NA LCS recap of Week 7 of the Summer Split: TSM and Immortals remain at the top


NA LCS recap for Week 7 of the 2016 Summer Split.

With only a couple of weeks remaining in the regular season of the Summer Split, it’s important to see where teams are at as we get ready for the playoffs.

We were treated to a couple of great series during Week 7 that helped confirm the tier list that’s been building up over the course of the split. There were a lot of good games over the weekend, but two series in particular were especially great and important.

Let’s take a look at how they went down.

Team SoloMid vs. Team Liquid

In a night and day difference from the Spring Split, TSM has proven to be a well-coordinated, well-balanced team that can win games in a variety of ways.

Liquid, on the other hand, hasn’t changed much as they still rely a ton on Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett to both initiate and carry.

Since subbing Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin out of the lineup, their reliance on the mercurial second-split jungler has only increased, as has the need for Kim “Fenix” Jae-hun to step up with big damage carries. In Game 1, Liquid grabbed Azir with the first pick to give Fenix that damage.

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Dardoch should have focused that lane (the only winning one they picked) and try to snowball Azir, but instead, he put his resources in the bot lane which ultimately was a horrible mistake.

TSM’s Vincent “Biofrost” Wang read the gank attempt like a book, and that led to his team picking up three easy kills.

Who knows what Dardoch was thinking ganking for Jovani “fabbbyyy” Guillen’s Jhin into Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng’s Lucian. That disastrous start doomed Liquid from the very beginning, and despite a good game from Samson “Lourlo” Jackson, TSM were just too fed.

Liquid took Lucian away from Doublelift in Game 2 and actually got off to a solid start. They got a kill in the bot lane off a straight 2v2 outplay and bullied TSM in lane.

However, another disastrous dive by Dardoch in the bot lane resulted in three Liquid members dying and TSM taking back the lead.

Liquid did a much better job in this game of rotating and playing around the map, and that led to an extended ace at around 20 minutes.

Liquid’s play was good, but in these longer, slower-paced games, little advantages manifest and TSM’s superior vision control allowed them to rotate more aggressively, take a turret lead and down a free inhibitor at 30 minutes. Sadly, the inhibitor defense was a bit unlucky for Liquid as Fenix was a few pixels away from a double kill on the back end, but still, you can’t put yourself in that situation.

Next: Bjergsen's LeBlanc against Liquid

Another vision-dictated near Elder Dragon a few minutes later is the deciding moment of the game, and it was won by TSM.

That’s the difference between Liquid and TSM — they have the teamfight chops and (mostly) know what to do, but their macro gameplay just isn’t quite good enough.

Immortals vs. Counter Logic Gaming

Immortals has continued their torrid regular season play from the Spring Split, and even though they’ve dropped games here and there (and lost an early series to TSM), they’ve grown as a team this summer.

Their loss to TSM in the Spring Playoffs was really a culmination of several rough games down the stretch where they seemed to be throwing mud at a wall, trying to find a team comp that would work in the tank top meta.

This split, they’ve mixed several different styles with multiple players taking turns carrying. They can split push or teamfight, and their wave management remains stupendous.

On the other hand, CLG won last split’s playoffs and had an amazing performance at MSI — and then promptly fell apart on their return to America.

Luckily, they’ve recently shown signs of life as Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaha is playing better on carry champions, Jake “Xmithie” Puchero is solid as always and even Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun has mixed in some carry performances.

The combination of all that forced Immortals to pull out all their tricks in this series against CLG.

Game 1 was a CLG whitewash until it wasn’t.

Eugene “Pobelter” Park, like many, was flummoxed by Huhi’s Aurelion Sol, giving up very early pressure that allowed Xmithie to snowball the side lanes — notably Darshan’s split push Jax.

Next: NA LCS standings after Week 7

Immortals almost won with a clutch Baron steal — a Baron CLG never should have started — but CLG somehow stopped them at the nexus and pulled out the victory.

The win was important for many reasons. It showed how to beat Immortals (split push and wave management) and that CLG could be the team to do it.

Games 2 and 3 followed a similar pattern: CLG would take a lead via fantastic play and presence from Xmithie and immediately set up a 1-3-1 with double TP advantage. The biggest difference was how Immortals responded. They stalled the games out nicely, roamed to take CLG out of their split push pattern and waited for the one bad reach that would change everything for them.

In Game 2, it was a 32-minute kill on Aphromoo that gave Immortals Baron pressure which forced CLG to face check the objective and die.

In Game 3, CLG put everything into getting Darshan ahead on Hecarim, but at the cost of an inferior teamfight lineup.

Instead of tilting, Immortals patiently built up a gold lead and stalled the split push with proactive roams.

Behind a stronger teamfight composition, Jason “WildTurtle” Tran got a pentakill at 26 minutes that led to his team taking the game and series.

The whole series, Immortals’ teamfight was just a bit better than CLG’s, and once they got CLG out of the split push pattern, the map really shrunk.

Immortals need to do a better job in the earlier levels, though, and if CLG had just been more aggressive pushing tempo, Games 2 and 3 could have been very different.

These two series made for a great Week 7 in the NA LCS.

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