NA LCS Week 3 Review

This week didn’t have the shock results week 2 had, but was still full of exciting series

Svenskeren was under pressure coming into week 3. Photo: Riot Games

by Ryan Payne | @Payney_94 | Jun 20, 2017, 7:35pm BST

Immortals vs Team Liquid

This series showed the difference in the quality between top and bottom of the NA LCS right now. Immortals continued their strong start to the summer split, whilst Liquid  failed to recreate their performances in the win over Dignitas last week.

Game 1 picks:
Immortals (blue) – Renekton/Gragas/Orianna/Caitlyn/Morgana
Liquid (red) – Shen/Elise/Syndra/Kog’maw/Nami

Liquid never really got a look in this game, Immortals put on a clean performance from start to finish. Both teams picked late game carries, but the game never got far enough in for Piglet to reach his Kog’s hyper carry point, despite playing well himself, ending the game 2/1/2.

Cody Sun had a great start to the game, getting the first 3 Immortals kills only 7 minutes in. After that he only got 1 more kill, as the rest of his teammates took over from him, Flame, Xmithie and Pobelter picking up 12 kills between them.
Reignover had a particularly poor early game, as Immortals picked up 4 of their first 6 kills on him.

By 20 minutes Immortals already had 2 Infernals Drakes and a 7k gold lead, getting Baron and snowballing too far for Liquid to come back, ending the game at 26 minutes with a 13k gold lead.

Game 2 picks:
Immortals (red) – J4/Gragas/Orianna/Caitlyn/Blitzcrank
Liquid (blue) – Fiora/Kha’zix/Ahri/Kennen/Karma

Olleh picked another playmaking support in Blitzcrank, and although he landed 2 of them onto Matt getting his team 2 early kills, he overstepped a couple of times later on that allowed Liquid to get the kill on him and keep themselves in the game.

Cody Sun had another strong game on Caitlyn, working well with Olleh and finishing 4/1/2. His adc counterpart Piglet took a different approach to normal, taking Kennen into this one, not his usual late game hyper carry he has picked in the majority of games so far this split. He again had the best performance on his team, ending up 2/1/1 in this one.

This game was a lot closer than game 1, Liquid having a gold lead at 27 minutes even when Immortals took Baron. During the time they took it, Lourlo had pushed his way into the Immortals base, taking the bottom inhibitor and almost destroying the first nexus turret before Immortals collapsed on him from two sides, getting the kill onto him that let them push into Liquid’s base 5v4.
They had to back off momentarily to let the Baron empowered minions enter the base, and after picking Reignover off they finished the game at 32 minutes, taking the series 2-0.

Panye’s prediction: Immortals win 2-1
Series result: Immortals win 2-0

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Cody Sun had two fine performances on Caitlyn. Photo: Riot Games

Team Envy vs Echo Fox

This series saw the top 2 teams at getting leads early going into week 2 face each other. Envy have improved their late game shotcalling and decision making, but it still remains their one biggest weakness. Echo Fox also seem to have suffered with the same problem this split, struggling to close out games and turning them into back and forth late game team fights that can go one way or the other.

Game 1 picks:
Envy (blue) – Kennen/Lee Sin/Taliyah/Ashe/Braum
Echo Fox (red) – Pantheon/Gragas/Kassadin/Caitlyn/Karma

Looper took one of Kennen’s biggest counters in Pantheon into the top lane for Game 1, and it payed off for Echo Fox with Looper having a big influence in the early game, having an involvement in all of Echo Fox’ first seven kills, spread across all 3 lanes.
Lira was trying his best to keep Envy in the game, picking himself up 4 kills in the first 20 minutes.

This game felt like Echo Fox were in control when 32 minutes in they managed to get Baron, but this only gave them a 500 gold lead, with Envy staying very much in the contest.
The feeling changed from this point, with Envy starting to pick off Fox members on their own and even getting a free Baron. Just when you thought Envy would push on from there and show they now know what to do with late leads, they put the brakes on and both teams just stalled out, waiting for the next Baron to spawn.
When it did, Fox got a kill onto Seraph whilst he was alone, using this man advantage to take the Baron and catch Envy out 5v4, taking them all out and ending the game at 45 minutes with a slim 4k gold lead.

