LCS Semifinals Staff Picks: sprint to the finish

by theScore esports Staff Apr 8 2016
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games/lolesports / NA LCS Spring 2016 / Riot Games

theScore esports' League of Legends experts have tapped into their inner oracle for the European and North American LCS semifinals and offer up predictions for each of the games.

Europe Moser Rand Doucet Doan
H2K vs. OG H2K H2K H2K H2K
FNC vs. G2 G2 G2 G2 FNC
North America Moser Rand Doucet Doan

H2k-Gaming vs. Origen

Kelsey Moser: Origen's misplays and slow adaptation to focus on turrets over neutral objectives will play into H2K's hands. Zven and mithy performed spectacularly well in the quarterfinals and the rest of the team showed more signs of life, but H2K have also had time to refine their own strategies and observe Origen. H2k-Gaming

Emily Rand: Origen has struggled to find their footing this season while H2K, in spite of some obvious kinks, have consistently shown a better understanding of how to leverage and trade objectives. They spread their opponents on the map and given Origen's sometimes disorganized look on the rift. H2k-Gaming

Nic Doucet: The final that could have been, this match will be a slugfest both on an individual and team-wide basis as veteran experience will go head-to-head with veteran experience. These teams are pretty evenly matched in terms of skill, and while H2K might have the edge in terms of overall macro play, Origen are no slouches either. Five game minimum to satisfy what should be a thrilling series. H2k-Gaming

Lisa Doan: This doesn't look great for Origen. While Origen typically performs much better in the playoffs I can't even imagine them outplaying H2K, who are all so mechanically skilled. While I think most lanes are equal in terms of strength, I think the jungle will play a pivotal role in determining who wins this matchup. Overall, Jankos is a more dominant jungler, often involved in the team's kills, and he can easily get his lanes rolling. H2k-Gaming

Fnatic vs. G2 Esports

Kelsey Moser: Fnatic have prioritized more aggressive jungle picks, but unless they figure out how to get the rest of their team in gear in the early game consistently, that won't be enough to combat G2's invasive early strategies. Febiven and Spirit try to tackle opposite sides of the map, but PerkZ and Trick work well together and get off the ground more quickly. As long as G2's vision doesn't shake, they should take this series. G2 Esports

Emily Rand: Last week I erroneously picked Vitality over Fnatic. Vitality crumbled, while Fnatic donned their fabled "playoff buff," en route to a 3-1 series win. That being said, Fnatic still have a lot of things to work on, and G2, from their regular season play, seems to have a better understanding of their own identity at this point in time. I'll have to go against Fnatic again this week, and pick G2. G2 Esports

Nic Doucet: I guess this is what happens when I incorrectly predict three-fourths of the quarterfinals — this semifinal match wasn't anywhere on my radar before now. But, thanks to a strong performance out of Febiven and the rest of FNC, here we are. That being said, I still like G2 here — they're aggressive, skilled, and have Trick to set up PerkZ to deal with the surging Febiven. All signs in my mind point to G2. G2 Esports

Lisa Doan: Last week, when I used logic and performance in the regular season to determine who was going to win in the quarterfinals, I was completely off. Based off that criteria, G2 should win this series hands down. However, after seeing how Fnatic played against Vitality and dismantled a team that was supposed to be at least top three in Europe, I think Fnatic has much more to show us. They've obviously had valuable practice the last couple of weeks and if they are able to control G2's early game and defend their early aggression, Fnatic can take the series. Fnatic

Counter Logic Gaming vs. Team Liquid

Kelsey Moser: More and faster. Dardoch and Matt continue to steal the hearts of spectators. They made obvious fools of NRG this past weekend, and with tight control and no signs of a whimper, TL are looking to blow past CLG. This semifinal could be very interesting, however, as CLG have a good understanding of early game objective priority. TL are just very good at throwing things off with their aggressive jungler and bottom lane, and as things stray from a specific formula, CLG struggle more. Team Liquid

Emily Rand: The more I wrote about this matchup for my preview, the more I favored Team Liquid. There's no denying that Counter Logic Gaming was the better team in the regular season, but TL used their time wisely and steadily improved in spite of a few hiccups along the way. Their 3-0 thrashing of NRG eSports last weekend showcased just how far this team has come. CLG will be a tougher task for TL than NRG, but I like TL's momentum and general understanding of how their players work together in the upset. Team Liquid

Nic Doucet: Another extremely impressive performance out of Dardoch and Piglet led TL over NRG last week, but they face an ever tougher test now in CLG. Lourlo will have trouble handling Darshan in a best-of format, but otherwise the lane matchups look to be TL favored. However, CLG hasn't built their legacy on individual skill alone, but on a strong macro game and map movement. In that sense, CLG has the edge in the long run. Counter Logic Gaming

Lisa Doan: I think this is going to be a really close series, probably going to all five games. Team Liquid is looking very strong. They have found their playstyle, all their players are quite confident and they have proven their raw mechanical power. CLG on the other hand, are much more subtle about their strength. Instead of being in your face, CLG seems to prefer playing the objective-control game, and running the team around the map. CLG as a team also seem to be more mentality strong to play the best of five series whereas Liquid are still working on building up their mental fortitude. If Liquid gets a bad game at the start of the series, it might be very difficult for them to come back. Counter Logic Gaming

Immortals vs. Team SoloMid

Kelsey Moser: Immortals are far from infallible: if Huni doesn't get ahead, he struggles and WildTurtle is heavily dependent upon the peel provided by his support. If things go wrong in the side lanes, Pobelter won't put the team on his back and ReignOver's judgment can be manipulated. Yet it takes more than the teamwork than Team SoloMid are currently capable of demonstrating to pick them apart, so Immortals won't fall this weekend. Immortals

Emily Rand: Does Team SoloMid have the capacity to beat Immortals? Of course they do. The oft-infuriating thing about TSM this season was that their talent was capable of beating anyone in NA, they just couldn't come together well enough in order to make that happen. After cutting their teeth on Cloud9 last weekend, it's certainly possible that TSM knocks off NA's top team, but it's still not probable, simply due to how much of a head start IMT has in working together in unison. Immortals

Nic Doucet: TSM were much improved last week against C9, but they're now staring down the nearly undefeated Immortals. The main key to TSM's success was a significantly improvedl performance from Svenskeren, but he now has to face the daunting task of taking on the Huni-Over duo — no mean feat. This one is certainly closer than anticipated, but still favors the aggressive, relentless Immortals. Immortals

Lisa Doan: ​Honestly, I still don't know how TSM defeated Cloud9 last week. While they are strong individually, as a team, they are a mess. Against Immortals, their individual skills will not be enough. Immortals are an all-around strong team, and, more importantly, they have Reignover. With their strong and aggressive early game, Immortals are going to steamroll TSM and there's not much they're going to be able to do about it. Immortals

theScore esports compiles staff picks for different leagues weekly. Let us know what you think by tagging our Twitter or Liking us on Facebook.