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North America LCS Week 8 Matchup Previews

The eighth week of the North American League Championship Series is upon us, and the final games of the spring season are right around the corner. Team Dignitas, Curse Gaming, and Team Solomid are all one to three wins away from clinching a definite spot to finish in the top four of the standings which would earn a guaranteed place in the summer season. On the other hand, compLexity Gaming, Good Game University, and Team MRN are all on the brink of falling out of mathematical contention. Counter Logic Gaming and Team Vulcun are locked between these two groups, dancing around each other for the final spot in the top four. Every passing match means fewer opportunities for guaranteed survival, and teams on the brink of elimination may bring unusual strategies into their Week 8 games. If so, Week 8 promises to be an exciting experience for League of Legends fans everywhere.

Counter Logic Gaminglogo std.pngCounter Logic Gaming vs. compLexity GamingComplexitylogo std.png

Opening up the week this Thursday at 4:00 PM EDT, compLexity Gaming will take on the rejuvenated Counter Logic Gaming. Coming off wins over both compLexity and Curse Gaming and a loss to rival TSM, CLG is entering the home stretch in a tenuous position. They have widened the gap between them and Team Vulcun to three games and have thrown off some of the media pressure that had been growing on them in the previous weeks. Still, they cannot afford any more slip ups in case Team Vulcun (or another of the bottom four) manages to make a late season surge.

This is not the same coL that played CLG last week. With their hopes dwindling, compLexity Gaming have made a change to their starting lineup by replacing their seasoned AP Carry Chuuper with one of the best solo queue players, PR0LLY. PR0LLY has bounced from team to team to rack up more than a year of experience in the professional circuit. He excels at the top and middle lanes, which is exactly where he is needed. Despite his obvious skill, Chuuper has been the weakest link in compLexity’s matches, so this change needed to occur.

Last week, CLG’s victory was by no means a dominating one. In fact, coL had the gold advantage throughout most of the match. It was only CLG’s superior strategies in selecting and playing through the teamfights that brought them the victory. With their new lineup, coL will have to show that they can improve their team play on the fly as PR0LLY will only have a few days to scrim with the rest of coL. They need to integrate him into their style of play as quickly as possible if they do not want a replay of last week.

On the other side, it will be on the solid Link's shoulders to play against the newest coL member. LiNk has fought toe to toe with the likes of TSM Reginald and DIG Scarra and has shown the ability to keep pace. PR0LLY's lone advantage will be that CLG would have prepared to play against Chuuper until the announcement by coL. If he brings an unexpected style of play and gets the appropriate amount of help from his Jungler, Lautemortis, he can win the lane and spark something for the free falling compLexity.

If CLG can handle whatever surprises PR0LLY may bring to the table this week, it is likely that this match will end in a similarly to the last. Despite being far behind in the last match, CLG regrouped and countered compLexity’s strategies to make the necessary plays to turn the match around in their favor. There is little doubt that compLexity would have focused on this aspect of their game this week in practice. If they managed to improve their team play, they have a chance to pull off the upset. If not, then CLG will continue their roll.

Team Curselogo std.pngCurse Gaming vs. Team SoloMidTeam SoloMidlogo std.png

The marquee matchup of the week happens this Friday at 8:00 PM EDT, when Curse Gaming and Team Solomid clash for the third time this season. With Curse's triumph over Team Dignitas and their loss to Counter Logic Gaming, they first solidified and then called into question their position atop the LCS. Meanwhile, Team Solomid has only lost one game to Dignitas since replacing Chaox with WildTurtle, and they show no signs of slowing down. Neither team can afford a loss as they near the 28 game mark -- especially with Dignitas keeping pace.

Curse has come out on top in their previous matches against TSM. The first match was close, but Chaox’s nearly flawless game was not enough to pull TSM to a win. The second was not-so-close; every member of TSM was thoroughly beaten by Curse’s superior play. At the time, Curse was riding a surge from victory after victory, and TSM was in the midst of the spiral that would eventually lead them to replacing Chaox. Since they last met, Curse have been felled by multiple teams, and TSM have found a new gear after making changes to their lineup. Curse and TSM are now on even terms, and this game should reflect that.

From top to bottom, every single matchup can go either way. Every minion kill, every second of positioning, and every decision by the players could mean a win or loss in any lane. In the top lane, Dyrus and Voyboy will add another chapter to their ongoing rivalry. Many consider them to be the top two Top Laners in the North American region. They are both fan favorites as shown by the narrow margin between them in the NA All Stars votes. This rivalry is justified -- TSM and Curse have both ridden to victory on the backs of their top lane players. If there is no switch lane, the fans will be in for a treat as two great players square off.

Often overlooked in the face of the popular AD Carry and Support synergy is the synergy shared between Junglers and their Top Laners. Considering how close Dyrus and Voyboy are to each other in terms of skill, the deciding factor could come down to which Jungler is better in tune with his laner. Saintvicious and TheOddOne have both had great seasons thus far. Their attempts to counter the other will be a delicate balance of farming, ganking, and counter-jungling.

TSM's captain, Reginald, has been on a roll lately in the middle lane. He has fed off of his team’s success to reach a higher level of play. Meanwhile, Nyjacky has pulled off mid lane upsets throughout this season while holding his own in every game. Curse could look to use Nyjacky’s steadiness to their advantage while trying to ruffle Reginald’s calm by forcing his attention elsewhere in organizing his team. This opportunity could arise if Curse put maximum pressure on TSM WildTurtle. He has played remarkably well, but he is the most inexperienced member. Xpecial knows this and has done his level best to make up for any of WildTurtle’s missteps these past two weeks, but Cop and Elementz are known to make aggressive moves when the need arises.

Overall, this should be an intense match every step of the way. Expect to see a late first blood -- an overaggressive strategy could backfire for either team. After the first blood is shed, the match will explode in a flurry of action as each team struggles to overcome the other. The battle for top lane, as well as WildTurtle’s play, are key points to watch. The winner of those aspects will likely take the game.

Written by Joshua Pelletier
Edited by Drew Booth and Marissa Moody Kuo.

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