With Expectations held high, numerous rumors and theories to be confirmed or denied, and upsets to possibly happen, the North American LCS kicked off with its first week of games, featuring some amazing series, and multiple upsets. So, let’s recap what the first week has shown us, and what they mean for the future of these teams.
CLG and Immortals Both Profited
With the hype around the Dardoch-Xmithie trade rocketing to the Reddit frontpage, everyone was anxious to see how both teams would fair. To everyone’s surprise, and some not so surprised, both teams came out on top, going 2-0 in their first week and showing that the trade was definitely worth it. For CLG, not being at the bottom of the pile is a great accomplishment and gives every fan hope that it will stay that way, as the same can be said for Immortals after their less-than-optimal Spring performance.
With all said and done, both teams looked extremely well-polished and very attentive. Not only did both junglers bring top performances, but Dardoch seemed to integrate well with CLG, bringing clean rotations and early game pressure, whereas Xmithie brought stability to the Immortals line-up, and giving his team a better safety net with solid play. Whether both are successful in the long run is up to themselves, but so far, the first week bodes well.
Old Guards Losing Ground
With CLG, Immortals, Dignitas, and Echo Fox at the top of the standings, we are left wondering, “What the heck happened to the old guards?” In an almost surreal situation, the old top 4 have somehow found their way to the very bottom of the standings, with only TSM being able to win a series over the week, and everyone else sitting at a sad 0-2. Even Team Envyus was able to pull out a win to go 1-1 on their week.
Although I won’t say that this is the start of a natural decline for all these teams, it is worth noting that all of these teams looked unnaturally unsteady and desperate. For instance, during the Cloud 9 series vs Team Solo Mid, Cloud 9 made extremely rushed judgement calls and took unnatural fights. This goes for all of the other teams as well, but radiates from Cloud 9 the most, as many thought that they would be reigning on top.
Meta Flipping Off-Season
The biggest influencer of these events can easily be traced to the Mid-season update. With the heavy emphasis on taking out heavy damage dealers in the jungle, the age of tanks has once again come about. With the addition of items such as the new Gargoyle’s stoneplate and Adaptive Helm, as well as a slew of reworked items, formidable tanks such as Zac Gragas, and others that excel in teamfights will excel at the beginning of this season.
This can be seen in what teams are at the top of the standings, and who is at the bottom. In the past few seasons, massive macro-plays across the entire map have made the differences between teams, meaning that whoever knew how to manipulate waves and manage tower suppression would be the ultimate winner. This is not so with the current meta. At this moment, grouping as 5 and pushing a single lane is the dominating factor, forcing the other to adapt to the sudden force of a massive push. This is most notable during matches of C9, as their superior macro decision making did nothing to counter the brute strength of CLG forcing a fight down or TSM collapsing on them at major objectives.
This is still only week one, so none of these could be deciding factors in how teams do throughout the entire season. But, one thing is for sure: if teams don’t adapt quickly, the torch will be picked up by others, no matter how beat up the old is on the side of the road.