League of Legends Championship Series (LCS): July 4
Christopher Troeh guides you through Saturday's League of Legends North American Championship Series (LCS) for esports DFS contests.
In Saturday LCS, two top teams face off in FLY & EG, DIG look for their first win with their new roster against 100, TSM look for consistency against the middling Golden Guardians, and IMT truly test their mettle against TL.
ADCs are hard to find in these match-ups, as the relative level of North American ADCs maintains relative parity. There are two players that do significantly show significant positive deviation from the mix: Zven and Bang. Cloud 9 does not play on Saturday, so Bang is a solid choice here. He comes in cheaper at other Captains by merit of his match-up. MasH is by no means a bad player, but he lacks the lane dominance that a player like Bang has. MasH is unlikely to die in lane, but Bang’s primary edge is in teamfights anyway. Bang & his team in EG have a strong stylistic advantage against FlyQuest, which is why we elect to make Bang our captain. If you want to try out a mid laner, we’d suggest Bang’s teammate, Jiizuke. Jiizuke is a mid laner who specializes in side laning, combined with his aggressive laning style against the more reserved Power of Evil, Jiizuke is a fantastic choice for Saturday’s captain spot.
Alternatives to consider: Jiizuke ($11,100)
Impact has a great match-up against Allorim, who had a mixed debut last week. Impact’s veterancy and stable laning style makes this pick a sure-fire win against the new IMT roster. Furthermore, you don’t need to shell out the big bucks for Impact as you would for picks like Ssumday and Broken Blade. Allorim isn’t particularly known for his pop-off potential either, so while Impact has had a mediocre spring, Allorim poses little threat to the former world champion. If you want to invest in a bigger name, go for Broken Blade. Hauntzer hasn’t been looking too hot recently, and it may be worth it to invest in a true “carry top”. Be warned though, he comes at an extremely steep price tag.
Alternatives to consider: Broken Blade ($7,000)
With anyone you pick with jungle, you’re forced to take a walk on the wild side. At this point, it’s just best to take a potential L, because there’s no reasonable way to decipher the result of any particular jungle match-up other than Cloud 9, who simply win anything anyway. Broxah has not been looking great in his games, and much of TL’s strength has come from their rejuvenated bottom lane. Xmithie comes in absurdly cheap, and isn’t in a particularly threatening match-up against Broxah. If you want to go big for jungle, we’d suggest Contractz, whose performance in academy this split has been admirable. Like most junglers though, he does have a tendency of exploding if he can’t execute his aggressive early games. Decisions, decisions.
Alternatives to consider: Contractz ($6,800)
Fenix has a big stylistic advantage against 100 Thieves’ Ryoma. Ryoma has been known to struggle in lane, and Fenix’s biggest advantage is, notoriously, in lane. Fenix has been one of the better mid laners in academy and has swapped up his style to include picks like Karma, but after a pretty sour start early in the season, Dignitas has realized that it’s best to keep Fenix on his signature picks like Azir. That’s extremely good, because picking a mid laner who could get stuck on a pick like Karma could seriously jeopardize your point generation. If you want to try something different, we would absolutely suggest Jiizuke for the reasons mentioned in the Captain role, but no other mid is seriously worth considering save for perhaps Damonte.
Alternatives to consider: Jiizuke ($7,400)
Doublelift has been on a downswing relative to his performance in years prior, but relative to his horrendous performance in spring, Doublelift has been looking much improved. Doublelift’s Kalista against 100 Thieves last week was likely the single reason why TSM was capable of securing the win, and that was against a reasonably proficient opponent in Cody Sun. Meanwhile, he faces one of the weakest ADCs in the league in FBI. We hate “paying for names”, and Doublelift’s 7 championships is certainly reflected in his price tag, but this time it’s actually worth it. If you similarly hate paying for names, we’d suggest Tactical. Apollo has unironic pop-off potential against Team Liquid, and his power level is unknown at this point, but Tactical has been the shiny new piece that Team Liquid needed to (mostly) return to form.
Alternatives to consider: Tactical ($7,800)
Apollo and Hakuho are a solid bottom lane, but CoreJJ is likely the second best support in the league right now. Despite his mediocre performance in spring, Tactical and CoreJJ harken back to a time where Ruler and CoreJJ ruled the world, but instead of the world, Tactical and CoreJJ rule over the second place of LCS bottom lanes, behind Zven and Vulcan. CoreJJ will likely abuse the lack of synergy between Xmithie and the rest of his team, and while he may not eek out a significant advantage in lane, CoreJJ has more to rely on than just his laning. If you want a different option, we’d highly recommend Biofrost, who plays against Huhi alongside Doublelift, which is another favorable match-up. We hesitate on Biofrost due to his bullish positioning on tank supports that leave him especially vulnerable to racking up deaths.
