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Taking the Pulse of the LCS (Week 6)

I am Adel Chouadria, aka: Hype Algerian - a passionate Frenchman who is on a mission. My passion is for anything connected with League of Legends: the game, the tournament scene, the name it. My mission, and I choose to accept it, is to elevate the heart rates of my fellow LoL fans by dishing out the skinny, the dirt, and the hype on last week’s fait accompli and this week’s fates in the balance of the North American and European LCS.

It’s time for NA and EU to step up their games...

The North American circuit is in a bit of chaos after its two representatives failed to go through the international exhibition tournament of the MLG. Sure, there was Gambit Gaming on the European side and KT Rolster B on the Korean side, but what about the top two NA teams? One could invoke the excuse that Curse Gaming and Team Dignitas could not prepare for two events at once, but the situation surely does not give the NA community much to rejoice when thinking about international showings. It is as if the ‘foreigners’ only hope to make a big splash was through the European teams. I am not the only one to think so; it’s actually a redundant theme in the Reddit community.

The good thing, for both of the EU and NA realms, is that some up-and-coming teams are either just as good as the LCS teams (Millenium, MeetYourMakers, Anexis eSports, Mousesports) or are actually attached to an LCS team’s organization (Dignitas B, Curse Academy). These hungry up-and-comers, who are knocking right on the door of the LCS, should massively pressure the actual LCS teams to find a way to get better. The issue for the NA scene, though, would be to get better fast. No offense meant to the rising stars, but… If they are to look forward to upsetting a current LCS team, they have to heavily improve their execution. This may be solved with more tournaments, such as the Team SoloMid Weekly Tournaments or the We Will Do It Ourselves Cup (for the challenger circuit teams). The top up-and-coming EU teams are in the process of being featured in their own recurring challenger team series; someone needs to give Brokenshard and his crew a medal for that initiative.

Another good thing is that teams have started being more serious about their scrimmages. However, last-minute scrimmage cancellations or scrimmage opposition that is not up to ‘powerhouse’ standards may bite them in the back -- especially given what I will say below.

The common practice across the Asian teams is that their managers set scrimmages weeks in advance and structure their schedules to plan around the scrimmages that far in advance. Compared to the ‘last-minute’ Europe / NA scrims, that is a huge advantage for them and a huge disadvantage for ‘the foreigners’. Top it off with the fact that each big Asian organization has two teams with a monstrous amount of skill (Taipei Snipers / Taipei Assassins for Azubu, Frost and Blaze for CJ Entus, Team A and Team B for KT-Rolster) and you get a fair idea of why Asian teams climb upwards at a crazy pace. They are spreading the love between themselves, too -- in the GIGABYTE StarsWar League, the OnGameNet Seasons, the Garena Premier League and the Tencent Premier League.

Teams of the Week:

  • KT Rolster B: Yes, this is a Korean team. Yes, it is in direct relation to their victory in the Exhibition Tournament at MLG. And, yes, this makes me think that there’s a new powerhouse in South Korea. Didn’t they have to knock off NaJin Sword to get to MLG?
  • against All authority (2W-1L): They should not be ashamed of losing a game to Evil Geniuses. They offered us one of the craziest games of the season against DB and, beforehand, destroyed SK Gaming.
  • Team Fnatic (3W-0L): Okay, they failed last week at IEM. Well, they must have had a bad day and that is all. They went 3W-0L, to the tune of beating Evil Geniuses, SK Gaming and the Copenhagen Wolves.
  • Curse Gaming (3W-0L): I would attribute the missed opportunity to go farther in the exhibition tournament to the fact that they did not necessarily prepare for it. As you can see, they went 3W-0L, beating Dignitas, TSM and compLexity Gaming.

Casualties of the Week:

  • The NA scene, as its premium representatives faltered to even go through to the finals despite having two opportunities.
  • Team Dignitas (1W-2L) Dig’s two losses came against compLexity and Vulcun. On top of their no-show against Gambit Gaming in the International Exhibition tournament, they had a total no-show this week. Still, they still ranked second in the NA LCS.

I'm feeling:

  • TSM Reginald not looking for excuses, despite illness. It can only make a team grow hungrier for wins and more efficient in the future. If anything, this is a step in the right direction for the NA scene.
  • So long, Evil Geniuses curse. They checked in with 2W-1L this week -- their only loss being against the hot team of the week, Fnatic.

Not feeling:

Comedy Gold:

  • Well, apparently everyone can get a shot at getting into team MRN. Just ask Nysyli, their new substitute player. All he did was advertising his Diamond-level support skills.
  • CLG Bigfatlp, when asked to say something to the CLG fans, says: "Good Job."
  • A day before LCS, xPeke being the featured streamer goes 4/15 on Vayne in botlane. Rather hilarious to watch.
  • Jatt revealing Krepo's wish to find a German girl (short enough) that he can lift up.
  • Facial hair fashion: Seems like DragonBorns are inspiring everyone to have the "luck beards". Snoopeh, Ocelote and Nono all featured 'the stubble' look.
  • 4:50:00 - Krepo eating pretzels while tech issues are ongoing
  • Fnatic with the funny bans there as they can spell “USA”.

Teams to watch:

  • Counter Logic Gaming: Facing off against Dignitas and TSM during Week 6 won’t be an easy feat. Let’s see how strong of a showing HotshotGG’s gang will display.
  • Team SoloMid: A Chaox-less roster for this week means that Xpecial will be off balance. Whether it will be slightly or massively is to be seen. How much chemistry can he and WildTurtle have out of a mere week of practicing together?
  • Team Dignitas: They must bounce back from their MLG showing and secure their place in the top two of the NA LCS circuit.
  • GIANTS! Gaming: They had a bye last week. It was enough for their sixth place seed to be threatened by DragonBorns. They need to react.
  • against All authority: In a twist of fate, they are to meet the team which is closest to them in ranking, Evil Geniuses. With fourth place on the line, this week can very well shape the destiny of both teams – or at least throw a massive shadow of doubt if aAa succeeds in overthrowing the Evil Geniuses out of the fourth place seed. In an even bigger twist of fate, the match will be in front of an audience that will be massively cheering for them: the French.

Fnatic: After their strong showing during Week 5, they have a serious shot at taking over the European LCS. This is especially true given how they will face the top dog, Gambit Gaming, in hopes of avenging the loss they suffered at IEM.

Players to watch:

  • MRN Nientonsoh: As the new AD Carry starter for his team, he will be put to the test as he will face off against TSM WildTurtle and Dig Imaqtpie. The pressure is even bigger due to his manager’s trust in his possibility to perform at the top level.

Written by Adel Chouadria.
Edited by Marissa Moody Kuo.

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