League of Legends Championship Series (LCS): Aug. 7
Christopher Troeh guides you through Friday's League of Legends North American Championship Series (LCS) for esports DFS contests.
The last Friday of the Summer Split features two match ups between teams with similar trajectories: Cloud 9 are scrambling to prevent their free fall against a similarly stagnant Dignitas, and TSM face off against Golden Guardians, both of which are riding hot streaks through the league.
Not going to lie, it’s difficult to choose a captain: both Dignitas and Cloud9’s strength is in their bottom lanes, but C9 vs DIG is definitely the better match-up to choose from in general. Blaber and Licorice have had off games, and while Nisqy hasn’t been looking hot, he definitely is in a comfortable stylistic match-up against Fenix. While Dignitas has had glimpses of success, particularly through Johnsun and Aphromoo, mid laner Fenix has been a relative weak point on their roster. On the other hand, if you want to go cheap, V1per has been weak too, and while Licorice has been having a weak split, we’re confident he can find his form against the inferior top laner.
Alternatives to consider: Licorice ($9,900)
Broken Blade ($6,200)
Between Licorice and Broken Blade, it’s likely just best to take the cheaper choice considering the circumstances: while Licorice and V1per is the match-up with the higher parity, Broken Blade is both on better form and cheaper. Hauntzer has been looking up, but a lot of Golden Guardians’ success have come from elsewhere on the map. Over all, we believe this is the place where TSM is capable of winning through. That being said, if you have the money, don’t hesitate to grab Licorice- we just value choices in other positions.
Alternatives to consider: Licorice ($6,600)
The thought process behind this is similar to top lane: Blaber is theoretically a better jungler than Dardoch relative to Closer’s strength over Spica, but Blaber has been prone to chain deaths recently, resulting in some of Cloud9’s defeats. Meanwhile, Closer has been nothing but positive for Golden Guardians, while Spica has been on and off for TSM. Closer has ran down each jungler in the league, and we don’t believe Spica will be any challenge to Closer’s monopoly. Don’t let this stop you from picking up Blaber, but Closer is an MVP candidate for this split- and if the award actually went to the most valuable player in the league, it would definitely go to Closer: Golden Guardians would be nothing without him.
Alternatives to consider: Blaber ($7,200)
Betting against Bjergsen is painful, especially since he’s been having a fantastic split, but there are several reasons why this choice makes sense in my mind: Damonte has a nearly favorable record against Bjergsen, something nearly no mid laner in North American can tout. Furthermore, Damonte has been the catalyst in the reaction that is Closer, one only needs to look back to last split to Damonte’s relatively inert predecessor in Golden Glue. Damonte was the final piece Golden Guardians needed to up their game. Finally, Damonte has a great stylistic match-up against Bjergsen; Damonte is someone who refuses to lane and will choose instead to leverage advantages across the map using numerical superiority, while Bjergsen’s strengths are within the laning phase and conventional teamfights. Golden Guardians have shown that they are capable of asymmetric warfare, and the face of that sort of play style is none other than Damonte. If Nisqy hasn’t been picked yet, it’s a Nisqy angle, but otherwise; it’s Tanner Time.
Alternatives to consider: Nisqy ($7,800)
The final piece of the puzzle of Golden Guardians is the prince of the bottom lane, FBI. While Tactical, Doublelift, and Zven have been the reigning kings, FBI has been hot on their tail in securing his place amongst them. His statistics are mind boggling, and while there is some explanation towards them: his mid laner is one of the most economical in the league, their team is definitely more bottom focused relative to most other teams, Huhi’s lane is one of his bigger strengths, et cetera. It would be foolish to deny the level of play FBI has brought to the summer split. We’ve definitely been down on FBI in the past, but within the last few weeks, FBI has stepped up his game and is showing up against the best competition in the league. While an on form Doublelift and Treatz is the biggest test FBI has faced yet, his other opponents either were defeated, or struggled to get the best of him. If you want a different ADC, we’d recommend Zven, who likely isn’t worth his high price point- Doublelift is alright, but we’d much prefer his opponent, FBI.
