League of Legends LCS & LEC Playoffs: September 5
Christopher Troeh guides you through Saturday's League of Legends North American (LCS) & European (LEC) Championship Playoffs for esports DFS contests.
Saturday League of Legends heats up with the loser’s final in both regions: TL vs TSM in NA, and RGE vs G2 in EU. Each team is talented, but the writing is on the wall in all likelihood for both teams. Let’s get into the draft.
Captain is a hard choice: Bjergsen is most likely the best player playing in the LCS right now, and has hoisted his team through what should have been literally impossible. On the other hand, Perkz is in contention for the best western player of all time, and G2 has held a dynasty over Europe. Neither is a bad choice, but Bjergsen has to face off against Jensen in the mid lane, who is no slouch himself and has been Bjergsen’s #1 career rival. On the other hand, Perkz faces off against Hans Sama: to be honest, Hans hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t been a consistent carry that’s been a mainstay quality of an ADC. Either way, neither is a bad choice in the slightest, but Perkz being set up against a favorable opponent leans us in his favor.
Alternatives to consider: Bjergsen ($10,500)
Wunder had an “okay” series against Fnatic, but his final game featured a very poor Ornn performance overall, not to mention his Gangplank game where he walked into Nemesis’s Orianna ball. Between him and Finn, it’s hard to choose, but Wunder has had success for a reason. Across the pond, the choices aren’t easier: Broken Blade played very well against Licorice, and Impact looked ineffective against FlyQuest’s Solo. But this was by no means in line with their previous performances. We choose Wunder due to his better performances against teams Rogue have struggled against, Fnatic in particular, where Finn looked particularly mediocre outside of his final game. If you’re looking for a different choice, we would recommend Broken Blade, who may have finally found out what’s worked: he’s been on a strong hot streak throughout play-offs.
Alternatives to consider: Broken Blade ($6,000)
It feels so absurd to be excited for TSM, and their jungler of all players. Spica has crushed each jungler that’s crossed his path since entering the loser’s bracket: Dardoch, Closer, Blaber. Sure, Bjergsen has been an absurdly great help, and jungle gets a lot easier when your mid laner simply wins any lane no matter what. Broxah is a strange match-up though, since Spica hasn’t played against a jungle of his style for a very long time. Each jungler Spica had faced in play-offs this far has been a very proactive, aggressive jungler. On the other hand, Broxah has been stuck in jungle limbo. Broxah throughout his career had been an aggressive jungler, but Team Liquid clearly seem in compatible with that style, so Broxah instead has had to play a more control based style which seems unnatural. Sound familiar? Anyways, if you’re in the shop for a different jungler, we would probably have to recommend Inspired. Jankos has been looking like a liability for G2, and while he could suddenly wake up from his slumber any moment, it’s impossible to tell when. Furthermore, Inspired just has seem more “in touch” with his team and what’s strong at the moment.
Alternatives to consider: Inspired ($6,400)
All mid laners are great on the day, but Jensen is likely the worst. It’s strange to say, but while Jensen has been fantastic, he doesn’t hold a candle to the brilliance that Bjergsen has been. 22/25 bans drawn in a single series is a statistic that will echo throughout history. Across the pond is a match-up too difficult to predict: Caps versus Larssen. Larssen has looked absurdly great on the correct day, and looks like the obvious heir to the LEC kingdom of mid lane. But, that throne is certainly still held by G2’s mid laner, Caps. No matter the result, it’ll be historic. All that aside, our picks are simple: Bjergsen, Caps. Caps has given us no real reason to doubt him, while Larssen has had his off days. Bjergsen has been a shining light for TSM as far back as his Zoe performance against 100 Thieves in spring play-offs.
Alternatives to consider: Caps ($7,600)
I really thought about ADC for a long time. Doublelift, or Tactical? It was between the two for me, but I ultimately came up with an obvious answer: Tactical saved Team Liquid so many times from falling against FlyQuest, and while his efforts were in vain, it took a mountain for FlyQuest to squash Team Liquid. In spite of all of that, Tactical finished the game with a shiny 4.9 KDA despite the fact that WildTurtle played extremely well in his own right- Tactical is simply that good. If TL is to defeat TSM on the day, it will definitely have to come through bottom difference. There is a reason why the young Tactical replaced Doublelift on Team Liquid. If you believe Tactical’s top side is too bad, and will simply get crushed by the aggression of TSM, don’t let me stop you from selecting Doublelift, but just be warned that somewhere within Tactical holds the next great North American ADC.
