Wednesday, April 17th 2013. Day 1 of the final week of the Spring LCS. Today, the North American branch of the LCS begins their final push to the finish line, in games that will determine playoff seeding and possible relegation from LCS competition. Before we take a look at what matches will help decide the fate of the eight North American LCS teams, let’s see where they stand as we move forward into week 10.
Starting at the top, Team Curse stands firmly 2 games ahead of 2nd place team Dignitas. Dig has not looked as sharp of late with a replacement for regular jungler Crumbzz, but with Crumbzz back in the lineup for week 10, it’s actually Team Curse whose roster might be in peril. Following last week, Curse’s starting support Elementz had some critical things to say about “team captain” Saintvicious over a screencap of a Skype conversation between Curse’s jungler and CLG’s ADC Doublelift in which the two criticized Elementz, even going so far as to call him “trash” and blame him for recent Curse losses. In his response video, Saint continues the “Elementz doesn’t take the job seriously” narrative that he has been speaking about since before Season 3 began. It’s hard to say how much of this rift in the Curse lineup is genuine strife between Saint and Elementz and how much might be for show, or just normal Curse antics, but it will be interesting to see how the recent scuffle in the Curse ranks impacts their performance. In the time since the flareup between Saint and Elementz, Curse has played poorly in scrims (not uncommon for a team known to lose in practice and win in tourney play) going 0-9 against CLG in one stretch. Of course, Team SoloMid is right behind Curse as well and have been playing quite well with Chaox replacement WildTurtle and are in just as good of a position as Dig to overtake Curse and grab 1st place.
None of these top 3 teams have games against one another on the first day of Super Week, and instead are playing the likes of CLG, Marn, CompLexity and GGU. Some of these lower-ranked teams have made huge changes, and seem hard to predict in week 10. CLG has been playing very well in scrims, but find themselves in a position where they could be in 5th place behind GGU if they drop both of their Wednesday games and GGU wins theirs. GGU, who went on a tear last week winning all 3 of their matches, looks much improved after the departure of Bloodwater – a move many did not predict panning out for the former last-place team. The important thing to remember about the standings here is that only 3 games separate the 5th and 8th place teams, meaning every single game played this week could be the game that decides who will move on to the Summer season and who will be left behind.
Some key matchups in NA Week 10 for you to keep an eye on:
coL vs GGU: 4/17 3pm PDT
CRS vs GGU: 4/17 5pm PDT
CLG vs TSM: 4/17 4pm PDT
DIG vs CRS: 4/18 5pm PDT
TSM vs GGU: 4/19 3pm PDT
GGU vs CLG: 4/19 5pm PDT
DIG vs TSM: 4/19 6pm PDT
coL vs MRN: 4/19 7pm PDT
Remember, you can see all of the games live via Riot’s streams on Twitch.TV, Azubu and Youtube. All links available on na.lolesports.com. If you can’t watch live, follow me on twitter – I tweet live during many of the LCS games, and will be bringing you up-to-the-minute commentary on all the LCS action.
Curse vs CLG – 3/15 7pm PST
Split in their season series at 1 game apiece, #2 Ranked Curse and #4 Ranked Counter Logic Gaming are both playing for more than just respect and bragging rights this week. Curse, who began the season 8-0, coasting in first place has fallen behind 10-2 Team Dignitas. This week, Curse has matches against 3 of the top 4 NA LCS teams and must find success if they want to climb back into 1st place. Meanwhile CLG holds on to their 4th place spot with MRN on their heels meaning CLG needs every win they can get to remain in the top half of the standings.
These two rivals met in week 1 in a game where Curse looked very comfortable and confident. Showing off the aggressive playstyle that got them ousted from the CLG roster, Voyboy and Saintvicious lead Curse to a decisive victory over their former teammates. CLG owner and top laner HotshotGG never seemed to settle in, missing a key Baron steal and getting caught out of position by a diving Voyboy several times.
The second time CRS and CLG met this season was a completely different story as Curse seemed to have abandoned the quick aggressive strategy that brought them success in week 1 in favor of a slower split-push based strategy lead by a solo-queue inspired AP Tryndamere build employed by Voyboy. CLG – responsible for popularizing the split push strat in the NA scene – responded very well, isolating Voyboy and keeping his pushes from splitting their attention.
Who will break the tie and claim bragging rights over their rivals? Both teams have previously fallen to mistakes and miss-plays like HotshotGG getting caught out of position in game 1, or NyJacky putting Kayle’s invulnerability on Voyboy’s Endless Raging Tryndamere. Whoever can clean up their game and make no mistakes should walk away with a win this week.
Prediction: Curse over CLG in a close match.
Head 2 Head Highlight: Mid Lane
Last time they matched up, Link outfarmed NyJacky – who seemed uncomfortable and slow to react on Kayle – by 30cs at points. Curse will need NyJacky to be playing at his best if they hope to break the 1-1 series tie in their favor.
MRN vs CLG – 3/16 7pm PST
The last time these two met, the result was one of the best games of the season; the game took 3 separate contests over Baron to decide. While MRN held a significant gold lead later on in the game, CLG made good plays to remain in the match until the final team fight near Baron proved to be too much for HotshotGG’s team. Last time, CLG banned out Tristana as an answer to the recent success found by MRN ADC Heartbeat – but Heartbeat just picked Kog’Maw and carried anyway. With Heartbeat showing flexibility and MRN top lane MegaZero at the top of his game, can CLG adapt and find another way to shut MRN down? If not we may go into week 6 with a new 4th place team.
Prediction: CLG over MRN in a drawn out split push contest.
Head 2 Head Highlight: Top Lane
With their last match being so drawn out, the split-push style of CLG might be where this game is decided. Can MegaZero beat Hotshot at his own game? If he does, MRN might pull out another win over CLG.
Any Game Dignitas Plays (3/15 6pm: vs coL – 3/16 5pm: vs GGU – 3/17 2pm: vs Vulcan – all times PST.)
Dig is a first place 10-2 in the NA LCS, and this week they face off against 3 of the “bottom 4” NA teams – none of whom they have lost to on the LCS stage. For Dig, this is an opportunity to put greater distance between them and 2nd place team, Curse (who have 3 tough matches this week). Until Dig is knocked off the first place throne, every match they play is must-see-TV, especially this week where any of their 3 games could be the week’s upset special. Worth noting: the only “bottom 4” team they aren’t facing? The best looking of the bunch – 5th place MRN.
Player 2 Watch: Iamaqtpie
Team Dignitas’ ADC Iamaqtpie is giving de-facto “#1 ADC” CLG Doublelift a run for his money recently with incredibly consistent and explosive play. If QT can keep up his dominance against his opponents this week, chances are Dignitas will still be #1 when we preview week 6.
Any match you’re looking to see that we didn’t cover? Leave us a message in the comments and check back tomorrow for our week 5 EU LCS “3 Must See Matches” preview. Need to know how to watch the games? Check out our article on watching professional League of Legends. Plus, later today check back for the results of the #sorryliam Twitter contest where 3 lucky winners will take hope 1380RP each!