League of Legends LCS & LEC Playoffs: September 6
Christopher Troeh guides you through Sunday's League of Legends North American (LCS) & European (LEC) Championship Finals for esports DFS contests!
It all comes down to this: The LEC & LCS Grand Finals, pitting the 3rd seed FlyQuest versus the 4th seed Team Solomid, who both made admirable climbs to the top: similarly across the pond in Europe, 3rd seed G2 faces off against 4th seed Fnatic
Captain - Santorin ($9,900)
From scuttle crab to super hero, from Bjergsen’s ward to the architect of his downfall: Santorin is my MVP pick for the western finals set. While both TL series were a battle to the death, Doublelift’s sudden return to brilliance may have been more at the hands of the young Tactical floundering his final moments in play-offs, likely as a consequence of his inexperience. Santorin on the other hand, has taken the correct step each way on the path to his ascension. He has been the best jungler this split, Blaber be damned. There’s legitimately nothing else for me to say: he’s led nearly each jungle statistic, and he doesn’t require an entire team supporting him like Santorin. If you don’t want a jungler as your MVP, I would recommend picking up PowerofEvil, who bashed Jensen in the winner’s bracket. Bjergsen is a tough opponent, but PowerofEvil is known as his kryptonite throughout his career.
Alternatives to consider: PowerofEvil ($10,800)
Top Lane - Wunder ($6,400)
It’s really hard to choose between Wunder and Solo, but I give it to Wunder because of his absolutely insane performance against Finn on Saturday. While Impact and Broken Blade both played “okay”, I think Solo is a much higher mountain to climb relative to Impact, but on the same token, I don’t think Solo is the type of point generator that Wunder has the potential to be. I think Fnatic has been playing very well throughout play-offs and innovated the meta with their farming jungle style, but I think G2 are finally ready to face off against it. It upset me when G2 was struck down by a FNC that had seemed to already show their deck, but now that G2 has had more time, I think G2 will show up much more prepared on the day.
Alternatives to consider: Solo ($6,000)
Jungle - Selfmade ($6,400)
While I think G2 will win, I can’t deny that Selfmade has been an absolute superstar this split. While he does command a large amount of his team’s resources, he’s made up for it by being one of the only junglers that’s capable of becoming a win condition in his own right. He single handedly brought forth Karthus and Evelynn to becoming meta staples in competitive League of Legends. Fnatic’s resurgence in the post-season is nearly single handedly attributable to him- and a certain mid lane pick that Nemesis has utilized to dominate his opponents. Jungle is the role with the highest parity between two players, so I don’t see a reason to not pick up Santorin if you can’t get Selfmade- in my mind, it’s best to have one as captain since they are two of the best players on the day, with little competition elsewhere.
Alternatives to consider: Santorin ($6,600)
Mid Lane - PowerofEvil ($7,200)
While Bjergsen has been the best mid laner in the LCS, League of Legends is ultimately a team game. While I think Spica has been absolutely fantastic and has shown tremendous growth, he still falls short to the clear best in the league: Santorin. That jungle gap, in my mind, will extend to the mid lane and Bjergsen may suffer as a result. I fully believe Bjergsen is out of tricks, and his back has been broken after carrying his team all the way from the first round of the loser’s bracket to the grand finals. Additionally, PowerofEvil has been known throughout his career as the “Anti-Bjergsen” and seems to always get the best of him whenever they meet. Nothing against Bjergsen, but PowerofEvil has been fantastic, and absolutely dumpstered Jensen when TL met FLY in the winner’s finals. If you have your eyes on a different pick, I would recommend Caps, who is the x-factor G2 needs to defeat FNC in LEC Finals.
Alternatives to consider: Caps ($7,600)
ADC - Perkz ($7,800)
It is so impossible to choose ADC on the day: WildTurtle is having the best split of his career, but Doublelift just seemingly came back into form and was capable of carrying TSM against a Tactical who nearly did the same to FlyQuest. On the other hand, Rekkles has been an amazing ADC in spite of his poor support; but Perkz has been the king of the bottom lane for nearly two full years. Honestly, there’s not a bad choice here, but if I were to make a list, it would go “Perkz > WildTurtle > Rekkles > Doublelift”. I am not convinced by Doublelift having a few good games against the newest ADC in the league, also, Hylissang could flip his switch at any point and go back to playing like garbage. Perkz looked fantastic against Rekkles in the winner’s finals, and now is his chance to defend his throne. If you’re looking for a different pick, I think WildTurtle has really come into his own this split, and has shown that he still has a lot to offer in spite of his veteran status.
