After both teams had some uncharacteristic struggles to start the summer split of the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS), the longtime North American powers have started to make their move. Both teams went 2-0 in Week 4, with TSM not dropping a single game in their series against FlyQuest and Echo Fox. Just like that, TSM is back in second place with a record of 6-2, and C9 is fourth at 5-3.
With a steady rise in the standings for both teams, it still looks a like a steady race to the top with a couple of teams that have seen unprecedented success. Counter Logic Gaming is still in the running with a record of 6-2, while Dignitas and EnVyUs look like strong contenders for the playoffs in fifth and sixth place, respectively.
Immortals looks pretty un-killable at the moment
Although arguably one of the strongest teams in the NA LCS for some time, no one expected Immortals to be in first place by the end of Week 4. So far dropping only a single match, this team is in firm control of first place. Week 4 included a matchup with CLG, the second place team in the region. But a clean 2-0win kept Immortals in firm possession of first place.
With TSM in at a close second in the standings and only one match in between the both of them, Week 5 will either be a chance at redemption or a cry of triumph, as the two teams will go head to head for the second time. The first bout between the two ended in a 2-0 victory for Immortals, setting the stage for the current narrative of dominance.
Oh, and did I mention that they secured a 10k gold lead by 17 minutes against Dignitas? Madness.
Flame and Xmithie are nuts
Immortals’ top laner Lee “Flame” Ho-jong’s performance has been a standout as of late, with fans being treated to exactly why he was considered one of the best top laners in his the world during his prime. As damage dealing champions like Renekton, Flame has been impressive, especially in comparison of the spring split, which saw him in a more tanking role. Immortals’ match against Dignitas on Saturday was the most exciting for fans of Flame, as he dodged ganks twice with a sliver of health while simultaneously getting kills both times.
Jake “Xmithie” Puchero’s move to Immortals is proving to be like adding wings to a tiger, as he has been proven to be exactly what the team needed. Solid decision making has been on full display as has synergy with his laners, as Xmithie predicted two enemy Flashes on two separate occasions, securing kills for his team. Not only that, Xmithie has gotten six player of the match nods, which puts him at first at the moment in the region.
Phoenix1 still not reborn from the ashes
Phoenix1 is going through a challenging phase, as the team entered the week winless for the split. A glimmer of hope came in the form of a 2-0 win against Echo Fox on Friday, but that was extinguished by losing to Team Liquid on Sunday. It’s not all bad news, though, as the newest jungler for the team, Michael “MikeYeung” Yeung, has performed quite well. As the only rookie so far this split, his debut against CLG last week was quite successful, and the team’s win against Echo Fox convinced many people that the new acquisition will be solid.
Although they did drop a match against Liquid, More than half of the split is yet to come, and team has certainly been going through considerable growing pains in the summer split. Multiple supports and junglers have been going in and out, leaving little time for the team to get acclimated.
Liquid gets a second win
For those tortured Liquid fans, there was a little reprieve in the form of the team’s second win. It has to be difficult to be a Liquid fan in 2017, to the point where each victory comes with a sigh of relief more than anything. But hey, a win is a win, and perhaps this is the forward momentum that the team needs to propel itself forward.
Liquid also started to use its 10-person roster. Not all 10 saw play, but Andrew “Slooshi” Pham played in the mid lane, and Kevin “KonKwon” Kwon played support. Liquid’s roster expansion has been met with skepticism, but it will be interesting to see how it progresses.
Envy is down, but not out
Team EnVyUs is not in as good of a spot as they were before, but it’ll be incredibly unfair to count them out. Against their match agains CLG, they stood their ground and showcased great performances, capitalizing on enemy mistakes, driving home a victory after a gaining a solid lead against their opponents. Although they lost the series 2-1, the team displayed the ability to close out games.
Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo showed once more his dominant play as a hyper-aggressive jungler, completely styling on CLG with his impressive performance as Elise and setting the stage for his team’s initial advantage. Any team that wants to prevent the Envy snowball will have to look at LirA and discuss how to shut him down so that he can’t transition his lead to the rest of his team.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games