It may have taken three weeks, but the North American League Championship Series has finally returned to its typical status quo. There are two veteran teams that stand head and shoulders above the rest at the top of the standings. The second tier includes one team that never existed in the LCS before but still used veteran players, while the other is a long-standing organization that is on the cusp of taking the leap but isn’t quite there yet. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s been the set up ever since Team Impulse joined the North American ranks in the spring of 2015. It’s not particularly surprising, but it is comforting to see the teams we expected to succeed continue to do so in the best-of-three format.
Last week presented a great deal of optimism for many teams in the North American region. Team SoloMid maintained its role as the league’s unstoppable force, bouncing back from a loss against Cloud9 with a convincing finish before crushing NRG. Immortals recovered well after last week’s loss to TSM, winning two close games against fellow powerhouse EnVyUs before demolishing Echo Fox. Team Liquid finally fell back into place with Jovani “fabbbyyy” Guillen at the ADC spot, winning two must-win series against weaker opponents to bring themselves back to the middle of the pack. Even Counter Logic Gaming showed some signs of returning to its former form, taking a game off of EnVyUs and while Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya returned to form on his favored hard-carry top laners.
Of course, having so many teams climbing the standings leaves a bottom tier of teams that are struggling to survive. NRG is a mess, flailing throughout the early game as neither Diego “Quas” Ruiz nor Oh “Ohq” Gyu-min have lived up to their own standards, a point emphasized by the latter’s interview with Scarra earlier this week. Echo Fox might have one of the most likeable owners in the scene, but its rotating junglers and lack of impact in the bot lane leave it stranded at the bottom of the standings. Ironically, rising from the ashes has only caused headaches for Phoenix1, which is desperately hoping Rami “Inori” Charagh gained superpowers while solving his visa issues, because otherwise, the team seems destined for relegation.
Luckily, three weeks is not the end for any of these teams. It’s still possible for a late run to change the fates of any of the North American teams. This week will mark the halfway point after which it will become increasingly difficult to turn one’s fate around. Time will tell which teams will be able to step up to the occasion.
On today’s episode of the Rough Drafts Podcast, Chase “RedShirtKing” Wassenar and Walter “Ceades” Fedczuk break down Week 4 of the North American LCS. Together, they discuss whether Cloud9 or EnVyUS are the rightful heir to the third seed in North America, if Team Liquid or Counter Logic Gaming did enough last week to be seen as threats moving forward, and TSM’s incredible hold on the North American region. They close with their smart money bets of the week.
Be sure to subscribe to the Esports Rough Drafts Podcast on iTunes to keep up with every episode here. And if you happened to leave a nice review along the way, that’d be cool too.
Go to Unikrn today to bet alongside all your favorite esports matches for the chance to win awesome prizes.