Two weeks have gone by in the regular season for both Europe and North America and already some story lines are beginning to develop for the split. With the season running over the course of nine weeks it is still far too early to tell how the playoff picture will shape up, but some trends are emerging none the less. With two weeks in the books here are some of the key things we’ve learned so far.
With all of the teams having played four games each these are the only two teams yet to find a victory in either region.
Despite being led by North American fan favorite Hai “Hai” Lam, the Golden Guardians have struggled mightily in the opening weeks of the NALCS. Their loss against Counter Logic Gaming last week was the only win CLG has been able to secure this season and some of the Golden Guardians losses have been rather lopsided, suggesting they have a very long way to go if they hope to compete with the more talented roster competing in the league. With TSM and Team Liquid scheduled for the coming week the team could easily get off to an 0-6 start, which would make them one of the first teams to see the playoffs slipping away.
Europe’s Unicorns of Love have gotten off to an equally dismal start. While they can take solace in the fact they have already played some difficult opponents such as Giants and ROCCAT their performances against lesser teams such as Splyce and FC Shalke 04 have still left much to be desired. With Team Vitality ahead this week their schedule doesn’t get much easier, but a showdown with struggling H2K could allow them to scrap out their first victory of the season.
North America’s Echo Fox are the only team to emerge with a perfect 4-0 record from the first two weeks of competition in either region. With victories over fan favorites Team Solo Mid and Cloud9 this past week Echo Fox has cemented their place as the leading contender for the top spot in North America. Handing Cloud9 their only loss thus far was an impressive statement from this group that they look to become the new North American kings.
With matches against CLG and OpTic Gaming coming up this week, both of whom have struggled so far accruing 1-3 records on the season, it is very reasonable to expect Echo Fox to maintain their undefeated status for at least one more week, further solidifying their hold on first place.
There is currently a four-way tie for the number one seed in Europe as four squads exit the second week with 3-1 records. Team Vitality, Giants, ROCCAT and Misfits Gaming have all gotten off to solid starts this year as they look to contend for the European crown. After emerging undefeated from the first week of play Team Vitality was handed their first loss this past week by Misfits to create the four-way tie scenario. Team Vitality has also played Giants, who they defeated in the first week, making them the only one of the four teams to have played more than one of the others.
ROCCAT has arguably had the easiest schedule of the four teams at the top, not having played a single other team with a 3-1 record. That changes this week when they face Giants, ensuring one of these teams will exit this week with one more loss under their belts. Vitality has a match against Unicorns of Love this week which they should win, as well as an encounter with FC Shalke 04 making it quite possible for them to emerge 2-0 on the week. Misfits will have to ensure they win their matches against Splyce and Fnatic if they hope to keep up Vitality and the victor from the ROCCAT Vs. Giants series.
League of Legend’s most popular team and traditional North American powerhouse TSM has gotten off to a rough start to the 2018 season with a 1-3 record. After emerging from the first week without a victory they found success against OpTic Gaming before running into Echo Fox in their second match. While their opening schedule certainly hasn’t been easy TSM has long been considered the team to beat in North America but this start to the season could jeopardize that reputation. While the team swapped up their bot lane heading into this season which could be causing some chemistry issues the split goes by quickly, and the time is ticking for TSM to get their problems ironed out.
The good news is their first match this week is against the winless Golden Guardians, which should provide an opportunity for TSM to let the raw skill of their roster shine and solve any last-minute issues. Their second match will be against 100 Thieves, who have gotten off to a solid 3-1 start so far and will be a good test for where TSM lies in the rankings to begin the season; it will definitely be a game you don’t want to miss.
LCS action resumes in Europe on Friday at Noon EST when the Unicorns of Love try to get their first victory of the season against H2K. The next day North American action resumes when Echo Fox try to extend their undefeated streak to five against a struggling CLG. You can watch it all live on the official Riot Games broadcast.