This Sunday at 12 PM (PDT), sixth place Team EnVyUs (8-10) will face off against current third place contenders Counter Logic Gaming (12-6) in the NA LCS.
Let’s start with the good news for CLG fans: Team EnVyUs has enjoyed two splits with (mostly) the same roster, except for when Nisqy had visa issues earlier in the summer. It’s worth noting that nV’s early game is actually one of the best in NA LCS. Just take a look at the stats–their bot lane has a combined gold differential of +281@10 minutes, the highest in the league. Compared to aphromoo and Stixxay’s combined gold differential of -22@10 minutes, Team EnVyUs has a real shot at winning their laning phase against CLG. Lira (jg) is also a standout LCS player for having secured the most jungle kills in the league, as well as the most kills on his team. With Omargod becoming CLG’s starting jungler only 14 games before playoffs, expect Lira to target Omargod as a potential weak point.
What’s the hitch? Team EnVyUs is currently 0-2 against Counter Logic this season, and they’re on a four game losing streak. They also have some of the worst mid-late game shotcalling you’ll see in the NA LCS.
(You can learn more about mid-late game ratings here.)
Let’s dissect this a little. The first part is somewhat obvious: teams that acquire such frequent early gold leads shouldn’t be losing so many games. In nV’s case, they are getting outplayed after the laning phase is over, which points to poor macro shotcalling. Conversely, CLG has a below average early game, but the second highest MLR. Could this be the affect of having a strong shotcaller like Aphromoo on their team?
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The best thing nV can do to prepare for this Sunday is play to their strengths and study their losses, especially their Week 8 loss against CLG. Specifically, Team EnVyUs should ban Omargod’s Gragas. It’s his most picked and winning-est champion during his short LCS career. EnVyUs should also consider banning HuHi’s Taliyah. There’s no need to hand CLG a champion that can nullify nV’s strong early game. And it’s a little late to materialize good shotcalling, but one hopes nV have been practicing their mid and late game decision making, which is where they’ll really suffer against CLG. nV should try to snowball the lane phase and put Lira on a favorable jungle matchup that he can carry from.
Knowing CLG’s tendencies for high kill games, Sunday’s match could very well turn into bloodbath. This will almost certainly benefit CLG, who has mastered eking out small advantages from the chaos. For nV, chaos and kill trading is not what they need, especially if they want to snowball out of the lane phase. Instead, they should try to carefully snowball an early lead to victory. Chaos doesn’t benefit teams with bad shotcalling, and it’s not a good playstyle if nV plans on running strong early game compositions, since kill trading means early game champions get outscaled sooner.