North American LCS Recap: Week 5

C9 falls to FOX, CLG and TSM lag behind.

Week 5 of the North American League Championship Series (LCS) brings us to the halfway point of the season. It cements FOX in the first position over C9, confronts C9 Licorice with some challenges and brings TSM closer to making playoffs. Teams like C9 and TL seem to be taking their time to come up with new pick books. As this will only be possible in these next two weeks without dropping to relegation, it’s a bold move.

Day 1 (February 17th)


CLG v. TL (TL Victory): TL won, but they did not look convincing. Pobelter on Galio was meant to cover the Camille in the top lane, but things worked out a lot differently in the end. Impact couldn’t get much done, and the team abandonned him very quickly. Doublelift was doing great on Varus, but the team didn’t play around it (again). This disjointed playstyle almost lost them the game around 30 minutes, but CLG wasn’t able to capitalize on TL’s series of mistakes.

FOX solidifies their standing this season.

FOX v. 100 (FOX Victory): FOX gets a fantastic uncontested baron in the midgame, and this allows them a great lead. There are unfortunately a few picks from 100 Thieves which keep them in the game. However, a midlane fight around a siege goes in FOX’s favor. This was a shaky victory from FOX, despite an early lead.

C9 v. TSM (C9 Victory): Sneaky continues to have a wonderful season, and his consistency in lane allows Sven to roam topside. This snowballs into Licorice and his aggressive playstyle. C9 is looking good because all of their members know their place, and know how to act in order to win. Hauntzer got caught out too many times in the mid game, and this always allowed C9 to leverage even small advantages.

CG v. FLY (CG Victory): Apollo continues to show up against FLY. Clutch also forced Fly onto an awkward midlaner through the pick-ban, and they centered their attention on him. This was the right move, as FLY’s team composition was too awkward to work in the late game. Clutch Gaming pulled off a traditional team during a week of experimentation, and it worked.

OPT  v. GGS (OPT Victory): A surprise Viktor in the midlane really absorbs a lot of pressure, and Akaadian on the Skarner really punishes Hai. Optics frontline was far too tanky for GGS to deal with, and this allowed PowerofEvil to do as much damage as needed. Arrow provides a sober reminder to his team that despite the victory, things looked shady at times.


Day 2 (February 18th)


CG v. TSM (CG Victory): Clutch proves that they can piece together pretty solid victories, while TSM continues to fall behind. Febiven was allowed his Zoe, as TSM prioritized their two power picks and didn’t respect what CG could do with this leeway. Apollo did a lot of work on Xayah, but the team as a whole still lacks a certain teamfight coordination that differentiates them from C9 or FOX.

CG continues to be decisive in their victories.

GGS v. TL (GGS Victory): TL tries something a little wild, and GGS reminds them that they must be taken seriously. Impact has had a pretty poor few weeks, his attempt at Scion didn’t show up against Gnar, but the rest of the team has to learn to play around him as well. Proactivity in the early game would be something to work on for TL. Their focus on the bot-lane may have worked at the start of the season, but things have changed.

FOX v. C9 (FOX Victory): FOX takes the second victory over C9, with a commanding presence from Huni in the top lane against Licorice. It might be that C9, like Team Liquid, is attempting to find new playbooks when it’s still possible for them to lose a few games. Dardoch did a really nasty job hounding the top lane, and C9’s three man gank squad was not enough to leverage an advantage.

100 v. CLG (100 Victory): 100 Thieves finally break their loss streak, and push CLG further down the standings. That said, this was a messy game. 100 just managed to extend the game enough to win. While Codysun did a great job, the gold distribution was wild throughout the game. 100 managed to make some late game calls, and a pick that ultimately led to the victory. It was CLG’s game to lose, and they did.

FLY v. OPT (FLY Victory): Optic tries to play around PowerofEvil and his Syndra, who manages to find a few picks in the midgame to delay FLY’s victory. The counter-pick in the bot lane helped FLY gain two sidelane victories, and this was too much for POE to carry. Stunt looks good as the support with Fly in the midlane, the team ought to remember that moving forward.

Week 5 Highlights

  • TSM proves that they’ve still got some bite to them, yet they fail once more to take victories over their opponents. Though the game against C9 was easy to predict, the fact that they lost an early lead to CG means Hauntzer can’t be trusted as the sole manner to achieve success. The team needs to get things under control now if they want to make playoffs.
  • Licorice is confronted with his first major early game loss against Huni. Breaking out the Lucian was a costly mistake for his team, and enabled FOX to gain a powerful lead. He may have been resting on the clouds too long.
  • Team Liquid is looking to stay in the top 4 teams, but their performance on Day 2 was dissapointing. A strong start to the season seems to be giving way to a lack of clarity in decision making around 15-20 minutes. This could cost them a lot, or be sorted out by the team before that happens.

Quote of the Week

Not everyone agrees with the way we should play. […] If things go wrong […] then it can feel really tilting” – Meteos on the difficulties of 100 Thieves.

For future NA LCS esports coverage, and to make sure you don’t miss important developments, don’t forget to read IMGMR every week.


Cédrick studies law, but his passion lies in gaming. PC is his platform, PS4 is his bloodborne machine, Dark Souls is his true love.

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