2018 NA LCS Summer Week 7 is fast approaching, with only six games separating all of the teams from the end of the split.
Aside from a spot in the playoffs, all teams are gunning for either a first and second place finish. Doing so would guarantee them a spot in the semifinals, and an automatic entry into the third-place decider match even if they lose.
With that said, here’s what everyone should expect heading into 2018 NA LCS Summer Week 7 this weekend.
2018 NA LCS Summer Week 7: Champions to Watch
Vel’Koz saw quite some buffs going into 8.14 in her Q, now with an additional 20% ability power ratio. Vel’Koz has always been a good champion in terms of clearing the minion waves in the middle lane with two stacks of her W. In addition, Vel’Koz is good at dealing damage from afar, and if she is on a wall she can deal absurd amounts of damage to opponents. Her passive also deals true damage when triggered, which means that any tankier opponents standing in her way may get melted down.
Vel’Koz has been seeing play in other regions, especially in the LCK, as both a mid laner and a bottom lane carry. North America, however, has not picked the champion up, and the better numbers on the champion may finally be a cause for Vel’Koz to see some play in the NA LCS.
Quinn was one of the few marksmen who was not nerfed when patch 8.11 came. How she works as a champion is quite different than the usual marksmen— she has huge amount of burst damage that can be triggered again and again due to how her passive works. The way Quinn can influence a fight with this burst makes protecting squishier members of the team a higher priority.
The influence Quinn has on side lanes is also immense: she can splitpush, or even just farm sidelanes and then go back and group with the rest of the team with her ultimate. The blind from her Q is also great utility against autoattackers.
Quinn can go to the top lane, or can be used as a bottom lane marksman as we saw Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi last week. Expect more of Quinn’s presence in the coming week.
Elise has been getting incremental buffs over the better part of a year. In addition, the recent buff to Runic Echoes was an indirect buff to Elise. An early-game oriented jungler, Elise fits right in with the current metagame.
Elise has great map and objective control due to her Rappel, which allows for creative pathing and ganking routes. She also has great initiation with her stun, and a good amount of burst damage built into her kit.
We have also seen some Elise before with Robert “Blaber” Huang, and we might just see more of them in the coming matches.
2018 NA LCS Summer Week 7: Teams to Watch
Despite having consistency problems, Team Liquid have been on the upswing and currently sit in first place along with 100 Thieves.
With marksmen slowly creeping into the metagame, Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng could be provided with more opportunities to shine. If his synergy with Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung continues to improve and if he is put on champions with opportunities to initiate fights, advantages could be netted in the early game through the bottom lane.
The problem is the top lane. Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong has appeared to be slumping. In most matchups, Impact has been losing, and he has not been losing gracefully. Impact needs to be in better form, especially if he is put on the scaling side of matchups, like on Gangplank. He also needs to get help from Jake “Xmithie” Puchero if he is on a disadvantage.
Eugene “Pobelter” Park also needs to go for riskier plays. His relatively safer playstyle has been some sort of a problem for the team, leading them to not gain advantages early from the middle lane. His role has always been to go even at most, and then to influence other parts of the map later.
Their team has slowly been improving in terms of macro, though. The veteran status of all the members have allowed them to play the map intelligently in the middle to late stages of the game, and recently they have been able to claw their way back even if massively behind.
To retain their spot at the top past 2018 NA LCS Summer Week 7 and improve their chances to go back-to-back, Team Liquid will need to continue shoring up their weaknesses.
Echo Fox has undergone some drastic changes and we have seen them to be the same team, but better. Their early game aggression through Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett and Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon has always been their bread and butter. Picking for lane priority in the top lane and a jungler with a skirmishing advantage has been what this team has been all about.
The past week we saw them pick three winning lanes and a skirmishing jungler, and it has been a good look on them.
Having bottom lane priority with Lawrence “Lost” Hui and Andy “Smoothie” Ta can only lead to good things for the team sinece they no longer have to give up one lane. Bottom lane priority gives better drake and rift scuttler control. This iteration of Echo Fox’s bottom lane also relieves some pressure from the top-jungle duo to carry the team. In addition, with further practice, Smoothie could be a great playmaker and a shotcaller for the team. Unlocking him to further influence other parts of the map could be a win condition for the team.
Areas that the team should work on are tempering their aggression, which Smoothie could help with. If Echo Fox could cleanly win games despite their early aggression, they would be a much better team capable of international competition.