Alternatives to consider: Biofrost ($5,800)
Team Liquid ($6,000)
I love Immortals, and I want them to win, but the writing is on the wall. Xmithie fits into this team like oil fits onto water. Players like Insanity in Allorim likely need a player like Potluck to facilitate their early games, while Xmithie’s control style does not allot significant advantages to the relatively poor laning of IMT’s solo lanes. IMT are prone to drown before they reach their real advantage in their good teamfighting, and many players on IMT have also been known to be indecisive in their macro. Over all, I like the new look for IMT, but I cannot deny that it’s a complete disaster of mix-matched styles between the players. Team Liquid likely have this in the bag. If you want something else, go for TSM; but even after 6 games the true power level of TSM and Golden Guardians isn’t entirely understood yet.
Alternatives to consider: Team SoloMid ($5,600)
Biofrost & Doublelift
When TSM’s bottom lane plays well, they really play well. When TSM’s bottom lane does not play well, you question why TSM decided to run back their 2017 bottom lane. Biofrost is a likeable support and personality, but his propensity to “take one for the team” is a little overboard and comes off as slightly masochistic. Doublelift has a lot of pop-off potential, but sometimes he fumbles, most notoriously with his summoner spells or being charmed by Viktor lasers. Undoubtedly though, Doublelift and Biofrost should have a fantastic match-up against the relatively weak FBI and Huhi. But who knows, maybe TSM will forget to turn on their monitors. Maybe their draft will end in disaster like it did against FlyQuest. With TSM, it’s hard to bet on anything with certainty.
CoreJJ & Tactical
On the other side of the fence is CoreJJ and Tactical. Both players have been performing consistently well this season, Tactical is going through a Johnsun-like story arc for himself this split. Nothing wrong with taking Tactical, but Apollo is an enigmatic player. Most people will simply say “oh he’s just consistent” but there have been a few flashes of brilliance, where Apollo will evolve from a roleplayer into an unstoppable war machine carry, like MasH did against TSM. Usually, it’s a safe bet to play against him, but we’d recommend just taking the 100% sure thing on Doublelift against FBI as opposed to the recently auspicious Apollo.
Contractz & Poome
This is the “out of left field” option. The idea behind this is pretty straight forward: Dardoch looked bad in LCS on TSM, and his motivation judging from his academy games has been questionable. Poome has been developing extremely quickly and has already looked like a good support for academy standards, combined with an aggressive jungler in Contractz makes us believe that these two could just… work. Poome and Cody Sun could have an Olleh/Cody Sun dynamic to it too, but it’s way too early to guarantee that it’d work at all yet. Still, Dignitas has been looking pretty bad aside from their bottom lane, but we think Fenix may be able to be the piece we need to turn it around.
Top Picks: Doublelift, Bang, Fenix
Doublelift and Bang are no-brainers, they’re top of the line ADCs, each with relatively solid supports that are capable of exemplifying their strengths. Fenix is a little different though, and we select him as a big earner considering his signature strengths and his very favorable match-up against the questionable Ryoma. Ryoma had a flash of brilliance against TSM, but it’s indecipherable whether it was truly his own doing, or Spica and Biofrost’s poor tank positioning. Fenix could compliment their upper tier bottom lane well, or perhaps DIG will be just as inert as it was with Froggen. Only time will truly tell.
Top Value: Damonte, Johnsun, Xmithie
Alright, each of these picks are pretty questionable but there’s apparent reasons in each of them: Xmithie is against a non-threatening jungle mid 2v2 in Jensen and Broxah. Honestly, if Xmithie curve-ball us with something like a Graves, the match could suddenly swing in the favor of IMT, considering the power of Insanity’s junk picks. But while he’ll likely lose, $5,200 is an absurdly good price for a pick-up like Xmithie. Damonte actually has a relatively good record against Bjergsen at 9-9, especially considering Bjergsen is likely the most dominant mid laner in North America of all time, and he has shown very strong synergy with his new jungler in Closer. Johnsun has been a big thumbs up on what has been a very bad Dignitas roster, but with a jungle-mid substitution that followed their top substitution which has also looked positive, Dignitas could be on the verge of saving their season. We would recommend picking up one or two of these players to save money elsewhere, particularly Xmithie since the match-ups make it difficult to pin down a real big earner from the position on Saturday.