Caster previews for LCS Week 4
Caster previews for LCS Week 4
Game to watch: Curse vs Cloud 9 HyperX
Not only did Curse have an amazing comeback victory against TSM last week, they also had one of the most convincing wins of the season in their demolition of Team Coast. Cop in particular put up impressive numbers on his aggressive AD Carry, Draven. At one point last week, Curse was 2-6 and in danger of losing their season, but their strong performance has put them back at 4-6 and positioned to make a move into the top half of the standings here in Week 4. It may finally be time for Curse to start benefiting from the acquisition of all-star Support Edward as the team seems to be finding its comfort zone.
Cloud 9 continues to look strong. They have a 2 game lead on the rest of the North American LCS and their losses have only been in close, drawn out games. Cloud 9 isn’t going to change their fast-push pressure style of play due to a couple of losses, as in their eyes those games were a few mistakes from a victory. This match will pit the team who started last split at the top of the standings (Curse) against the current 1st place team (Cloud 9).
Player to watch: Cop
Cop stepped up big time last week when the pressure on him was at its peak. Every game that Curse loses, fans call for the benching of Cop because he doesn’t ‘fit’ with Edwards aggressive play-style. Cop has been proving his willingness to adapt and last week he performed amazingly on his new roster of aggressive AD Carry champions. He will need to continue the solid play if he wants to silence his critics.
Game to watch: Curse vs Vulcun Techbargains
Starting off our July 4th broadcast we have two teams who ended last week on very high notes: Curse and Vulcun! Curse will be coming off the most dominating performance we have seen in the Summer Split so far, having beat Team Coast last week at MLG Anaheim while giving up only a single death at the end of the game. Curse really needed that win too, because they’ve had a very rough start to the split due to their very limited practice time with Edward. Cop and the rest of the team have been working hard to improve their communication, though, and maybe they will be able to ride the momentum from Anaheim to take down the number two team in the league, Vulcun.
Team Vulcun has looked solid all summer long but really showed something new in their last game in Anaheim, decisively taking the early game against Cloud 9 and eventually handing C9 their second loss of the split. While we are used to seeing Bloodwater’s Flash Crescendo initiations, it was mandatorycloud on Lissadra who really stepped up big by shutting down TF and Ryze with his near instant reaction time using his Frozen Tomb ability. If Saint and Jacky cannot keep him under control during the lane phase, mancloud will roam and has the ability to create plays all over the map. Vulcun seems to be one of the most unified teams in NA right now and it will be hard for Curse to crack through their solid team fighting skills.
Player to watch: mandatorycloud
Mandatorycloud seems to be the player that I am watching most when casting Vulcun games because of his outstanding mechanical ability and his knack for creating plays where you would least expect them. He has already shown that he is one of the best long range AP players with his Nidalee last split and Xerath this split. Now with his impressive control mage showing on Lissandra, I am excited to see what type of champion this versatile Mid Laner will use next.
Game to watch: Counter Logic Gaming vs Team Coast
Counter Logic Gaming is a team on the rise. After a disappointing Spring Split finish and a surprising roster mix-up with two role changes, CLG seem to have found the team they’re looking for. Link continues to excel at Mid Lane, Nien has acclimated beautifully to his new Top Lane role, and bigfatlp has among the best Smite timings in professional League of Legends. These past few weeks have been very good for CLG; they’re currently tied for 2nd place at 6-4. Now in Week 4, they have a chance to improve that to 1st, or drop back into the bottom half.
I had high hopes for Team Coast coming into the Summer Split. As the reigning #2 team from the Spring Split playoffs, and with the re-introduction of Shiphtur to the lineup, I thought they’d continue their dominance. It didn’t happen. At 5-5, Coast is tied for 4th place with plenty of room to move up or down. CLG is their toughest opponent of the week and one they’ll need to tackle if they want to move up in the standings.
