Reversal of Expectations for NA LCS

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Photo Credit: LOL Esports

The first week of NA LCS brought about many changes and surprises that would set the stage of the summer split. In regards to the format, the NA LCS changed the format of their games from best-of-ones to best-of-three games. As a result of this change, the NA LCS plays two series on Fridays, and four series on both Saturdays and Sundays for the season. The new season also brought about the dragon rework  that we covered a few weeks ago. This change has already had a major impact on how games will be played out because the dragon becomes an even more important objective to focus on and teams are more likely to contest it.

Upsets Galore

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Photo Credit: Youtube

One would think that best-of-three reduces the chances of upsets as opposed to best-of-ones, but the underdogs of NA this week said no.

TSM vs CLG

What’s bad for the top LCS teams is not necessarily bad for the viewers. Upsets are exciting and add the spice of unpredictability to each split, and the first week of the LCS was filled with them. The first game of summer began with a rematch of the spring split finals, and also the classic battle between two rivals with TSM taking on CLG. CLG came into this split as the strongest team in NA with Immortals closely behind them. They also just came off a respectable loss against the world’s best team SKT, finishing 2nd at MSI. Add on to the fact that TSM just picked up a rookie support in Biofrost, it looked as though CLG should be wrapping up the series easily. This was certainly not the case however, as TSM strolled to victory in the first game and outlasted CLG in the second to sweep the series.

nV vs NRG

This match was not as big of an upset as some of the other games, but between the two teams, NRG were the ones with the most experience under their belt while most of nV had only one season in the LCS under their belts. The first game in the series was almost a perfect game for the nV team as they dropped only 1 kill and no objectives the entire time, an impressive start for their debut game in the LCS. The second game was an impressive comeback from NRG as they overcame a huge 9k gold deficit at 37 minutes to drag the game slowly back in their favor before winning at 4 minutes over an hour. Game 3 was also a marathon, but nV had control of the game from the start to the finish to grab their first win in the LCS.

nV vs Liquid

Team Liquid has always been the solid gateway to the top teams of NA, so much so that the team has been labeled as cursed to always be fourth place. The first game was a brawl as both team struggled to find a lead for the first 30 minutes of the game. No one had a significant advantage until Liquid pulled out a team fight win to grab a dragon and several turrets. However, nV soon answered back by grabbing a streak of objectives of their own to propel themselves to the victory. The second game was pretty much a blowout as nV grabbed the lead early and kept it throughout the game.  Welcome nV to the top of the scoreboard for the NA LCS.

Apex vs CLG

Apex had finished Saturday with a win over NRG, but that was not necessarily an upset as both teams were of a relatively unknown quality before then. This series actually demonstrated an uncharacteristic CLG as they had leads in both of the games they lost. Game 1 was an Apex victory as they overcame a slight gold deficit in the early game and ran up their gold lead to just under 8k a little over 30 minutes. Several comeback attempts by CLG were thwarted by Apex as they held on to the lead until they finally pushed through to win the game. The second game was a clinic put on by CLG as they dissected Apex to easily clean up the game. Game 3 saw CLG take a lead for the majority of the first 20 minutes until a clean ace by Apex allowed them to grab the lead for themselves. CLG almost pulled it back at 33 minutes, but losing the Baron ensured their defeat.

Overview of the other games and Standings

The other games produced the expected results as the favorites took down the underdogs. In the potentially closer matches, Immortals took down Cloud 9, Cloud 9 beat Echo Fox, and TSM defeated Liquid. The end of the week saw Immortals, nV, TSM, and Apex finish at the top with 2 wins and no losses. Echo Fox and Cloud 9 won a series and lost a series each, while Phoenix1, Liquid, NRG, and surprisingly CLG, finished 0-2 for the week. Undoubtedly, CLG finishing with 0 wins in the first week was something of a shock as they were a MSI finalist and also the reigning NA LCS champions from last split. Next week will bring about another exciting batch of games, and potentially more upsets and close, heart-pumping matches.


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