Last week, the North American League Championship Series saw something that was absolutely shocking: zero upsets. Every single favorite managed to pull off the victory, and most of the series weren’t particularly close. On one hand, the mirrored standings these victories have created established a few key tiers that leave no doubt as to what teams will be worth monitoring as we head into the second half of the split. On the other, the gap between the tiers makes many of these games absolutely playoffs. If Europe is the region of endless possibilities, North America is the region in which you have to file all of your paperwork properly ahead of time to ensure the right teams end up in their appropriate spots.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything has gone according to play. While Counter Logic Gaming took care of business against “we’re used to losing“ Phoenix1, its series against Immortals displayed all the flaws that have plagued the team since MSI. Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun has been a disaster in the mid lane, making their strategy of carrying through Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya far too predictable to take games off of top teams. It’s incredible that nearly halfway through the season, the reigning champions are still on the outside looking in, but without a huge step forward from their bot lane, it looks like their struggles are here to stay.
On the other end of the spectrum, Team EnVyUs has turned a roster that mainly consisted of parts from relegation teams into a top four roster. Despite losses to powerhouse Team SoloMid and the increasingly dangerous Cloud9, EnVyUs managed to maintain its strong sense of objective control and continues to have the third-highest Early Game Rating in the NA LCS, according to Oracle’s Elixir. Their struggles currently lie in the shallow champion pools of Kim “Procxin” Se-Young and Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent, who have held on to Graves and Braum for far too long. If they can adjust to the current meta, the team’s focus on dragon control and strong rotations should carry them through as a playoff dark horse.
The middle of the pack has yet to be determined, but the one thing we know for sure is that this trend of favorites taking care of business is terrible for our smart money bets. It’s difficult to find value in underdogs when half of the league simply has no chance against most of the top teams. It’s up to Walter “Ceades” Fedczuk and I to come up with new and creative ways to try to win you lovely listeners some smart money bets. Hello, multi-team teasers!
On today’s episode of the Rough Drafts Guess the Lines Podcast, Chase “RedShirtKing” Wassenar and Walter “Ceades” Fedczuk break down the increasingly clear cut NA LCS as we head into the halfway point. Together, they discuss whether CLG taking a map against Immortals means anything for its long term success, how Team Liquid’s move to Jovani “Fabbbyyy” Guillen will affect them over the long term, and the most important matchups in the Cloud9 v. Immortals series. They close with their smart money bets of the week.
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