theScore esports' League of Legends experts have tapped into their inner oracle for the ninth week of the North American LCS Summer Split and offer up predictions for each of the games.
|IMT vs. TSM||TSM||IMT||TSM|
|P1 vs. NV||P1||P1||P1|
|CLG vs. NRG||CLG||CLG||CLG|
|APX vs. TL||TL||TL||TL|
|C9 vs. FOX||C9||C9||C9|
|P1 vs. IMT||IMT||IMT||IMT|
|TSM vs. NRG||TSM||TSM||TSM|
|CLG vs. APX||CLG||CLG||CLG|
|TL vs. C9||TL||TL||TL|
|NV vs. FOX||NV||NV||NV|
Immortals vs. Team SoloMid
Rand: North America's top two teams battle it out for first place this week. Seeing P1 knock off TSM last week must have been a huge confidence boost for Immortals, who more than likely smell blood in the water now that TSM are no longer undefeated. Their first meeting in Week 2 went to three games, and I expect the same this week. I'm picking TSM because they've been the more consistent team this split, but wouldn't be surprised to see Immortals take down TSM to claim sole possession of the first-place spot.
Moser: I think Immortals will actually win this one. When Team SoloMid want to take an objective, they have a tendency to look for kills. A way to counter this is to take more defensive options that allow you to turn skirmishes. This is a style of play Immortals's bottom lane has frequently been known for. Though Immortals are more likely to take the P1 approach, choose something out of meta, and hit their opponent first. Both can be very effective against TSM, and we've seen Immortals improve while TSM have become somewhat stagnant as the top team. Either way, I think this series will be incredibly close.
Sevenhuysen: The stakes of a regular season match can’t get much higher than this. TSM is the only team to beat Immortals so far this season, and as long as they stay disciplined, I think they’ll do it again. Immortals have been impressive, but messy, giving away far too many unnecessary deaths. In a match this important, I doubt TSM will make the kind of arrogant, overly aggressive calls that hurt them so badly against Phoenix1. Immortals’ best chance to win is to set Reignover up to dominate Svenskeren’s jungle, but TSM’s laning is stronger, so that’s a tall order. This is a likely preview of the Finals, and I’m calling TSM 2-1.
Counter Logic Gaming vs. Apex
Rand: Apex have a ways to go to claim a playoff spot, and it begins with taking out both of their opponents this week (and relying on EnVyUs losing). Unfortunately for Apex, CLG have spent the past few weeks regaining their swagger, and this will be a tough matchup for them. Xmithie and Darshan should be able to keep Ray at bay en route to a CLG win.
Moser: CLG is a team that seems to understand really well where they should be on the map and what steps they should take, but fumble in execution. Apex have one mode of play, and have looked progressively flimsy as teams learn about countering it. CLG's know-how should allow them to take down Apex.
Sevenhuysen: CLG have been showing growth lately, with 2-1 wins over Cloud9 and Team Liquid. Xmithie has continued to be solid, aphromoo has been more noticeable than he was earlier in the split, and Darshan has been a bit better, though not yet consistent. Meanwhile, Ray may be a lot of fun to watch with his offense-only item builds, but Apex don’t have the coordination needed to keep up with the stronger teams in NA. Shrimp is a weak point, too, and that could hurt Apex, since CLG have been one of the better early-game teams in the league. CLG can take this 2-0.
Team Liquid vs. Cloud9
Rand: Both of these teams have already clinched playoff spots, and neither of them can make the top two, so this is an all-important battle for seeding, and a possible third-place spot. I'm tentatively picking TL, since they bested C9 in their previous matchup and showed surprisingly strong mental fortitude in the Week 5 series that included a remake. Regardless of who wins, this is the match I'm looking forward to the most after TSM vs. IMT on Friday.
Moser: This is fairly simple, just because I think Team Liquid are more flexible and reactive, while Cloud9 rely too much on getting ahead in lanes.
Sevenhuysen: Liquid have strength in all the right places to take Cloud9 out once again, from Fenix’s laning to Dardoch’s ganking and aggressive teamfighting. But with Team Liquid’s predictable team comps and solo-lane- based win conditions, Cloud9’s roadmap to victory is already laid out in front of them: hang on in the early game, and don’t let Fenix, Lourlo and Dardoch snowball. That’s easier said than done, of course, and despite much better play by Impact — and much better support to allow him to play well — I haven’t seen quite enough from Cloud9 to make me confident that they can pull it off in two games out of three. I see Team Liquid taking another 2-1 win in a close series.