We’re coming up on the end of the Summer Season for the professionals in the League of Legends eSports circuit. Leading the EU LCS currently is Alliance, followed by Fnatic – predictable members of the leaderboard – with Supa Hot Crew, SK Gaming, Millenium, and Roccat vying for spots in the middle. Bringing up the rear in the EU are Gambit Gaming and Copenhagen Wolves, who just don’t seem to have managed to have taken off this season. Someone’s got to be in last place, I guess.
But, to be honest, the EU LCS doesn’t interest me nearly as much as the NA LCS, even though there are some really solid teams in the EU. I’ve been watching NA games every now and then – when I can – and the team to watch is (as usual):
Kieran wrote extensively about Cloud9 last year, and I am certainly not claiming to be any more of an expert than he is. But the description of C9 does need a bit of an update since this summer has been a real struggle for them. Team Captain Hai “Hai” Lam suffered a collapsed lung before this year’s All-Star game, and his absence from the team – even for a relatively brief period of time – seemed to devastate C9’s gameplay for most of the Summer Split. The rest of the team continued to show very strong individual gameplay – Balls is still the best top laner in NA, and C9’s team members overall have always been very solid – but Hai was making far too many mistakes towards the beginning of the summer. He was also the primary play-caller for the team, so his absence negatively affected the vibe and rhythm of the team. C9 was getting out to early leads, then throwing almost every game with catastrophic misplays and seemingly obvious mistakes, even to George Quentin (currently in Bronze IV – lower means you’re better, right??).
But in the last few weeks Cloud9 seems to have snapped back into shape. Their plays are solid. They’re dominating games all the way through instead of throwing, and so strongly that they have fought their way back up to first place going into the playoffs – impressive, as the team to beat – LMQ, a former affiliate of Royal Club and the newest added talent to the NA LCS – seemed pretty much unstoppable. (Their mid laner, Yu “XiaoWeiXiao” Xian, is the only NA mid who I think can really rival Hai right now.)
The playoffs are coming up in a few weeks, and we’ll see if C9 can hold it together against LMQ and other competitors to secure a spot at Worlds – and maybe do better than their somewhat apathetic performance last year.
EU LCS Playoffs start August 7.
NA LCS Playoffs start August 23.
As always, thanks for reading!