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NA LCS 2014: Summer Playoff Analysis

Discussion in 'Blog' started by Saff, Aug 5, 2014.

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Which Three Teams Do You Think Go To Worlds From NA? (Pick Three)

  1. #1 C9

    4 vote(s)
    100.0%
  2. #2 LMQ

    2 vote(s)
    50.0%
  3. #3 TSM

    2 vote(s)
    50.0%
  4. #4 CRS

    2 vote(s)
    50.0%
  5. #5 CLG

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. #6 DIG

    2 vote(s)
    50.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Saff

    Saff Level 2 Blood Dragon

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    [​IMG]

    With the conclusion of the NA LCS summer season we can now look towards the playoffs, and with all of the shuffling that went on in the final weeks some interesting scenarios have opened up regarding how NA's seedings may shake out. Whereas in EU where the first two seeds are essentially locks I can't necessarily guarantee anything looking at NA from the outset so I figured I would do my best to break down the known matchups, possible matchups, and who we will likely be seeing.

    Going back to my Worlds predictions, I had C9, CLG, and DIG labeled as my favored three moving forward, as is still the case, but my dark horse pick, CRS, is coming off of their hottest week ever as an organization, finishing 3-1, taking games off of C9, LMQ, and their Achilles heel TSM. The loss to EG stung somewhat but it did not ultimately affect their placement, and EG went 4-0 so they appeared as a team on the upswing anyway, too little too late. At this point it is an impossibility to see both CLG and CRS make the final three, so for my dark horse to achieve a placement at Worlds, CLG would have to lose in the quarterfinals.

    QUARTERFINAL A - TSM v DIG

    Roster for roster I think TSM is stronger than Dignitas from a personnel standpoint and they also have one of the highest ceilings of any NA LCS team, however poor strategical play and shotcalling, as has always been the case with SoloMid sunk the team throughout the season, and for now it is safe to assume that they are no longer a tier 1 NA team, as their placing third relied on CLG running out a roster full of subs and Dignitas imploding over the second half of the season. SoloMid had horrible marks against top teams, mostly securing a good W-L off the back of defeating EG, COL, and CRS nearly every single time. TSM failed to show much improvement as a team over the course of the season and even went back on their Gleeb acquisition to pick up Lustboy near the season's end, and the lack of true cohesion has really hurt this unit, especially in the bot lane where tier 1 ADC Wildturtle is hamstrung by support turnover and what appears to be his own mental block, that being said I still trust him to take down my pick for NA's 7th best ADC, QTPie.

    Role Advantages

    Top - DIG (close)
    Jungle - TSM (close)
    Mid - TSM (close)
    ADC - TSM (solid)
    Support - TSM (close)

    TSM's issue has never been individual talent, it has been strategic prowess and versatility. That lack of versatility is what hurts TSM even in areas of strength. I favor Amazing over Crumbzz individually when both are put on optimal champions, but one of TSM's issues has been that Amazing has a pool 2 champions deep.. sure you can get him Elise or Lee Sin and he will preform, but if you take those away from him his level of play drops significantly. Beyond that Amazing is not a very proactive player, he executes plays given to him, he doesn't call them himself, whereas Crumbzz is arguably a key center of communication for Dignitas. The same could be said of Bjergsen, his days of mechanically dominating NA may be over, but he is still extremely talented and better 1 on 1 than most, but he too is not a shot caller. While he has tried to become the focal point of TSM's strategy, it is safe to assume that the experiment has failed, not only has TSM looked bad playing the map, but Bjerg's own play has suffered from the added burden of shotcalling. When in EU, while he was considered on the level of a Froggen, Alex Ich, or xPeke for his own play, he was never credited for all of that as well as his comm ability, and that is for a reason. TSM may have added mechanical ability when it dropped OddOne in favor of Amazing, but in that transaction combined with the dropping of Xpecial, TSM is now a team of followers with no true leader, and that is something OddOne with his experience and map knowledge could have been for them, and they likely would have been better for it.

    Dignitas on the other hand has remained the streaky team they always have been, after starting the season red hot, NA's "super team" burned out and crashed in the closing weeks of the LCS, a lot of that inconsistency can once again be traced to their bot lane, where QTPie (who is fantastic when he is on) will either go big or go home, and while Wildturtle is also considered a streaky player as QT, his highs are much higher, and he never gets anywhere nearly as low. Conversely I only gave TSM a slight edge at support because Lustboy is new to the team, he and WildTurtle are clearly not communicating much if at all as the language barrier sits between them, while KiWiKiD has been playing some of his best games as of late and could survive as a support for Dignitas even if the team moves on from QTPie after the end of the season (possibly moving to poach Altec from EG if the opportunity arises).

    Another interesting tidbit is that TSM's Amazing could have visa issues this week. CLG overcame their visa issues by just going with Seraph to Korea, but TSM has opted to hope that Amazing's issue works out and he will be here for the Quarters. TSM was banking on a 1/2 seed and they didn't get it, so they potentially are looking at losing out on a week of scrims with Amazing, which could set them up in a situation where OddOne has to return to the team as the jungler. This could play out in a few ways that might even make TSM immediately stronger, but more likely than not they would suffer for their mismanagement of time and banking on things turning out differently.