Alternatives to consider: WildTurtle ($7,200)
Support - IgNar ($5,400)
Vander really proved me wrong on Saturday, support gap was firmly in the favor of Rogue. There are too many variables to account for in the LEC, but I think IgNar filled his role quite well for most of the series against Team Liquid- particularly after the first two games. Biofrost similarly did quite well, but I did get the impression that CoreJJ was still the better support- well, to be fair, he is likely better than IgNar too, but I still think IgNar just has something special with WildTurtle that isn’t replicated in any bottom lane in the LCS. I think Biofrost and Doublelift have returned as a solid “lane”, but what would that lane hypothetically do when their enemy doesn’t need to lane at all? I think FlyQuest have this play-offs in the bag. If you want a different pick, I’d go for Mikyx. It’s strange, but I think stylistically Mikyx does well into Hylissang, despite maybe not showing it in the winner’s finals. This match-up is much more “feeling” based than objective due to the variability of Hylissang in particular, and my feelings tell me Mikyx will win out on the day: Hylissang has simply been doing too well recently to not have at least one game where he runs it down.
Alternatives to consider: Mikyx ($5,800)
Team - FlyQuest ($5,000)
I think the grueling climb to the grand finals has traumatized Bjergsen, and I’m only sort of joking. It’s post-seasons like this that make me seriously call into question his longevity as a player: how can someone work for so hard, to achieve so little and still press on? Sure, LCS Finals is a big fish, but it’s in a small tank in a world’s context. Bjergsen has more than proven himself, but I legitimately do not believe that TSM has any more cards to pull after Spica’s back to back games on jungle Shen against Team Liquid. While FlyQuest has played a massive amount of games too- including 5 against Evil Geniuses, I don’t think that compares to the Mount Everest that TSM has climbed. Otherwise, G2 and FNC is a legitimate coinflip, but I think G2 finals buff is an actual phenomenon that exists; they haven’t lost in the last 2 years.
Alternatives to consider: G2 Esports ($5,200)
WildTurtle & IgNar
If you’re a longtime fan of LCS, you would know the memories associated with WildTurtle. His climb, his fall, and his retribution. WildTurtle has probably played with more supports than people I have actually met in real life at this point, but believe me when I say that IgNar has been something special. It’s quite strange in League of Legends that a player who you play with perfectly in style can be from nearly literally the opposite side of the world. But, I think WildTurtle pairs with IgNar in ways that even superior ADCs like Ghost or Upset couldn’t. I acknowledge Turtle’s improvement but together, I think these two are something legitimately good.
PowerofEvil & Santorin
I hate-love these two, I can admire their talent and objective skill, but I hate the narrowness in which they- specifically PowerofEvil- plays. PowerofEvil has played a single melee champion throughout the split: Kassadin, who plays much differently from the typical “melee mid lane” archetype. I think PowerofEvil’s passive mid lane pool will be exposed by international mid laners like Showmaker or Knight, but I’m not sure Bjergsen will win hard enough to deny PowerofEvil’s late game dominance. On the other hand, Santorin has just always been at the right place at the right time; he holds an intelligence that has come with his age, and I think that intelligence is something Spica critically lacks, despite perhaps being more mechanically proficient than Santorin.
Caps & Perkz
I’ve talked about these guys for what feels like forever. I wanted to fit Wunder in somehow, but realistically, he just plays well, and doesn’t really demonstrate any remarkable synergy with either carry of G2. On the other hand, I think Caps and Perkz were two players who were meant to be: both as rivals, and as teammates. I don’t really mean this in the way that IgNar and WildTurtle just work perfectly together, just that these two were destined to meet in some capacity. They’re both insanely talented and it takes something special to change your entire role in order to integrate a player into your team. Perkz played fantastic against Rekkles last time the two teams met, and Caps nearly carried the entire game. I have faith in these two.
Top Picks: Perkz, Santorin, PowerofEvil
I wish I could just write “Santorin” 3 times, but I think I should probably try to show some appreciation elsewhere: I think PowerofEvil is a version of Bjergsen that doesn’t need to drag his team over the finish line- while Doublelift showed up yesterday, I do believe WildTurtle will be a tougher opponent than Tactical. Furthermore, CoreJJ and IgNar are absurdly different players. Perkz is just a solid player all around, and while he had 1 poor game against Hans, he paid off well with 3 amazing games.
Top Value: Selfmade, WildTurtle, Solo
Selfmade was the player who put Fnatic back on the map. While he played fantastic throughout the regular season, he really bumped it up into overdrive during the post-season with his new picks. WildTurtle is having the split of his life, just as everyone thought he had nothing left to give, he rejoined the main FlyQuest roster after having an awful academy stint and rejuvenated the roster. Solo had lived in Licorice’s shadow for nearly two whole years until not even getting a spot on an LCS team in spring, but he joined FlyQuest for play-offs following the decline of V1per and turned out to be the perfect match for FlyQuest. Each of these guys are super cheap, and each of them is worthy of a spot on your team, no bad picks here.