-By Edward Brady
The LCS is the North American League of Legends professional league and one of the 4 major regions in the League of Legends Esports scene, where players compete on franchised teams for fame, pride, a considerable salary, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash prizes. You may remember our brief coverage of the League of Legends World Championship last year; these Regional seasons are the build-up to the international tournaments. Week 4 has wrapped up and many cheers, laughs, and groans were had at the various plays, outplays, and misplays of the week. Here is a recap of the last week of every LCS team from best record to worst.
1. Cloud9 10-2 – Business as usual
What more can be said about Cloud9 that hasn’t been said already? Week 4 was an uneventful one as they cruised to a 3-0 week. They stomped the last place Golden Guardians, had some fun with a Yasuo mid against Evil Geniuses, and put the closest competition they had in their place with a stomp against 100 Thieves. Almost every player looks like the best in their role, (maybe top 2 or 3 if you are pessimistic/faithful in other teams) their game sense is great. Objective control is great, they really are just better than everyone else. They will get a warmup game against Flyquest before facing two main rivals in TL (who beat them last time) and TSM (who they beat last time) and I would say that C9 are heavy favorites in all 3 games. There is no reason to doubt this team until they prove otherwise.
2. 100 Thieves 8-4 – Panic button?
100 Thieves’ record is a bit deceiving for how many alarm bells are ringing around this team. Honestly, with how many games this team keeps getting gifted from their opponents’ poor decision-making, 100 Thieves could easily be 4-8. They began week 4 with a win against CLG that was a lot closer and took a lot longer than a match between 2nd and 10th place really should have. They followed it up by getting knocked around by fellow playoff hopeful Dignitas for 29 minutes before a massive throw by Dignitas at baron (something that’s been so common over the past decade that DigniTOSS barons are a meme in the LCS)> 100T eventually won that game, but it was due to a misplay from their opponents, not their own abilities. Finally, they got blasted aside by C9 in a game they never stood a chance in and was over before you could blink.
100 Thieves appears to be in quite a bit of trouble now. Their mid-laner Damonte simply cannot play control mages, something that every mid in competitive needs to know how to do. Perkz (C9 mid) even said when questioned about the Leblanc pick that “against a better mid laner I wouldn’t pick it but its Damonte”. He has been getting dunked on by fans, analysts, and players alike and the org has taken notice. He will be benched for Ry0ma this week. For those not in the know, Ry0ma was the definition of a liability last split and was one of the textbook examples of “not worth the import slot” (alongside Eika). He has been doing well in the academy as he helped lead a 100T academy squad to 6-3 and 3rd place but I still have my doubts if this move will work out. With games against key contenders in EG and TSM and the rematch of legends against GGS, 100 Thieves will need to right the ship fast if they want to ease the concerns of fans and analysts.
3. TSM 8-4 – Getting the job done
TSM has really come into its own over the past few weeks. Although they aren’t without flaws, they are certainly a far cry from the bumbling squad that was shown in Lock-in and week 1. TSM kicked off week 4 strong with a nail-biting victory over key rival TL and now holds the 2-0 tiebreaker over them. They showcased just how far they’ve come by destroying CLG in revenge for the fiesta in week 1. Things weren’t perfect as they got upset by Flyquest to close out the week, but out of all the playoff teams not named C9, they are probably the most comfortable with their record. Dig and 100T are starting to falter, TL is underperforming hard, and EG doesn’t really feel like they’ve solved the consistency issues yet. I wouldn’t expect them to beat C9 but they can take another step towards proving they're a cut above the rest by beating DIG and 100T this week.
4. Dignitas 7-5 – Tale as old as time
Dignitas seems to be fulfilling two of the narratives surrounding the org ever since they’ve been in the LCS: Starting strong and falling off (10-2 to 17-11 and a first-round exit in 2013, 6-2 to 13-15 and 1st round in 2014 6-2 to 10-8 1st round exit in 2015,5-5 to missing playoffs last year) and throwing games at Baron. The seemingly on-fire squad is starting to show some chinks in the armor as they started strong with a win over Immortals but had a week 4 to forget. They threw a key match for the playoff race off one poor decision against 100T and followed it up by losing to CLG. In a match, they had complete control of before they blew that one too. Dig will need to rebound fast with a key matchup against TSM in which they can secure the tiebreaker against a key playoff competitor, a trap game in GGS, and a match against another key rival in EG.
5. Evil Geniuses 7-5 – Same story, different year
Evil Geniuses seems to be falling back to the same position they were last year: flashes of greatness, but not consistent enough to contend with the top of the table and sometimes just stall out against low-tier teams. They started strong with a convincing victory over a struggling Flyquest but followed it up by getting smacked by Cloud 9 and almost lost to the Golden Guardians. Nothing demonstrates this level of volatility across the entire EG squad quite like Jiizuke. In the words of LCS writer Kien Lam, “You could make a montage of all the best plays from a mid-laner in the LCS this season and put it against a montage of all the worst plays from a mid-laner this season and all of them could be from Jiizuke.” He either carries or he feeds, he is the definition of feast or famine. This is a positive as it allows them to take games against top teams they otherwise wouldn’t have (the first game vs C9 comes to mind). It is also a negative as it leads to them dropping games they really shouldn’t (the Dig game). With matches from both ends of the table (100T,DIG,IMT) It should go a lot towards showing if this roster can consistently compete with the top.