Alternatives to consider: Zven ($8,000)
Despite Cloud9’s struggles as of late, it’s difficult to pin that blame especially on their bottom lane, while Zven has appeared to be the stronger point as of late, Vulcan hasn’t been that bad. Truthfully, there are no bad supports on the day, but Vulcan is the least likely to lose out of any of them, and losing comes with consequences towards one’s own score line; especially on support relative to any other role. There is not much nuance behind this decision other than that. Otherwise, we’d likely say the second best support on the day is Treatz, Huhi has been much much better as of late, but it’s hard to say that he’s better than the freshly promoted Treatz.
Alternatives to consider: Treatz ($5,400)
There’s no competition here, Dignitas is literally the last place team, and while Cloud9 have been falling, surely they’re at least play-off caliber. TSM vs GGS is too close to call definitively, but Cloud9 is a clear winner on the day. Between the two, TSM and Golden Guardians, we’d give it to Golden Guardians. GGS just appear to be more proactive and their weaknesses are in less compromising positions such as support and top as opposed to TSM’s top and jungle. The disadvantage is geographically mitigated by superstar jungler and ADC while TSM’s is exacerbated by being in close proximity to each other.
Alternatives to consider: Golden Guardians ($4,600)
Closer & Damonte
To restate what was said before: Damonte is the metaphorical catalyst that unleashes the phenomenon that is Closer onto the LCS. Damonte has a very different way of playing mid relative to the rest of his positional colleagues: Damonte is stalwart in his aggression, he’s not here to freeze the wave and scale up for late game. Playing for priority has allowed Closer to dominate enemy junglers, and they have found the recipe to crack the iron defense of teams such as Team Liquid or FlyQuest. I’ll just be forward with it: Closer and Damonte are the better version of what Blaber and Nisqy initially devised.
FBI & Closer
The two big carries of Golden Guardians, and while we’ve sung Closer’s praises, FBI is the late game insurance policy of the team. While Closer and Damonte sow chaos across the map, FBI is a much more conventional player who fills the archetypal role of ADC: he scales into the late game, and outputs absurd damage. This lends depth to Golden Guardians’ playstyle, they’re not reliant or forced to make things happen and gain substantial advantages through their mid and jungle, as FBI is capable of delivering Golden Guardians through the late game to a victory.
Licorce & Nisqy
Not going to lie, this one isn’t so much about the players, rather who they are playing against. DIG’s top side has been woeful relative to their bottom lane, and while Dardoch has had a few pop-off games, V1per and Fenix are clear weak points on their roster. Licorice & Nisqy have earned their fair share of criticism, but V1per and Fenix are likely not LCS caliber at this point, and there exists a plethora of better options currently playing in academy.
Top Picks: FBI, Closer, Licorice
At this point, it feels unnatural to put Licorice’s name in “top picks”, but V1per is the weakest top laner on the day and the amount of parity is unable to be ignored. While Broken Blade may be better for his value, if there is a top laner who is most likely to snowball out of control on something as simple as “hand difference”, it’d be Cloud9’s Licorice. FBI and Closer have been discussed at lengths before: they’re the big resource vacuums for Golden Guardians, and they deserve some more recognition than they already have. I’m very excited to see how Golden Guardians do in play-offs, and they’re an unlikely contender for the final 3rd worlds spot- but not impossible.
Top Value: Damonte, Johnsun, Aphromoo
Johnsun and Aphromoo are the tragic heroes of Dignitas, and it would not surprise me if Aphromoo were to retire after this split, especially if he missed play-offs. He’s been in the game for a long time, and has made his millions. His career had been on a downward spiral until this split, but his teammates have been his harmatia in what should have been his redemption arc. Johnsun also comes in cheap, and has presented a similarly respectable performance. These two are the ones to watch in Dignitas, but likely are not worth touching unless you want to high roll elsewhere. Damonte has also been discussed before, he’s extremely cheap for the strengths your getting out of him: there are very few mid laners in the league who can boast a stylistically favorable match-up over King Bjergsen, and Damonte is one of them.