It has taken all these weeks of non-stop action, severe parity, and crazy theories, but here we are now near the end of the split, with just the 2018 NA LCS Summer Week 9 to go.
Heading into the 2018 NA LCS Summer Week 9, only two teams are locked in for the playoffs, while another two are out of the postseason picture entirely. The rest are left to scramble for playoff seeding — an all too crucial aspect of the single-elimination playoffs that could very well determine their fate in the upcoming weeks.
With just one week to go, here’s what you should expect to see in the 2018 NA LCS Summer Week 9.
2018 NA LCS Summer Week 9: Champions to Watch
Newly-reworked Akali already saw some play last week in the EU and NA LCS. She has been a prominent blue-side ban as teams on the blue side usually had other priority picks and would not risk trades.
Akali is not exactly overpowered like Zoe or Aatrox in such a way that the lane is taken over entirely. The truly difficult thing when playing against an Akali is her Twilight Shroud, which can usually be useful in turret diving scenarios. With the Twilight Shroud, an Akali can juggle turret aggro between her and a teammate or a minion. In addition, the second cast of her Shuriken Flip can bypass terrain, and can be casted from any distance.
A way of dealing with Akali has been shown in the past week, but we are unsure if those are real counters or if teams just lack practice playing around her. Nevertheless, she is an assassin, and most assassins need proper setup so that they could carry and take over games. Shutting her down in the early game might be something that teams would look at.
Fizz has received a small rework in his W in the past patches, which have initially been underwhelming. On 8.15, however, the damage ratios on his abilities have been buffed. These buffs have been a little bit overbearing. These changes have made Fizz a proper counter to champions that do not have escapes such as Zoe, or AD Carries such as Varus or Caitlyn.
A well-played Fizz could control space with a proper use of his ultimate, and could bait skillshots such as Varus or Sejuani ultimates with his E. He also has clear all-in options due to his Q and the amount of burst built into his kit.
Teams need to be mindful of the amount of damage Fizz can dish out, or they might suffer the consequences.
The removal of Tracker’s Knife earlier this season hit Lee Sin hard. While this puts clearer windows of power for Lee Sin players, the change has also allowed players to be able to play against a Lee Sin better.
Because of this clear nerf to Lee Sin’s overall playstyle, some compensatory buffs were given to his other abilities over the course of this season. He has been receiving incremental buffs in the amount of damage he can do in one spell rotation. The creative pathing that an experienced Lee Sin player could do with his Q and his W can also leave the opponent team in the dark as to where he currently is in the map.
Lee Sin can also facilitate team fights and skirmishes with the Insec kick— a high-skill move where in the Lee Sin Q’s towards the enemy, ward hops behind him, and uses his ultimate to kick the opponent into the Lee Sin’s team.
If played correctly, a Lee Sin could prove to be one of the strongest junglers in the game. If not properly executed, a team with a Lee Sin would have little chance of getting back into the game.
2018 NA LCS Summer Week 9: Teams to Watch
Team SoloMid is still on the hunt for playoffs. Despite being inconsistent for most of the split, they have been good enough to have eight wins, heading into the 2018 NA LCS Summer Week 9. If they win at least one of their games in the next weekend, they could have a real chance of having a postseason.
TSM has always played a slow, methodical, reactive style. Before they do so, they used to rely on the fact that they are dominant in lane, and they would be able to punish enemy mistakes heavily because of this.
Recently however, this has not been the case. TSM has not been able to draft reliably to their strengths. The recent addition of strategic coaches has lent them a hand in this matter. Having both Ham “Lustboy” Jang-sik and Kim “Ssong” Sang-soo onstage for the drafting phase has gotten them a better drafting phase overall, combining Lustboy’s capability to communicate well with the team and Ssong’s great strategic mindset.
There are still a few problems that plage the team, though. As said earlier, the team relies on being able to net advantages in the laning phase by outperforming their opponents to be able to punish their enemies heavily. If they do not get ahead, they usually do nothing else and just let the game end around of them.
Their best chance of winning lies within Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, and they should play around him more. Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez should be able to roam and try to make plays in other parts of the map. Jonathan “Grig” Armao should be able to allow his lanes to get ahead, and should be able to reinvent his pathing if counterjungled upon.
Cloud9 was playing the long con all along.
After some roster shakeups and frequent complaints from the fans, Cloud9 has gone from the last place team into a team that sits comfortably in the middle of the pack, ready for playoffs with just the 2018 NA LCS Summer Week 9 to go.