Echo Fox could be a team that can take the NA LCS by storm with this roster, especially if they have a strong showing in 2018 NA LCS Summer Week 7.
Golden Guardians was one of the teams that benefitted from the bottom lane opening up to other champions. Matthew “Deftly” Chen jumped onto the Heimerdinger whenever it wasn’t banned, and it was often paired with Matthew “Matt” Elento’s Fiddlesticks. Golden Guardians have been rising in the standings due to this combination, with the help of Juan Arturo “Contractz” Garcia’s unrelenting aggression.
However, we might have forgotten that their bottom lane is also quite good with more standard bottom lanes. Deftly is a serviceable marksman player, and Matt has always been comfortable with playmaking and teamfighting. Now that the team seems to have found their playstyle, it would be worthwhile to see how they could possibly play with marksmen.
Son “Mickey” Young-min has been a catalyst for the team as well. His naturally aggressive laning method has been very effective at corralling opponents in the middle lane. If given assassins or champions with a great outplay potential, Mickey could overtake the game.
An area of concern for this team would be their macro play. They have a tendency to rush certain objectives like Baron Nashor without properly setting up vision and without properly manipulating minion waves. This was pretty apparent in both their games last weekend, where both their opponents, Team Liquid and OpTic Gaming, were able to punish their Baron Nashor rush properly. Both games resulted into losses for Golden Guardians.
Golden Guardians have done considerably better than last split, but they’ll have to do better in 2018 NA LCS Summer Week 7 and onwards to make it to the playoffs.
2018 NA LCS Summer Week 7: Matches of the Week
Liquid vs 100 Thieves (Day 1)
If Team Liquid is on blue side, they could look to ban out other high-profile junglers such as Kindred, Trundle and Nocturne, and they could take Sejuani for themselves, which has always been a reliable pick for Xmithie. Unfortunately for 100 Thieves, if they are on red side, they would not be able to ban out a lot on Team Liquid’s side as there are several must-bans currently.
One thing is for certain: this match is about the bottom lane: 100 Thieves always picks for bottom lane priority and would look at Cody “Cody Sun” Sun to carry later on in the game. The Xayah-Rakan duo would be highly contested, which would mean that if Team Liquid does ban like I stated above, 100 Thieves could immediately take the lovers’ bottom lane. In that case, Team Liquid would most likely take something like Varus and Tahm Kench as their bottom lane.
Ryu “Ryu” Sang-wook would most likely be on a champion that could influence the side lanes, which would mean that Ryze is the highest priority mid laner for them, and if not they would go for a Galio or even an Orianna for teamfight prowess. Pobelter would most likely not be counterpicking but would do the same as Ryu: he would always pick to be as supportive to their side lanes as much as he can. Malzahar could be a prime pick for him once again.
Top lane could be a pressure point for 100 Thieves: since Chan “Ssumday” Ho-kim has been displaying MVP-worthy performances, he could be a threat to a slumping Impact.
The side lanes are pivotal in this game, but ultimately I predict Xmithie’s veteran status as a jungler to make all the difference.
Betting: Team Liquid to win vs 100 Thieves at 1.72 odds (GGbet)
Counter Logic Gaming vs Cloud9 (Day 2)
Cloud9 always prioritizes top lane, from the draft to the jungle pathing and even who gets farm priority. Eric “Licorice” Ritchie has always been a player with great carry potential, and Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya must do his best to neutralize this threat. If Cloud9 is on red side, however, we can be sure that they will save the counterpick for Licorice.
What will make all the difference, however, is the jungle matchup once again. Robert “Blaber” Huang is another rookie jungler, which makes him a prime candidate for Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin to exploit and take advantage of.
The bottom lane could also be another key matchup between the two teams. Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes and Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi have been in the league for quite a while, and it can be expected that they are quite competitive against each other. What may tip the scales for the bottom lane would be the support matchup. Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam is yet another rookie whose focus is communication and shotcalling; Vincent “Biofrost” Wang is a playmaking support who just recently took the mantle of shotcalling. Biofrost could possibly allow him and Stixxay to be victorious in the laning phase and snowball from there, and if laning phase ends up relatively even, Zeyzal could steer the team into playing the map better.
Ultimately, I predict Cloud9 to win because Counter Logic Gaming seems to have a problem closing out games recently.
Betting: Cloud9 to win vs Counter Logic Gaming at 1.57 odds (GGbet)
Which teamd do you think will win big in 2018 NA LCS Summer Week 7? Do you agree with our predictions? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.