The League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) is well underway. Ten teams battle to reach the top six in North America and advance to the playoffs. At the halfway point of the nine-week Summer season, nothing is confirmed but the outlook is bleaker for some than others.
On Friday, 10 July, four teams will compete to see if they can brighten their prospects. Ninth place Immortals and tenth place Dignitas face off at the bottom of the standings. After, fourth place FlyQuest looks to take down eighth place 100 Thieves.
Immortals vs Dignitas
After an 0-4 start to the season, Immortals promoted its Academy roster to start in the LCS. Since then, Immortals has won its first game of LCS Summer and lost three matches, albeit to top teams like Cloud9, Team Liquid, and Evil Geniuses. Against the latter two, the new Immortals players went blow-for-blow against the likes of Eon-yeong “Impact” Jung and Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen in mechanics and laning; the losses occurred due to late-game decision-making mistakes that can be chalked up to inexperience.
Immortals’ top performers are the two rookies debuting for the first time as LCS starters: mid laner David “Insanity” Challe and Kieran “Allorin” Logue. The biggest question mark on the team is around jungler Jake Kevin “Xmithie” Puchero, the old man of the LCS jungle. As Immortals’ most experienced and decorated player, he must step up in the key play-making and decision-making situations that have cost new Immortals games.
In contrast to the struggling but promising Immortals, tenth place Dignitas is in a hole that they seem unlikely to ever get out of this Summer. At 0-8, they have lost to every team other than Immortals in the first round robin. Like Immortals, they have substituted players from their Academy roster to start in the LCS (in Dignitas’ case, top laner, and mid laner). Unlike Immortals, these changes have done little to improve Dignitas’ fortunes.
Bot laner Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen is the bright star for Dignitas. Alongside veteran support Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black, the Dignitas duo lane is oftentimes the only avenue for a potential victory. Promoted mid-laner Jae-hun “Fenix” Kim and top laner Samson “Lourlo” Jackson are known quantities who have played for multiple seasons in the LCS; their peaks are unlikely to ever carry a team in desperate need of star power.
With fresh blood showcasing mechanical skill hampered only by strategic mistakes, Immortals are the heavy favorites in this match. Dignitas has too many weak points to be off-set by their single stand-out positive in Johnsun. First blood is uncertain as neither team has top-performing junglers who often facilitate early kills. It is most likely to occur in the mid lane for Immortals from Tactical outplaying Fenix.
For other early objectives, the first tower should go to Immortals as a by-product of securing the first Rift Herald courtesy of better top and mid laners and Xmithie’s familiarity with the early game. The superior laning of Johnsun and aphromoo should give bot lane priority to secure the first dragon, but not if Tactical gets the early advantage over Fenix. If Tactical kills or pressures out Fenix prior to the first Rift Herald, then the mid lane priority should give Immortals control over the First Dragon.
FlyQuest vs 100 Thieves
FlyQuest are tied fourth at 5-3, with understandable losses against Cloud9 and Team Liquid and a much more eyebrow-raising loss to Golden Guardians. The Spring finalist seems to have maintained its postseason form from the previous split since adding Colin “Solo” Earnest to the top lane.
Otherwise, FlyQuest remains a benchmark team with solid performers in each role. Most noteworthy is mid-laner Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage and his characteristically quirky playstyle. Synchronizing his unique skillset and approach with the rest of the team remains the FlyQuest’s edge over its more disorganized, confused opponents, many of whom are still struggling to consolidate a signature style of play. Barring roster experiments such as substituting Academy bot laner Brandon “MasH” Phan, FlyQuest is a consistent and reliable squad.
100 Thieves sits in eighth place with two wins and six losses. Like the other bottom-performing teams, 100 Thieves has gone through roster changes. 100 Thieves substituted support William “Stunt” Chen for Philippe “Poome” Lavoie-Giguere and jungler William “Meteos” Hartman for Juan “Contractz” Arturo Garcia.
These changes have not greatly altered the team’s performance. This revamped squad did earn 100 Thieves their second win, but it was over a flailing Dignitas. 100 Thieves’ players-to-watch are the eternally consistent top laner Chan-ho “Ssumday” Kim and bot laner Li-Yu Cody “Cody Sun” Sun.
This match should be wholly one-sided. FlyQuest has superior performers in the jungle, mid lane, and support positions. The FlyQuest top and bot laners can comfortably match their opponents, so 100 Thieves cannot find an edge there. Additionally, FlyQuest has a much more cohesive team identity while, four weeks in, 100 Thieves are still struggling to find their starting roster.
Barring roster shenanigans, all objectives are expected to go FlyQuest’s side. First blood, first tower, and first drake should all go in FlyQuest’s way. This is simply the result of a better team matching a far-outclassed opponent.
The matches take place on Friday, 10 July. Dignitas plays Immortals at 6 p.m. PST. 100 Thieves plays FlyQuest at 7 p.m. PST. The broadcast is available on YouTube and Twitch. Dedicated fans can liven up their viewing experience by participating in esports betting on Thunderpick.
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