When these two teams meet, there’s a lot of interesting clashes. First, the Junglers: I consider bigfatlp and NintendudeX the two top Smiters in the North American LCS. Both of these players tend to play the major tank line for the team. They’re the initiators, and they set up the rest of their respective teams to carry. The Top Laners have interesting dynamics as well: CLG’s Nien has been absolutely vital to his team’s success and his instincts for clutch plays were the number one reason CLG defeated TSM last week. Meanwhile, ZionSpartan is Coast’s main carry. Coast rarely performs well if Zion doesn’t get going, which makes the Top Lane matchup incredibly important for this game.
Player to watch: Doublelift
Counter Logic Gaming’s past two weeks have been stellar, and the team is on the rise. Every single member of that team has been performing amazingly and their wins are well-deserved. But they are, according to C9’s LemonNation, playing “in the non-optimal way.” With tough opponents ahead of CLG, I’m interested to see if Doublelift can hold onto his own style and continue making it work for CLG or if he’ll have to adapt to a lower-farm more utility-based role as so many of his contemporaries have.
Game to watch: Cloud 9 vs Curse
After a week in sunny Anaheim, California, the teams have only four days to ready themselves for a back to back dose of matches with all eight games being playing on Thursday. Teams stepped it up at MLG and fans saw Curse grab some much needed momentum with wins over Coast and TSM Snapdragon, but they fell to Velocity, who is ranked lowest in the League coming into Week 4. Cloud 9 had the same 2-1 record coming out of MLG, but they still hold the pole position in the NA LCS at 8-2.
This game will be a true test of Curse’s momentum. We have seen Cloud9 bounce back after a loss and continue to win, so Curse will have to keep the pressure on early, just like Vulcun, in order to find their win. The focus for Cloud9 lately has been more about ability power compositions with Lissandra, Twisted Fate, and Ryze, not focusing as much on attack damage compositions as in the past. Curse have been focusing on an overall more aggressive style in every lane with picks like Draven for Cop for just about every game lately, so watch as these two unique play styles clash.
Player to watch: Cop
Converting a play style that has been familiar to you for years is no easy task. Cop’s use of Draven lately has allowed him to find a new ‘Cop,’ one with a bit more authority and front line confidence.
Game to watch: Gambit BenQ vs Team Alternate
After a great weekend in Moscow, Gambit was brought back down to earth with 2 defeats back in Cologne. Many people will no doubt point at it being Spontex's fault (the substitute player for Darien), but it’s hard to blame a player that barely gets spoken to across the 2 matches. Russian is the language of Gambit and Spontex didn’t speak it, so was often left playing solo queue games at the highest level of the LCS. Nevertheless, Gambit is one of the few teams to have beaten Alternate so far this season in chaotic style, so they know what is required to take down the fresh-faced elo kings.
Alternate also tasted defeat for only the second time in the LCS taking a heavy defeat to SK Gaming who were bottom of the league at the time. They were gifted many of their best picks with Lissandra, Shen and Lee Sin, but were completely countered by some clever plays. However they quickly recovered to score an emphatic victory over Evil Geniuses and shook away any sign of nerves. They will be looking for revenge in this re-match which honestly was one of the best games in Moscow.
Player to watch: Genja
Seemingly no matter the champion Genja will start out with a Tear of the Goddess nowadays, and has never been one to play the standard builds. Questioned by many of his fellow LCS players, they are never quite sure what to expect from the man famed for making AD Kennen viable and the epic EMPIRE move with Ashe. One thing’s for sure: he will always position himself perfectly come team fights.
Game to watch: Alternate vs Fnatic
Going into Week 4, Alternate holds onto the lead as the strongest team in the opening weeks of the LCS. The two games that Alternate lost have been incredibly hard fought, and in general they are able to control each of their opponents. None more so than their Week 2 encounter with Fnatic, an incredibly one-sided game from the get go, Alternate simply destroyed Fnatic with consistent aggressive ganks, tower dives and unrelenting pressure. Alternate looked unstoppable and tore apart the Spring Split champions in every lane.
Fnatic has been unable to hold the same level of authority in game as they were able to during the Spring Split. And heading into Week 4, Fnatic find themselves tied with 4 other EU teams, each one of the pack holding onto 4 victories with 6 defeats. The mid table in Europe is incredibly erratic and with 12 games taking place this weekend teams can accelerate ahead by securing multiple victories. Fnatic will be looking to get revenge for their decimation in Moscow and will need to find out how to control and contain the Alternate line-up.
