NA LCS recap of Week 8: How did Phoenix1 beat TSM?


NA LCS Recap of TSM’s shocking loss to Phoenix1

Before Week 8, it seemed like the Saturday matches between Cloud 9, Team Liquid, Counter Logic Gaming, and Team EnVyUs would be the highlight of the week due to the playoff implications, but the most shocking performance of the day came from a team at the bottom of the table, one all but eliminated from playoff contention.

Instead of handing Team SoloMid another feather in their cap heading into their Week 9 showdown with Immortals, Phoenix1 came into Saturday ready to play a fearless style. Let’s take a look at what happened between Phoenix1 and Team SoloMid

How We Got Here

Everyone knows Team SoloMid: the “TSM! TSM!” chants that ring pervasively in the LCS studios, the outspoken owner, the iconic mid laner and a legion of dedicated fans. Add a slew of NA LCS regular season and playoff titles and they can be considered the class of NA.

Everything was supposed to go up a notch this year with the addition of Fnatic’s star support, Bora “Yellowstar” Kim. Instead, after an inconsistent spring split, Yellowstar left and was replaced by Vincent “Biofrost” Wang.

Biofrost has delivered and TSM has exhibited much better team coordination on their way to a NA LCS record of 17 straight wins and a 14-0 match record heading into Saturday.

On the other hand, Phoenix1 didn’t get its first match win until Week 5 of the Summer Split. Despite some recent victories ,they remained 9th out of 10 teams going into Saturday:

NALCS Standings
NALCS Standings /

Getting one game off TSM would have been a major achievement. But Phoenix1 wanted more.

Game 1

Game 1 was a TSM clinic – but it did reveal a few things. Phoenix1 managed the lane swap well and did a good job rotating and managing minion waves afterwards. Lane swaps have been criticized as boring, but games can be won or lost based on how teams bounce, freeze and push waves. P1 did a good job giving top laner Derek “Zig” Shao freezes near his turret.

Talented teams like TSM and Immortals punish the smallest mistakes. They are good enough to win fights even when behind. Smart teams go into these matches knowing they have zero margin for error and must be sharp in every facet of the game. Executing on items within their control, like lane swaps and wave management, give teams as much margin of error as possible.

TSM eventually got kills in the top lane and mid lane, and both Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell and Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg built big leads on Zig and Choi “Pirean” Jun-Sik, respectively. With Zig’s split-push Irelia neutralized, P1 had no realistic win condition. But for 15 minutes, they competed.

Game 2

Things got interesting real quick as P1 locked in Rengar for jungler Rami “Inori” Charagh. Rengar with his ultimate is beastly, and TSM jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen tried to keep him down in the early game.

Svenskeren did that by saving a smite charge for an early jungle invade, but P1 were prepared for it.

Inori smites the wolf to get vision, Pirean reacts instantly and Svenskeren should not have continued the invade after seeing the wolf spirit tagging along.

P1 obtained a lead but still needed to snowball correctly. And did they ever. They punished TSM roams with cross-map plays and Inori got HUGE. He was everywhere, shrinking the map the way Rengar can. Vision be damned, he saved his carries again and again:

Eventually, a desperate TSM side called for a risky Baron that turned to disaster. In a fitting manner, the game ended with Inori shoving straight down the mid lane and taking the nexus while the rest of TSM was stuck in the bot lane. Snowball accomplished.

Game 3

Not comfortable playing into Rengar again, TSM decided to ban him instead.

On the other side, P1 seemed calm and composed. They knew TSM wanted winning lanes, and the counter is to roam proactively and create picks. That has the added benefit of avoiding full five-on-five engages.

Game 3 starts innocently with Brandon “Mash” Phan getting a few potshots on Bjergsen on his way to the top lane, but a couple minutes later, Inori visited on a level 3 gank, and that small bit of damage did Bjergsen in. But it’s not over: Svenskeren body slammed in and was killed as well!

Next: How To Make URF Better

That was the first of two mid lane disasters for TSM – both within 7 minutes! Inori came back with Bjergsen’s flash down, TSM countered with three, and they lost Bjergsen, Svenskeren, AND Hauntzer! 5-0 in kills for P1!

From that moment, not 10 minutes into the game, TSM grew desperate. They made some good plays but also opted in for several unwise teamfights. Doublelift took the blame for the shotcalling in his post-game interview, and he is right to be critical.


After the game, Doublelift mentioned that TSM were unfamiliar playing into Rengar and Twitch (chosen by Mash in Game 3). That may be true, but it shouldn’t have mattered. After all, TSM dismantled Huni’s surprise top lane Lucian in the playoffs of Spring Split.

Instead, this outcome was a result of TSM’s hubris, along with poor preparation as compared with P1’s. It looked like TSM expected to roll and when they got taken out of that pattern, they crumbled. P1 prepared hard for this specific matchup and reaped the rewards.

More from LCS

Phoenix1’s journey this summer will end at the conclusion of the regular season (their loss to Cloud 9 on Sunday sealed their playoff fate), but they need to continue playing together as a team and taking advantage of winning situations. All 5 members had a hand in their victories, which is certainly something to build on.

For TSM, there’s no reason to be overly concerned. A lot of their kinks can be worked out through more dedicated preparation and cleaner scrims. Doublelift said that we would be surprised to see TSM make the same sort of positioning and shotcalling mistakes over the next few weeks, and there’s no reason not to believe him.

In other words, prepare yourself for an entertaining and competitive series between TSM and Immortals to decide which team ends the regular season on top.

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