There are only two weeks left in the NA LCS Summer Split and a few things have become very apparent. Last week I talked about how the league has stratified, but this week it’s all about which teams have broken loose from their respective packs.
Some of the teams in the top and bottom remain in deadlock as they fight for their spots. Meanwhile, the middle tier teams are mostly in a fight for seeding as they hope to avoid Immortals in their path to the NA LCS Summer Split Finals.
The Rift Rivals Pheonix1 didn’t make it back from Berlin
For one beautiful week in Berlin it seemed like Phoenix1 may actually be back to their Spring Split glory. They were dominating the best teams from Europe and rallying behind their new rookie superstar Mike Yeung. Unfortunately for P1, that team didn’t quite make it back to North America.
Instead the team we saw back in the NA LCS was a lot like the team that left originally. They played a slow unfocused style and almost completely failed to capitalize on the few strengths they have over almost every other team in the region in jungle and AD carry. Alongside the fact that Choi “Pirean” Jun-sik, P1’s new midlaner, is going to have a hard time filling Yoo “Ryu” Sang Wook’s shoes, Phoenix1 are perhaps the only team in the NA LCS that are looking consistently beatable for just about any other team.
IMT are the undisputed #1 team
It’s been a long 2017 for IMT so far. In the Spring Split they struggled to get off the ground and narrowly avoided both playoffs and relegation, slipping in-between the two to end the season both safe and still unhappy. But the Summer Split and the addition of jungler Jake “Xmithie” Puchero, has been a different story entirely for Immortals.
There’s no point to going back over the fact that Immortals has been good this split, or that they are winning, what does bear discussion, however, is the fact that they have remained on top for so long and have consistently beaten the league’s toughest opponents. Immortals has done something almost unheard of in the two years of the LCS — they hold a positive record against Counter Logic Gaming and Cloud9 and also have gone even in two series with Team SoloMid.
What that means for Immortals in a grander sense is that they are going to head into playoffs, likely as the league’s number one seed, feeling confident. While the organization has struggled with series play in the past, this is a whole new team that takes a whole different kind of approach to playing and winning games that focuses on adaptation.
I’m not saying that IMT are definitely going to win the Summer Split. What I am saying is that the only road to first place this year will go through Immortals whether that’s in the semi-finals or the finals. They are the team to beat.
CLG and TSM are shaping up for an epic showdown
The classic NA LCS rivalry of CLG and TSM hasn’t had high stakes for almost two years now. Sure, it’s still tense, and it still consistently delivers the best and most competitive series, but it hasn’t been a life or death battle in the standings recently. The good news for us, is that probably won’t be the case this year.
TSM and CLG play each other in the last game of the Summer Split and it seems very likely that it could end up being a match that determines who gets second place and a bye week going into playoffs. Given the history between the teams and the competitiveness of their games, the stakes would make this far the most important, and most interesting, regular season meeting between the two teams in NA LCS history.