With many pro teams at the Intel Extreme Masters tournament this week, there is no LCS action scheduled for the weekend of March 7th – March 11th, 2013. With IPL6 cancelled, it’s time to focus on looking ahead to next week’s LCS matchups and to take a look at what’s happening in Germany for the IEM World Championships. Beware readers who missed IEM action this week and still want to see the games they’ve missed, spoilers lay ahead. New summoners who want to learn how to see the action unfold, take a look at our guide to League of Legends pro-streams.
IEM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2013
BenQ sponsored Gambit (formerly Moscow Five) has emerged from the group stage with an undefeated 5-0 record against group A opponents. Gambit’s success in IEM is unsurprising considering their history in the tournament and strong showing at the Season 2 World Championship. Gambit’s streak includes a win over LCS rival Fnatic who did not qualify for the IEM playoffs which kick off tomorrow and wrap up Saturday. Gambit and Fnatic have been duking it out in the standings, with Gambit leading the European LCS division at 9-2 and Fnatic right on their heels at 8-3. Two of Fnatic’s LCS losses, however, come from none other than Gambit Gaming. These two teams are developing quite a rivalry as Fnatic fails to qualify for the IEM playoffs and now has to turn their attention for their next big test, a rematch against the former Moscow Five in LCS competition on March 23rd.
In group B EUW LCS favorites Evil Geniuses (formerly clg.EU) and SK gaming, have each come out with lackluster performances which has kept both teams out of the playoffs. Meanwhile Korean powerhouse teams CJ Entus Frost (4-1) and SK Telecom T1 (4-1) – who will each make IEM playoff appearances – are vindicating commentators who contend that Korean teams are the best in the world by leading the pack ahead of other international contenders; including 3rd place group B team Anexis eSports (3-2): a European team whose victory over SK helped lead to their surprisingly strong group stage showing. Looking at the brackets, it’s possible we will see Gambit and a top Korean team in the final for a showdown to help fuel the “east vs. west” debate which has been so prominent in the e-sports scene. In fact, if Frost – recently acquired from Azubu by CJ Entus – beats French team Millenium in the first round, we’ll see Gambit square off with a big Korean team as soon as the semi-finals.
Bracket courtesy of IEM, click the image to visit the official site for more info.
WEEK 5 LCS MATCHUPS
Week 5 promises to be an opportunity for some major shake-ups in the North American LCS standings. While division leaders Dignitas (10-2, 1st place) and Curse (9-2, 2nd place) do not play one another next week, both teams have an interesting slate of week 5 matches which could help define the second half of the season.
Dig Rolls On
After a rocky 0-2 start with losses to Team Solo Mid and Curse, Dig went on a 10 game tear – the longest LCS winning streak to date. Next week, Dig matches up against 3 of the “bottom 4” NA teams; none of which have managed to knock off Dignitas yet in LCS contention. CompLexity (1-8), Good Game University (2-10) and Vulcan (4-9) all have a shot at proving they can hang with the top 4 by taking down number 1, but while riding their seemingly unstoppable winning streak, Dig is poised to come out of week 5 an impressive 13-2 record. Keep an eye on the March 17th matchup against Vulcan, who have proven they can take down top 4 teams after a win against perennial powerhouse Counter Logic Gaming (7-4) as they may have the best shot of ending Dig’s impressive run.
Can Curse Keep Up?
Curse, who began the season an undefeated 8-0 suddenly dropped behind a surging Dig in the standings after a startling loss to their now-first-place rivals and a second disappointing showing against former Saint vicious, Voyboy and Elementz teammates CLG. Now at 9-2 Curse looks to keep up with Dig in two big games: a March 16th clash with TSM who is looking to avenge last week’s loss to NyJacky and the gang and another round with HotshotGG and team CLG a day earlier on the 15th. Come back to allMIA later this week for a closer look at these two key grudge matches which may well decide whether Curse can keep up with a Dignitas squad who seem poised in a softer week to take a commanding lead in the standings.
Will CLG Hold On to a Top 4 Spot?
CLG should be looking back over their shoulders this week despite claims in promotional videos that they “aren’t scared” of any of the bottom 4 teams. CLG, who are a 4th place 7-4 in LCS competition play a key rematch against 5th place team Marn (4-5) and has to back up their brave talk against a scrappy MRN who handed CLG a loss on February 27th. In the win, MRN top laner MegaZero played Renekton to 5/0/11 perfection, diving towers and playing a key role in two Baron contests which helped propel MRN to victory. MRN – lead by ADC Heartbeat’s now-ubiquitous Tristana/Blade of the Ruined King build – has a chance to knock off CLG and possibly enter the top 4, shaking up the NA LCS in a way nobody expected after a few weak showings from bottom 4 teams early on. In order to claw their way into the top half of the standings, MRN will also have to find a way to best Vulcan (3/15) and the formidable Curse (3/17) the latter of whom has not lost to a bottom 4 team yet in LCS competition.
With IEM finishing up weekend, LCS competition heating up next week and the approaching MLG Winter games, LoL’s professional scene may have never been so heated before. Check back with allMIA for previews and post game analysis for the biggest League of Legends professional contests. Leave us a comment and let us know which games you’re looking forward to and which matchups you think need a closer look.