Week Two of the North American League Championship Series was one of the most exciting and unpredictable weeks in recent memory. Featuring both resounding wins and surprising upsets, the current turbulent state of the NA LCS made each match a must-watch. When the dust settled, there were no undefeated teams but also no teams without a win. It's chaotic right now, and teams are struggling to gain lasting edges. That does not mean there are no stories, however. And the most major of those is about the winners of the last split.
Team Liquid regains championship form
Of all the teams this weekend, nobody impressed more than the reigning Spring Split Champions Team Liquid, with a 2-0 week that included convincing victories over Counter Logic Gaming and Team SoloMid. Rebounding from a week where they went 1-1 Including a loss to Golden Guardians), Team Liquid looked ready to once again claim the mantle of “best in NA”. In both matches, Team Liquid was able to create advantages for themselves before the players even loaded in. The Team Liquid staff, including Head Coach Jang "Cain" Nu-ri, were able to thoroughly outdraft both CLG and TSM, setting themselves up for success on the Rift. In-game, Team Liquid flexed their mastery of the current macro game and were able to create significant advantages without needing to collect a large kill lead. Using scaling compositions that catered to their individual strengths, Team Liquid found comfort in a play style that had previously bought them great success. In the two games combined, Team Liquid would amass a seven dragon to none advantage, and ended both games at around thirty minutes. Liquid's success is in large part due to stellar play from their bot-lane duo of Kim "Olleh" Joo-sung and Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng. Facing off against two of the better bot lanes in the NA LCS, Doublelift and Olleh dominated their competition, allowing Doublelift to take over the mid-game with his Kai’sa pick. Looking forward, Team Liquid will face Echo Fox to start week three in what will be a battle for first place (both are currently 3-1). Although boosted by a Meta that caters to creativity and versatility, Echo Fox appeared a bit shaky in week 2. Regardless, the match between them and Team Liquid is clearly the game of the week.
The end of the Cloud9 experiment?
Before the Summer Split began, Cloud9 announced significant roster changes that became known as the “Cloud9 Experiment”. Replacing LCS mainstays Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi, Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen, and Andy “Smoothie” Ta with Yuri “Keith” Jew, Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer, and Tristan "Zeyzal" Stidam shocked many fans and shattered their expectations for C9 in the Summer Split. In week one, the new roster was only able to produce mixed results. After a poor start in game one proved too much to recover from, Cloud9 were able to come back on day 2 and secure a victory over the surging Optic Gaming. The results were promising enough to keep the same starting lineup for week two, but unfortunately, the team would fall to 1-3 after losses to Golden Guardians and 100 Thieves. Despite having a large lead in both of their matches in week 2, Cloud9 were unable to find the correct calls in the mid and late game to secure them a victory. While their ability to generate early leads has to be encouraging to the organization, a veteran shot-calling presence is required for the team to really step up. Keeping this in mind, it would not be surprising to see at least one member replaced in the line-up for week three. GoldenGlue has continued to impress in the mid-lane, so any changes would likely come in the bot lane. Smoothie has assumed a shot calling role for the organization before, and adding him to their current lineup could be the steadying force the roster needs moving forward.