2019 League of Legends LCS Summer Split Semifinals Preview

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When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. Last week, I went 0-2 as I thought Team SoloMid would find their footing and get past Clutch Gaming, and I believed OpTic Gaming had what it took to upset Counter Logic Gaming.

TSM made the surprising decision to use Spica as their jungler despite playing either Akaadian or Grig in that role for 16 of their 18 regular season games. That decision did not pay off as there continued to be a lack of synergy between the jungler and the rest of the team. This deficiency combined with a poor read of the meta led to TSM crashing out in a 3-1 loss.

Meanwhile, OpTic looked set to win the first game of their series against CLG, claiming four Barons and five elemental drakes in a 46-minute game. However, the execution just wasn’t there, and they could only pick up three kills in a stunning loss that spent them spiraling. Their mental just wasn’t here after the defeat, and they were subsequently swept.

2019 League of Legends LCS Summer Split Semifinals Betting Odds (Courtesy of BookMaker)

Cloud9 -255
Counter Logic Gaming +197

In Cloud9 we trust. C9 have finished in second place in both splits this year, and they will be assured of a spot at the World Championships if they win on Saturday and Team Liquid wins on Sunday.

I’ve raved about their drafts under Reapered constantly over the last year, and that’s the main reason I like their chances against CLG. This team is more creative than any other team in North America, and you can be sure they will have something special up their sleeve. None of their players are one-tricks with every starter playing at least eight different champions this split, and that gives them a lot of versatility.

C9 are 2-1 against CLG this season, and I expect them to win through the bottom lane in this series. CLG’s bottom lane duo of Stixxay and Biofrost are old veterans that have looked rejuvenated in leading their team to the playoffs, but they are quite predictable. Stixxay is only going to play marksmen AD Carries, and that gives Cloud9 an ability to counter through either jungle or support picks. Zeyzal has become quite the playmaker in that support role for Cloud9, and I expect him to have a monstrous series.

I don’t think CLG have a significant advantage they can consistently exploit. Licorice is a more skilled top laner than Ruin, and while I love PowerOfEvil, Nisqy has had a pretty solid split and his confidence has continued to grow. CLG’s main route to victory would likely be through great play from Wiggily out of the jungle, but I don’t see it happening.

Team Liquid -1300
Clutch Gaming +691

No one expects Clutch Gaming to put up much of a fight against the team that has ruled North America for three straight splits. Team Liquid has been far and away the best team in the region, and they defeated Clutch in under 30 minutes in both of their meetings in the Summer Split.

Liquid’s bottom lane is light years better than any other bottom lane in the region. Doublelift is the best AD Carry in North America (and he isn’t shy to let people know it) and CoreJJ has given the team a real playmaker in support. We have seen the Korean import shine on proactive support picks like Rakan, Yuumi, and Lux this season.

It’s hard to see a path to victory for Clutch. Cody Sun had a phenomenal series against TSM last week, posting a 24 KDA in four games per Games of Legends, but he and Vulcan will not have the upper hand against Doublelift and CoreJJ. Damonte is likely to be dunked in the mid lane by Jensen, and although Huni has a lot of skill, he defaults to his pocket picks far too often.

I would expect Huni to be the difference maker if Clutch managed to keep the series close, but I just don’t see that happening. It’s much more likely for Liquid to sweep than it is for Clutch to pull off the upset here.