NA LCS preview of Week 8 of the Summer Split: Who emerges as a playoff contender?


NA LCS preview for Week 8 of the 2016 Summer Split.

With only two weeks left in the NA LCS Summer regular season, teams are fighting for playoff positioning. It’s been abundantly clear for weeks that Team SoloMid and Immortals are the best teams in NA and both should easily earn byes, especially with weak upcoming schedules.

That leaves 4 teams in a cluster right behind them. Only one match win/loss separates these teams, and lucky for us, they play each other in Week 8:

NA LCS Week 8 Schedule
NA LCS Week 8 Schedule /

Let’s take a look at each of these matchups and what each team will need to accomplish to win.

Counter Logic Gaming vs. Team Liquid

After dropping a heartbreaking match to Immortals on Friday of Week 7, Counter Logic Gaming rebounded nicely with a win against Cloud 9 on Sunday. They dominated the early portions of Game 1 and 3 and have been using clever pre-level six strategies to grab early leads.

That style of play could work well against Team Liquid and they can be baited into overreaches, with Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett sometimes relying too much on his superior mechanics when diving into the enemy team.

The other advantage CLG hold is Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaha’s champion pool. Liquid top laner Samson “Lourlo” Jackson has been steady on split-push champions like Irelia and Trundle, and his team play around champions like Shen and Rumble has improved significantly.

More from LCS

But Darshan is the original split-push king of NA, and jungler Jake “Xmithie” Puchero should visit the top lane early and often to keep him ahead.

From Liquid’s perspective, they need to focus on the mid lane since Kim “FeniX” Jae-hun has proven to be a consistent damage dealer that can pair with Dardoch to carry the game.

CLG’s Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun has been solid on in-meta picks like Vladimir, Ryze and Viktor, but he still makes mistakes and can be punished for poor positioning. For example, he gave up a slew of kills to Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen’s Cassiopeia in Week 7, despite playing Azir, a champion with numerous positioning tricks:

If Liquid can punish Huhi in the midlane and take control of the map, it will allow Lourlo and ADC Jovani “fabbbyyy” Guillen to play more supportive roles as Liquid roam as a unit.

At the end of the day, though, CLG has more paths to victory and more potential carries in their lineup. This match will be extremely close but end in a CLG upset.

Team EnVyUs vs. Cloud 9

Cloud 9 has under-performed expectations all summer. With Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong and William “Meteos” Hartman coming in and seemingly unlimited subs on C9 Challenger, it seemed like all they had to do was solidify the support position to become a major threat.

They accomplished the last part by choosing Andy “Smoothie” ta over Michael “Bunny FuFuu” Kurylo, but both Impact and Meteos have suffered through tremendous inconsistency and C9 has looked uncomfortable playing around these established veterans.

Impact is known for being good in lane, but other teams have had success bullying him in the laning phase, forcing him to stay in his lane rather than help make proactive plays. And Meteos has combined clutch Baron steals with inexcusable throws.

The inconsistency from those positions has spread among the team and even Jensen has had bad throws that have put his team at a tremendous disadvantage.

Next: Riot will attempt to decrease laneswapping

The question for Team EnVyUs is whether they can push tempo and take advantage of C9 misplays. They are easily the slowest-playing team in the NA LCS and there is tremendous danger in letting games get long enough that Jensen and ADC Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi become huge.

The other problem is that, after a strong start, Shin “Seraph” Woo-yeong has been pretty dismal on carry split-push champions over the last several weeks. The team has been more successful with him on team-oriented utility champions that give jungle priority to other lanes, but that puts tremendous pressure on mid laner Noh “Ninja” Geon-woo and ADC Benjamin “LOD” deMunck to win their lanes.

Those two are certainly capable, but they are also playing into C9’s strongest players and that advantage will allow Cloud9 to win and extend EnVy’s losing streak.

Visit our NA LCS section to stay up-to-date on all the news in the region. Also, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook