The 2019 LCS Spring Split is coming to a close this weekend as teams will look to make one last push for playoff spots. Unfortunately most of the teams posses losing records, but this is the result of highly-competitive action. This also makes the quest for the spring playoffs much more interesting, as five of the ten total teams are in the hunt with only two matches left. However, there are a few teams that have seemed to be a few steps behind their competitors.
100 Thieves (4-12)
100 Thieves came into the 2019 season with high hopes. Signing big-name assets like Bae “Bang” Jun-sik and Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun this off-season surely started the hype around this team, but their inconsistent play has kept them towards the bottom of the LCS. They were tripped up to start the split, going 0-3 through their first three matches. To be fair, each of these losses were against top three teams in TSM, Cloud9 and Team Liquid. Most teams would fall short if this string of matches came before them, but 100 Thieves found a way to bounce back by putting up three straight victories in the following weeks. Since then, they are 1-9 and currently sitting in last place.
This is a team with plenty of potential, but the numbers aren’t in their favor. In eight matches against the top four teams in the LCS, 100 Thieves have zero wins. Despite Bang and Ssumday sparking hope in some situations, this team hasn’t clicked as a unit yet. The communication doesn’t seem to be correct and the chemistry just isn’t there. This can be seen in some of their individual stats, as Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black is averaging the lowest K/D/A of any support this split at 1.6.
Simply stating that roster changes need to be made is a little too general for this team. In their time away from competitive play during the spring playoffs, 100 Thieves should try to mold together as much as possible. Their team compositions haven’t been as strong as their competitors’, so they’ll need to sit down as a group and fully discuss what has worked for them and what hasn’t this split. Each member has incredible individual talent, but League of Legends is a team game. Solidifying their team compositions and play-style will certainly help this team improve, so expect to see 100 Thieves bounce back this summer as long as they put the work in during their time off.
Clutch Gaming (5-11)
Clutch is one of those teams currently in the running for the last playoff spot. They would need quite a bit to go in their favor beforehand, but the playoffs are certainly within reach if they steal two wins this coming weekend. Though they have a sliver of hope, Clutch Gaming has been spiraling down ever since week two. After starting the split with two wins, they’ve gone just 3-11 in their last fourteen matches. This has mainly come from poor positioning and shot-calling. Too often Clutch is seen over-committing in fights that weren’t worth it to begin with. Their ill-preparedness usually allows for opposing teams to dictate the lane match-ups and control objectives with ease.
Misplays have been at the helm of Clutch’s overall poor record this year. Two members of Clutch average three deaths or higher in each match, which is not a sign of good chemistry. Tanner “Damonte” Damonte has been one of the few positive factors for this team, but one player is simply not enough to handle the load. Poor compositions ultimately put Clutch in tough situations in-game, resulting in either aggressive or conservative play. Mixing high-poke compositions with dive champions can often take a team away from their original game plan, and if they continue to use these same play styles, they’ll continually stay a step behind the competition.
A lot needs to be considered when thinking about Clutch’s direction going forward. Roster changes could be in order if their organization isn’t happy with these performances. With a playoff spot at the tips of their fingers, this team isn’t far from where they want to be, but they’re certainly not moving fast enough. If they can coordinate their fights better and control the vision game like Cloud9 tends to, Clutch has the potential to bounce back this summer. If this doesn’t end up being enough, Clutch will most likely need to start swapping players around.
Echo Fox (6-10)
With an impressive victory over Cloud9 recently, Echo Fox has started moving in the right direction. However, this team has been inconsistent all split. They started with four-straight losses, putting them in last place through two weeks. Since then, they’ve managed to go 6-6. This is definitely an improvement, but as a unit Echo Fox haven’t put the pieces together.
Like 100 Thieves, Echo Fox experimented with a roster change by bringing in James “Panda” Ding. Changing up the chemistry of the team affected them negatively, going 0-4 during Panda’s stretch. This goes to prove how important synergy is in professional LoL play. Top teams like Team Liquid and Cloud9 prove how well they work together week in and week out, while struggling teams like Echo Fox are considering all options to get better.
Simple communication errors with this team usually lead to them falling behind or letting the enemy climb back into the game. Echo Fox doesn’t do a great job of riding out their advantages as a result, and instead they tend to make ambitious plays. Rather than forcing things, they should consider playing around their bot-lane duo of Apollo “Apollo” Price and Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent. This duo has been the main factor in Echo Fox’s few successes, often times carrying the way to victory. Despite their impressive resumes, they don’t compare to those of the top LCS teams. Echo Fox needs to follow in the footsteps of Team Liquid and funnel as much gold into their bot-lane as possible. Playing safer across the board and prioritizing match-ups will go a long way for this team.
Featured Image Courtesy of LoL Esports.
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