Game 2 picks:
Envy (red) – Jayce/Gragas/Viktor/Caitlyn/Zyra
Echo Fox (blue) – Kennen/Nidalee/Lucian/Varus/Thresh

Game 2 showed what you can do against Envy if you get a lead over them early, as they didn’t look sure on what to do since it happens so rarely to them.
After playing Pantheon so well against Seraph’s Kennen, Looper planned to rub salt in the wound by picking Kennen himself for this game.
The very early game was even, the teams trading kills up until the 20 minute mark when Fox started to grab the odd kill untraded until they took down Baron uncontested at 26 minutes, getting a 4k gold lead. Already they had the same lead they ended with in game 1.
Envy had a small flourish for the next few minutes, evening up the number of kills by catching Fox members out of place as they get a bit too complacent. Just when it looked like Fox weren’t going to close out the game with any conviction, Seraph and Apollo found themselves in the wrong place, giving up their lives and letting Echo Fox start taking down Baron. This was purely a bait however, as they jumped on the Fox members halfway through doing Baron, trading 2 kills for 1, giving their 4 remaining members push through the Envy base and take the series 2-0.

Panye’s prediction: Envy win 2-0
Series result: Echo Fox win 2-0

 

 

Team Liquid vs TSM 

TSM came into this week off of their big win over CLG in week 2, and playing Liquid was a great chance for them to get another win as they look to work their way back up to the top of the table.
Liquid were looking to upset TSM and not end the week with 2 losses.

Game 1 picks:
Liquid (blue) – Galio/Olaf/Taliyah/Ashe/Thresh
TSM (red) – Renekton/Gragas/Orianna/Xayah/Rakan

Reignover got his hands on Olaf again, the champion he’s had most success on so far this split, whilst Goldenglue has looked confident on the Taliyah recently.
Unfortunately it wouldn’t be enough for Liquid to get the win, despite Reignover having a fantastic individual performance and finishing 8/1/8.
TSM picked a fantastic team fighting comp, with great mid game damage potential.

Liquid looked confident early on following on from their first win the week before, getting themselves a 2k lead 16 minutes in after getting the Rift Herald whilst 4 kills ahead. Liquid continued to look fantastic (given their previous performances) through the mid game, as the TSM fans started to get very quiet and all that could be heard was a solitary Liquid fan with the chant “Let’s go Liquid let’s go”.
This was until a teamfight in the mid lane about 32 minutes in, Liquid couldn’t get through to Doublelift who slowly grinded them down, getting TSM 3 kills and letting them rotate up to take the Baron in what became the turning point of this game.
TSM had two attempts to take the next fights and win the game, but Liquid kept scrapping for their lives, successfully holding TSM at bay and almost stealing the next Baron that was contested.

It wasn’t enough for Liquid as TSM hit their massive power spikes, tearing through the Liquid carries in the last teamfight 41 minutes in, taking the win in this incredibly hard fought game that both teams gave everything to.

Game 2 picks:
Liquid (red) – Gragas/Kha’zix/Cassiopeia/Ashe/Bard
TSM (blue) – J4/Elise/Galio/Xayah/Rakan

TSM took the same bot lane pairing of Xayah and Rakan into game 2, again putting good team fight champions around them.
The early game was much the same as the previous one, Liquid doing well initially, getting a 2k gold lead 14 minutes in. It didn’t take TSM as long this time to gain control, as they began using their good pick off potential to begin building a lead to take into the mid game, controlling the objectives well to take Baron 28 minutes in. The buff from Baron was all they needed to take down 3 TL members in lightning quick fashion, pushing through and destroying the nexus at 31 minutes in a much cleaner performance than game 1.

Panye’s prediction: TSM win 2-0
Series result: TSM win 2-0

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Liquid brought back down to earth by TSM. Photo: Riot Games

Immortals vs Cloud 9

Immortals were hoping to finish this weekend with two wins, whilst Cloud 9 came into this series off of 2 strong wins in week 2 and were hoping to continue their charge back up the table.

Game 1 picks:
Immortals (blue) – Renekton/Gragas/Kassadin/Varus/Thresh
Cloud 9 (red) – Kled/Elise/LeBlanc/Xayah/Blitzcrank

Cloud 9 once again picked the Xayah/Blitzcrank bottom lane, and Kled for Impact, a champion not seen much at all so far in NA. Xmithie got himself the Gragas he normally looks so comfortable on.

The Blitz looked like a good choice early on, Smoothie grabbing IMT successfully with his hook and getting a 100% kill participation in C9’s first five kills.
Although neither team was really getting far ahaead on kills, Cloud 9 were doing a good job at taking the more turrets, taking a 3-4k lead into the mid game as they started to get the better of Immortals in the teamfights, using their superior vision control to use the better engages.

