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Flying Hai: NA LCS Week 2 Staff Picks

by theScore Staff Jan 27 2017
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot esports Flickr

theScore esports' League of Legends experts have tapped into their inner oracle for the second week of the 2017 North American LCS Spring Split and offered up predictions for each of the games. We'll be keeping track of how many results they predict correctly as the season goes on.

Predictions

Current NA LCS Spring Split Records: Emily Rand (7-3), Gabriel Zoltan-Johan (5-5)

Friday Rand Zoltan-Johan
FLY vs. CLG FLY FLY
TSM vs. DIG DIG DIG
Saturday Rand Zoltan-Johan
IMT vs. C9 C9 C9
P1 vs. nV P1 P1
TSM vs. TL TSM TSM
DIG vs. FOX DIG DIG
Sunday Rand Zoltan-Johan
P1 vs. TL TL P1
FOX vs. FLY FLY FLY
nV vs. IMT IMT IMT
C9 vs. CLG C9 C9

Spotlight Matches

Team SoloMid vs. Dignitas

Rand: After Week 1, Cloud9 and Dignitas are looking like the two strongest teams in North America. Last week, I picked TSM because I thought that their synergy, and previous experience with WildTurtle, would make the transition into 2017 smooth, despite losing Doublelift. This has not been the case, and TSM was sluggish, uncoordinated and disorganized in Week 1, even in their wins. By contrast, Dignitas looked surprisingly coordinated. This is a fantastic meta for Ssumday, who can control team fights on tanks with ease, and Keane has grown into a flexible mid who can play what his team needs. Although I certainly won't be surprised if TSM pull it together and take this, I'm picking Dignitas going into Week 2.

Zoltan-Johan: TSM fans started to press the panic button after the reigning LCS champions were delivered a vicious defeat at the hands of Cloud9, and just barely squeaked by a competent Immortals squad. The bottom lane wasn't the deciding factor, all thing considered. Some stumbling from oft-reliable solo lanes had a huge impact on the in-game proceedings. Another big factor was just how out of his depth Strategic Coach Parth was in the 10-ban system. I have all faith that these issues can be remedied, and the IMT series saw some marked improvements to all of the above.

However, their first opponents this week are Dignitas, who looked absolutely stellar against P1 and even better against C9, despite the latter being a loss. Ssumday has already shown how good he can be, and Chaser has demonstrated that he has kept his aggression honed and intact. All this coupled with an in-sync botlane, the resurgence of a consistently strong Keane, and some very solid draft plans. I think TSM is going to have to stomach at least one more loss to Dignitas before they come back into any sort of form.

Immortals vs. Cloud9

Rand: Immortals will have another week of practice under their belts going into this series, but I don't think they'll be able to top Cloud9, who were the strongest team in NA LCS Week 1. While I think Immortals could be a top team by the end of the split, one week isn't long enough to fix the amount of mistakes they need to correct before taking on C9. To their credit, C9 have fit new jungler Contractz onto their team seamlessly, and now have an aggressive early jungle game to go along with their already strong and experienced laners.

Zoltan-Johan: C9 has put on a show so far in the LCS. From the careful dismantling of TSM to the wonderful series against DIG that was easily the most polished of all matches in Week 1. I expect no different from C9 this time around, as they seem revitalized with the addition of Contractz and the moulding of Smoothie as a primary shotcaller. Reapered’s drafting has also been the best of the LCS so far.

IMT look incredibly solid in early phases, but Dardoch needs better communication from his teammates around key objectives in order to fulfill the potential of this roster. The baron communication in Mic Check really emphasized the difficulty the team faces. This also reflects on other late game situations the team has faced, with Flame’s splitpushing leading to needless overextending, or his tanking being a 1v5 affair while the team struggles to join him. Immortals can definitely solve these problems, it just won't be this week and definitely won't be versus C9.

Phoenix1 vs. Team Liquid

Rand: Both of these teams had some strong highlights from Week 1, and more than a few mistakes. Team Liquid should be able to take this, provided that they put aside their penchant for diving Tier 2 turrets.

Zoltan-Johan: Okay, I gave P1 a bit of a hard time last week, but only because it wasn't clear just how long the team was practicing with Arrow (his social media made it clear that he arrived to LA just days before the LCS). Even still, P1 is a bit of an enigma. They took Dig to three games but also saw significant weakness in their top lane in that series despite Zig absolutely handling Looper in the series prior. This contrasts quite heavily with Team Liquid’s struggles, where Reignover has started enabling Lourlo to some success rather than Piglet as everyone would have suspected, as the AD Carry looks to still be struggling for form.

All things considered, This will be a difficult match for Liquid. Arrow and Adrian are an incredibly stable botlane, and Ryu has shown his prowess against considerably good mid laners so far. If anything, this series is contingent on Zig handling the newly dominant Lourlo and Inori keeping tabs on the ever-present Reignover in order to let their mid lane and bottom side naturally win out. At the moment, this looks like a P1 victory because it’s very difficult for me to believe that the TL bottom lane is out of their funk just yet. It will be close though.

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