NA LCS Spring 2017 - Semifinal Preview
And the racers are off! Four final teams duke it out for their spot in the finals and the stakes are higher than before, with premier teams such as CLG and Dignitas dropping to FlyQuest and Phoenix1 respectively, we’re left with a two veteran organizations against two newer organizations, all shooting for the top. Although we don’t get to see the ironic series of Cloud9 versus former C9 players on FlyQuest, we’re seeing once champions go head-to-head against former rival organization TSM. With such dominant split performances by both TSM and C9, at first glance, we can expect another TSM/C9 finals here in North America, but will P1 and FLY go down so easily?
There are convincing arguments for both TSM and C9, with both teams being consistently top 2 in North America, and squads of superstar rookies and hardened veterans to keep up the expectation, and the legacy.
In the case of FlyQuest, the only positive outlook is their season record against TSM. More specifically, the game record. With TSM having a 4-2 W/L against FLY, there's some evidence that shows that FlyQuest can upset TSM and their momentum, letting them take a game off the #1 team.
But a couple clinched games isn't enough to take a Bo5 series, especially against such a powerhouse roster. Although Balls is an immovable sentinel in lane, Svenskeren’s impeccable pathing and squeaky clean Lee Sin play can open up huge plays for Hauntzer and the rest of TSM.
Even then, Svenskeren can focus towards the bottom side, helping secure Dragons and picks against Altec/Lemon alike. We don't have to worry about Bjergsen, with such mastery on control mages and arguably a better shotcaller than tomorrow's matchup of Hai, the NA Faker can push a lead to snowball against the inconsistent early game of FlyQuest. Even if Bjergsen fails, former rookie of the Split Biofrost’s subconscious playmaking can easily open up the volatile WildTurtle onto his very own hunting ground, feasting on farm and terrorizing every teamfight.
With all this, FlyQuest either need to put themselves in the sandals of David against the Goliath that is TSM, or try to abuse side lanes through collapses and roams from Hai, and drag it out to a five game series. My final prediction is 3-1 victory for TSM, given that FLY bans Camille.
With P1’s spectacular performance last weekend, I doubt they'll go down without a fight. Phoenix1 initially struggled with losing Adrian, but has since shown improvement with Stunt and has continued to improve Inori and Meteos, while players like zig and Ryu get to relearn their groove. Although C9 has shown dominating performances throughout Spring, the current record for C9 vs P1 is 1-1 in matches. Mind you this is with Adrian for [W/L], it is evident that P1 will not be a pushover.
Rockstar rookie Contractz has shown continuous playmaking abilities, great grasp of his role on such a dynamic team and an insatiable appetite for victory, all qualities that rookies strive for. But does fresh blood on Cloud9 mean much against former C9 posterboy Meteos, or assassin master Inori? Will Contractz give us his best performance yet, or will he stumble against two veteran junglers in a Bo5? I give the edge to P1 in this aspect, as no amount of rookie talent can match two tried and true jungle denizens.
In the same token, zig has proven his ability on the Rift, but how can he possibly stand up to pugilist playmaker Ray and former world champion and tank master Impact? I can see both top lane terrors taking down zig, so for you fellow P1 fans, we have to hope for zig to go even.
For the other half of the map, Ryu should be able to hold his own, but if Jensen starts to snowball on his patented Orianna, things could get dicy for Ryu, and P1 in turn. On the bottom side, if either P1 support can keep up with Arrow's laning, then any playmaking on P1 can set up huge opportunities for Arrow and the rest of Phoenix1.
Let's not underestimate Sneaky's meme magic though, as Smoothie can easily get the Sneaky train started and running at full power. Throughout all this, I'm expecting a lifetime performance out of P1 to give C9 a run for their money, but ultimately ending in a 3-2 victory for the second place seed.
Although FlyQuest upset my original predictions, I am even more confident in TSM and C9 heading to the finals to go head-to-head yet again, but a small part of me would like to see P1 pull this series out under Cloud 9’s feet. With that, if this is FlyQuest’s swan song, it better be “Fly Me to the Moon”.
Photo Credit: Riot Esports Flickr