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Published February 21, 2013

GAME TO WATCH

TEAM DIGNITAS vs. COUNTER LOGIC GAMING (2/21 3PM PST)

This is the most difficult call for Week 3 in the North American division. It's the first time meeting of these teams in the LCS. Both have massive amounts of experience, both have strong records, and both will be riding a wave of momentum coming into this match. With the prior week off, CLG will have had more prep time but this is Dignitas’ only match this weekend, whereas CLG will have three. With a match (victory if I’m right) earlier that day CLG will be the more warmed up of the two and should be hungry to climb the standings after their break. That’s about the smallest possible advantage one could think of but it might be the only thing to tip the scales.

Dynamic to Watch: Decisive Team Fights. I expect the laning phase to be very dynamic, with both teams looking to make plays, but ultimately very even. The game will start the break one way or another after the first two team fights. The longer it takes for that team fight phase to begin the more it favors CLG.

My Pick: Counter Logic Gaming

 

VULCUN vs. COUNTER LOGIC GAMING (2/21 1PM PST)

Sporting a 0-5 record, Vulcun is firmly in last place in the North American division. Unfortunately for this promising young team, their quest for victory won’t be realized this week as they face the veteran CLG. CLG is ranked fourth, but that’s largely due to them having an early bye week. Vulcun’s only chance may be to take advantage of CLG coming off that competitive break, but with CLG’s dedication and experience I doubt they will miss a step.  

Dynamic to Watch: Pressure From the Bottom. Vulcun Jungler Xmithie will attempt to take pressure off the bottom lane, where the skilled CLG duo of Aphromoo and Doublelift will dominate if left to their own devices.

My Pick: Counter Logic Gaming

 

CURSE vs. GOOD GAME UNIVERSITY (2/12 2PM PST)

If you look at their record, they are undefeated. If you hear them talk about it, they say they’re unstoppable. Curse comes into this game at 5-0, the only team in the NA or EU LCS with a perfect record. While some of their games looked bleak at times, Curse has always managed to rally and retake control. One of their closest matches was against GGU in their previous encounter, making this match far more exciting than the stats would indicate. If any underdog team could end Curse’s streak, GGU might be the one to do it. But will be a hard road...

Dynamic to Watch: The Voyboy Hour. Voyboy is one of the biggest playmakers on Curse’s lineup and might just be the best top laner in the world. If he is allowed to get into his rhythm he will easily dominate the narrative of the game. Before long, GGU will have to worry more about stopping him than winning.

My Pick: Curse (though I’d be happy to be wrong)

 

COMPLEXITY vs. VULCUN (2/21 4PM PST)

Complexity is a team we haven’t seen a lot out of in the LCS, having only played one game (which they lost). On the other hand this will be Vulcun’s seventh game. I have a feeling they will be sick of losing and seize on this match as an opportunity to get their first win of the season. Both of these teams had impressive performances in the qualifiers so I doubt it will be easy, but in the end I give the edge to Vulcun.

Dynamic to Watch: The Redemption of Nickwu. Complexity’s top laner is the only player not on Team MRN to have a KDA below 1.0. Everyone can have a bad game but most of us don’t have that on our first and only match of the season. I expect Nickwu to be hungry to prove himself, though his efforts will fall short of carrying the game.

My Pick: Vulcun

 

TEAM MRN vs. GOOD GAME UNIVERSITY (2/22 5PM PST)

Poor Team MRN. In many ways they are the folk hero of the LCS, the only team to have made it into the series through the Online Qualifiers. They are One of Us. And just like one of us might experience, the more elite pro players seem to beat the crap out of them on a consistent basis. MRN’s first two matches were against Team Dignitas and Team Solo Mid; they were short and they were brutal.  At one time, I would not have classed GGU at that level and indeed they have a long way to go. But three weeks of competition against some of the best teams in the world has shown they are growing. They even gave Curse a run for their money. And that might just be more than MRN can handle right now.

Dynamic to Watch: Early Game Aggression from GGU. Both of Team MRN’s losses were precipitated on early first bloods by their opponents, an advantage they were never able to overcome. GGU will try to replicate that by getting some early kills and never taking off the pressure.

My Pick: Good Game University

 

COUNTER LOGIC GAMING vs. COMPLEXITY (2/22 6PM PST)

I feel like I’m not giving Complexity a lot of credit, but I don’t see them faring any better in this matchup than my prediction vs. Vulcan. CLG is an exponentially tougher opponent and I predict they will enter this matchup full of momentum. This is in contrast to Complexity, which will have none at all. I don’t see this match as a squash, but I definitely give the nod to CLG.

Dynamic to Watch: HotshotGG Steamrolling the Top Lane. Nickwu might be out to prove himself but Hotshot will establish himself on another level entirely. While I’m not sure this will be the deciding factor in the entire match, it will be very entertaining to watch him put on a clinic.

My Pick: Counter Logic Gaming

 

TEAM MRN vs. VULCUN (2/22 7PM PST)

If Team MRN is capable of beating any team in the LCS one would have to believe it would be Vulcan. Vulcun has played consistently unexceptionally so MRN needs to have a spark of brilliance and hang onto that advantage right into the last push. For pretty much the same reasons I have Vulcun picking up a win Thursday, I think MRN rallies around being sick of losing and uses that hunger to go for their first win. And you know what? I think they’re going to pull it out.

Dynamic to Watch: Critical Laning Phase for MRN. We haven’t really seen MRN exit the laning phase without being woefully behind due to successful early ganks by their opponents. If MRN can keep their composure early and go into the team fights without a large gold deficit, or maybe even WIN the laning phase, I think that puts them in an excellent position to take the whole match.

My Pick: Team MRN (I WANT TO BELIEVE!)

 

GOOD GAME UNIVERSITY vs. COMPLEXITY (2/22 8PM PST)

GGU has been playing at a fairly consistent level, that level being “almost but not quite.” In Week 3 I predict them to start breaking out of that pattern and establishing themselves as the strongest of the bottom half of the division. They are a team that’s constantly threatening to breaking into the top four if they catch the leaders on an off game. Part of that story involves them beating out the rest of the bottom and standing on the pile of skulls. At the end of the day, I just don’t see a challenge to this narrative coming out of Complexity. But who knows, maybe they prove me wrong?

Dynamic to Watch: Best of the Worst in Mid. Perhaps a harsh title, but these struggling teams both have some of their best players in the AP mid position. Both seem to favor high damage, long range skill shot champions like Lux and Nidalee which should make for some exciting fire fights and big plays. 

My Pick: Good Game University

 

Alekseyev Karrde
CEO of Noir., CSM alumni, and LoL noob.