Just before the 30 minute mark, Cloud 9 took control of the proceeding team fight, winning it 3 for 1 and using the numbers advantage to start pushing into the Immortals base. This forced IMT to start a desperate defensive attempt, but to no avail as Cloud 9 were too far ahead and aced Immortals and took game 1 with a 13k gold lead.

Game 2 picks:
Immortals (red) – J4/Gragas/Orianna/Tristana/Morgana
Cloud 9 (blue) – Rumble/Elise/Lucian/Xayah/Thresh

Cloud 9 took a similar draft into game 2, spreading their damage out across the map. Immortals picked a better team fighting comp this time, giving Cody Sun Tristana who is one of the highest late game damage dealing carries.

Things started perfectly for Immortals getting Cody three early kills in the bottom lane, the ideal champion to get ahead early on. Things continued to get worse for Cloud 9, as the only thing keeping them in the game past 20 minutes was their good cs’ing.
Cloud 9 started to make a dent into Immortals, grabbing a couple of kills in the mid lane, before biting off a bit more than they could chew, as Cody’s heavily fed Tristana came in and chunked most of the HP out of the remaining 3 C9 members caught up in Jarvan’s Cataclysm, letting Flame finish them off and get the triple kill.

Xmithie was having one of his worst games of the split so far, but thankfully for him the rest of him team were playing near their best as they took a 11k gold lead after two Barons at 36 minutes. IMT used their Baron buff and the huge lead they had to take out C9 members one by one, levelling the series at 38 minutes with a huge 19k gold lead.

Game 3 picks:
Immortals (blue) – Kled/Elise/Taliyah/Xayah/Thresh
Cloud 9 (red) – Shen/Olaf/Orianna/Varus/Tahm Kench

Perhaps the way in which Immortals snowballed game 2 forced Cloud 9 to change up their plan and take a tank into the top lane this time, putting Impact on Shen. Meanwhile Immortals picked a team almost identical to Cloud 9’s from game 1, swapping out LeBlanc and Blitzcrank for Taliyah and Thresh.

Xmithie had a much better start to game 3, taking part in all five of IMT’s kills in the first 20 minutes. Immortals got a bit too confident, losing out heavily in the biggest teamfight so far and dropping 4 of their members with only Xmithie surviving, giving Cloud 9 the first Baron of the game.
Immortals quickly regained their lead, picking off Cloud 9 members with ease until C9 once again took the next teamfight 3 for 0 and starting the second Baron of the game. Knowing a second Baron for Cloud 9 could heavily turn the momentum in their favour, Xmithie pulled off one of the best Baron steals I’ve seen, rappelling into the pit with all five C9 members in their, before popping his Zhonya’s, flashing out of the way of C9 abilities coming his way and securing the Baron for Immortals.

With the gold lead level at 45 minutes and Jensen sitting at 10/0/3 on Orianna, the game would be decided on whether Immortals could get to the back line and take Jensen out before he deleted them. After managing to kill Sneaky first after securing Elder Dragon, Immortals quickly dispatched the rest of the C9 team, getting the ace and taking the series in a 2-1 comeback at 49 minutes in a very close and exciting game 3.

Panye’s prediction: Cloud 9 win 2-1
Series result: Immortals win 2-1

Flyquest vs CLG

Coming off of their defeat at the hands of TSM, CLG would have been hoping to come back with a vengeance this week, which meant Flyquest (who have struggled this split despite getting their first win of summer of Phoenix 1), would need to really up their performance to stand up to CLG who still have so much room for improvement.

Game 1 picks:
Flyquest (blue) – Renekton/Elise/Orianna/Varus/Zyra
CLG (red) – Jayce/Gragas/Taliyah/Xayah/Blitzcrank

CLG took their mid game power comp into game 1 and got off to the perfect start with it, going 5-0 in kills at 10 minutes with a massive 3k gold lead.

CLG didn’t look back from this point, snowballing out of control and ripping through Flyquest cleanly with so much confidence. Their objective control was fantastic, taking 8 towers only 30 minutes in, along with 3 ocean drakes and two Barons.
Despite CLG getting complacent and giving Fly some kills, they grouped up for one final push and took 3 kills ending the game at 35 minutes in a game they snowballed from the first few minutes.

