LCS week 2 Day 2 Recap: League Wide Parity
The final day of week 2 League of Legends Championship Series has concluded, and it was quite eventful. There were stomps, suffocations and one of the lowest quality, yet most entertaining games in any league in 2022. I will be breaking down the results of each game in depth and giving a quick headline of how it went. Let’s get started...
Game 1 Cloud9 (3-1) > Immortals (1-3)
TLDR: Immortals do next to nothing and wait to die. Cloud 9 out scale and out fight to go even on the week.
Summary: Did that game even really need to be played? Immortals did nothing proactive and there was no point where Cloud 9 had anything but full control of the game. It wasn’t even a bloody stomp, it was just C9 strangling out IMT as they didn’t even throw a punch. There wasn’t even many exciting picks for C9, it was pretty much just a Zilean mid for Fudge. Immortals in 2022 now have 7 losses and a pity win. And they have looked terrible in every single one of their losses. The race for the bottom is an interesting one this year, and IMT are a key member of it. There are 2 winless teams and I would still bet they end with a better record than Immortals. Cloud 9, take your free win and enjoy the rest of your Sunday.
Game 2 Golden Guardians (2-2) > TSM (0-4)
TLDR: In a game where both teams flaws shine through, Golden Guardians fumble slightly less. TSM continues the worst start in franchise history.
Summary: Although these two teams did have great individual plays and have talent on their rosters, both teams showcased their fatal flaws for the entire audience to see.
To start, TSM showcased that they are still incredibly uncoordinated. It was entirely expected with 2 new imports from China and having your jungler live translate, but especially compared to C9 (who is going through the same language barrier with 3 koreans) it has been galling to watch. Despite running the Lulu smite top, the early game was completely bungled. PrideStalkr’s Zed got massively fed and Lost once again found kills on the Aphelios. With a massive gold lead, things looked to be solely in GG’s court.
Which is where Golden Guardians showcased their Achilles Heel. This team is physically incapable of playing well with a large lead. Despite everything being in their favor, they somehow let TSM back into it. Tactical actually found kills on the Jinx and dragged TSM kicking and screaming into a good position. Even with ocean soul and elder dragon, Golden Guardians still couldn’t put the dagger in the heart.
Between TSM being completely on different pages (Huni was way to trigger happy with ultimate, Shenyi constantly died on engages, Keaiduo flew at GG from a full screen away with no backup) and Golden Guardians god-awful late game, this came down to who could make the individual hero plays. That team was Golden Guardians. Pridestalkr killed Tactical at the second Elder Dragon to save the entire game. 4 members of Golden Guardians defended their base from an Elder’d up TSM while Licorice walked into the TSM base from top side, killed a Vex with elder buff, narrowly cleaned up Huni’s Lulu, and won the base race and game for Golden Guardians.
Golden Guardians actually have shown some exciting plays, but that late game will continue to be their downfall until they fix it. It is looking like it is going to be a rough Spring for TSM. It was a bit expected with all the young prospects and the language barrier, but I am still not used to living in a world where TSM is an honest to goodness bottom tier team. Their next match against Immortals is must-watch LoL for any enthusiasts of absolute fiestas.
Game 3 100 Thieves (3-1) > EG (2-2)
TLDR: 100 Thieves play their game plan well, Evil Geniuses post another 1-1 week.
Summary: Much like what they did to TL after Lock In, 100 Thieves quickly silenced any doubters after the Immortals throw by taking out the other Lock In finalist in slow but convincing fashion. They never really let the stars of Evil Geniuses shine at all. Jojopyun’s Akali was spotted out on the flanks and Abbedagge’s Viktor kept him in check. Inspired’s Xin Zhao was not very impactful while Closer’s Jarvan IV engages helped them win key fights. Danny was a massive source of damage, but FBI’s range and utility just did a bit more. Huhi got redemption with a stellar performance on Sett.
The true star of the show was Ssumday on Tryndamere. He played the split-pusher almost to perfection. Nobody could really answer him in a sidelane. They couldn’t contain him when it came time to teamfight. He tore through the squishy members of EG like wet tissue paper. He practically ran the game from start to finish and he was the key player in this victory. 100 Thieves now sit comfy at 3-1 and honestly should be undefeated. While there was plenty of talk about teams coming in with big game plans coming for their throne, 100T have quietly been just as strong as last year. They may not be the flashiest team, but when it matters, they have shown up in big ways.
