Week 7 of the NA LCS kicks off later today, and the stakes are high as each team only has a few games left before the end of the regular season. Day 1 features what might be a close match up between Cloud9 and Phoenix1, as well as Team EnVyUs against Team Liquid.
Rising from the Ashes
Phoenix1 was absolutely on fire at Rift Rivals, rising from the ashes of the lousy start to their Summer Split. Rookie jungler MikeYeung, who has been challenger since he was 13 but only entered the LCS this split, was on the hot list for the best rising star in the West, at least. But then, upon their return home for Week 6, the phoenix burst into nothing more than a puff of smoke. They went 0-2 that week, losing to handily (0-2) to Team SoloMid, and 1-2 against Team Dignitas.
Phoenix1 will really want to pick up at least one win this week, and they probably will. Their second game will be against Team Liquid, which, despite having a massive organizational presence behind them that now includes Disney (as Slingshot reported earlier this month), has been a hot mess all year. P1 might be just one spot ahead in the standings, with their match record of 3-9 edging out Liquid’s 2-10. But look deeper into games and see that P1 has managed to win 12 to Liquid’s 6. P1 has a frighteningly good rookie jungler, widely respected solo laners, the Spring MVP as its ADC, a seven-year-veteran on support, and now several weeks practice with their current roster. Team Liquid has money, Piglet, and a carnival carousel of players who can’t seem to get anything done together.
But a 2-0 week for P1 would be huge. With both Echo Fox and FlyQuest just above them at 4-8, turning out double victories in Week 7 for P1 would bring them up to 5-9 and lay the pressure on both of those teams to perform. Throw in the fact that Echo Fox faces CLG and TSM this week (FlyQuest’s match ups are no slouch either), and P1 could start to see the Promotional tournament fading away in their rear view mirrors. If there is one (is there one?).
But in order to do that, they’ll have to deal with Cloud9. Admittedly, it’s been a lukewarm split for the former regional champions. Their opponents have consistently adopted the now patented Shut-Down-Jensen strategy, and the rest of the team has struggled to rally. If C9 hopes to defeat P1 this week, it might just hinge on the jungle, with last Spring’s Outstanding Rookie against (probably) Summer’s. It’s the first match of the week, and it’s bound to set the tone for both teams.
Blue with Envy
The second match of Day 1 will be the battle of the blues. Team EnVyUs has improved dramatically from Spring, and it’s not just because of their two new mid laners. In an interview with Travis Gafford via his stateoftheleague YouTube channel, NV’s ADC Apollo attributed the improvements to import jungler LirA. And not in that LirA carries the games, which he does, but that LirA has helped them more than the coaching staff. Hard feelings aside, nobody can contest LirA’s knowledge and prowess at League of Legends.
Compare that to Team Liquid’s star, who seems happy to complain publicly about his teammate’s performances, attitudes, and work ethics, and the scales start to tip decidedly in favor of Team EnVy. Statistics, analytics, and tiers aside, it takes teamwork and supportive attitudes to take five players and make them more than the sum of their parts. Look for Team EnVy to continue their upward swing, which this week, is likely to catch Team Liquid square in the jaw. And with good odds against FlyQuest later in the week, Team EnVy will hope to use this week not only to boost morale, but to create a potential buffer for their last four matches of the split, against CLG, TSM, C9, and Immortals.
The action begins at 3:00 p.m. PDT today. Check lolesports for the full schedule for the NA LCS Sumer Split Week 7.