    This series is not as pivitol as the other Quarterfinal to determine NA's worlds participants, but its result could still shake up things drastically. Assuming DIG "upsets" TSM as it should going by prior matchups and while also guessing that TSM doesn't magically tap into some hidden magic they left on reserve for the whole year.. they would go on to a favorable matchup with LMQ where they preform well, and where I think they defeat the former Chinese Royal Club sister team to advance to a likely finals match with C9. However if TSM wins, which is still possible, I don't see SoloMid being able to handle LMQ, a team that has dismantled them nearly every time. Both LMQ and TSM are rosters that ooze individual mechanical talent but are either mediocre or dreadful at actually playing the map as a team beyond basic teamfighting, both would essentially be fluff wins for Korean and Chinese rosters at Worlds and that is why I hope Dignitas shows up from their 6th seed, as they are perfectly capable of doing, and remove both from the NA equation going forward.

    X Factors
    - QTPie/WildTurtle power levels for the match
    - Does the assassin meta returning favor Bjergsen's 1v1 strength or Shipthur's map-wide roaming potential more
    - Can Zion hold down Dyrus 1v1 to free up Crumbzz or will DIG make camping Dyrus our a focal point of their plan
    - Will Dignitas choose to focus ban Amazing out, if so, can TSM finally overcome it

    TSM Win Conditions
    - Dyrus survives laning phase
    - Turtle and Lustboy continue to grow as a duo lane
    - Amazing Visa issue works out, Team is able to scrim leading up to DIG series
    - Keep Shipthur down
    - Assassin meta favors Bjerg over Ship

    DIG Win Conditions
    - Zion beats Dyrus in laning phase by any margin
    - QTPie shows up
    - Shipthur gets going and makes map wide plays
    - Turtle kept in check or exploited
    - Assassin meta favors Ship over Bjerg

    Winner - Dignitas

    Quarterfinal B and final predictions in next post (character limit OP)
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
  2. Saff

    Saff Level 2 Blood Dragon

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    QUARTERFINAL B - CRS V CLG

    CLG vs CLG Bench we meet again. Curse has moved on from most of their former CLG pick ups, but this roster has arguably been most invigorated by the emergence of the one they still have left. I have been skeptical of Voyboy ever since he stepped into the mid lane for CRS, he has been shaky at best for the majority of his time there, but it appears that experience combined with some adventurousness in champ selection has led to a resurgence of Voyman. The meta is already shifting back to assassins in mid which favors Voyboy more than Link, which is very notable, that and Voy's tendency of late to go with AD Tristana mid has really caught a lot of his counterparts off guard, so much so it is actually drawing respect bans, much different than the "this is the only champion he can play" Yasuo bans he garnered early in the Summer Split. Curse has always had a penchant for upsetting CLG, it hasn't always transitioned into a playoff environment, but it is hard to say anything other than CRS is at their best when they play CLG. Quas has really emerged as a threat late in the split, I thought he was good even when everyone else didn't because his play looked good even when the stats weren't there, but now that the team is carrying its own weight, his role is seeing a huge boost, and he is getting stronger for it [ http://www.ongamers.com/articles/just-how-good-is-team-curse-s-quas/1100-2060/ ]. Across from him Seraph also seems to be slowly blossoming into a force in his own right, where it seems he may begin to favor the carry oriented top laners, his play on tanks has improved exponentially along with his ability to communicate with his team, and his team's willingness to actually help him in the laning phase. The bot lane matchup is one that is almost as old as time, even if some of the participants have been swapped around, Rush Hour is better than the CRS bot lane, but Cop and Xpecial have never been better together and may be able to play up to their prestigious counterparts. In a matchup against C9, I favor the #1 seed over both teams, but CRS has proven that they can take games off of the NA champions, while the same can't be said for CLG of late.

    More than any other, I think this series will see its victor win game 1, especially if it is a CRS win to get things rolling.

    Role Advantages

    Top - CRS (close)
    Jungle - CLG (solid WILDCARD)
    Mid - Wash
    ADC - CLG
    Support - CLG

    CRS has a lot going for them, Quas has been monsterous as of late, but there is a pattern here. While he has been known for some terrifying Gragas play, he seems to have quickly adopted Maokai, and in CRS's 3-1 super week, he played Maokai in all three wins. If CLG chooses to deny/ban Gragas and Maokai away from Quas that will allow CLG a lot of comp flexibility going forward especially if they burn a ban on Voyboy's Tristana (or even his Talon) going forward. However, for all the praise I give to Quas, IWD was also a big contributor to Curse wins. I favor Dexter strongly, he seems like the smarter, stronger, and more consistent player, but Dominate is literally a roll of the dice, from game to game he can be among the worst professional junglers I've ever seen, or something insanely hard to control. A lot of that comes from his absurd level of aggression, if his high risk plays pay off, Curse WILL WIN. If they don't it may be rough sailing, but the lanes have been able to carry Dom through some down games before.

