The LCS Gauntlet starts today and with it a chance to go to Worlds as NA’s third seed. FlyQuest and Clutch will fight it out for a chance to face CLG and then a chance to try and keep TSM form making it to Worlds for a second straight year. With all of that in mind, there are so many different storylines to watch. Luckily here is a list to help make sure that nothing major is missed.
This can only be described as a debacle for TSM this split. It was supposed to be a healthy battle between Grig and Akaadian for the job. Akaadian won the job and then near the end of the split it seemed like something was off and then Spica was announced as the starter and only jungler for TSM at playoffs. As was anticipated this led to disaster as TSM lost to Clutch 3-1 and have now had about a month off to figure everything out.
It has yet to be announced who will be TSM’s starting Jungler for the series, although it is likely Spica, so that storyline alone is one to watch. Add on top of that, if Spica does start, will he be more comfortable with the offtime the team has had? This was clearly something that was missed in their last series and something that will be necessary if TSM wants to head back to Worlds.
CLG vs CG
Looking ahead to Day 2, the matchup predicted by most will be Clutch Gaming vs Counter Logic Gaming. In a rematch of the recent third-place series where the teams went to a full five games, both teams will be coming into this match ready to make an impact. With Worlds on the line, they will be utilizing every little bit of information gathered from their recent matchup as they take to the rift.
The edge should go to CLG in this area, as they won their last matchup, and will have more time to prepare than Clutch, with Clutch having to make sure they get past FlyQuest to even get that far. Even so, the explosiveness of CG should never be counted out. After such an exciting series just weeks ago, and with even more on the line this time, this will surely be a series to watch.
Off or On Meta?
One thing that is always seen in games like this are off-meta picks. During the Finals weekend in Detroit picks like Ahri, Thresh and Poppy were coming out in an attempt to get even the smallest advantage. While these specific picks are completely off-meta they are very different than what is seen in most best of ones.
Because this is a best of five it will be interesting to see what is pulled out. What tricks do teams have up their sleeves when it matters most? Could fans see V1per or BrokenBlades signature picks in Riven? Could Bjerg pull out the Zilean? Will BioFrost put on a clinic as Thresh again? No one knows, but what everyone is hoping is that Karma top is not seen too often with such heavy-hitting top laners across the board.
FlyQuest Shaking Things Up
With a Summer Split record of 5-13, saying that FlyQuest is an underdog is a pretty huge understatement. On paper, they have a good lineup, but have failed to live up to expectations for quite some time. It would take a huge turnaround for them to come out on top of Clutch. Though unlikely, if they DO manage to come out on top of Clutch, even that would be enough to break a lot of brackets.
Despite the heavy predictions against them, they have some things going for them. They have had a long time off to prepare, and with the right amount of analysis and practice, they could come out of the gates as a whole new team in the Gauntlet. Conversely, Clutch has had much less time to prepare, and there is a good chance that they have spent most of that time looking ahead to CLG in order to prevent losing to them two series in a row. If Omran “V1per” Shoura can return to the form that earned him Rookie of the Split, Santorin gets back in form and the rest can keep cool heads, there could be a major upset to start the Gauntlet.
The Battle for Top 2 ADC
A topic of conversation throughout the split has been the strength of the ADCs in the league. Most can agree that Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng holds the top spot, but after him it gets a little less clear. Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi has struggled this split, and though his team finished in Second Place, few would place him that high on the list of LCS Marksmen. The honor of that title would likely go to one of the four facing off this weekend in the LCS Gauntlet.
In the past, both Jason “WildTurtle” Tran and Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen would have been likely contenders, but this season was different. Though neither of them could really be considered a liability for their teams, they weren’t the hard carries that they have each been in the past. Zven spent the season in the shadow of Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, and FlyQuest seemed to lack any carry at all.
That leaves Sun “Cody” “Cody Sun” Li-Yu and Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes to fight for second. Cody Sun has shown steady improvement throughout the season, moving from a 3.47 KDA in the Spring Split, to 5.04 in the Summer Split, to an impressive 9.64 in the Summer Playoffs. With a strong team around him, he has consistently been a late-game powerhouse, and a lot of the reason CG were able to close out many of their victories.
Stixxay has been a prominent member of CLG for a long time now. As the longest current member of the roster, his steady head and leadership have been nearly as important to his team as his consistent play. Though not as flashy as many of his counterparts, he has been consistent enough to put him near the top of the ADC list in the LCS. If he continues to pop off in the Gauntlet, this could be the year that he solidifies his spot in the Top 2.
Make sure to watch all four of them battle it out. It may not necessarily be an ADC meta but they all have an opportunity to show that they deserve to be in that second-place spot.