Articles:North America LCS Week Three Matchup Previews
North America LCS Week Three Matchup Previews
Week two is in the rear-view and trends are emerging as some teams begin to distinguish themselves with fantastic play and consistent performances. Others struggle to find themselves and endeavor to keep sight of their hopes for a shot at the tournament playoffs. Week three features games from both ends of the spectrum as teams square off for the chance to separate from the pack or to climb back into it. After enjoying a bye in week two, Counter Logic Gaming look to pick up where they left off in week one. The resurgent Team Dignitas will be chasing hot on the heels of the first place, Curse Gaming. Curse, in turn, play the scrappy Good Game University, who have shown great skill but have, so far, fallen short of bringing home wins. Meanwhile, Team MRN and Team Vulcun wage a desperate fight to stay out of the basement in the rankings. Each match promises ample excitement as the NA LCS steams ahead!
Curse vs. Good Game University
On Thursday, February 21st Curse Gaming aim to continue their winning streak as they rematch Good Game University at 5:00 PM EST. At first glance, this game may appear to be a mismatch--as if GGU are a lone X-wing trying to take down the Death Star. GGU is struggling in the middle of the pack with only one win in their first four appearances while Curse Gaming is dominating the NA LCS standings as the only undefeated team. However, win-loss records are not necessarily the best indicator of how a game will go, as each of GGU’s previous opponents can attest to - including Curse, who were freaked out by GGU's tanky Twitch in week one. However, since then, GGU have been riding on nothing but praise for what they may accomplish and kudos for their overall potential. If GGU want to shut down the current leader, they’ll need to bring that potential to bear now.
To realize their much-vaunted promise, GGU have to do more than offer winning individual performances in the lanes and the jungle. GGU also needs to improve upon seemingly neglected fundamental skills. In their previous two matches, GGU faced a distinct gold disadvantage. In their victory over Team Vulcun, they were behind in gold until the very end. Against Team Dignitas, an opponent of the same caliber as Curse, they suffered from a wide ten thousand gold deficit. Therefore, it will be absolutely essential for GGU to improve their gold acquiring abilities by stepping up their farming and maintaining steady control over the dragon. It’s a big ask to (re)master these basics within one week; however, with the return of Shiphtur and ZionSpartan to their proper lanes, GGU have a good shot of profiting from any additional focus on the nitty-gritty details.
The match between Curse and GGU will be more than just a battle over which team can generate more gold per minute. Voyboy continues to be a disruptive force for Curse. Some suggest that Voyboy is the main reason for Curse’s resurgence as the dominant League team in NA. True or not, his fantastic play from a variety of champions makes him a difficult opponent to counter with bans. It will be up to ZionSpartan - returning to play his natural position at top after subbing middle in week two - to match (and maybe even out-match) Voyboy.
In the bottom lane, the duo of DontMashMe and BloodWater have only one week of joint effort under their belts for GGU. They will have to beef up their game to keep pace with Curse’s veteran pair, Cop and Elementz. BloodWater was a last minute substitute in week two, so it can almost be guaranteed that Curse jungler, Saintvicious (who is known for his heavy-handed playstyle) will put extreme pressure on GGU’s sophomoric partnership in the ADC/support lane. NintendudeX will have to be on top of his game to give the new partners the attention they will likely need in order to deter Saintvicious without ignoring the returning Shiphtur’s conflict against one of the more consistently great mid-laners, Nyjacky.
If the late game team fights break even, Curse will have the advantage. Throughout the entire tournament Curse have not shied away from aggression in pursuit of an ace, and GGU have shown some vulnerability to such tactics. If GGU can perform up to their potential and can convert Curse’s normally advantageous aggression into an unexpected hindrance, then GGU may have just as much of a shot in this game as the favorites. For GGU, this is a must win game, as a loss would put them in a deep hole that would be difficult to climb out of. For Curse, a win would confirm their dominance over their most troublesome opponent thus far. Both teams will do their best to make the most of the opportunities presented by this rematch.
Team MRN vs. Team Vulcun
While some teams struggle to distinguish themselves, others cling to the hope that will not be left out in the cold. The matchup at 10:00 PM EST on Friday, February 22nd features two teams that absolutely cannot afford to lose. At a lackluster 0-5, Vulcun are in desperate need of a win and already have a long climb ahead if they are to emerge from the bottom of the standings. In a somewhat less dire situation, Team MRN sits at 0-2 after a week two premier that was nothing to write home about. At the end the match, one of these two teams will have rekindled the flames of their tournament playoff ambitions, while the other will be in the chilling grasp of disappointment.
