The NA LCS semifinals will conclude on Sunday as number one seed, Team SoloMid will face off against Team Dignitas for a trip to the Summer Split Finals.
It’s no secret that TSM will enter the series as the favorites, after all they had the best record at the end of the regular season, and despite not being the most consistent team, had the highest highs of any team in North America. But the series isn’t quite said and done.
After all, Team Dignitas beat TSM in both of their match ups during the regular season in week two and week seven, and Dignitas had a convincing win last weekend, while TSM still has yet to play a competitive match on this patch.
But the story as old as the North American LCS itself is that TSM always get better when it comes time for playoffs. So, if Dignitas are going to shock the region and take down the number one seed, here are the three keys to the game that will help them do it.
1. Control the tempo toplane
This is perhaps the most obvious strategy that Team Dignitas has to employ against TSM. Team SoloMid top laner, Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell is a good player and is a model of consistency for the team, but he can’t control the lane against an opponent like Dignitas top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho. What that means for DIG is that they should do everything in their power to force Yarnell to try to respond to Kim.
Taking Kim’s top laner early on in the draft will force Yarnell attempt to choose a counter with little chance of actually gaining a meaningful advantage. This will help Digintas control the flow of top lane and will always allow them to build the compositions they want rather than responding to the those of Team SoloMid. This should help them choose if they want Kim on a damage dealer, a tank or a split pusher.
2. Nullify Bjergsen
This is one of those things that sounds easier than it is. To keep Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg out of the game, Dignitas will have to commit to a very specific kind of strategy designed to starve out TSM’s star mid laner. While Jan “Keane” Lae-young expand name isn’t likely to get the same priority on Syndra he was able to secure during the Cloud9 game, the Dignitas mid laner should have a fine time sticking to champions like Corki and Viktor that can scale well into the mid game without much risk during laning phase.
Along with playing champions in the jungle with fairly reliable lockdown such as Maokai and Gragas, these methods should be enough to lock down Bjerg if he tries to play any burst mages or assassins, never allowing him the gold or kills to help start his team’s snowball. Deny him resources long enough and Bjerg will be forced into a more utility role, which is one of the few things TSM has struggled with so far this Summer Split.
3. Force Doublelift to carry
Ever since his brief hiatus from professional play, Yilliang “Doublelift” Peng hasn’t quite been able to recapture the glory of the 2016 Summer Split. In that first split with TSM, Peng had a career renaissance making better, faster decisions and playing with more precise mechanics than he had ever done before. The combination play between him and Bjerg was almost perfect and seemed essentially unbeatable. But that hasn’t been the case this split.
So far in the Summer of 2017 Peng has been at his best when teams didn’t notice him. When teams were forced to turn their attention to Bjerg instead, Peng has been able to get solid damage off, but rarely looks capable of carrying the game from the beginning. With Bjerg in a utility role, the pressure will be square on Peng’s shoulders to be all of his team’s damage. This should make even more effective any potential split push strategies that Dignitas wanted to employ, but it will also be perfect if they want to try to beat TSM at their own, never-stop-teamfighting game.