You could have been forgiven this week for wondering if the ‘Old Guard’ had met its demise. With Dignitas beating Cloud Nine, Misfits smashing Unicorns of Love, CLG and G2 must be breathing sighs of relief having squeaked through in extremely competitive five game series.This heralds a very different type of play offs. No longer is the hyped story line of a G2 and FNC clash of kings near certain. Without delving too far into the details of each map I want to instead look at the implications this has, both on the standings and moving forwards.
Firstly it tells us that TSM should be worried, though they historically do well in play offs they have lost to Dignitas during the split, something Cloud Nine hadn’t before crashing out in the quarters. With Altec and Adrian looking like they could realistically challenge and outmatch Doublelift and Biofrost, and Keane stepping up in the Mid Lane TSM may no longer be able to rely on stronger players to take a close game. Whatever the result, I expect a close series on the rift, even if one sided in map score.
It also suggests that CLG should be grateful the extra week of prep with Omargod. It’s hard to place CLG’s strength with the recent roster change, was the quarterfinals success actually a good sign for them? The history of the organisation wouldn’t indicate this but their recent struggles with a new jungler mean this match may not have been as bad for them as it seems. Against Immortals however you would expect Omargod to be punished hard, Xmithie has been one of the shining lights for Immortals this split and I wouldn’t expect that to change. This match, whilst hopefully close I would think will be a little more one-sided; especially with Stixxay and Aphromoo, usually consistent, struggling so hard in their quarterfinal
What does this tell us about the future? Hopefully that the Franchise based system isn’t going to produce a stagnant league with predictable results. If these middle of the pack and lower tier teams continue to improve and surprise, the future of the NA LCS looks bright.
Fnatic look fairly secure as finalists. Misfits whilst strong against UOL were still making mistakes that Fnatic are likely to punish. A lot of the strengths they brought against UOL came from punishing mistakes UOL seem to have refused to fix most of this season. Whilst this shows good preparation coming into the match for Misfits you can expect that Fnatic were watching that match and will be ready for more. Stronger players and a more consistent ability to adapt put the odds in Fnatic’s favour and I doubt the vast majority of EU fans mind the prospect of Fnatic in the final.
G2 vs H2k is an interesting match up, both teams are extremely strong and field a roster of well matched players. G2 looked extremely shaky against Splyce however, and if they don’t improve you can expect Prolly and H2K to punish them for it. I think the match up to watch here is the jungle. Trick hasn’t exactly been convincing recently and Jankos has the potential to make an early game impact. I wouldn’t expect to see H2K throw leads quite the same way that Splyce did. Who is favourite? Not sure there is one in this match up, G2 are not invincible at the moment but H2K despite dominant seasons struggle in Play Offs. I hope for the sake of a good series that H2K have fixed their playoff problems.
EU, despite the trash talk looks better post rift rivals, Fnatic and G2 have adapted and improved, hopefully this means that EU will return to worlds with teams that can live up to the success of previous years.
So that’s it:
My predictions are
Dignitas 3-2 TSM
Immortals 3-1 CLG
Fnatic 3-1 Misfits
H2K 2-3 G2
Slightly controversial but my bias and desire to see different teams do well is strong. What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments.