Three weeks into the summer split of the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS), the top of the standings reflect more of what fans expected after an odd start.
Well, sort of.
There is a three way tie for first place with Counter Logic Gaming, Immortals, and Dignitas. CLG has been one of the more dominant teams in the league and even after a somewhat disappointing spring split is back where most expect. Immortals is also a team that always had the potential to wrestle first place away from the usual contenders.
But Dignitas? The Team that just came together in the spring split and broke dead even with a record of 9-9? That Dignitas?
It’s an delightful surprise, no doubt, for the fans of the old North American brand and for those who were rather underwhelmed by its spring performance. To be fair, for a team to make the playoffs in its first split is no small feat, and when looking at how the team is playing, it seems like all the pieces were in the right spots and just needed time for them to fall into place.
Top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho is playing out of his mind as he’s able to show off why he was one of the best top laners in Korea. With the meta also shifting so carry-tops become more viable, it leaves plenty of room for him to proactively lead the team. Lee “Shrimp” Byeong-hoon has been no slouch as an addition to the jungle, and Benjamin “LOD” DeMunck has also been a solid carry player for his team, creating a solid back line.
It’s too early to definitively say if Dignitas will continue to keep it up. The team has yet to face Cloud9 and Immortals, which will be players in how the rest of the split plays out. Nonetheless it’s a pleasant surprise to see the steady growth of a new team.
Phoenix1 tries a new jungler, and he does pretty well
Speaking of new junglers, let’s talk about Phoenix1’s new addition, Michael “MikeYeung” Yeung. Pheonix1 certainly didn’t slack off on promoting him. Before the game even started, fans knew who he was, that he just finished high school, and that he made Challenger when he was 13. This is how you push a new player.
Unfortunately for Phoenix1, MikeYeung could not stop the team’s free fall. After losing to Dignitas and CLG, Phoenix1 has started the summer split 0-6. It’s not easy to debut on a team that’s not doing well, but MikeYeung performed well and even had a few tricks up his sleeve while being able to keep up with his opponents.
With some polish and time — and there’s still plenty — MikeYeung could be a stable choice for Phoenix1 and a viable flex pick in the jungle.
Ryu’s pentakill was pretty cool
The first Pentakill for the split goes to Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook‘s Taliyah, showcasing some great teamwork and individual kiting. What looked like a bad fight for Phoenix1 quickly turned to the team’s favor as both Ryu and No “Arrow” Dong-tak showed some on-point kiting, weaving back and forth while dealing damage, and Derek “Zig” Shao‘s flank as his iconic Kled set the table up perfectly.
— Phoenix1 (@Phoenix1gg) June 17, 2017
Phoenix1 hasn’t won, but at least it still looks cool in defeat.
Sneaky’s 1,000th kill is fittingly against his old teammates
Another addition to League’s mile high club is Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi of Cloud9, as he takes down his former teammate An “Balls” Le. There’s something oddly poetic with the “Civil War” narrative that he fans are very fond of right now, and it’s definitely fitting that Sneaky reached this milestone in his career by facing some of his former teammates.
The New World Order?
With the resurgence of CLG at the top of the standings, and Immortals looking strong, a new order appears to have formed for the summer. The only thing that CLG lacked last split was consistent performances, and it looks like the aggressive jungling style of Joshua “Dardoch” Harnett is just what the team needed, as he seamlessly became a part of the team to create this trend of dominance. Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun is also exceeding expectations with consistently solid performances, showing NA teams why they should ban Aurelion Sol against him.
Immortals is riding high with its Jake “Xmithie” Puchero, and the rock solid leadership of the veteran player is certainly showing why Immortals wanted him in the first place. Lee “Flame” Ho-jong is having a much better time communicating with his team, giving him room to out-perform his abilities in the spring split, also giving him a larger team fighting presence. Cody “Cody Sun” Sun absolutely popped off in Week 3, and what a journey this rookie has gone through: from one of the most hated members of the roster in the previous split into one of the most improved.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games