NA LCS Preview of Week 9: A Showdown Between Immortals and TSM


NA LCS preview for Week 9 of the 2016 Summer Split

What a fantastic regular season it’s been in the NA LCS. The best-of-three format has been great for the sport as it has allowed for next-level strats, ballsy Rengar picks, and exciting series that turn like a roller coaster. It’s crazy that we have already reached the end of the regular season.

There are a lot of interesting matchups in Week 9, including a juicy series between Team Liquid and Cloud 9 on Sunday that could determine third place. But let’s be honest, this week is all about two teams: Immortals and Team SoloMid.

This match was slated to be important ever since the beginning of the split, and the teams have not disappointed at all. TSM’s shocking Week 8 loss to Phoenix1 evened the standings, and barring another monumental upset, this match should be for first place.

Let’s take a look at how these teams got here and what we can expect. Of course, they’ve already faced each other once this split, so we will start there.

Week 2: Team SoloMid beat Immortals 2-1

svenskeren /

This matchup was all about Game 3. In Game 1, IMT took control of tempo with a creative jungle invade but gave it all back after a risky Rift Herald call (they expected TSM to finish the turret trade rather than contest). A couple greedy plays from Adrian “Adrian” Ma (bad recall) and Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon (bad trade) gave TSM complete control.

Game 2 was a TSM rout in the early-game that echoed what happened in Spring Playoffs. This time, though, IMT won a massive fight in the mid lane off incredible game-sense from Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin and forced Game 3.

Game 3 started as a rout for Immortals. Huni solo killed Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell as TSM prioritized the bot lane. After picking up a 2-0 in their red side jungle, Immortals called for Rift Herald despite Reignover being out of mana. Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, seeing Olaf low, went in and got an incredible1v3 triple kill!

Next: Big plays from TSM in their first matchup

Rewarded for their bot lane prioritization, TSM played the mid-game extremely well. TSM erased Huni’s CS lead (and the potential of split-push Irelia) and could match and even exceed IMT’s mobility with Zilean, Bard and Rek’Sai. IMT needed to shift focus and prioritize Eugene “Pobelter” Park, but Zilean is so hard to dive and push waves against. They would have loved to stick Pobelter in a side lane, but without objective control and no TP, that’s extremely risky. Zilean/Bard are just such a great pick against these guys; it can stop IMT’s dives so well.

TSM did a great job controlling vision and side lane waves all game and picked up three free Dragons (two infernal). However, IMT did a good job adapting and stalling the game, hoping for four items when Lucian falls off and putting all their chips on one teamfight to win. A four-for-two at 40 minutes will do –- they call for Baron and got it! But TSM chased through the jungle and a key ult from Bard stops IMT in their tracks. Unable to disengage, they lose four and TSM stream into their base to end. No Pobelter means TSM win the series!

What Has Changed Since Week 2?

Honestly, in terms of records, not much — both teams have straight rolled through the competition. Immortals have had a tougher time at it, though, and will need to clean up a few things.

For a couple weeks, CLG has come up with creative early games, and against Immortals, they were able to punish their predictability. But that’s something that can still hurt them. They have given up bad early kills to Cloud9 and Team Liquid as well, showing that their early-game can be suspect.

On the other hand, Pobelter and Jason “WildTurtle” Tran have proven themselves as major carries. However, Immortals can still be predictable in both the draft and the way they play. Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg’s champion pool can be a major advantage in allowing TSM to pull out unconventional comps.

For TSM, the early hype around Vincent “Biofrost” Wang was 100% merited. He has shown great synergy with Doublelift and allows the veteran ADC to really shine for this team.

Next: Thee 50 best League champions of all-time

What Immortals Need To Do To Win

If Immortals want that beautiful top seed, they have to find a way to play around Pobelter and WildTurtle. Everyone knows the focus will be on Huni, but Immortals probably can’t win two games against TSM with that strategy.

nksdfbgkhjsbglkjasbgkjhsba g;kljsng
nksdfbgkhjsbglkjasbgkjhsba g;kljsng /

The obvious answer to that is early Reignover pressure, but Immortals need to do more to get him ahead as well. That invade they pulled against TSM earlier was really nice, and at the same time, strats like that help nail down their early-game. Getting Reignover a level advantage on Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen so he can camp mid or bot would be helpful.

Immortals also need to push the pace because they are the better team in chaos. When there are skirmishes happening across the map, TSM can be pulled apart and we’ve seen their shot calling suffer. I don’t think you want to get late-game with TSM where one grouped teamfight can swing the game.

It’s not that Immortals can’t win that fight, they can, but a faster, bloodier game favors their style.

What Team SoloMid Need To Do To Win

In the Week 2 matchup, TSM had great reads on how IMT wanted to play around Huni. They had success with Hauntzer on utility, teamfight-focused champions, letting Huni split-push and punishing at the other positions.

The other thing that TSM did well in their earlier matchup was control vision. They lived on Immortals’ side of the map, and sometimes IMT can be caught going too aggressive without sufficient vision.

More from LCS

Lastly, if they get a good counter pick from Bjergsen, who’s champion pool is much larger than Pobelter’s, it could unlock some strats that IMT has not prepared for. After a couple weeks of stagnant mid lane pools, it seems like it’s finally opening up a bit again, so maybe something like that pocket Zilean that Bjergsen pulled out will turn the tide for TSM.

The Prediction

It goes without saying that both teams are incredibly good. However, Immortals has a really great shot at an upset. They played really well in the first match and were done in by very correctable mistakes. TSM’s Game 3 win, while impressive, still came with Immortals sitting on a Baron buff. TSM might be the better team, but that Immortals get this one this week.

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