Game 2 picks:
Flyquest (red) – J4/Elise/Orianna/Caitlyn/Zyra
CLG (blue) – Renekton/Gragas/Ahri/Ashe/Karma

The start of game 2 was a lot closer, even when CLG secured an ace 16 minutes they only had a 200 gold lead. Fly’s objective control was much better this game, keeping them even in gold.
CLG pulled ahead in kills 16-4 after baiting Fly in with a Baron start, getting the ace and taking the Baron simultaneously. It looked like CLG would snowball the game and take the series with their strong 8k gold lead 30 minutes in, leaving only the nexus turrets to take after a massive 5.5k gold Baron power play. Flyquest had other ideas though, giving up their bottom inhibitor to take a Baron which would let them defend the rest of their base that bit better.

In the next defense that decision paid off as they took the fight 3 for 1 with Wildturtle starting to dish out some serious damage on Caitlyn as the game hit the late game. Somehow Fly continued to punish CLG for not cleanly taking the game, winning the next fight as well and getting their second Baron in a row, cutting CLG’s lead to just 3k.
CLG continued to capitulate as Fly smelt blood and grabbed ace, evening the gold lead and winning the game at 46 minutes in a fantastic defensive comeback.

Game 3 picks:
Flyquest (blue) – Gragas/Ivern/Lucian/Ashe/Zyra
CLG (red) – Rumble/Lee Sin/Viktor/Caitlyn/Blitzcrank

Interestingly, CLG have looked the only side in NA so far that look more comfortable on red side more than blue, and this continued to be the case for them in game 3 despite having a poor start to the game. Hai took Lucian into the mid lane with great success in the early game, getting all of Fly’s first four kills.
CLG suddenly turned it back on as they evened things up just after 15 minutes in and started to take the initiative going into the mid game. They furthered their lead by picking up 3 more kills around the Baron pit and then taking the Baron, using the buff to push down the Fly mid and bot lanes.

In a last effort to claw them back into the game, Moon managed to take a clean Ivern Baron steal off of CLG and take down 3 CLG members who weren’t respecting the damage Flyquest were now able to dish out. It was a bridge too far for Flyquest however, as CLG pulled out a clean team fight in the mid lane winning it 4 for 1, which gave them the chance to see the game out at 42 minutes with Stixxay and Darshan coming up big on Caitlyn and Rumble, ending the game 11/3/13 and 10/4/9 respectively.

Panye’s prediction: CLG win 2-0
Series result: CLG win 2-1

 

Phoenix 1 vs Team Dignitas

After losing their first series against Liquid (and in the process giving Liquid their first win) Dignitas had the ideal opportunity to get back to winning ways when they took on Phoenix 1 who sat bottom of the table without a win so far this split.

Phoenix 1 brought in MikeYeung into the jungle for his NALCS debut replacing Inori, whilst Dignitas continued with Shrimp in their jungle after his strong performances since coming into the side.

Game 1 picks:
Phoenix 1 (blue)  – Galio/Kha’zix/Syndra/Ashe/Karma
Dignitas (red)  – Shen/Lee Sin/Viktor/Twitch/Rakan

MikeYeung didn’t take long to show what he’s made of, helping his team get two early kills on Ssumday’s Shen knowing you massively increase your chances of winning if you can shut down the Dignitas top laner.
P1 continued to stay within touching distance of Dignitas, until a big teamfight in the mid lane where Dignitas showed their much improved team fighting and shotcalling this split, keeping Keane’s Viktor alive for the entirety of the skirmish as he slowly whittled down P1’s members to just Shady remaining. This allowed Dignitas to take a free Baron 29 minutes into the game.

Dig once again punished P1 for trying to fight 5v5, getting a double kill onto Keane as Dig take 3 members down. Even on Shen, Ssumday can take down inhibitors unchallenged as P1 prepared to take Baron, managing to destroy the bot inhibitor, before LOD’s Twitch snuck past the minions wave to meet him at the nexus turrets, taking them both and the nexus before P1 even really looked like considering to recall back to defend. It was a good first game for Dignitas after the initial kills they gave up with a very peculiar end to the game.

Game 2 picks:
Phoenix 1 (red) – Kled/Lee Sin/Taliyah/Varus/Braum
Dignitas (blue) – J4/Elise/Galio/Ashe/Rakan

Game 2 started with the teams trading blows, P1 getting the better of the early exchanges as they took down both outer turrets in the top lane before a crazy 5v5 broke out where P1 did so well to stay alive so long under the turret, getting the advantage in the fight before deciding to dive a bit too far and letting Dignitas pick up a couple of kills in return.