Alternatives to consider: Doublelift ($7,200)
Mikyx and Vander is a rough match-up, but I think Mikyx and Perkz’s superior mechanics will do brilliantly against Vander and Hans Sama. I think Rekkles and Hylissang were too tough of a nut to crack for the two: Hylissang bounces between incredible and really, really bad, but Mikyx has more of a stable high. Vander is the same way, but Mikyx historically has just been the superior player, and has strong synergy with Perkz. Meanwhile, Hans and Vander are a much more defensive bottom lane relative to the MAD Lions, and the G2s of LEC. I don’t think the RGE vs G2 match will involve one bottom lane just steam rolling the other, but I think Mikyx’s superior players elsewhere will lend him a big advantage in point generation. If you’re not convinced by this snooze-fest, I’d recommend CoreJJ. TL’s bottom lane has been their strongest point of power as of late, and CoreJJ has been an instrumental part of their dominance. It’s inarguable that he’s the #1 support this split, and while he may be held back by his top side this split, he’s still at the top of his game.
Alternatives to consider: CoreJJ ($5,400)
G2 Esports ($5,400)
Team SoloMid versus Team Liquid is too hard to decide: how much does the bottom lane swap impact the match-up? I think a player like CoreJJ has a stylistic advantage into the hot headed Treatz, but Biofrost is more measured in his aggression, and less likely to throw caution into the wind in a coinflip all-in to decide the lane. On the other hand, G2 is aggressive, but also smart: Caps and Perkz have refined their play to be the best in the region, and while Jankos hasn’t been looking on top form, G2 should have had enough time to adapt to the new “farming jungle” meta. It helps that Caps’ high mechanical play style lends well to the champions that pair well with it: specifically Lucian. There’s a good chance that G2 will be more than capable of triumphing over Rogue on the day.
Alternatives to consider: Team SoloMid ($4,800)
Tactical & CoreJJ
Man, these guys are crazy. I think there’s a chance that they could actually be the best bottom lane on the day, but the pack is too close to call. Perkz is certainly the best AD since we can consider his international performances, but Tactical has just been an unending surprise to behold. I really cannot wait for worlds to see these two compete against the best the world has to offer. These guys are a solid choice, but are hindered by their underperforming top side.
Bjergsen & Spica
It’s been delightful to speak about TSM’s jungle mid. It’s so strange, because Spica’s style does not seem like an overwhelmingly far cry from Dardoch or Akaadian before him. However, there is something about Spica that just “ticks” with Bjergsen. Maybe it’s just the fact that Spica is willing to do whatever Bjergsen desires, or maybe playing with a player like Evolved has prepared Spica for being an MLXG type jungler who leverages his resources to take skirmishes that are capable of expediting their laners’ scaling. Either way, these two work suspiciously well together compared to what we had known before about TSM junglers. Big thumbs up from me.
Caps & Perkz
Whenever G2 plays, it feels like it’s criminal to not talk about these two. If you don’t watch LEC and want an idea about what Caps and Perkz are like: imagine Bjergsen, but imagine there’s two of them, and imagine they’re on the same team. They’re both mid laners, one just goes bottom lane and plays marksmen. Crazy, but G2 has stolen the crown of Europe with their strategy. I’ve said it before, but Mikyx, Wunder, and Jankos are oftentimes on the wild ride that is the Perkz and Caps show.
Top Picks: Perkz, Bjergsen, Spica
Perkz and Spica are for the match-up: Hans Sama and Broxah have been clear weak points relative to the rest of their roster. Broxah in particular has faced a lot of criticism for looking extremely disjointed compared to a Team Liquid who had just came off of 4 consecutive championships with what would in theory be an inferior jungler. Bjergsen on the other hand has just been an absolute monster and while CoreJJ is good, it would be criminal for Bjergsen to not receive the MVP award this split. Each of these picks are expected to rack up the points.
Top Value: Spica, Bjergsen, CoreJJ
Spica being the cheapest jungler is highway robbery. While he may not top the charts skillwise, his place on the team is clearly defined, and he fills his niche very nicely. On the other hand, Bjergsen is also absurdly cheap for being the best in his role in North America. Picking these two alone lets you pick up nearly any other player you want elsewhere, and they have favorable match-ups against Team Liquid. Other than that, I don’t think you want to lowball anywhere else on the day. Even my 3rd choice, CoreJJ is 2nd most expensive on his role, and I still prefer Mikyx. It’s not as though CoreJJ isn’t worth it, it’s just that Doublelift and Biofrost have always had a high ceiling, and Hans hasn’t shown much this split to particularly be impressed by.