The key to this match up lies in Fnatic’s ability to counter the champions that Alternate locks in. Alternate has demonstrated an ability to play multiple compositions and are able to win even if their ‘preferred’ picks are banned out. The only games they have lost have been when their aggressive plays have been unsuccessful in securing kills. Both Gambit and SK Gaming were able to fend off the dives and this ability to peel and re-engage is what Fnatic will be looking to emulate for this match up.
Player to watch: Araneae
The extremely enthusiastic Spaniard will be looking to once again pick up early kills in lane for his team. Often favouring champions with power peeks in the early to mid-stages of the game, Araneae is a key component in Alternate securing the lead in games. If he is able to be squeezed out of ganks and denied kills or assists, he tends to have a significantly smaller impact in the mid game.
Enjoy! Don’t forget that I won’t be casting this weekend as I will be at Arcadecon in Dublin with the rest of the local office, and see you in NA next week!
Game to watch: Ninjas in Pyjamas vs Team Alternate
With their new lineup, Ninjas in Pyjamas have now gone 2-0 so far in the EU LCS. Their new roster has been a little shaky once they approach late game, but their laning phase has been quite solid. They have finally been contesting Dragons when previously they had only picked up 5 and given away 24. Even though they are in the bottom of the standings, they are in a 5-way tie for 4th place. Anything can happen during this week's LCS, but now they will now be up against a real challenge by the name of Alternate.
Alternate has gone through the entire season only losing two games, one to Gambit Gaming and one to SK Gaming. Even with those losses however, they clearly lead the pack at a record of 8-2. Their play style has been described as controlled chaos, similar to what we saw the Ozone Giants do last season, however they have taken it a step further. Even though they are causing the chaos, they seem to be at the right place at the right time. When you also consider that when someone makes a call to go in, the rest of the team will follow, it makes for a very scary team. All of this might have finally been figured out, though. Last week, SK was able to stop them from causing chaos and seemed to control the uncontrollable team. This was even with the fact that Alternate had comfortable champions. Has their game plan been figured out? Have they started to tweak their strategy around? We will find out this week in the European LCS.
Player to watch: Freeze
After his debut in the LCS, Freeze went on to lead his team to a perfect week, going 2-0. He currently leads the KDA standings with a score of 12. Considering that NiP went up against Meet Your Makers as well as Gambit, only having 2 deaths and 11 kills is a big achievement. He and Deficio seem to have synergized quite well as they are being aggressive together. With three crucial matches to come in this week versus SK, Alternate and Evil Geniuses, Freeze will have to continue to play well if NiP has any hopes for the World Finals.
Game to watch: Ninjas in Pyjamas vs SK Gaming
As we hit Week 4, both NiP and SK find themselves still in the bottom two. Both had an amazing Week 2 and managed to win both of their games against some stiff opposition in the form of MYM and Gambit (NiP) as well as Fnatic and Alternate (SK). Despite their 7th and 8th positions in the league table, they are level on points with everyone up to the 4th position. This game will see who catapaults themselves from the bottom to mid table!
NiP started last week with three new players in their roster and had to face two very strong teams. They showed the world that the changes they made were for the better and followed with shows of brilliance that they simple hadn't been able to pull off in the first two weeks of the season.
SK Gaming had been in turmoil with rumours rife in the community about possible changes. SK, however, came out flying this week and beat their arch enemies Fnatic for the first time in 20 encounters. The day before they had already taken a win off league leaders, Alternate, and it seemed like any ideas of changing roster would be crushed as they proved to the world exactly what SK can do!
Player to watch: Ocelote
Ocelote is the heart and soul of the SK team. He is adored by fans worldwide and he is one of the most emotionally influnced players at the top level. The first two weeks left a dark cloud hanging over Ocelote that has forced him into a strict training regime both in and out of the game. He is a player who feeds off excitement and momentum built in game to steer him and SK to victory. If SK gets off to a good start against NiP, they could be in for another strong performing weekend. If it goes bad here, heads could fall again and the team could flop.