulcan is the lane bully and Zven farms the souls of champions. Vulcan can also do some SoloQ cheese and take Sett support, who has a 52% win rate on a 1.22% pick rate. Although Sett will most likely be banned as he is the third most banned champion this split. Whatever Vulcan decides to pick, it will be a treat to watch.
Prediction – Cloud9
Featured Image courtesy of LoL Esports Photos on Flickr.
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