The next fight was long and scrappy in the bottom river that P1 won 5 for 3, Ryu getting himself a Pentakill on Taliyah. Phoenix 1 looked very confident from this point, consistenly winning the remaining fights after taking the Baron, getting one last ace before taking game 2 only 25 minutes in with an 11k lead in quite easily their best performance of the split so far. MikeYeung had another good game ending 5/2/11 on Lee Sin, but was outshone by Ryu’s Taliyah who ended legendary at 9/0/8.

Game 3 picks:
Phoenix 1 (blue) – Galio/Lee Sin/Taliyah/Kog’maw/Braum
Dignitas (red) – Shen/Kha’zix/Cassiopeia/Varus/Rakan

Game 3 had a much tenser feel to it early on, with only 1 kill coming in the first 18 minutes before Dignitas started to make the most of their high burst and team fight potential, getting the better of P1 in the next two fights before taking Baron quickly at 21 minutes.
The game went back to slowly ticking over until Baron respawned, this time P1 looking like coming out the better initially until Dig regrouped in the latter end of the fight with Shrimp respawning and getting himself back into the fight, helping LOD get himself a triple kill on Varus and letting his team get the Baron.

P1 once continued to make Dig work for the win they wanted until their defense broke down at their bottom inhibitor, giving up the ace as Dig took the win at 43 minutes, winning the series in 3 games in what was Phoenix 1’s best series performance of the split so far.

Panye’s prediction: Dignitas win 2-0
Series result: Dignitas win 2-1

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MikeYeung looks the part so far in Phoenix 1’s side despite losing. Photo: The Rift Herald

Team Envy vs TSM

After losing out to Echo Fox in relatively disappointing fashion, Team Envy would be hoping to come back strongly against a TSM side that despite coming off a win against Liquid, still didn’t look at their best.

Game 1 picks:
Envy (blue) – Rumble/Elise/Galio/Varus/Zyra
TSM (red) – Gragas/Lee Sin/Cassiopeia/Ashe/Thresh

Svenskeren managed to get his hands on his notoriously good Lee Sin, much to the mistake of Team Envy as he grabbed first blood for TSM on Hakuho’s Zyra.

TSM beat Envy early at what Envy are best at, out farming their opponents. Just 10 minutes in TSM already a 1.5k gold lead, through just 1 kill and cs.
The closest Envy got to getting a foothold in this game was an attempted gank top by Lira onto Hauntzer, almost getting the kill before Sven appeared through the lane with a beautifully clean flash-kick onto Lira. From this point, TSM played at their very best, not giving Envy a moment to relax as they started to take them out all over the map with every member playing well not only on their own but as a group.

Even in fights where Envy looked like the should easily get the kills on low health TSM members, they were kept alive fantastically with great team work, turning the fights and getting the kills onto Envy unscathed. When TSM got Baron at 22 minutes, I don’t think anyone gave Envy a chance of coming back into this one.

Envy did manage to get a kill onto Sven as TSM took down their mid and top inhibitors, but gave an ace up in return, giving the win to TSM in a quick 27 minute stomp.
This game was the level of play TSM’s fans have been expecting ever since last year’s summer roster was brought back together.

Game 2 picks:
Envy (red) – Renekton/Elise/Ahri/Ashe/Thresh
TSM (blue) – Gragas/Lee Sin/Syndra/Varus/Braum

Game 2 wasn’t the same snowball for TSM, despite Sven picking up first blood even quicker this time around. Envy would have been fearing the worst after TSM picked Seraph off top and then Apollo bottom.
But just as TSM were hoping to carry on from game 1, Envy turned the next fight around onto them with some strong CC chains, taking 3 unanswered kills.

Despite getting the next 6 kills unanswered, Envy didn’t look as confident with what to do with the time in between fights as they have in their games up until this series, failing to increase their lead by much. Despite continuing to win trades slightly, Envy had kept TSM in the game too long and it would be one clean team fight that would see one team take the first big advantage.
Ultimately it would be a disastrous Baron call from Envy that would undo this game for them as they decided to use the blast cone to jump back into the Baron pit as 4 members, 3 of whom were on less than half health, but unfortunately for them TSM were still around and Envy gave them 2 kills and the Baron in what was one of the worst decisions I’ve seen so far this split.

Take nothing away from TSM’s play from this point though, as they very effectively punished Envy for this mistake, showing why they were number 1 in Spring and absolutely ripping through Envy and winning the game at 40 minutes, taking only 9 minutes from the Baron fight to the end of the game.

It was a much closer affair in game 2, and Envy will be kicking themselves for letting it split away so quickly as they showed a lot of the weaknesses they had in Spring, ones they seemed to have got away from this time around.

