North American Saturday - Counter Logic Gaming CLG (2nd) vs Team Liquid TL (4th) The battle of the NA blues, CLG the Summer 2015 champions coming up against an ascending Team Liquid team fresh off the back of giving NRG a rinsing in the Quarterfinals. Counter Logic Gaming earned themselves a direct semis placement with their regular season placing, and have been long touted as one of the better macro/longer game teams in NA. However, the team have shown a reliance on split push strategy that their top laner, Darshan, has based his champion pool around. The meta has shifted towards a more tank oriented top laner match up that CLG has yet to demonstrate they can play around adequately. Meanwhile, Team Liquid have looked absolutely fantastic coming into this with rookie jungler Dardoch showing TL has a more diverse play book than just relying on their star ADC Piglet. This series will wholly depend on CLG and how they’ve adapted to the current metagame/competitive environment, with go-to top lane champion Fiora being toned down considerably since Darshan last played competitively. We expect CLG to round out this one but you can't overlook the current form of Team Liquid, so expect 5 games of quality play. Prediction: 3-2 to CLG Sunday - Immortals IMT (1st) vs Team Solo Mid TSM (6th) After a rollercoaster of a season for Team Solo Mid, it seemingly took last week's quarterfinal match for the players to realise what team they play for and the prestige the franchise holds; TSM have been a part of every playoff final since the LCS’s inception. They turned it on and took out heavy favourites Cloud 9, 3-1 in commanding style. With great individual performances all round; the gold star goes to jungler Svenskeren, who turned the tables on opposite number Rush giving him a taste of his own unrelenting playstyle. Meanwhile, Immortals are still looking near immortal, finishing the regular season only losing one game. Their general playstyle has been quite defiant of the meta, pulling out pocket picks of Soraka and Ekko before the other teams picked up on their power level. The stage is set for a clean sweep for Immortals. ADC carry and former TSM player WildTurtle will relish the opportunity to tarnish his former team's history for playoff greatness. TSM now are playing up to the level their individual and organisation's reptutations should command, but Immortals should be set to show them why they came from 6th place. 3-0 to IMT Europe Saturday - H2K (2nd) vs Origen OG (5th) Origen come riding into this weekend off a taming of the Unicorns of Love in the quarterfinals, in a commanding fashion to boot. With rotating mid laners Xpeke and Power of Evil both showing commanding performances coming into this, there’s still question marks on the Worlds semi-finalist squad. H2K have earned a bit of a break due to a bye into the semis due to seeding, it’s arguable to say that H2k could have been the number one seed coming into this if it wasn’t for mid laner Ryu’s visa issues. Their final game this split also shown a hidden diversity to H2K’s play, with lauded ADC player FORG1VENGRE busting out a great performance on Kalista, a pick that has been a weakness in his champion pool for two seasons running. In what should be a close match to call, H2K are the clear favorites. Even with Origen’s pedigree, they’ve come off the back of a disappointing campaign in the regular season and top and jungler positions. SoAZ and Amazing, have been far too volatile in their ability to perform. You can't count out Xpeke’s ability to perform when it counts, but H2K should have their number. 3-1 to H2K Sunday - G2 Esports G2 (1st) vs Fnatic FNC (6th) G2 (formerly Gamers2) have pretty much defied all expectations and criticism this split. Promoted from the Challenger series and playing their first LCS split; they were written off from the beginning as lacking experience and for a somewhat one dimensional play style. Valid and frankly true points, but this has not stopped them taking Europe by storm - securing first place seeding in the playoff and plaudits for split MVP Trick and Rookie of the split for midlaner Perkz. Much like Origen, Worlds semifinalists Fnatic have had struggles during this split, albeit through losing 3/5 of the 2015 roster. Fnatic have seemed like two different teams at times, suffering crushing defeats vs lower ranked teams but also pulling out amazing performances such as a 2nd place finish at IEM. Upset potential written all over this series. Fnatic have shown they can adapt in a best of 5 and have the playbook to flex. G2 general strategy ranges from going HAM to being plain reckless, but the meta has shifted to tanky top laner champs which Kikis has shown a proficiency on. The one deciding factor could be experience - G2 have yet to face the pressure of playoffs, whereas Fnatic have experienced nothing but. Should go all the way, but Fnatic should pip G2 to the finals spot. 3-2 to FNC Our prediction shots have been fired, but reckon we’ve misfired? Will we see a TSM-less NA final? Think Xpeke will ruin the H2k hype train? Let us know your thoughts below, and don’t forget to head over to lolesports.com for all of the action this weekend. GG WP!
League of Legends - Spring 2016 Semifinals Preview
Published on April 8th, 2016
League of Legends is a constantly evolving game, with monthly patches bringing both new content and hero balance changes. This ongoing evolution and tweaking, as well as what can be a comparatively short career span of most professional players, each competitive season is vastly different from the last! There are a few constants, though. Last week’s quarterfinals demonstrated that class is permanent for some teams in LoL eSports regardless of players, regular split performance and fan expectations. You just can’t keep certain names out of the big occasions and just know how to turn it on when it matters.Let us Ginx your way through the NA and EU Semifinal matchups this weekend and our personal picks on how the finals will shape up! Team line up portraits are all courtesy of Riot, and the splendid lolesports.com.