LCS 2019 Spring Split Week 1 Recap: Those who impress and those who depress
As always, the first week of the LCS is one of the most important weeks in the split despite not really meaning much in the grand scheme of things. It’s the perfect time for teams to show their stuff, flex their new rosters, and make a good first impression. It’s also the time for teams predicted to do well to absolutely collapse and fail, leaving a bad impression that may stick with them through the rest of the split if they don’t turn it around quickly. There are always excuses for a bad first week performance with plenty of chances to turn it around, but it certainly doesn’t help the public’s knee-jerk reactions.
So of course, here are some knee-jerk reactions based on two games, including some predictions for the whole split. After all, if they suck now, clearly they’ll suck later. Teams can never improve, and FlyQuest will be the top team in North America.
Liquid, Texas, and #WeFlyQuest
The 1-1 teams are cool and all, but they are clearly bad. If you can’t win all the time, you’re a loser team. Sorry Cloud 9, hope Sneaky’s cosplay can keep your team afloat. We here only talk about the ultimate winning teams, the best teams in the League, all tied for first place. Those teams are exactly who all analysts predicted to be the best teams, Team Liquid, Clutch Gaming, and, of course, FlyQuest.
Okay, those are clearly jokes. Cloud 9 is still probably the second best team in the League, and Team Solomid are definitely better than they looked against Clutch. However, it’s still important to talk about these teams since they are, in fact, the best teams as of week one. The team that needs the least explanation is Team Liquid. As it turns out, the best team in the League with the best players in nearly every role is still the best team. Their wins were relatively clean, but they do have one weakness in Impact seemingly underperforming. Can that really be exploited when the rest of the team is performing at max capacity? No, not really. Someone will eventually challenge Team Liquid, and knowing history it’ll probably be the Golden Guardians, somehow.
The surprises, however, come from Clutch Gaming and FlyQuest. Now, both teams didn’t have difficult schedules, but considering a number of analysts had FlyQuest at the bottom of the League due to their mediocre roster, it was still surprising that they won at all, even against the Golden Guardians. FlyQuest seem to have players with all their heads screwed in tightly, moving in-sync with each other. Pobelter in particular has been performing well, and top laner V1per looked great as well against Hauntzer, who was formerly a pretty strong laner and threat. I still don’t think that they’ll be amazingly high after they play against better teams, but they are serious playoff contenders. Also, it makes me laugh as a Ball State student to say #WeFlyQuest. I’ll be supporting them through the rest of the split.
Clutch Gaming, on the other hand, ended up facing an Echo Fox that seemed like a solid team and a TSM who genuinely look like they could win the split. In that respect, it’s more impressive that Clutch pull out big wins against both teams, even if neither were the cleanest games in the world. The games were built off the back of Huni (at least against Echo Fox) and Tanner “Tanner Time” Damonte playing out of their minds. Damonte in particular went full “Tanner from high school,” bullying Beardsen and TSM back to the summoning platform the moment he picked up a lead. Huni had a big brained pick on Rush against Echo Fox and started snowballing that game from there with amazing equalizers. Again, much like FlyQuest, they look like serious playoff contenders. As opposed to some other teams…
The faith is gone, buried by Darshan
On the other end are the 0-2 teams, who all look admittedly pretty bad, week one jitters aside. The only exception would go to 100 Thieves, who may just be having some synergies issues combined with a tough schedule, facing both TSM and C9 in week one. It’s clear that 100 Thieves have some weak individual lanes, but they’ve been able to come together before with strong teamplay. Unfortunately, against some actual teams they’ve just rolled over and died, with Ssumday getting drafted some picks that aren’t his best and Huhi truly transforming into a North American midlaner, complete with questionable teleports and getting bodied in lane by imports. Aphro hasn’t seemed to be doing well either, still, and it’s a wonder whether Bang will start popping off or if he’ll be cashing in his paycheck on vacation. Either way, 100 Thieves have a lot to prove in the coming weeks.
The teams that do look terrible are the 10th place champion Golden Guardians and Counter Logic Gaming. Golden Guardians played against what should have been easier matchups and lost both of them, playing like a team of solo queue players picking random champions as opposed to a team with a coach and analysts. This team believes they’ll be the ones to challenge Team Liquid (and historically, the Golden Guardians do), but I have more doubts here than ever. Champion of deaths in Contractz looks like he hasn’t improved at all, Hauntzer has had some questionable plays, bot lane looks fine but is still underwhelming at times with Olleh being Trolleh, and Froggen. Froggen is always hyped up and has his teams blamed around him, but his CLG.EU and Alliance days are long gone. The man is a fan-favorite, but he’s just hasn’t been able to perform in a way that shows his former glory. This team still has some potential, but are becoming heavy underdogs in their games.
Finally, Counter Logic Gaming. I ranked them 5th because I’ve always been a CLG fan and I’ve never lost the faith. I’ve followed the team since before the Donezo Manifesto, being the underdog in the CLG-TSM rivalry. I was there for Coach Scarra, picking up Darshan, their MSI run in 2015, all of these things I have fond memories of. CLG is lucky that relegations are dead, because this team is quite literally looking worse than academy teams. And I don’t say that as hyperbole, they lost to OpTic Academy who played in LCS due to Arrow’s visa issues. Sure, Crown was there, but it is just depressing to see CLG constantly let me down. They haven’t won against TSM in years, they’ve been missing playoffs, and overall they just aren’t good anymore. Even if they try to play a 7-man roster like Cloud 9, the roster doesn’t look good at all. They can pick up early leads but continue to fumble them, just like last year. At least they picked up former TSM Weldon as a sports psychologist, because their fans are gonna need therapy after what looks like another terrible split.
Quick predictions for Week 2
Day one will see TSM beat Echo Fox, likely because Rush runs it down on Karthus for the third time despite the jungle nerfs. Cloud 9 will easily rout the Golden Guardians, EU rookie Nisqy absolutely humiliating EU veteran Froggen while Svenskeren runs circles around Contractz. 100 Thieves will somehow, someway, pull out a win against Team Liquid since Doublelift decides to try and play Cassiopeia for the first time ever; It’s still a close game. FlyQuest absolutely runs over Counter Logic Gaming, with Darshan leaving mid game and no one even noticing. Clutch Gaming will take a hard fought victory against OpTic, but Huni will end up getting 10 kills and 10 deaths equally like the legend he is.
Day two starts with Golden Guardians getting a random win against 100 Thieves, with Contractz just power-farming the whole game and still having more pressure than AnDa. Echo Fox will defeat OpTic Gaming and continue to aim towards their goal of going 1-1 every single week, perfectly balanced as all things should be. Clutch Gaming will also humiliate Team Liquid, with Piglet going Season 3 World Champion against the team that was his old breaking point. FlyQuest will tie Clutch Gaming for first place after defeating TSM, as former TSM players in Santorin and WildTurtle are no longer TSM’s brothers. Finally, CLG will almost win but throw it away last minute against Cloud 9. It will later be discovered that Zeyzal was playing using an SNES mouse, but still managed to land an amazing Alistar engage to turn the game around.
Although I didn’t include predictions for last week within the article, I ended up going 6/10. Not bad considering I predicted only two games correctly on day one. We’ll see if my predictions continue to hold up at the end of the split. We’ll also see if I can hit Plat elo again, or if my duo partner Nolan and I will stay hardstuck Gold II for the rest of eternity. Needless to say, it’s not looking good right now. Let’s hope those ADC changes in the next patch actually do something to improve bot lane! Remember to check back next week for more predictions and hot takes.
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