Panye’s prediction: TSM win 2-1
Series result: TSM win 2-0

 

 

Phoenix 1 vs CLG 

After a much stronger showing against Dignitas with a very positive debut from MikeYeung, Phoenix 1 announced they had brought in Xpecial from Dig and put him straight into the starting line up against CLG, a side he has a great track record against, 7-1 in his favour coming into this series. CLG were hoping to continue at the top of the table and afflict P1 to their 6th straight defeat of the split.

Game 1 picks:
Phoenix 1 (blue) – Jayce/Elise/Orianna/Caitlyn/Braum
CLG (red) – Kennen/Lee Sin/Ahri/Ashe/Morgana

Things started positively for P1, getting 2 good kills early and using the Rift Herald to take the outer two towers in the top lane. But as they looked to contest for the Infernal Drake that CLG ultimately got, they were collapsed on by Darshan’s Kennen from one side and the rest of CLG the other, who took the fight 5 for 1 despite having all of their members incredibly low on health.

Dardoch had one of his most influential early games so far, going 3/0/4 on Lee Sin in the first 25 minutes.
P1 stayed in the game well up until this point, as CLG started to extend their lead, showing their clean team fighting and slowly grinding down P1 into submission, picking members off over and over again letting them control the objectives, until they had a strong enough lead to start the siege onto P1’s base, pushing through and ending the game at 35 minutes with a 12k gold lead.

Dardoch’s fine performance saw him involved in 16 of CLG’s 21 kills finishing at 3/0/13.

Game 2 picks:
Phoenix 1 (red) – Renekton/Nidalee/Cassiopeia/Varus/Tahm Kench
CLG (blue) – Galio/Gragas/Lucian/Caitlyn/Braum

P1’s comp going into this game looked a bit odd, not seeming to have a team that excelled at one style of play when all together. The one thing it did have was huge damage potential in the early to mid game.
CLG’s comp had a lot of teamfighting strength playing around the Lucian and Xayah, so P1 needed to take the fight early to CLG and pick them off in ones or twos rather than waiting for the 5v5 teamfights.

This is exactly what P1 did, as MikeYeung gave a fantastic early display, going 3/1/3 just 11 minutes into the game with a 100% kill participation, focusing on the top and middle lanes.
CLG started to group more often and force P1 to fight them 5v5 knowing they had the advantage as they started to claw back some of the 5k lead P1 had gained 25 minutes in. That was until CLG got a bit too confident, trying to take down Baron off the back of a fight in which they went 2 for 0, but couldn’t get enough damage out and letting the remaining P1 members come back in a clean up, taking down 3 of CLG. Needless to say P1 said thank you very much and took the Baron for themselves, reopening their gold lead to 6k.

CLG continued to force fights but to no avail, as P1 made the best of the comp they had, MikeYeung’s Nidalee and Ryu’s Cassiopeia weaving back and forth in the fights doing large amounts of damage over time onto CLG and taking them down once their opposition ran out of damage.

As P1 started taking the next Baron, CLG decided they were just going to go for broke in a last attempt to start a comeback, throwing themselves in individually looking to outplay the P1 players which just wasn’t possible with the lead P1 had built up, as tyhey cleanly wiped out CLG and ended the game at 38 minutes with a mammoth 22k gold lead.
This was one of the first games of the split where every P1 member played well.

Game 3 picks:
Phoenix 1 (blue) – Renekton/Lee Sin/Taliyah/Twitch/Tahm Kench
CLG (red) – Fiora/Gragas/LeBlanc/Varus/Braum

Not much happened early on in this game, with only small skirmishes resulting in the odd kill being traded by each team until the first big team fight broke 18 minutes, both teams giving up two members.
MikeYeung was having yet another stellar performance, this time on Lee Sin, going 4/0/5 in the first 26 minutes, with only P1 kill not involving him.

Phoenix 1 were getting more confident as time went on, as they look to be getting back to somewhere near their levels last split, going toe to toe with CLG.
Claiming you’re the best side in the league is bold, but CLG are determined to show it’s true, as they smartly cut off the retreating P1 along the top lane in the aftermath of a fight, cleanly taking out 4 members and only trading Darshan in return. They used this advantage to take out the Baron, turning the gold lead into their favour by 2k, the first lead they had so far this game.

P1 continued to pick up kills on CLG, but still couldn’t swing the gold back in their favour as the game turned into it’s latter stages 40 minutes in, forcing one too many fights and getting collapsed on from 3 sides by CLG who mercilessly took out 4 member.
This was all CLG needed to force themselves into the P1 base, ending the game and the series at 43 minutes, taking the series win in Phoenix 1’s best display of the split so far.

