After witnessing Team SoloMid and 100 Thieves make their way through the Quarterfinals, it’s now time for these two teams to try their luck against the much better opposition in the 2018 NA LCS Summer Playoffs Semifinals.
Unlike last week, Team SoloMid and 100 Thieves will have their hands full this time around. Their opponents are definitely no slouch. The first and second teams in the regular season, Team Liquid and Cloud9, respectively, are heavily favoured heading into their matchup, especially because they’ve had an extra week to prepare.
Having had more time means they’ll have a better read of the metagame and may have some strategies in mind to counter TSM and 100 Thieves in the 2018 NA LCS Summer Playoffs Semifinals.
With that said, below is our preview for the 2018 NA LCS Summer Playoffs Semifinals, including which teams we think will walk away with a win.
All odds courtesy of GGbet.
2018 NA LCS Summer Playoffs Semifinals: Champions to Watch
Kindred is admittedly in a very strong state in the metagame right now. We have seen Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett deliver a carry performance on the champion in the Quarterfinals against TSM. With middle laners that can look to empower Kindred’s skirmishing, Kindred can truly flourish. If she gets enough marks, Kindred can be a late game team fighting monster.
Jake “Xmithie” Puchero and Robert “Blaber” Huang are renowned Kindred players in North America. Xmithie’s strength as a Kindred player comes from being intelligent with his pathing and providing pressure for his laners. Coordinated plays with his team is something that Xmithie always does. Blaber on the other hand would always look to gank and skirmish.
Seeing as 100 Thieves’ Andy “AnDa” Hoang and Jonathan “Grig” Armao have not shown any priority in Kindred so far in the playoffs, so we could not expect their teams to take it for themselves. It might be banned, but if it is open, expect it to be picked.
Kai’sa is the ultimate late game marksman, and since games are generally longer in 8.16, one can count on a Kai’sa to take games into her own hands. One of Kai’sa’s strengths is that she can have several possible builds: she can have a critical strike chance-based build, a burst-oriented ability power build, and an on-hit Guinsoo’s Rageblade build.
The problem with Kai’sa, however, is limited wave clear in the early game. This means that a lane with a Kai’sa can be exploitable in the early levels as she will almost surely sit under her turret. If early ganks are made towards her, she could be set so far behind that she would no longer be a factor.
Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng has shown some highlight reel-worthy performances on the champion, and this will always be at the back of opponent’s minds in the pick and ban phase. Cody “Cody Sun” is the main carry of 100 Thieves and will always look at this pick. Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi have also delivered good performances on the champion.
Expect to see Kai’sa in the coming weekend.
This champion excels at a lot of things. First, she can obliterate squishy opponents with half a spell rotation, even with the adjustments to the keystone rune Electrocute. She can also sit on a side lane quite effectively due to her having good wave clear with either her W or her R + W. Better LeBlanc players can also do well with her in team fights: proper target selection is key when using her. Be wary of chasing a LeBlanc, she is also quite slippery due to the number of dashes that she has, and her snare.
We already saw a great carry performance on the LeBlanc by Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg in their series against Echo Fox, and Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen played her as well in the regular season.
One must expect that drafts involving a LeBlanc will most likely play into her lane, so that she can be an effective threat throughout the game.
I must admit that Gragas is in a very good place in the metagame right now. Gragas is a three-way flex pick: he can go to the top lane, the jungle or to the bottom lane as a support. His good initiating options in his Flash and W combo or his ultimate will always be a good thing to have when trying to catch out an opponent or when trying to come out on top of a team fight.
We have not seen much of Gragas top lane and Gragas support in the NA LCS, but perhaps a team could have picked it up in this week’s preparation. Good Gragas plays will always be a treat to watch.
Miss Fortune has risen in other regions such as the LPL. This is because she is a good counter to the Varus, a popular bottom lane carry in the last few patches. The reason why Miss Fortune is a good pick into the Varus is because of her Q— since it can bounce off of minions, she could be able to hit Varus as he tries to get his farm. In addition, with the proper setup, Miss Fortune’s ultimate can be a good asset in team fights.
North America is quite slow in picking up new strategies and picks, but we are hoping that Miss Fortune could get picked up in the series ahead.
2018 NA LCS Summer Playoffs Semifinals Matchups
Cloud9 vs Team SoloMid
The first question for the matchup at hand is this: has TSM found an answer to the combination of Kindred and Zilean? This is a combination that Cloud9 has played perfectly in the regular season and something others have failed to try and replicate. Zilean and Kindred together just take over team fights, and no one in the team dies. If a Tahm Kench is included in the mix, no one is ever in danger. If TSM has no answer to this combo, they will have no choice to ban one or both, giving Cloud9 a huge strategic advantage even before the game starts.
With almost every lane being generally even, TSM could look to win through their bottom lane. Zven and Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez could employ Grig’s help and rush to get the first turret. Drafting towards the lane(a Varus draft particularly comes to mind) and getting it ahead could be a viable strategy for TSM as Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi falls a little bit behind in the laning phase. To further set him behind does not fully unleash Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam into the map to make plays.
Another problem for TSM is Cloud9’s seven-man roster. The change in the style of play with Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer as jungler and mid respectively is another thing that TSM will have to prepare for.
With so many tools at their disposal and TSM’s win against Echo Fox last week not exactly all that convincing, Cloud9 should walk away from the 2018 NA LCS Summer Playoffs Semifinals with a 3-0 win.
Betting: Cloud9 to win at 1.48 odds. (GGbet)
Team Liquid vs 100 Thieves
A rematch of the NA LCS Spring Split Grand Finals, Team Liquid swept 100 Thieves last year. So, it comes to no surprise that Team Liquid picked 100 Thieves to be their opponents in the 2018 NA LCS Summer Playoffs Semifinals
100 Thieves and Team Liquid play more or less the same style: that is, to play through their bottom lane. When we have two teams that have the same playstyle go against each other, obviously the better team wins, and 6 out of 7 times this season, that team has been Team Liquid.
Because of this, 100 Thieves may look towards exploiting other parts of the map to get an advantage. Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong could be one of their targets, especially if he does not appear to be in form, which he has throughout the split. Meanwhile, the jungle matchup is something that I am looking forward to personally, especially because it’s another battle between a rookie and a veteran and that both jungler’s roles for their teams are quite similar.
Ultimately, however, history should be an indication of what is to come. Team Liquid wins, 3-1. The spring split champions have had a relatively dominant regular season, and will look to defend their NA LCS championship. 100 Thieves does not look like a team that can surpass them.
Betting: Team Liquid to win at 1.42 odds. (GGbet)
What do you think of our analysis of the 2018 NA LCS Summer Playoffs Semifinals? Will we see an upset? Let us know in the comments below!