Playoffs have finally made their way to the LCS and Team SoloMid will be facing EchoFox in a best-of-5 series. TSM seems to be the clear favorite, as they have an incredible resume against strong opponents. However, EchoFox has been known to sneak up on unsuspecting teams, so this should make for an interesting matchup.
Team SoloMid: Ravaging the Opposition
TSM has fought their way back to the top with an old-school approach. They look just like the dominant TSM squad that everyone remembers, but with some new faces. One face that hasn’t changed is Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, one of the world’s best mid-laners.
Bjergsen has stayed with TSM through thick and thin, but now this team looks ready to compete with the best. Finishing with a regular season record of 13-5, TSM has beaten top teams like Team Liquid and FlyQuest, but more interestingly have a 2-0 record against EchoFox. It’s safe to wonder if this winning trend will continue in the playoffs against a more prepared Echo Fox squad.
Top: Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik
Broken Blade has been incredible this season for Team SoloMid. He wears the top-laner role quite well and is typically the centerpiece in TSM’s game plan. Some of his more commonly played champions like Urgot, Vladimir and Jayce offer high amounts of damage to make ganking a little more efficient. More often than not, his teammates roam up to his lane to utilize his damage advantage. These ganks are usually very well-thought out and executed properly, resulting in an early-game lead for Broken Blade.
If unsuccessful, Broken Blade often falls behind and submits to tankier, heavy-scaling champions. It’s very hard to fight back in the late-game when you’re behind on a squishier champion, so some of his strengths can quickly turn to weaknesses. However, TSM has looked very polished this split and Broken Blade has filled his role effectively.
Jungle: Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbottham
Akaadian has had some ups and downs this split, however he has been one of the biggest factors in TSM’s overall success. As previously stated, Akaadian often makes plays in the top side of the map to give his teammates an early-game lead. This transcends to steady objective control and a decent gold advantage across the board.
Akaadian is often doing the dirty work, whether it be spreading wards through the enemy jungle or securing the rift scuttler. His team-first mentality makes it easier for his teammates to get ahead and can lead to more comfortable play. However, Akaadian has missed a few Sejuani ultimates in crucial moments, so if he can avoid simple mistakes like that he’ll do just fine.
Sejuani is Akaadian’s most comfortable champion, but he’s also been great on Nocturne and Gragas. Each of these champions have great gap-closing abilities, as well as game-changing ultimates to shift any fight. His positioning usually leads to proper fights and constant pressure in the enemy jungle. Overall, Akaadian has been the missing piece that TSM needed in the jungle.
Mid: Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg
Bjergsen has been one of the world’s best mid-laners for quite some time now. However, TSM hasn’t had the same type of success that he’s had.This split, Bjergsen has taken over as the true leader of the team and his play seems to have a big part in the outcome of most matches.
He prefers high DPS champions like Zoe and LeBlanc, but he can play utility champions like Lissandra just as well. His overall skill gives him an advantage in lane by landing a high number of skill shots and usually out-trading his opponents. This gives him the opportunity to roam to the top-side of the map, or give his bot lane some pressure.
Either way, Bjergsen is typically effective when roaming and his teammates generally benefit from it. His K/D/A of 5.84 is above average in North America this split, but his positioning and play-making abilities define him better than statistics.
Defying Odds: The Echo Fox Story
Echo Fox has had an interesting run this season. They’ve been fairly inconsistent with their record, but they managed to show up when it counted the most. With wins against Cloud9 and Team Liquid, this squad has shown that they can compete with anyone in the LCS.
Their upcoming series against TSM will surely be their biggest test so far considering the sheer strength of their opponents. However, they’ll get multiple chances at perfecting a composition to counter TSM’s top side pressure. If they can get a grip on TSM’s moves in the early game, they can most likely dictate how the rest of the match goes. Ward control will be a huge factor for both sides, but Echo Fox will need to keep eyes out for the roam-heavy members of TSM. This can potentially limit their death totals, so they can build up a lead for their dominant duo in the bot lane.
ADC: “Apollo” Price
Apollo has molded into the perfect ADC in the modern-League era. His champion pool is wide enough to remain unpredictable, while his skill keeps enemies on their toes at all times. If given Ezreal or Xayah, Apollo can effectively harass enemies while keeping track of the minion waves. Both champions have great wave-clear and poke damage, making them versatile with most support combinations. Apollo is incredible with getting even or staying ahead in farm score to help him scale into the later stages of the game. With such a star-studded League of ADCs, Apollo can sometimes be swept up in the pack, but he is quite underrated and can turn the tides of any match.
Support: Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent
Hakuho has been the cherry on top to this ice-cream sundae of a bot-lane duo. Everything has been sweet and smooth for them disregarding their overall record. It seems that Hakuho has a sixth sense for Apollo’s positioning, so they become synergized in their movements and ability combinations.
He also plays champions that compliment Apollo’s strengths, such as Braum and Rakan. These champions are great at peeling for teammates, but they can also turn it around and dive the enemy team. Their overall utility helps keep EchoFox’s team composition intact and lets their solo-laners pick higher damage champions.
Hakuho doesn’t have any major drawbacks besides his passion to save his teammates, so it’s common to see him with a few more deaths than usual. However, he often prevails and does a great job of supporting his team.
Featured Image Courtesy of LoL Esports.
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