P1 are certainly heading back in the right direction with how they played in this series. MikeYeung continued to impress in just his second LCS series, finishing with a combined kda of 17/8/21. Not only that, but Arrow looked like he was returning to some of the form that saw him crowned Spring Split MVP, ending 13/9/21 for the series and looking particularly good in game 3 on the Twitch, despite P1 losing the game.

Panye’s prediction: CLG win 2-0
Series result: CLG win 2-1

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CLG continue to top the table as Dardoch begins to up his performances. Photo: Riot Games

Flyquest vs Cloud 9 

After such a good week 2, Cloud 9 would have been disappointed to have been taken down by Immortals  especially after winning game 1.
Flyquest were coming off of a loss to CLG, in which they played well in places but also were handed a hiding in game 1 of that series. Both teams have had poor starts to this split and would both be hoping to win the series coined ‘The NALCS civil war’.

Game 1 picks:
Flyquest (blue) – Gragas/Rengar/Orianna/Kennen/Zyra
Cloud 9 (red) – J4/Elise/Syndra/Xayah/Bard

Cloud 9 put their feet on the accelerator straight after Moon picked up first blood for Fly onto Impact up top, rotating well between the mid and bottom lane, getting themselves a strong 7k gold lead 20 minutes into the game, sitting 11 to 3 in kills with two Drakes and 4 towers at this point.
Moon was doing his best on Rengar to take out the C9 carries as quickly as he could, and despite a small flourish in the mid lane 21 minutes in, they couldn’t stop Cloud 9 with the mood they were in, taking Baron and using the buff to pick off Fly’s members as they pushed into the base before ending the game at 30 minutes in a very comfortable and clean game 1.

Jensen’s Syndra was the star of the show, finishing with a kda of 11/0/5.

Game 2 picks:
Flyquest (red) – Gragas/Rengar/Talon/Xayah/Zyra
Cloud 9 (blue) – Renekton/Elise/Cassiopeia/Varus/Braum

Flyquest took a comp with some insane burst damage to try and take on C9 in game 2. Moon once again got first blood onto Impact, before getting a double kill bottom as he continued to be Fly’s shining glimmer of hope in this series, getting all four of Fly’s kills in the first 17 minutes.

Fly continued to hang on, Wildturtle stealing Baron from C9 but trading Moon and Hai’s lives in the process.
Sneaky became the third player in NALCS history to reach 1000 kills, picking it up on Balls (what a great story that is), joining Doublelift and Wildturtle in that prestigious achievement.
He made it 1,001 before the game ended as Flyquest just appeared to fall apart in the next 4 minutes after that fight in the bottom lane, C9 ending the game at 33 minutes after getting themselves a few more kills and finishing up with an 11k gold lead.

Cloud 9 took the series 2-0 in relatively comfortable fashion, improving themselves to a 3-3 record whilst condemning Flyquest to yet another loss as they now sit at 1-5.

Panye’s prediction: Cloud 9 win 2-1
Series result: Cloud 9 win 2-0

 

 

Team Dignitas vs Echo Fox

Dignitas got back to winning ways against Phoenix 1 before coming up against an Echo Fox side who defeated Team Envy in convincing fashion in their first series of the week. Dig knew that a win would see them remain level with CLG and Immortals at the top of the table, whilst Fox were hoping to go level with TSM in the rankings.

Game 1 picks:
Dignitas (blue) – Rumble/Lee Sin/Orianna/Kalista/Rakan
Echo Fox (red) – Renekton/Elise/Ahri/Xayah/Tahm Kench

Echo Fox had the better of the opening 20 minutes, looking to skirmish with Dig when Akaadian came to gank and pick off lone Dig members out of position. Because of the pick threat Fox wielded, Dignitas were happy to give up Drake control and let Fox have the first two of the game.

After getting two more kills in the bottom lane 20 minutes in, Fox stopped looking for aggressive picks as Dignitas looked to wait for the late game with the next kills not coming until the 32nd minute. The teamfights that followed were long and drawn out, Echo Fox playing patiently and winning them 4 for 3 and then 5 for 1 as they started to increase the gold lead past 6k 40 minutes in.
Froggen was able to get some good picks onto the Dig carries as his Ahri and Looper’s Renekton dashed to the back line enabling Keith to stay untouched on Xayah, dishing out huge amounts of damage from a distance on Xayah.