The synergy between the mid laners and junglers have netted the team some quality wins in recent weeks. The pairing of Robert “Blaber” Huang andNicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, as well as Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and fielded alongside Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer, have worked wonders for the team.
What is worth mentioning aside from the jungle-mid synergies that this team is developing is how well the rest of the team has been playing around the fact that they have a seven-man roster. The mid-jungle duos seem to be plug-and-play at this point. Eric “Licorice” Ritchie is still a massive carry threat even on champions like Poppy and Dr. Mundo, and his play on champions like Irelia and Kled will always be at the back of opponents’ heads during the pick and ban phase.
The unsung heroes of this squad are Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi and Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam. They have done well despite not having farm priority. Sneaky, for one, has farmed quietly and safely. Meanwhile, Zeyzal has done well wreaking havoc all over the map.
If the team wins both their games in the coming week, they could possibly contest for second place, but even if they do not get the playoff bye, they will most likely be a strong playoff contender.
In the summer, Echo Fox has not shown the kind of dominance that it has had in the beginning of the spring split. Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon has not shown a performance worthy of his reputation all split long, and has not appeared to be anywhere close to his previous form. Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett would usually have immensely polarizing performances: either he would win the game single-handedly, or would have the most deaths in the game.
To me this seems like Echo Fox’s unrelenting aggression can be doubly detrimental in the snowball metagame that we currently have in League of Legends. Whenever they get any sort of lead through skirmishing or team fighting, they could expand it to the limit by forcing the enemy to give up advantages over and over.
Tanner “Damonte” Damonte has not achieved much of note since his promotion into the main roster, but he has not had stellar performances, but the good side is that he has not been the sole reason for their losses either.
Following the roster change, all of the eyes have been on Lawrence “Lost” Hui and Andy “Smoothie” Ta since this duo has been the unknown entity for the squad. Lost has had dominating performances on the Varus, but often commits positioning mistakes. He has also looked fine on the Swain and it may be a pick that Echo Fox could look to return to.
The main question for this team was whether or not they could gel in time. The time to finally judge this team is approaching fast, and Echo Fox needs to prove that their roster moves are justified.
2018 NA LCS Summer Week 9: Matches of the Week
Team SoloMid vs OpTic Gaming (Day 1)
Whichever team wins this match surely goes into playoffs.
The key position in this match will be the jungle. An aggressive-minded jungler like Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham could apply great pressure into Grig in the jungle matchup. If Grig is not set up for success, he’ll have very little impact. If starved out of his jungle, the only thing he often does is secure vision for his team, which is good but not exactly game-winning. This puts TSM in a position to have to draft a strong skirmishing jungler for Grig.
It is common knowledge that both Bjergsen and Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage will look to carry their respective teams to victory. Both players have a reputation for playing a mean Syndra, which is why it will most likely have some presence in this match.
Both teams’ bottom lanes should look to be as stable as possible. This means that Ezreal and Jhin are top priority picks for both teams. They might even fancy both Tahm Kench and Braum for their initiation and map play. After all, both Mithy and Terry “Big” Chuong are both macro-oriented supports. This means that they will try their best to secure vision and objectives all over the map.
Both of their top laners are good with split pushers as well. Niship “Dhokla” Doshi and Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell will attempt their best to net either a Gnar or a Jayce if possible. However, Hauntzer has the edge in playing tanks.
Betting: TSM to win at 1.57 odds (GGbet)
FlyQuest vs Cloud9 (Day 2)
The underdogs, FlyQuest, has greatly stabilized over the past few weeks. They have been a team that has had a very good understanding of how to play around tempo. They have relied on Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen’s capability path effectively with a Trundle, so you can expect them to prioritize picking the champion. On the other hand, Cloud9 has not been a team that has flourished with this pick, which means that most likely they will ban it.
Cloud9’s prized Zilean-Kindred combo should be what FlyQuest should look to shut down. Either they should ban out the Zilean or perhaps take it for themselves. There will be plenty of leg room for Cloud9 to move around since if FlyQuest looks to ban out their combo, other options might open up such as Tahm Kench, which would be a good takeaway from Juan “JayJ” Guibert, or another supportive mid laner like Karma, Lulu, or even Galio.
If Jensen and Blaber have some sort of control over the game, they can pave their way into a win for the team. They could take advantage of the fact that FlyQuest usually could not play from behind. Because of this and because of recent form, I predict Cloud9 to take the win in one of the last matchups of the 2018 NA LCS Summer Week 9.
Betting: Cloud9 to win at 1.57 odds (GGbet)
Which teams do you think will make it into the Playoffs after 2018 NA LCS Summer Week 9? Do you agree with our predictions? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below!