Week 5 marks the halfway point of the League of Legend Championship Series (LCS) Summer season. Day 2 sees teams play the final matches of the first round robin. In the playoffs race, this is the point where the finish line is now visible. It will be interesting to see which of the ten teams can close out their games and become that much closer to securing their spot in the top six.
Evil Geniuses vs Golden Guardians
The day begins with Evil Geniuses (EG), tied for fourth place at 5-3, and Golden Guardians (GGS), who are in seventh place at 3-5. The EG roster has more superstar names but this season their name value hasn’t lived up to their play. GGS players have less renown but are generally playing on par with their EG counterparts.
The key match-up is in the mid lane. EG mid-laner Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro is best known for his one-dimensional playstyle as a split pusher. His style is so signature that EG’s wildly inconsistent performance is the result of the team seeming determined to have him change it and become more well-rounded as a player. It may be to his detriment, however, as it hampers what he’s best at.
In contrast, GGS mid-laner Tanner “Damonte” Damonte has a lower peak than Jiizuke, but he is much more consistent and has more breadth to his playstyle. Damonte is better suited to engineer a GGS victory as his cooperative style functions more simply than Jiizuke’s singular approach: an approach that EG seems reluctant to support.
This match is near-impossible to predict and depends entirely on the approach EG takes. If they continue to experiment with different compositions, then GGS are the heavy favorites to win by playing through mid lane and bolstering Damonte with their star jungler Can “Closer” Çelik. If EG commits fully to Jiizuke’s style (or Jiizuke miraculously becomes a different player overnight), then the match is closer but still edged in GGS favor simply for knowing more what they want to do.
Expect all three early benchmark objectives (first blood, first tower, first dragon) to go to GGS, but don’t expect that to mean the game will be secure for them. Starpower is still the main reason that EG are ahead of GGS in the standings.
Cloud9 vs Team SoloMid
The gap between 8-0 first-place Cloud9 (C9) and 6-2 tied-second-place Team SoloMid (TSM) is bigger than the gap between TSM and last-place Dignitas. C9 are light years ahead of the rest of the North American competition. The one saving grace of interest in this match is history: these two organizations have long clashed at the top of the LCS and in the previous Spring, TSM ruined C9’s perfect season by delivering their sole match loss thus far of 2020.
The key match-up is in the jungle. C9’s Robert “Blaber” Huang made his name as an upcoming superstar talent who made good on his potential. Crowned MVP of Spring, Blaber is the centerpiece of C9’s strategy with his aggressive jungling. TSM’s jungler, Mingyi “Spica” Lu, is a rookie in his debut season as a starter. He has played well but has not shown even a glimpse of the brilliance that Blaber has.
This match should be C9’s all the way. First blood and first tower should go to C9 courtesy of Blaber’s talent at securing kills and C9’s solo laners securing priority to take the first Rift Herald. TSM are competent enough with strong mid and bot laners to trade for the first dragon, but that may be the only meaningful objective they will take off the reigning LCS champions. Barring an upset like in Spring, this match will be a done deal before either team loads into the Rift.
Team Liquid vs Counter Logic Gaming
Tied for second place, Team Liquid (TL) faces off against sixth-place Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) for the third match of the day. After a catastrophic Spring, TL have bounced back for Summer but not as strong as they were in their 2018-2019 heyday. CLG remains true to its name with baffling results all around. Their 4-4 record is truly counter-logical, winning and losing in both convincing and absurd fashions.
Player match-ups and predictions are near-impossible. TL is a strong team hampered by shaky individual performances at times and occasionally huge decision-making blunders. CLG, meanwhile, should handily lose to the better players on TL, but have thus far made a habit of making games messy by dragging teams down to their chaotic level.
If all goes as it should, TL should sweep CLG and take every early objective and then close out the game from there. If TL is having an off day though, then viewers may as well flip a coin to determine what shenanigans will unfold.
Dignitas vs FlyQuest
The last match of day two is the first match of the second round robin. Tied for fourth, FlyQuest convincingly smashed winless tenth place Dignitas when they last met in week two. Since then, FlyQuest has maintained form while Dignitas has made emergency roster changes to the top and the mid lane that are unlikely to make a meaningful long-term difference.
Dignitas’ sole hope lies in their bottom lane of Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen and Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black. The duo has been the only reliable performers from Dignitas this split. Their FlyQuest counterparts, Jason “WildTurtle” Tran and Dong-geun “IgNar” Lee are more than capable of matching Johnsun and aphromoo. If FlyQuest subs WildTurtle for Brandon “MasH” Phan as they did against Team Liquid, though, then Dignitas may have a slim chance.
Otherwise, this match is likely to be a complete blowout. FlyQuest has better performers in top lane, jungle and mid lane: the key positions for securing early objectives. First kill, first tower and first dragon should all go to FlyQuest, with the victory not long after.
Week 5 Day 2 of the LCS takes place on Saturday, 11 July. The matches begin at 1 p.m. PST with EG vs GGS. 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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