Just when it looked like Echo Fox were in complete control, they saw a glimpse of Dig’s team fight comp, who took out 4 Fox members who had just secured the Elder Dragon.
As Fox found themselves closer to the Dig base than the defending side, they showed their late game indecision again as they failed to do one thing or the other, giving up a further three kills to Dig who were rapidly closing the gold lead Fox had worked so hard to build.

Looper decided that Froggen would be able to defend 1v5 as he decided to give up his life with a 60 second respawn timer for a Dig inhibitor. Unfortunately for him, Froggen isn’t quite game breakingly good as Dig walked across the map and secured the win in a dramatic 50 minutes comeback.

If you’re an Echo Fox fan, they must be the most frustrating side to watch right now. But as a neutral, they put on some truly exciting matches for spectators in the late game.

Game 2 picks:
Dignitas (red) – Camille/Kha’zix/Viktor/Caitlyn/Karma
Echo Fox (blue) – Rumble/Elise/Lucian/Varus/Blitzcrank

After the excitement of game 1, Dignitas took that into game 2 as they put Ssumday onto Camille, a champion not seen very much at all lately since the heavy amount of nerfs she received part way through the spring split.
Froggen took Lucian once again into the mid lane, a champion he has looked good on so far this split whilst Gate took the now meta picked Blitzcrank.

Echo Fox started game 2 even better than the first, going 7-1 up in kills in just 12 minutes, 3 of which coming onto Big’s Karma.
Fox didn’t slow down this time, getting Baron at 21 minutes with another 2 kills giving them almost a 10k gold lead. Unfortunately Looper found himself picked off in the side lanes three times in a row, giving Dig a path back into the game again.

Fox didn’t let this stop them getting the win this time as they managed to take two Barons, winning a huge team fight off the back end of the second one, managing to get the ace as Froggen and Gate survive. With the death timers so long on the side of Dig, these two members were able to take down the nexus turrets and nexus at 39 minutes in.

Despite the game taking a bit longer than it should have done with the lead Fox gained early on, they would have been pleased to see the game through.

Game 3 picks:
Dignitas (blue) – Gragas/Lee Sin/Cassiopeia/Xayah/Rakan
Echo Fox (red) – Renekton/Elise/Viktor/Varus/Thresh

Dig looked determined to not have the same start in this game as they had in the first two, playing around the mid lane with ganks and counter ganks.

At 25 minutes Dignitas secured themselves the Baron, and following up on Big’s fantastic ‘The Quickness/Grand Entrance’ initiation they took down 4 Echo Fox members without having to give up a kill in return. Their gold lead at this point was approaching 9k, and they only took a further 3 minutes to end the game, acing Fox in their own base in the process.

Although Dig had the much better early game, the 3 minute spell after Baron just blew the Echo Fox side away, getting 10 kills during that time, inflicting Akaadian’s first series defeat this split and sending Fox to 3-3 for the split.

Panye’s prediction: Dignitas win 2-0
Series result: Dignitas win 2-1

CST-Shrimp-2015nacs.png
Shrimp continues to impress as Dignitas also end the week top of the table.

So as we come out of week 3, the top four sides in the table all won both their series’, and we are now starting to see the gap widening between the top and the bottom.
Only 2 games separate the top 7 sides, with 1 game splitting the bottom 3. It’s still early, but with Phoenix 1 looking like they are improving dramatically with MikeYeung and Xpecial in the side, Flyquest and Liquid could already be looking at contesting each other to not finish bottom of the table come the end of the split if P1 get their first win soon.

TSM came up with a huge performance against Envy, pulling out their best plays of the split so far, in a series that could see them get the momentum they need to make a charge back up to the top of the league.
Dignitas are the surprise package at the top, but with a tough week 4 consisting of games against Immortals and Cloud 9, they have the chance to prove to everyone they’re the real deal this time round and keep pushing to end the split top of the shop.

CLG and Immortals continue to chug along, getting wins without too much trouble at times, as they continue to look the two most consistent sides in the league right now.
Cloud 9, Envy and Echo Fox all sit middle of the pack at 3-3, with Cloud 9 being the most disappointed to be there, as they’ll be hoping to emulate their week 2 results and attempt to break back into the top 2 in the coming weeks. Envy need to get back to dominating teams early, as they struggled in both series’ this week, whilst Echo Fox will be looking to sort out their late game antics and start closing out games more consistently, rather than turning every game into a back and forth fiesta.

NALCS standings coming out of week 3
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