The League of Legends Champion Series (LCS) Spring 2018 Split is now fully underway with three of the nine scheduled weeks already completed. Although the season is early there are already clear story lines and tiers of teams emerging. With the third week in the books and week four upon us, here is what we’ve learned so far.
There is no longer an undefeated team in either LCS region after Echo Fox was taken down by CLG in the opening match for North America last week. The match lasted forty minutes but CLG’s ADC Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes proved too much for Echo Fox to handle, playing Kalista masterfully and earning the game MVP. The upset puts Echo Fox into a tie with Team Liquid and Cloud9, both of whom won both their matches last week, at the top of the standings with 5-1 records.
This sets the stage beautifully for this week’s games as Team Liquid will square off against Cloud9 on Saturday before taking on Echo Fox Sunday. These showdowns will feature some of North America’s top talent and with the top spot on the line, these are certainly the matches of the upcoming week in North America.
After getting off to a rough start over the course of the first few weeks this split it appears TSM are finally looking like themselves. After using their initial match last week against the struggling Golden Guardians as a warm up, TSM encountered a strong 100 Thieves roster that had only dropped a game on the season. Despite giving up an early kill TSM managed to stay even in the match until the 20 minute mark, where they were able to secure a few kills of their own and never looked back.
Beating 100 Thieves is a solid start for TSM but this roster is always expected to be at the very top in North America; with two teams even or below them in the standings on the schedule this week TSM will be looking to go another perfect 2-0 and start creeping towards the top of the standings. . A match against their longtime rivals CLG this Sunday will not be one TSM can afford to overlook, especially given CLG’s performance against Echo Fox last week. There will be a lot on the line for TSM in this one on top of the usual pressure from the rivalry, making this another excellent game to circle on your calendar this weekend.
The Golden Guardians entered the split with fan support and high hopes of success, being owned by current owners of the NBA Golden State Warriors had fans believing the winning culture of the NBA team would translate into LCS success. Unfortunately that has not bee the case thus far this season after week three was filled with another set of disappointing losses. While they had a difficult schedule last week their average game time was under 30 minutes, games have been snowballing out of control before they can do anything to prevent it and Hai “Hai” Lam’s legendary shotcalling has thus far been unable to save them.
With matches against Echo Fox and 100 Thieves this week their schedule doesn’t get any easier making it very possible they will end week 4 with a 0-8 record. At this point they are the only team in either region of the LCS to still be without a win. If they don’t find one soon, they may find their season coming to an end with multiple weeks of regular season play to go.
After three weeks of play in Europe only Vitality find themselves with a 5-1 record and thus sit alone atop the standings. They picked up victories over FC Schalke 04 and the struggling Unicorns of Love last week in dominant fashion, cementing their place as the top team in Europe. Giants and Misfits both entered the week with a single loss to their names as well, however Giants were slowly choked out by FC Schalke 04 last week while Misftis found themselves down early and unable to crawl back in a 53 minute long affair against Splyce.
Vitality matches up against ROCCAT and Splyce in the upcoming week whom both have 3-3 records on the split so far. Despite their inconsistency thus far, both teams are dangerous and Vitality will have to be on their A-game in order to secure both victories and continue to solidify their first place position. Meanwhile the battle for second will certainly be decided this week as Giants and Misfits square off. Misfits were the only team to beat vitality so far this season, doing so in week 2, however their loss last week and to G2 esports in their split opener demonstrated some weaknesses that Giants can exploit. With neither team wanting to fall more than a game out of first place this is sure to be an intense match and one of the best on the European schedule this week.
With five teams sitting at 3-3 records in Europe the middle of the pack is still tightly bunched together. Fnatic, FC Schalke 04, G2 Esports, ROCCAT and Splyce have all had trouble stringing together victories and consistent performances so far this season. ROCCAT is coming off a particularly bad week dropping both of their matches against Giants and Fnatic and things don’t get any easier for them with Vitality coming up on Friday. G2 Esports entered this mix with the opposite momentum, defeating both Splyce and H2k in their last two games but will have to prove they belong in their match against FC Schalke 04 coming up this week. At this point it’s anybody’s guess which of these creep towards the top, but consistency will be the one necessary factor to look for.
They found a Unicorn! Well, not actually, its just the Unicorns of Love finding a win but so far this Split they might as well be the same thing. After struggling heavily in their first few weeks the Unicorns of Love were finally able to find a victory although it came against an H2K with only a single win on the split themselves. Still the Unicorns can take pride in knowing that the victory was rather lopsided, and if they can put together more performances where they look like that the season may be salvageable yet. With matches against Fnatic and G2 Esports this week the Unicorns will have the chance demonstrate their ability to contend with middle of the pack teams. Securing one or both victories would do a great deal in propelling them towards a playoff position and keeping their season alive.
H2K have not found a victory since the opening week against Fnatic, but also have chances to turn their season around against some mid level opponents this week. With Splyce and FC Schalke 04 ahead, they have the ability to throw a wrench into the race for fourth place and claw closer to the playoffs themselves. Another winless week would definitely signal trouble for the remainder of the split.
With the LCS reaching the halfway point you won’t want to miss a minute. Action resumes in Europe today, Friday February 9th at Noon EST while North America comes back tomorrow night, Saturday February 10th at 5PM EST. Catch the official broadcast live on the Riot Games channel.
Read our previous coverage of LCS
Lessons from the LCS – Two Weeks into the 2018 Season