As I predicted in last week's recap, the NA LCS saw a week three full of increased team synergy, captivating competition, and a more spread out leaderboard. The four-way tie between the middle of the pack is no more and there is are clear top and bottom tiers following this week's events.
Talking points for the week include: unbelievable objective steals, game-changing power plays, and a universal importance of in-game strategy that proves to be determining game outcomes. Here's a rundown of the most talked about week three moments.
Straight Outta Solo Queue: Sensational Objective Steals
A good objective steal will never cease to amaze and thrill an LCS audience. The innovative and entertaining steals of these three players were tough acts to follow:
- Hakuho (NV): In the first game of their series against CLG, Hakuho gets his revenge in the form of a Baron steal after a long team fight. NV's support boldly runs back to the pit post death, while all his teammates are still on death timers, to deny CLG the Baron they fought so hard to obtain. Check it out here.
- Xmithie (CLG): In the same game mentioned above, CLG's jungler avenged the team's lost Baron by stealing an Elder Dragon from their enemy. Xmithie, seemingly without major effort, bounced back and forth over the pit wall to secure the last hit on the dragon and make a swift escape. See it for yourself here.
- Sneaky (C9): Any Cloud 9 fan will know that Sneaky's name suits him well, and he reminded us all why this week. During the second game in their series against Apex, Sneaky's Lucian delivered an inconceivable Elder Dragon steal from over the wall of the pit. Check it out below!
They've Got The Power Plays: Week Three's Best Mechanical Moments
A well executed mechanical play can solidify a team's budding victory or even tilt the enemy enough to come back from behind. Here are three extremely technical moves that eventually brought the victory home to their teams.
- Bjergsen (TSM): It's not every day you get to see a mechanical play work as perfectly as Bjergsen's Azir play did in their series winning game against C9. The enemy was battered and bruised from killing Baron and Bjergsen was not about to let them escape. Using his champion's dash to catch up to C9's Meteos and Impact on the other side of a wall, Bjergsen intelligently used Azir's ultimate, Emperor's Divide, to knock the two enemies back into the fray.
- Jensen (C9): C9's mid laner is known for his mechanical skill on many champions. His expertise on Leblanc paid off in the final game of their series against APX. While cloned, Jensen dashed and flashed to lure Ray's Jarvan IV into a chase then quickly used Leblanc's Distortion (W) ability to teleport back to where he started just as Ray was about to trap him for the kill.
- Darshan (CLG): In the first game of their series against FOX, Darshan made a number of powerful choices that allowed him to keep the enemy at bay while the rest of his team secured a Mountain Drake. They ended up winning that game and the series, giving us a little hope that the CLG we know and love hasn't given up yet.
It Works If You Work It: Strategic Choices That Paid Off
Just as important as team synergy this split is strategic choice. The teams at the top have a lot in common, but as the weeks pass, strategy calls have become a key factor in their success. From roster choices and powerful team compositions to in game shot-calls that take advantage of an enemy mistake, these three teams kept the odds in their favor with these choices:
- APX: Once this team found a team composition that worked for them, they were able to avoid a 2-0 defeat and take a pretty impressive win over C9 in the second game of the series. Ray's Jarvan IV pick from last week finds synergy with Keane's Cassiopeia and Xpecial's Alistar and allowed APX to stay in the fight one game longer.
- C9: Ending the week sitting at fourth seed, C9 has been on fire since the Summer Split started, and this week was no different. What seems to be paying off for them, among a few other key advantages, is their choice to alternate their support players. BunnyFuuFu and Smoothie have both brought so much win to C9's roster so far and the teams shows no sign of assigning just one of them to the starting roster. Why mess with success, right?
- IMT: After a rather rough start to the Split, IMT is finally in TSM's rear-view, sitting in a second seed tie with NV. This outcome would not have been possible without the team's swift reaction to NV's fatal mistake in game two of their series this week. Instead of focusing on IMT's nexus, NV chose to make a team fight their priority while in the enemy base. IMT took advantage of this woeful choice, killed the entire team, and ended up securing victory before NV could fully respawn. This outplay won IMT the series.
Will Week Four Cause A Stir In The Standings?
With standings like these, week four promises to continue the entertaining legacy of previous weeks. IMT and NV seem hungry for TSM's top seed. CLG hope to keep their heads above middle seeded water for another week and APX will keep pushing to remain a top seeded contender with TL on their heels. The bottom seeds of NRG, FOX and P1 continue to struggle, but I wouldn't count them out just yet.
Week four will begin Friday, June 24th, at 8pm EST/ 5pm PST and can be streamed live via Twitch or YouTube. Click here for a full match schedule, follow my page for weekly LCS updates, and be sure to watch any game you may have missed with spoiler free VODs courtesy of Riot!