Meanwhile, EG fall to .500 in Spring. Their losses were to top teams, but it definitely shows the roster still has room to grow. Expectations did get a bit out of control during Lock In, so while they are by no definition a bad team, the breaks have been pumped on the hype train a bit. A win against TL to start next week could go a long way towards legitimizing them as true contenders.
Game 4 Team Liquid (3-1) > Flyquest (3-1)
TLDR: Team Liquid end the Flyquest unbeaten streak in suffocating fashion
Summary: Well, that was an anticlimactic way for the final undefeated team to fall.
While Flyquest didn’t look terrible, Team Liquid never even gave them a chance to play the game. And it can be attributed to their specific composition getting ahead early. Flyquest had to play into a Jayce and Corki that got ahead early. With a Trundle and a Leona for frontline. And an Aphelios piloted by one of the best ADCs in the league. Y’know, because TL needed anymore freaking range and scaling. With so much poke, range, and scaling at their disposal, Flyquest never even had a chance to fight on even ground. Playing against a team comp like that in that situation is the kind of game that makes players want to uninstall League of Legends. The amount of enjoyment the opponent gets out of that sort of game is somewhere between “trip to the dentist” and “waterboarding”.
Team Liquid gets back to being one of the league’s top contenders after a shaky first game. Flyquest suffers their first loss of Spring. Their strength of schedule has been very easy so far (winless CLG, GG that can’t close, winless TSM) and their 3-0 start can be attributed to that. How much of that is the question Flyquest needs to answer. With Dignitas and 100 Thieves up next week, that will go a long way towards showing whether this start has just been smoke and mirrors, or a sign of things to come.
Game 5 Dignitas (3-1) > CLG (0-4)
TLDR: Dignitas continue to thrive and kill narratives. CLG fall back into the status quo.
Summary: Remember when everyone and their grandmother had Dignitas at dead last and had actual hope and expectations for CLG? Those were some good times.
A slow early game turned into a Dignitas lead after CLG took a bad fight at the third dragon to stop Dignitas’ soul stacking. They got the dragon, but lost 3 in the process, giving DIG a 5-2 kill lead and a 2.5k gold lead. The lead only continued to grow until the next dragon fight. To CLG’s credit, they did have an opportunity to come back thanks to a good pick onto FakeGod’s Tryndamere (the second of the match. But Neo stole the dragon with a Jinx rocket. From there, Blue’s Corki took all of CLG’s ways of starting a fight and got away scot-free, they won the fight, took the soul thanks to a great ultimate from River’s Poppy, took the Baron and quickly closed out the game.
While Dignitas’ record is mostly propped up by having one of the absolute softest schedules of any team in LCS, (both 0-4 teams, IMT, and a loss to EG) they are far from the hopeless bottom-feeders some people expected they would be. I am glad to see there are at least some signs of life for Dignitas after such a turbulent 2021. Meanwhile, CLG is starting to fall back into their designated role of “league punching bag”.
Although their games haven’t quite been total fiestas like TSM or stomps like IMT, their record doesn't lie and there really has been nothing special that has been shown. The only thing of note is that despite showing some flashes of good play on EG, Contractz looks like the worst jungler in the league. It’s a bit telling that a 1/4/6 Xin game where he had dragon stolen by a Jinx rocket was his best looking game by a mile. I don’t want to be too hard because they actually had the guts to go in on NA and Academy talent, but they need to start showing some results if they ever want to get out of the basement.
That’s week 1 of the regular season in the bag, and I am pleasantly surprised with how the standings look. Yes, you are seeing that correctly. That is a 5-way tie for first. No undefeated teams are left and giants like TL, 100T, and C9 share the same spot with darkhorses in FLY and DIG. EG and GG share the 6th spot at .500 despite massively different reputations. Immortals stand alone at 8th thanks to the pity victory from 100T. And the most interesting thing of all, CLG AND TSM are both winless. This used to be one of the biggest rivalries in North America. Both were part of the “big 3”. Then CLG fell off and TSM remained. Now, the rivalry has been reignited in a completely different way. Looking at their schedules, if TSM fall to IMT on Saturday, there is a better than even chance the two organizations will be 0-7 by the time they meet in battle. There has been a good amount of parity. The next few weeks will do a wonderful job of separating the contenders from the pretenders and the ones with hope from the completely dead.