MRN's debut was a trial by fire as they faced off against two of the heaviest hitters the NA LCS has to offer, Team Dignitas and Team SoloMid Snapdragon. However, MRN did not acquit themselves well in the pro circuit and were utterly outplayed in both games. Vulcun, on the other hand, played well enough to stand a chance in both of their games. Nevertheless, they are getting a reputation for steadily falling behind their opponent until the gap is so large that their opponent can easily swarm in for victory. Both teams will need to show substantial improvement to pull home a win.
MRN will be in their second week of the LCS, and any lingering nervousness about competing on a professional stage must be left behind. Each member of MRN needs to step up his game in week two, and the team as a whole must cease to rely solely on MegaZero to carry them. TSM and Dignitas were well aware that MegaZero was the cornerstone of MRN, so they brutally bullied his lane from the start. Vulcun will have surely noticed this effective strategy and will therefore likely put Sycho Sid on the spot to get MegaZero in a prime position for ganks.
ClakeyD, in particular, must improve his awareness of both jungles - including keeping tabs on Vulcun’s Xmithie. He cannot afford walk into another warded bush at level three, as he did in MRN's match against Dignitas. It will fall to ClakeyD to minimize MegaZero’s lane pressure by either being in position to counter-gank or by forcing Vulcun’s attention to other lanes with pressure of his own. In particular ClakeyD may want to focus on interrupting Zuna and Muffinqt’s rhythm in the bottom lane.
Meanwhile, Vulcun's bot laner, Zuna, is developing a reputation for emotional outbursts during matches. MRN may be able exploit Zuna’s temperament and blur his focus with a persistent harass or a sequence of provocative plays. If that happens, Heartbeattt and AtomicN will have to press the advantage and out-farm their counterparts.
The middle lane in this match will be sandwiched between the give and take of interruption and pressure from above and below. Evenly-matched mandatorycloud and ecco will occupy this interstitial artery. As long as the action in top and bot engrosses the junglers, both mid laner may have the opportunity to showcase their skills in an uninterrupted laning battle which could conceivably decide the outcome of the match.
MRN and Vulcun have both revealed major flaws in their games, but their glitches are correctable. These two teams have the potential to make waves later in the tournament if they can right their ships. The winner of this match will start to bail themselves out while the losers will be between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Team Dignitas vs. Counter Logic Gaming
Dignitas and Counter Logic Gaming go head-to-head in their first match of the League Championship Series this Thursday, February 21st at 3:00 PM PST. Week three will reveal whether Dignitas’ momentum from their week two wins will be sufficient to roll over CLG or whether CLG’s noteworthy week one debut of their new roster will give them the edge they need to smack down Dignitas.
After two disappointing losses in week one, Dignitas bounced back and found their rhythm in week two, racking up a 4-2 record. Dignitas didn't just squeak by when collecting their week two wins, they crushed their opponents every step of the way. Dignitas’ alacrity in identifying and fixing their week one problems may give them a sizable advantage throughout the rest of the LCS.
In contrast, Counter Logic Gaming entered the tournament with an abundance of confidence. According to Doublelift, CLG was “ready to put TSM in the dumpster.” Their certainty may have been well-placed as CLG stomped TSM without thinking twice and closed out week one with a 2-1 record. After CLG’s bye week, they return to battle for week three in which CLG's audacious chutzpah may be key to a potential win over Dignitas.
In CLG’s bottom lane, the “Rush Hour” combo of Aphromoo and Doublelift, will face off against Dignitas’ Patoy and Imaqtpie. Boasting the highest KDA in the NA LCS, Patoy will be a key player in this matchup. Patoy’s incredible Alistar, could force CLG to send a ban his way. However, if CLG grant Patoy the brute, his dives behind enemy lines and aggressive playstyle will make for an exciting bot. With the highest gold per minute in the tournament, Doublelift must be punished every time he goes in for a minion kill to prevent him from accruing a massive gold lead. However, expertly timed ganks from CLG’s jungler, Chauster, could shut down Dignitas early and allow CLG’s bottom lane to snowball into an avalanche.
In the mid lane, Dignitas’ scarra will battle it out against CLG’s LiNk. After LiNk played Syndra in week one, some speculated that his wide champion pool may be one of the biggest tricks up his sleeve due to his potential to break the mid-lane meta. However, scarra may see past a non-meta champion and slowly beat out LiNk using his impressive mechanics and lane control.
This match is sure to be a nail-biter for the duration. Will Dignitas continue their string of wins, or will it come crashing down around them in their first LCS confrontation against the popular and flamboyant CLG? Tune in to find out!
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