NA LCS Week 1 Predictions: Team Liquid looking to pile on the pressure this Summer

On the eve of the NA LCS returning, a majority of teams opted to keep their roster together and refortify strategy with the slew of changes that have taken place in the game. New patches usually mean new contenders, but experienced squads like Team Solo Mid and Team Liquid are pushing for consistency in a league plagued by volatile runs of form.

Can the old guard continue to rise to the top or will new challengers emerge to shake up the pot en route to the World Championships?

League in flux

With all the new patch updates that have taken place since MSI, it’s hard to judge exactly which teams will remain strong given the shift in meta. Team Liquid made their name last Split using their powerful laning presence as a means to get ahead early on. The subsequent jungle pressure from Xmithie ensured their advantages well into the late game.

This time around, the potency of TL’s bot lane will surely take a dive given the radically new build paths for certain ADC’s. The new pathing of jungles will also slightly stunt the growth of a TL team that routinely executed level three plays with Xmithie’s unique map movements. Even with the changes, TL’s biggest weaknesses heading into Summer split are shared with a majority of the high level teams in North America.

Team Liquid celebrate Spring 2018 championship

The ability to get ahead and stay ahead will be imperative to survival as they face 100 Thieves and Golden Guardians in the opening week. While the Golden Guardians game seems like an easy win given the new staff and roster changes to GG, 100 Thieves will be looking to exact revenge after a resounding finals loss last Spring.

Year of the fox?

Around the board, certain teams in the NA LCS are looking to reclaim their glory while others are focused on redefining the winning formula. Old guard favorites like CLG and TSM have stuck to the script, refusing to blow up rosters that have underwhelmed early in the year.

Both teams had similar season trajectories given their weak performances early on as they steadily picked up speed. CLG’s lackluster season was way less productive than their fierce rivals, and changing that fact will be the only goal this split. After a resounding win streak to finish out Spring, CLG will look to build off the playmaking ability of Stixxay and Reignover as they push for a World Championship spot.

CLG Stixxay

Team Solo Mid’s shock exit from the quarterfinals finally dispelled the narrative of TSM always making it to the finals of NA LCS. The frustrations from all sides were clear last split, and the expectations this split are at an all-time high. Given the new changes in jungle, this seems like the meta where MikeYeung can finally flourish with his natural play style. In Week 1, the need to set a good pace will be vital to their success, expect TSM to come out of the gates swinging with big performances against both CLG and FlyQuest.

One of the major teams outside of the ‘big four’ looking to make headlines this split is none other than Echo Fox. Echo Fox enjoyed their position in first place on the rankings for a majority of the regular season before a few patch changes took their mid lane power away from them in the final weeks.

Dardoch and Huni - Team EchoFox

Dardoch in the jungle and Huni in top lane are still core components of a championship winning roster, and as their synergy improves as a 5 man, the growth this team needs in order to succeed is surely attainable. This season is all about reacting to changes, though. And Echo Fox doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to calling an audible. If they find a way to start strong their run of form may come to an end through changes that are out of their control.

End of Week 1 predictions:

  • Team Liquid (2-0)
  • Team Solo Mid (2-0)
  • Cloud 9 (2-0)
  • Clutch Gaming (1-1)
  • Echo Fox (1-1)
  • 100 Thieves (1-1)
  • Optic Gaming (1-1)
  • Counter Logic Gaming (0-2)
  • FlyQuest (0-2)
  • Golden Guardians (0-2)