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North America LCS Week 9 Matchup Previews

There are two weeks left in the Spring LCS, and the results are starting to become clear. Curse Gaming, Team Dignitas, and Team Solomid have clinched spots in the spring playoffs, but the race is on to lock up the top two positions which would earn a bye week for the playoffs and a guaranteed position in the Summer LCS. The real fight to watch is whether or not Counter Logic Gaming will recover from their recent stumbles and fend off the hungry foursome hot on their tails. Team MRN and compLexity Gaming have turned things around in recent weeks and are in position to make the storybook late season surge. Team Vulcun and Good Game University have pulled off many upsets throughout the weeks and will try to shake things up to keep their seasons alive.

Dignitaslogo std.pngDignitas vs. Counter Logic GamingCounter Logic Gaminglogo std.png

It is the tale of two teams this week as Team Dignitas and Counter Logic Gaming face off Thursday at 5:00 PM EDT. Over the past few weeks, CLG and DIG have been trending in opposite directions; one has risen to meet and exceed their expectations, and the other has fellen into the crushing despair of disappointment. Dignitas is only a few wins away from a bye week in the playoffs. However, they still have a match against Curse Gaming which may decide who gets to sit atop the final regular season standings. CLG is now in a position such that they could miss the playoffs entirely if they do not right the ship.

Sitting at fewer than 50% wins with a record of 10W-11L, CLG is only ahead of Team MRN, Team Vulcun, compLexity Gaming, and Good Game University by a mere two or three losses. As such, they cannot afford any losses this week, or they will be relying on the other teams to slip up rather than relying on their own strength. They can keep up with the big boys, as proven by their win over Curse two weeks ago, but they have also shown a remarkable lack of consistency against other opponents.

Consistency is the one of the major things that keeps Dignitas in the upper echelons of the rankings. With scarra’s leadership, the team is a well-oiled machine. A Dignitas loss has been a rare event these past few weeks, with their only casualty coming at the hands of Curse. Even so, a Dignitas defeat is usually a close match. With Team Solomid a single game behind them in the standings, there is no way that Dignitas will overlook this matchup. They will bring their best plays to bear against CLG.

Look for Dignitas to try to take out CLG’s biggest threat, Doublelift, out of the game early. They may accomplish this by counterpicking during champion select or having Crumbzz go for ganks early and often. CLG need to give Doublelift every advantage they can; a switch lane might be just the ticket. If they ban TheRealKiWiKiD’s best champion, EliseSquare.png Elise, and send Doublelift and Aphromoo to the top lane, they would put the fan favorite AD Carry in the position he needs to be in to carry CLG through the match.

It would then fall to CLG’s other lanes to demand the majority of Crumbzz’ attention from the jungle. It may require Chauster going outside his comfort zone and picking a more offensive-minded jungle champion so that he can interrupt lanes often without falling behind. LiNk and HotshotGG need to be aggressive early, which is a high- risk, high-reward situation, but CLG is in a position where they cannot afford to hold anything back.

CLG comes into this match weary, while Dignitas rides a wave of continued success. Neither team can afford a loss, but only one has a consistent record of wins in high-pressure situations. Early aggression will be CLG's best friend, but Dignitas recovers well from opening mistakes. Keeping the throttle on from the word go is CLG's best chance to find a win. However, If CLG cannot gain a solid lead by the twenty minute mark, expect to see Dignitas crank out a win in the late game.

Team SoloMidlogo std.pngTeam SoloMid vs. Curse GamingTeam Curselogo std.png

The anticipation is palpable as two of the top three teams finish the week in a marquee match this Friday at 9:00 PM EDT. Team Solomid and Curse Gaming are currently the third and first place teams in the Spring LCS standings, with Team Dignitas between them. A single win is the difference between all three. With such parity between the three juggernauts of the LCS, every single slip-up and misstep could doom their chances to clinch a bye week in the spring playoffs. Fans and members of Dignitas will be watching this match with smiles on their faces. No matter which team loses, they will benefit as much as the winner of the match.

Last week these two teams added another chapter in their rivalry with TSM by winning a one-sided game over Curse, but this immediate rematch will give Curse a chance to strike back with a vengeance. Curse have a mixed record against their two biggest competitors but have otherwise been rock solid, with Voyboy as the cornerstone of their success. With only two weeks left, and a final match against Dignitas left on their schedule, Curse have to be feeling the pressure to produce a win.

TSM found renewed momentum and winning spirit on the back of WildTurtle and have been on a bender of wins these past few weeks. Coming from the edge of mediocrity, they have stormed into the forefront of the LCS, climaxing with their first win over Curse in this LCS season. They have to prove that they can do it again after Curse sampled their new team makeup. This will be TSM’s biggest test since their reorganization. They also have another match against Dignitas left on their schedule and can ill afford falling behind.

WildTurtle was the difference maker last week. He carried the rest of TSM on his shell and waddled his way to victory with a K/D/A of 9/3/8. Curse tried to counter WildTurtle’s influence by maneuvering a lane switch, but TSM was ready and switched lanes as well. Voyboy was left to play a mirror game with Dyrus, while WildTurtle and Xpecial straight up beat Cop and Elementz.

This week, Curse will be best served by attempting the same stunt but in a different manner. If Curse try to invade TSM’s jungle, they can send Voyboy to whichever lane WildTurtle shows up in. Of course, the invasion would be a risky move, but Curse has done it to TSM in the past to great success. For TSM, they need to be prepared for all of the possible openings Curse will bring to the table and try to make sure that WildTurtle and Xpecial end up in lane against their opposites from Curse. If they do not, then it falls to TheOddOne to make well sure that Voyboy cannot work his magic against the newest member of TSM.

In any case, this week Dyrus may opt for a more aggressive champion than his usual Shen. Having Dyrus as a backup in case WildTurtle is stopped would go a long way toward a win. Even if they are in opposite lanes, Dyrus will need to keep pace with Voyboy, as he did last week, to minimize his counterpart’s presence in the game. Reginald and Nyjacky will duke it out in the middle lane that either might win. They will likely be left to their own devices as both Junglers juggle the dynamics in the outer lanes.

If Curse stop WildTurtle in his tracks and snowball Voyboy, they will be in the best possible position to win. Likewise, if TSM’s AD Carry is fired up and keeps Dyrus on par with Voyboy, then it will be TSM’s advantage. If either of these events happens, the game will have been decided during the laning phase. If the laning phase falls through, expect intense teamfights in which superior positioning and decision making decide the victor in this toss-up match. Suffice it to say, this match has endless possibilities.

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


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