The NA LCS Gauntlet comes to its conclusion on September 16, as Cloud9 are about to face TSM in an exciting Bo5 series. No matter the winner, someone’s legacy is going to be broken, so who’s it going to be? Read on and find the answer in our NA LCS Gauntlet predictions!
Cloud9 vs TSM
Cloud9 had an interesting Summer Split. After starting the regular season as a bottom-tier team, they made a massive resurgence thanks to the creative use of their Academy players. Still, their finals against Team Liquid were disappointing, as C9 didn’t seem a good idea of what they wanted to do in the draft. On top of that, their Academy players fell short in high-pressure matches, which doesn’t bode well for the team dynamic.
As for TSM, they looked like a completely different team when they played Echo Fox. Not only did they ramp up their early game but they were much more decisive in teamfights and skirmishes. Combine that with a good grasp of macro and objective control, and this might finally be the TSM we wanted to see in the regular season.
Top Lane Matchup
The top lane is going to be a battlefield. With a 4.9 KDA and 9.5 CS per minute, C9 Licorice rose to prominence by being one of the best carry players in the league. His mechanics are strong enough to overwhelm most NA LCS top laners, and his game sense makes Licorice a constant threat to his opponents. Still, he could use some work when it comes to teamfighting and making teleport plays.
The same can’t be said about Hauntzer. Sporting a 2.7 KDA and 9.6 CS per minute, he’s a massive teamfighting presence, and his tanks are instrumental to creating space for TSM’s carries. His laning isn’t too shabby either, and you can generally trust Hauntzer to hold his own against the toughest opponents. Even so, his decision-making tends to be hit-or-miss, so Licorice can easily bait him into bad trades.
VERDICT: C9 Licorice outmaneuvers Hauntzer in the top lane.
If you were to look at the jungle matchup a week ago, it wouldn’t even be close. With a 4.2 KDA and 6.0 CS per minute, Blaber is a potent carry that isn’t afraid to kick-start fights for his team. However, his most recent showings have been underwhelming and it’s abundantly clear he’s struggling with nerve issues. Hence, C9 might field Svenskeren in his stead. Holding a 2.6 KDA and 5.1 CS per minute, the Dane is great at camping the mid lane and setting up jungle invades, but if that approach doesn’t work, he quickly runs out of plays in his playbook.
As for Grig, he’s been playing better and better with every passing week. Sporting a 3.9 KDA and 4.8 CS per minute, TSM’s jungler has strong showings on tanks and carries alike. It also helps that his early game is cleaner than ever, and you can count on him to go for the right plays in teamfights and skirmishes.
VERDICT: TSM Grig claims the jungle as his own.
Mid Lane Matchup
The mid lane has always been the most exciting part of Cloud9 vs TSM matches. Holding a 6.0 KDA and 9.2 CS per minute, Jensen is a talented carry that’s recently expanded his champion pool to bring more utility to his team. Then, there’s Goldenglue. With a 3.9 KDA and 9.8 CS per minute, the substitute mid laner adds some value by having pre-existing synergy with Svenskeren, but he can be inconsistent in the laning phase.
And inconsistency is not something that’s going to fly against Bjergsen. With a 4.6 KDA and 9.4 CS per minute, he’s the unwavering ace that puts TSM on his back when it matters most. He has the perfect combination of game sense and mechanical prowess, and even the likes of Jensen and Goldenglue will have a hard time standing up to him.
VERDICT: TSM Bjergsen conquers the mid lane.
Bot Lane Matchup
It’s hard to evaluate Cloud9’s bot lane. Sporting a 4.5 KDA and 9.9 CS per minute, Sneaky is an exceptional teamfighting marksman, but lately, he’s been experimenting way too much with unorthodox picks. And while the same doesn’t apply to Zeyzal (3.9 KDA), the support spends most of his time on Braum/Tahm Kench duty.
As for TSM, their bot lane has been steadily improving for the entire Gauntlet. Granted, Zven has always been a monstrous AD carry, and he has a 4.5 KDA and 10.0 CS per minute to show for his efforts. What’s more important is that Mithy (2.7 KDA) is no longer committing blatant mechanical mistakes, and his playmaking has gotten up to the standard he showed on G2 Esports.
VERDICT: TSM Zven and Mithy reign supreme in the bot lane.
Cloud9 have been declining ever since the start of the 2018 Summer Playoffs. Their rookies aren’t performing on the necessary level and their veterans are stuck with very one-dimensional playstyles that aren’t going to work against TSM in a Bo5 series. Hence, TSM are going to strike back by winning this NA LCS Gauntlet match with a 3-1 score!
Editorial Credit: Riot Games