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NA LCS Week 4 Staff Picks: The old guard vs. the young guns

by theScore Staff Feb 10 2017
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games/lolesports / NA LCS 2017 / Riot Games

theScore esports' League of Legends experts have tapped into their inner oracle for the fourth 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 accurately predict correctly as the season goes on.

Predictions

Current NA LCS Spring Split Records: Emily Rand (22-8), Gabriel Zoltan-Johan (19-11)

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

Spotlight Matches

Counter Logic Gaming vs. Echo Fox

Rand: This match is really difficult to call (along with a lot of matches this week like IMT/DIG, P1/FLY, and TL/IMT). Neither team has looked as strong as the NA top four, and although CLG have good communication with each other, this meta has already been a slog for them.

Akaadian and Froggen have had standout games for Echo Fox, but sometimes lack any semblance of unity as a team. Either team could take this, and it's going to be messy. My bet is still on CLG.

Zoltan-Johan: CLG showed some interesting games in their week 3 series against TSM and Dignitas. The initial domination of TSM followed by the complete dismantling of Dignitas shows this CLG roster at their best when they click. The unchanged roster was meant to do this from the get-go, but a shifting of roles and expectations have led to new barriers.

On the other hand, Echo Fox look to be a team where members understand their roles, but not each other. The frequent placement of Akaadian and Froggen as main carries has allowed Echo Fox some opportunity to secure wins, but puts them in a particular rut strategically as they often don’t deviate from that core system.

CLG, alternatively, have shown faith in each and every one of their players. Stixxay and Huhi in particular have stepped up on carries such as Ashe or Katarina, and the meta is in a place where Huhi is less likely to be exposed by better laners. Against Froggen, the passive lane may serve to benefit Huhi as well, and let CLG’s superior communication win out.

Phoenix1 vs. FlyQuest

Rand: Another tough one to call, this should continue to test Phoenix1, just as their TSM series did last week. A few key mistakes kept Phoenix1 from taking that series and I see the same happening against FlyQuest, who have clearer synergy. Again, either team could take it but I'm betting on FlyQuest, at least until they face C9 later on in the week.

Zoltan-Johan: This is the old guard against a young and burgeoning NA core.

Flyquest have the same deficiencies in the top lane as P1, and Moon against Inori will be an incredible duel for map pressure between two; Inori exposed a weakness in his champion pool versus TSM through his sub-par Ivern, so it will be interesting to see if Moon and FlyQuest can expose it.

On the other side, FlyQuest’s Hai will have to deal with Ryu, the first of the three other “best NA mids”, so it will be interesting to see how strong he shows himself to be. FlyQuest edges this out, 2-1.

FlyQuest vs. Cloud9

Rand: At times, FlyQuest will be the smarter team than C9, but I don't think they'll come out on top in this matchup. FlyQuest have been very clever in their drafting and opponents tend to over-commit on offense against them.

Despite the fact that Contractz is prone to over-aggression, I think the strength of Impact, Jensen, and Sneaky/Smoothie in lane will continue to provide a safe environment for the rookie jungler. C9 aren't likely to make the same mistakes as other teams have against FlyQuest.

Zoltan-Johan: Cloud9 White versus Cloud9 Blue, as they’re lovingly referred to by casters and spectators alike, will probably have a heated but ultimately anticlimactic game.

I expect C9 to utterly dominate each side lane at the very least. The team looks absolutely composed and Reapered’s drafting has still not shown any weaknesses. However, if there’s any team to throw a strategic curveball C9’s way, it’s the eccentric drafting of FlyQuest which has emphasized comfort over the meta.

It will be fun to see the C9 adaptation, but I ultimately don’t believe that this will stop them from winning the series.

Emily Rand is a staff writer for theScore esports. You can follow her on Twitter.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

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