League of Legends Championship Series (LCS): July 31
Christopher Troeh guides you through Friday's League of Legends North American Championship Series (LCS) for esports DFS contests.
The Summer split is almost over, but Week 8’s Friday matches feature a “do or die” match for both sides as Dignitas try to break into play-offs, and Team Liquid attempt to seize first place from Cloud 9. Meanwhile, TSM and Evil Geniuses fight to secure their spots in the upper echelons of seeding.
Golden Glue posted back to back mediocre performances in last week’s matches. While Team Liquid vs Dignitas may be the more “cut and dry” match-up, Bjergsen has been the player to watch on TSM, it’s very rare that their wins do not come from the pressure Bjerg exerts on the middle lane. On the other hand, TL and Dignitas’ strengths are matched geographically on the map (their bottom lanes), causing the game to be harder to bet on decisively. If Bjerg isn’t to your liking, we’d recommend picking up Jensen, as his opponent in Fenix is very hit or miss.
Alternatives to consider: Jensen (11,100)
We will be straightforward with you: There are literally no top laners worth taking on the day. Each have been wildly inconsistent and while they’ve each shown promise, they’re either too expensive or too flippy to take. Therefore, we may as well take the cheapest top laner: V1per. V1per against Impact is likely Impact favored due to the strength of his team, but V1per’s performance against Huni last week is indicative of the fact that V1per isn’t completely out of talent. He’s still capable of taking games off of teams when he’s able to strike gold. Our other pick for this position is Huni, who is even more flippy than V1per, but if you are a big gambler, you can gamble on the idea that Broken Blade may get ran over by Huni’s volatile playstyle.
Alternatives to consider: Huni ($5,800)
Jungle is another hard pool to pull from this week, but due to the role’s reliance on success elsewhere on the map, it’d be strategically sound to pick the team with the highest parity in other positions. Broxah has not been great relative to his amazing performances in EU, but he has been servicable and is a hindrance only infrequently to TL. His opponent in Dardoch has a similar story: he has had great games where he singlehandedly carries his team to success, but most of the time he is a burden for Dignitas. If you want a jungler who is more likely to dominate his competition, we’d recommend Spica. While Spica has been a weaker piece on TSM, Svenskeren looks lost this split and is perhaps the weakest split of his entire career. It’s stability vs gamble for this pick, and we’d recommend the stability of Broxah.
Alternatives to consider: Spica ($6,600)
The second best mid laner on the day is the target: Jensen. Jensen was the lone bright spot on Team Liquid’s disasterous Spring Split and while he struggled last week, he’s definitely been a solid carry for Team Liquid. TL’s top side is very lacking relative to their solid mid & bottom lane, and Jensen thriving amongst this mediocrity is a good sign. On Friday, he faces off against Fenix & Dardoch, and while they both have had the occasional stroke of brilliance, most of the time, as stated before, they drag their team down. On the other hand, if you did not select Bjergsen for Captain, we would recommend picking him up for middle lane: Goldenglue & Fenix are not viable options on the day.
Alternatives to consider: Insanity ($7,600)
EG’s bottom lane is definitely a “pubstomp” type of bottom lane. Not in the way that they perform against lower half teams, but more-so in the fact that they will defeat bottom lanes that are strictly worse than them: Hakuho Apollo, Stixxay Smoothie, and then struggle against the upper tier bottom lanes. Bang has the X-Factor of a dead snail, and Zeyzal looks lost in laning phase. Neither have been standouts in their position like they were in Spring. Meanwhile, Doublelift has been the definition of an X-Factor, and has been the initiator of plays that claw TSM from the brink of defeat. TSM with Treatz has been an observable upgrade from Biofrost. TSM has a threatening bottom lane, EG’s is much too passive. The second best option is Tactical, but against a solid bottom lane like Johnsun & Aphromoo, it’s a poor recommendation. A big component in not taking Doublelift as Captain is the fact that J&A are capable of punching up in the standings and taking down teams far above DIG’s weight class.
Alternatives to consider: Tactical ($7,800)
As mentioned before, Treatz has been a success for TSM. He likely needs more time to reach his true potential and generate significant synergy with the rest of the roster, but he has already become a top half support in the LCS, and his confidence has been a major positive for TSM’s characteristic “unsure” playstyle which can leave them prone to being on the backfoot, even with an advantage. Last week, Treatz went deathless, and with his opponents being the passive Bang & Zeyzal, he’s expected to continue this streak. If you want a different option, we’d recommend CoreJJ, whose team is speculated to win on the day. Aphromoo is no slouch, however, so as with Tactical, it’s a weaker recommendation.
Alternatives to consider: CoreJJ ($5,600)
Team Liquid ($5,600)
In spite of this, we’d still take TL over TSM. TSM has clear strengths, but their weaknesses in top & jungle often lead them to self-destruction in their defeats. Meanwhile, Team Liquid is similar in strengths and weaknesses, but are much more refined: Impact is primarily a tank player and Broxah is known for his control style, while TSM have weaknesses that are more volatile with Broken Blade favoring carries and Spica being prone to taking picks that are more flippy, like Lee Sin or Graves. It’d extremely likely that TSM will win, but TL is just more likely to win, and with cash to blow off of your sacked top laner, why be frugal now?
Alternatives to consider: Team SoloMid ($5,200)
Doublelift & Treatz
As we’ve stated before, Doublelift and Treatz are one of the few LCS bottom lanes capable of taking it to their opponent in lane. Meanwhile, Bang and Zeyzal are proficient in teamfights, but are often times slowed down by their poor laning phase. The choice is clear: Doublelift & Treatz are favored on the day.
Doublelift & Bjergsen
Bjergsen and Doublelift are the two showmakers of TSM, they are the win conditions that are capable of making a relatively mid table jungle and top capable of contesting for 2nd place in the LCS. There’s not much other to say than that: they are big carries and are the keystone in the arch that is TSM, no other mid laner would allow TSM to function as they do in North America, and Doublelift is an ADC that works well with him: we don’t need to remember how Zven’s stint on TSM went.
Broxah & Jensen
On the weaker side of recommendation, but still solid is the jungle/mid of TL. While we clowned on Broxah in the past, he has been looking up recently for TL, despite a mediocre performance against Santorin. Broxah is characterized by low deaths and a steady pace throughout the game, and is extremely resistant to chain feeding games away. On the other hand, Jensen will play to win lane, snowball, and carry the game for TL. While these style’s don’t directly align, TL has made their team work in spite of this: there’s nothing wrong with this 2v2, so why try to fix it at this point?
Top Picks: Jensen, Doublelift, Bjergsen
Two mid laners round out the top picks for good reason: there’s very little talent on the day. EG will roll the dice to victory, Aphromoo and Johnsun try to carry the corpses of their teammates, and TSM and TL’s top side try to be as little of a burden as possible while their counterparts in the bottom lane try to carry the game. Each of these players are older than the dirt they walk on, but they consistently show they’re premier carries of the league, and with great match-ups on the day, we’re comfortable with choosing each of these for our roster.
Top Value: V1per, Johnsun, Aphromoo
The best thing about Dignitas players is they are absurdly cheap because of how often they lose! That being said, one of these things is not like the other: V1per is not good, but out of the 4 top laners on the day, he’s the cheapest. While Impact may be the least likely to chain feed, we are not comfortable spending an extra $800 for an idea. Meanwhile, Johnsun and Aphromoo are the players to watch on Dignitas; while they’re not likely to do well against TL, if there are two players on the floundering roster that are capable of looking good, it’s these two