With worlds just around the corner, we had a quick look at all the things we learned from the NA LCS Summer Split 2017. After everything concluded, C9 will be in the play-in stage which commences on the September 23. Immortals and TSM will be in the group stages, in groups B and D respectively. Both face tough competition to make it out the group stages. Without further ado, here are our 8 things we learned from the NA LCS.
The kings of NA are still the kings
After defeating Immortals 3-1 in the NA LCS finals, TSM are still very much the kings of NA. Immortals had a chance to take it to the 5th game, but threw a humongous lead and let Bjergsen and the boys back into it.
They had a dominant split. Despite competition from CLG, C9 and Immortals, they finished top of the leaderboards, beating Immortals by games lost. This is an impressive feat. Dropping only 4 series in perhaps one of the most competitive NA LCS splits so far.
However, as TSM and NA fans alike will know, NA often doesn’t show up to worlds. They physically show up, but they struggle to beat teams from different regions. To their credit, TSM have talked all season long about wanting to grow, even if that meant losing a few games here and there. We will have to see at worlds whether this has happened.
You don’t need a Korean teammate to go to worlds, but it helps
TSM are the only NA team who are going to worlds without a Korean in the lineup. Immortals have Flame and Olleh, while C9 have the ever-present Impact. TSM should be applauded for getting through to worlds without any Korean players.
This doesn’t take away from the success of Immortals and C9, however. Both teams have worked hard to bring their Korean players into the lineups. It’s not as simple as grabbing a player from Korea, shoving him onto your team and expecting results. It takes a lot of handworks, nurturing and much, much more.
Mid laners OP
Bjergsen, Pobelter and Jensen have all had incredible splits. One of the reasons all 3 of these teams are going to worlds is their mid laners. Bjergsen won the MVP (again) for summer 2017, Jensen was repeatedly praised for his carry-like performances and Pobelter has always been a solid mid laner.
In the player of the game leaderboards, Bjergsen came out on top with 12 games as MVP. Both Jensen and Pobelter were joint second with 8 a piece. TSM have always gone to worlds, with C9 often going as well. Neither teams have shown up particularly strongly. This is Immortals’ first worlds. It will be up to all the players, but there will be a particular focus on Bjergsen, Jensen and Pobelter to show that NA are a force to be reckoned with.
DIG and CLG aren’t going to worlds
Team Dignitas had a great run and almost made it to worlds. They were shattered in the third-place game by Counter Logic Gaming, however. This seemed to take the wind out of their sails and they lost to FlyQuest in the regional qualifiers. Team Dignitas will be disappointed, but they can also be reasonably happy with the performances they put in in the summer split 2017.
CLG, however, will be hurt by their losses to C9 in the regional qualifier finals. CLG have traditionally gone to worlds and this will be the first they’ve missed since 2014. The CLG boys had a great summer split and they looked like they would get all the way through the regional qualifiers. They met C9 in the finals, however, and lost. A hard one to swallow for their roster.
Roster changes don’t always work
But sometimes they do. TSM and C9 made no roster changes unless you include the now reverted change of Impact with Ray. Immortals made one roster change, bringing Xmithie in. On the other hand, Team Liquid, P1, Echo Fox all made large amounts of changes and aren’t going to worlds and didn’t perform much better after the changes.
The Xmithie change, however, was a great success. He was brought in to replace Dardoch. Although he hasn’t always had the best stats, the amount of pressure he gives to his laners can hardly be measured.
One incredibly highly-rated player can’t carry an entire team
The likes of Froggen on Echo Fox and Piglet on Liquid prove that one player isn’t enough in this 5v5 game. No disrespect to the other players on these teams, who are all fantastic players. The star player, however, has a duty to push the team past their mediocre standings. Froggen and Piglet are two examples of players who didn’t manage this feat.
The NA LCS is an unforgiving world. Despite many roster changes, Liquid have always stuck by Piglet. With good reason, he won the world championships with SKT T1 in Season 3. His co-patriot, Impact, was also on that team. Both are top notch players, but only one has teammates who can easily carry their weight or even sometimes carry them.
Froggen has been the cornerstone of Echo Fox since 2016. He and Keith are the surviving members of the original Echo Fox squad. Thus far, Echo Fox have not managed to compete with the other teams in the NA LCS. They finished 8th in both the Summer and Spring splits in 2017. Froggen has always managed to put in solid performances, but it’s never been quite enough to push Echo Fox over the edge and into competitiveness. Never say never, however.
Team Liquid and NV are coming back
Despite the troubles that both these teams have faced in the past, both are making a (hopefully) triumphant return to the NA LCS next year. Gold Coin United were beaten in the final of the promotion tournament by Team EnVyUs and Team Liquid re-qualified after beating the same team.
It’s incredibly important for any League of Legends team to be competing at the highest level. By re-securing their places in the NA LCS, both NV and TL can continue their dreams of dominating the LoL scenes. This is particularly important in light of TL’s success in other games, such as DotA.
The pressure was on both teams. If TL didn’t re-qualify for the NA LCS then there were definitely going to be even more roster changes than there already had been. The introduction of Dardoch to the lineup seems to have, for now, increased their winning attitude. Having both Reignover and Dardoch in the Jungle and Mickey and Goldenglue in the mid lane could have caused them problems.
The NA LCS has got more competitive
This year’s NA LCS has been the most competitive so far. Despite TSM coming out on top (yet again), they were only ahead on matches lost. This has been the first NA LCS split where any team could beat any team. Teams like Dignitas had great runs and almost made it to worlds.
When accepting his MVP award, Bjergsen specifically said that he wasn’t expecting it. Players like Xsmithie, Jensen and many others could have arguably received the award. That again, is testament to how competitive this NA LCS summer split has been. There was no stand out victor of the MVP award and even the person who won it said that he didn’t necessarily deserve it. This wasn’t false modesty, but simply the truth.
This will (hopefully) spiral into worlds competitiveness. This could be the year that NA finally show up to worlds. If any of the teams could turn up then either Immortals, C9 or TSM could potentially make it to the finals or semi-finals. All 3 teams have had very strong splits and NA fans will be begging to see one of their teams get this far.
If EU continues their decent run in world tournaments, after G2 got to the final of MSI 2017, and NA exit in the group stages of worlds then the power balance will have shifted even more. Despite TSM often beating G2 at MSI, it is only how far you get which counts. TSM, C9 or Immortals will have to make it to at least the quarter-finals, otherwise, it will be another disappointing year for NA fans.
They will definitely be facing tough competition. Longzhu look incredibly strong this year and the ever-present SKT T1 will be waiting to battle it out in the world championships. Furthermore, C9 will have to battle out of the play-in stage to even make it into the groups, so all eyes will be on them on them tomorrow.