    I can't believe that I'm saying this but I feel like Voyboy and Link are going into the playoffs on completely even terms. The former is playing his best game I've seen him play in some time, he will be doing it in a meta that suits him, with a top laner that may draw two bans, with a confident hot/cold jungler, and with a completely unpredictable champion pool. In these long series, that level of unpredictability, the ability to catch your foes off guard, is so valuable to gain that early footing to take a series and get in their head. Link meanwhile has been on a downward trend ever since All Stars, he is a control mage favoring player that has never excelled on assassins, and we don't know what mindset his jungler may be in. CLG is boot camping in Korea as a I type this, but I have no clue as to how that will affect their play, though it certainly cant hurt, they will return with a slight disconnect as far as trends among their peers are concerned.

    I think that while the bot lane matchup will draw most of the hype, this game comes down to how the solo lanes and junglers preform, it is sad that only one of CLG or CRS can advance to the Semis, as I think both are very strong candidates that would represent NA well, I would honestly prefer to see Curse just because they have been known to randomly upset teams that are perceived as much better than them as they did to Azubu Blaze in season 2 when that team made quick work of TSM, who were beyond dominant at the time.. or as they did over Gambit at IEM Katowice in 2013 with Rhux substituting over Nyjacky in mid, they didn't make it out of the Round Robin stages (though it was close) but they still got the win over Gambit, who went on to sweep Azubu Blaze and Frost to win that event. Curse could make a splash at worlds, possibly more so than any other team, and that excitement would be good for the scene if it shook out.

    X Factors
    - Does CLG dedicate deny/bans toward Quas' Maokai and Gragas
    - Which IWDominate shows up to the series
    - Does the change in meta favor Voyboy enough, and take away enough from Link to make a major difference in the series
    - How does CLG look coming back from Korea in game 1 (if it is a close game, CLG fans should be concerned)

    CRS Win Conditions
    - Get Quas on Maokai (or Gragas.. but preferably Maokai) [Seraph isn't known to play these champions, pick denial doesn't seem like an option, only burning 2 bans]
    - Lock up Tristana or Kog'Maw, or possibly both
    - IWDominate is enabled to make his aggressive plays and succeed with them
    - Bot lane plays around even with Rush Hour
    - Shut down Seraph and/or Dexter

    CLG Win Conditions
    - Get Seraph ahead early and often
    - Outplay CRS with strategy (#rotations)
    - Link plays even with Voyboy
    - IWDominate shut down
    - Voyboy shut down

    Winner - Curse

    -----

    Assuming these picks play out I think Dignitas goes on to take down LMQ and go to the finals, while C9 and CRS play a spirited series where C9 prevails. In the 3rd/4th place match I see CRS taking out LMQ in 5 games (3-2) to wrap up the final seed while Dignitas is likely swept by C9 in the Finals. ALTERNATIVELY if TSM is able to defeat Dignitas, I see LMQ advancing (and losing in the finals) and TSM bringing down CRS in the third place game, and this would be, in my opinion, the absolute worst outcome as far as our Worlds prospects are concerned. (C9/LMQ/TSM #baylifeforworlds)

    NA SEEDS for Worlds

    #1 - C9
    #2 - DIG
    #3 - CRS

    I like me some dark horse drama. c:
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
  3. DreaMz

    DreaMz Level 1 Ancient Dragon

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    TSM TSM TSM!!
     
  4. Saff

    Saff Level 2 Blood Dragon

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    If only they could get their shit together. XD
     
  5. DreaMz

    DreaMz Level 1 Ancient Dragon

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    i mean thats kinda of what happens when you replace 2 core members in a short period of the time they dont mesh together very well
     
  6. Saff

    Saff Level 2 Blood Dragon

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    The issue is that not one of them is an in-game leader, Bjergsen is trying but he's no natural shotcaller and his individual play is hurting from trying to be something he isn't. TSM would have been better keeping OddOne if they HAD to move on from Xpecial.
     
  7. DreaMz

    DreaMz Level 1 Ancient Dragon

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    True true they have very good Individual players but Man dem shotcalls
     
  8. RookieTwentyOne

    RookieTwentyOne Level 2 Blood Dragon

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    I am hoping Dig will get their act together and beat TSM. I love the players on Dig (and Scarra). Dyrus is "ok" (all right, let the ragers come) in my book. I really don't care for the other players much. TSM has too many "import" players, with only two "NA" players left. NA is basically a "mixture" region now. Phreak mentioned on stream one time that, though players from other regions make things interesting, it is about the NA players. IMO I think only two max (if any) should be allowed per team.

    For the CRS vs. CLG game, I hope neither team wins (maybe both disqualified). I have always disliked Curse. CLG has that cocky mofo of Doublelift. 'Nuf said
     
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