NA LCS 2018 Summer Split Week 7 just graced us all, and once again, no team has inched ahead and locked themselves in for a playoff spot just yet. But, even so, the standings became a bit clearer as we move closer towards the end of the regular season.
With NA LCS 2018 Summer Split Week 7 now done and dusted, below are our thoughts on the previous weekend’s matches.
Cloud9’s Rise to the Playoffs
Cloud9 have defied all odds and criticisms and now sit in an arguably comfortable spot to be in the NA LCS playoffs.
The team, in particular, was impressive in NA LCS 2018 Summer Split Week 7. They pulled of two team compositions that were quite difficult to execute and ran away with them. In Day 1, we saw them pick up Nocturne for Robert “Blaber” Huang, a Zilean for Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, and a Tahm Kench for Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam.
This was a very intelligent draft from Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu. The team composition relies on the usage of the Nocturne ultimate to eliminate squishy carries on the opposing side, with both the Zilean ultimate and the Tahm Kench Devour to get the Nocturne out of harm’s way if the engage is botched. The difficulty in execution lies in the timing and layering of the different spells in a teamfight.
The second day saw another Zilean composition from the Cloud9 squad, and this time with a Kindred. Blaber stole the show in that game after outsmarting Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin in the Baron pit. Blaber used the Kindred ultimate to keep the Baron alive as Reignover dashed in to steal it with Smite. This forced Reignover to flash away because he no loneger had Smite to threaten the steal as the Kindred ultimate kept the objective alive, leaving the Baron for C9’s taking.
After a wonderful performance in NA LCS 2018 Summer Split Week 7, it’s safe to say that Cloud9 has become a serious contender.
CLG Tests Their Faithful Once Again
NA LCS 2018 Summer Split Week 7 was particularly rough for CLG — both of their games were open to either team but CLG would have a misplay that would cost them the entire game.
In both games they showed a priority for Ryze in the drafting phase. This was, of course, for Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun. This means that they intended to play a split pushing-oriented team composition in both of their games. However, despite this game plan, the CLG squad would always group up as a team of five and go to the middle lane, but their team compositions are not meant for team fighting.
In addition, CLG does really seem to have inherited Cloud9’s former problem. They get immense leads in the early game, and once the Baron has spawned and the laning phase has ended, they would start to lose the game. Their middle to late game macro has appeared to be a cause of concern. Reignover seems to have some issues regarding team communication and build paths later on in the game.
In their game against Cloud9, Reignover pathed towards the bottom lane, while Blaber pathed towards the top side of the map. Blaber killed Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya’s Kennen, a counter pick to Licorice’s Dr. Mundo, which meant that the split pushing Kennen counter pick no longer had lane priority. Their bottom lane of Varus-Shen was already a winning lane, and because of that the pathing was questionable as Dr. Mundo can dominate its lane counterparts if left unattended in the early game.
CLG could potentially still stage a comeback and make it into the playoffs, but they’ll need to improve on their weaknesses first for that to happen.
Team Liquid Secure First Place
The road was long and winding, but after NA LCS 2018 Summer Split Week 7, Team Liquid now sit on top of the NA LCS.
In the first day we saw them take the victory over their rivals for first place 100 Thieves, but it was not in the dominating fashion that we saw in last split’s finals. They struggled in the early game— 100 Thieves got four flashes out of the veteran Team Liquid squad in the first few minutes of the game. Jake “Xmithie” Puchero even stayed at level 1 until the fourth minute. It was a very poor start, but due to the nature of 100 Thieves’ playstyle, they were able to have a window to come back in the midgame.
In their game against FlyQuest, Team Liquid was not necessarily stomping the opposition and was again a little bit behind in the early game. FlyQuest was able to secure advantages in the top lane against Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong’s Gangplank by diving him under the turret twice. However, Team Liquid was able to farm up and scale until a point where they were able to fight as a five-man unit.
With Team Liquid moving from a team with an early game focus to a team that wants to comfortably scale until the later stages of the game, we’ve seen them lose the early game a lot.
Whether or not they’ll be able to keep on winning with this playstyle remains to be seen.
Golden Guardians At The Bottom Once Again
With the coming of patch 8.14 and the further stabilizing of the meta, teams have gotten a better understanding of what to play and how to play different styles.
With this in the equation, Golden Guardians started losing. The reason could be the fact that other teams simply outclass them in terms of talent. When both teams are playing generally the same things, talent is what tips the scales over to one side.
Golden Guardians seemed to have no more strategies to fall back on following their loss of the Heimerdinger-Fiddlesticks bottom lane. It has been their most reliable lane, and even then they were not undefeated on it. Following the first few wins on the specific lane, other teams have learned to ban it against them in the drafting phase.
For example, in their game against TSM, Contractz was made irrelevant by the opposing team. GGS’ plays are usually high-risk and high-reward, leaving some mistakes that are punishable at a later point. TSM made sure to punish these mistakes over and over. Contractz was so behind on the Trundle as a result.
In addition, the enemy team just outclassed their lanes in that game. Matthew “Deftly” Chen built a Lethality Varus when there were two and a half(there was a Gnar) tanks on the enemy team, and Samson “Lourlo” Jackson built an on-hit split pushing Kennen when their team composition had no clear engage options.
Things then only got worse for Golden Guardians against 100 Thieves.
If this keeps up, Golden Guardians could end up losing more often than winning for the remainder of the split, which doesn’t bode well for their playoff chances.
TSM’s Woes Continue
The addition of strategic coaches hasn’t really helped out TSM much. Their drafts have been questionable at best. And while their tried and tested reactive playstyle worked, it was only against a Golden Guardians team that’s obviously been on the decline.
In their game in the second day, Jonathan “Grig” Armao got immensely ahead with a 5-0 scoreline in the early game by simply punishing Echo Fox’s mistakes. However, he and the rest of his team was not able to push their lead forward as Grig built Quicksilver Sash— a defensive item, even when the enemy team had few reliable crowd control abilities.
In addition, they lost to another split push. Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon’s Gnar defeated Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell’s Cho’gath due to a good gank by Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett, which gave an opening for Huni to just push the bottom lane minion wave. Team SoloMid decided to pressure the middle lane by attempting to take the turret, but Huni just went on. By the time they were already pushing Echo Fox’s middle inhibitor, Hauntzer was with the team in the middle lane and Huni was at their bottom lane inhibitor turret. TSM did not recall, Hauntzer and Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg were killed, Dardoch used the first cast of the Nocturne ultimate, which meant that TSM could not see anything in the minimap, and Lawrence “Lost” Hui joined Huni in destroying the Nexus turrets and the Nexus itself.
If TSM are to get into the playoffs, they must find a way to improve their overall map play and wave management.
The summer split second round robin will soon draw into a close. The next week is crucial for every team, and fans will have to do a lot of theorizing from now on. No team is definitively out of the playoff race yet, and no team has locked a spot in the playoffs either. Be sure to cheer for your team as they play the games with the highest stakes in the next two weeks.
What did you think of all the action that happened during NA LCS 2018 Summer Split Week 7? Who do you think will emerge at first place at the end of the split? Let us know in the comment section below!