LCS 2019 Spring Week 1 Recap: NA plays like NA

With the LCS 2019 Spring Week 1 over, we can finally say that our patience has been rewarded.

Compared to last season, the LCS teams we’re seeing now are different, in a way. Sure, the LCS Pigeon is still there, and it’s still the same players and casters. But, even with nearly no new talent exploding into the scene, everything feels quite so different, and yet, familiar at the same time.

As is the problem with every first week of a new season though, it’s quite difficult to make generalizations from LCS 2019 Spring Week 1; it’s going to take some time for all teams to achieve midseason form. Not to mention, with a number of imports from the LCK and the old EU LCS, there’s bound to be some thing that teams, as well as audiences, need to relearn about the LCS as a whole.

LCS 2019 Spring Week 1 Week 1 Meta Recap

LCS 2019 Spring Week 1
Team Liquid’s good read on the meta helped them get a 2-0 this weekend. (Image source: LoL Esports)

Pick and ban priority aren’t really all too different across all regions, with the LCS also emphasizing team compositions with high amounts of engage. In fact, a team composition with Sion, Camille, Galio and Ornn all in one draft were able to win a game in 2019 LCS Spring Split Week 1. On the other hand, lane priority doesn’t seem like it’s that much of an issue. This is most likely because teams in the LCS usually play a little bit too much on the safe side and do not seek to get the maximum of favourable matchups. 

The result of this is that certain matchups, like the Akali vs Urgot matchup, go the way of the champion that is usually punishable, like the Akali, because that gets to farm freely in the lane.

While we’ve seen a lot of Kai’sa in the LCS, it’s not the same champion. Or at least, not played the same way. Because games end way too early these days, no one has really been able to play her as the late-game carry that she is.

Two things that also stand out in the LCS is their emphasis on Galio and comfort picks. It’s not unusual for teams to pick champions for the sake of it, not because it’s a good counter pick or a good fit with their composition. 

Don’t expect things to remain the same from LCS 2019 Spring Week 1 though. With a new patch expected next week, expect some changes here and there.

LCS 2019 Spring Week 1 Schedule

1st to 3rd — Clutch Gaming, FlyQuest, Team Liquid (2-0)

4th to 7th — Cloud9, Echo Fox, OpTic Gaming, Team SoloMid (1-1)

8th to 10th — 100 Thieves, Counter Logic Gaming, Golden Guardians (0-2)

There is not much to say yet about the standings, but usually teams that are 2-0 in the first week make it to the playoffs later on in the split. Even so, they should not be complacent as their conditions might make a turn for the worse. Fans of teams that find themselves 0-2 in the first week of the league, however, should not be too worried. There are still eight weeks to go, and several patches to go through in the process. Most probably teams will be able to observe what their lapses have been, and hopefully they would be able to correct those.

The Best and Worst of LCS 2019 Spring Week 1

Biggest Surprise: FlyQuest

LCS 2019 Spring Week 1
Pobelter seems to be the same as ever, delivering consistent performances on the domestic stage. (Image source: LoL Esports)

FlyQuest changed only two positions over the past offseason, and underwent small coaching staff changes. They lost South Korean superstar top laner Lee “Flame” Ho-jong, and he was replaced by former Riven one-trick and former Team Liquid Academy top laner Omran “V1per” Shoura. Jang “Keane” Lae-young’s contract has expired as well and has since been replaced by NA LCS mainstay Eugene “Pobelter” Park. Many voiced their apprehension over this new roster, asking questions about who the carry threats on this team actually are.

The answer to this question is that there is no clear carry threat in this team, but the team’s advantage is how they can consistently play as a unit. They played team compositions with great amount of engage, and their team fights appear to be crisp and well prepared for. The solo laners’ flanking plays are also one thing worth mentioning here. For both games, a game changing flank was executed by a solo laner, which ensued into a greater neutral objective.

In addition, the team’s drafting has appeared to be clear in terms of intention, the execution conditions seems to be relatively simple and straightforward, and the FlyQuest squad was able to do so over the course of the two games.

Whether or not they would be able to keep this kind of game plan and this win streak is left to be observed in the following weeks. It would not be a surprise if they continue to do quite well in the League of Legends Championship Series.

Needs Improvement: Golden Guardians

LCS 2019 Spring Week 1
The Golden Guardians need to figure out what their issues are, and they need to work on them fast. (Image source: LoL Esports)

Golden Guardians was the worst team in the league for both the spring and the summer last year. It was not a surprise that they would look to make changes to the roster and the coaching staff. Shortly before the season ended, they were able to acquire Nick “Inero” Smith as their head coach. T

Next came the acquisitions for the team. The organization was able to acquire European mid lane superstar Henrik “Froggen” Hansen, former Team SoloMid top laner Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell, and former Team Liquid support Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung. Matthew “Deftly” Chen and Juan Arturo “Contractz” Garcia retain their places in the team.

While Hauntzer and Froggen are known to be strong laners, it was expected that Contractz would be able to have a rather easier time trying to play his aggressive, invading-heavy style of jungling. In the past season, Olleh has learned a more lane-focused style of play, but he may be able to switch gears between playing for lane and being a roaming play maker. As long as the members of the squad were on form, they could easily compete for a spot in the playoffs. The results, however, were different.

The team seemed to be in general disarray and easily fell behind in the games they were in. That’s not the way you want to play if you’re running high-engage compositions and, as a result, the team suffered from back to back losses.

While it is still the new Golden Guardians’ first week, the bitterness of defeat for the first two matches of the year can be an impetus for the members to address their issues and perform in the succeeding weeks.

Final Thoughts

While it is too early for fans to jump to conclusions about the relative strength of teams, the teams are obviously thinking about the future. Every team wants success domestically in order to compete internationally, and who doesn’t want to make a name for themselves in the international stage?

And in order for teams to go to Worlds, they must seize every chance they can get for a victory on the Summoner’s Rift. 

What do you think was the biggest takeaway from LCS 2019 Spring Week 1? Do you think the meta is going to remain the same? Or will Cloud9’s run at Worlds 2018 force teams to make a change? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.

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