2020 Spring Split LCS Week 9 Matches to Watch: Part 2
Following up on part 1 of our 2020 LCS Week 9 matches to watch blog, I’m back to bring you matches to watch for the final day of the regular Split. With so much on the line going into the last day, teams are going to be giving it their all and are sure to come in with some surprise pocket picks to give them the leverage they need to make it over the playoff cutoff line.
With that all out of the way, let’s take a look at the games to watch for Sunday, March 29.
2020 LCS Week 9: Golden Guardians vs. FlyQuest
Assuming Golden Guardians beat CLG the day before, and Immortals lose their match-up, this match will be significantly important for the Golden Guardians in determining whether or not they can make the playoffs. An 8-10 record, couple with Immortals losing Saturday’s match and the one later in the day, would mean since they hold a 1-1 record against each other. This means that Golden Guardians will get a chance to play a tiebreaker for the last playoff spot. There’s a lot riding on the line with this match for the Guardians, and they’re going to have to pull out every trick they have in the book in order to win this.
FlyQuest, meanwhile, could be looking at a must-win game here if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. If they beat Team Liquid, they’re locked in the playoffs already and this match is for placement and avoiding getting picked by Cloud9. If they lost that game, then they’re going to be fighting just to stay in the playoffs depending on how other Week 9 matches go during the day. The best way for them to remain in control of their destiny is to win here and knocking Golden Guardians out of the playoff race.
Expect FlyQuest to focus their efforts during the draft phase on getting strong picks for PowerofEvil in the middle lane, especially given he’s the team’s main carry, but also to focus on drafting some strong picks bottom side and a safer pick top. Golden Guardians, meanwhile, will be playing more towards that top side given it’s one of their strengths and will be looking to get Hauntzer onto something that can carry given a solid lead or game length, while Closer and Goldenglue get champs to support and build upon that as secondary carries or playmakers. Bottom lane is the teams weakest point, so a safe lane could be in store for the team with the likes of something like Ezreal/Rakan or Ashe/Tahm Kench.
FlyQuest jungler Santorin is sure to put a heavier focus on getting PoE and WildTurtle ahead this game, so expect him to spend most of his time on the bottom side of the map assisting them and gaining strong drake control for the team while Viper or Solo, whoever plays, tries to hold out on their own top side. If they can avoid feeding or giving too much of a lead to Hauntzer, FlyQuest should have a good chance of winning this match with ease given how reliant GGS is on him and Closer to get them their wins.
The Guardians, meanwhile, are going to need to focus their attention on getting that Hauntzer lead, and that means Closer is going to be spending a lot of time between there and mid lane, where ease of pressure on Goldenglue could help them stop PoE from getting out of control. With weak bot side to worry about, they’ll have to forgo much drake control and focus on getting Rift Herald and putting some turret pressure on the map, with the possibility of dropping it topside to get that and allow Hauntzer to lane swap with bottom lane. That could be an avenue for them to get drake control around drake two or three and prevent the soul from going over to FLY.
Expect Golden Guardians, with their weaker bot, to prioritize a split push set-up in the mid-game and beyond, while FlyQuest prioritizes grouping up for a big team fight they’ll have the upper hand in. Can Golden Guardians run the gauntlet and make it to the playoffs, or will FLY leave them coming up just short? If FLY wins this game, GGS is out of the playoff picture yet again, yet if they lose, their fate will be decided by how the remaining matches of the day turn out.
2020 LCS Week 9: Dignitas vs. Team SoloMid
Another battle between a team desperately trying to make the playoff cutoff and one that is jockeying for positioning there, Dignitas vs. Team SoloMid is another match that will decide the entire post-Split fate of a team. Dignitas needs this win, and the one from the previous day over IMT, to stay in the hunt for the sixth and final playoff spot, and a loss will spell the end of their hopes of a triumphant and loud return in their first split back in the league after a two-year absence.
TSM has an advantage in every lane here, and it’s going to be up to Froggen to really put DIG on his back here, especially with how much struggle Huni has been having top side this Split. The former SKT top laner has been having a rather terrible start to the year with, some of the worst stats of any top laner in the league, with bottom three stats in KDA and the only player in the league to not have one or even two of Aatrox, Ornn, or Sett in his most played champions. That’s a major problem considering how powerful they are right now in the meta, and speaks volumes about Huni’s champion pool issues.
Their opponents, meanwhile, have some of the top players in the league across every role and have the luxury of multiple players to pivot to in case something goes wrong in one lane or another. Broken Blade, in particular, is one of the leagues top laners, and will surely be a focus of Dardoch in getting a lead over his much weaker rival, meaning Akaadian is going to have to turn his attention toward the bottom side of the map towards Johnsun and Froggen if he wants to get anything going, and that means drafting them some big carries and himself an early gank-heavy champion during the draft. Expect Huni to get thrown onto something rather safe to keep himself alive in this game till later on.
TSM, though, will be going for an all-around teamfight composition, and will similarly be looking for a gank heavy jungler for the early game, though one that scales well as well. Gragas and Sejuani would be good in this case, but we could also see Dardoch go for his own carry as well, so look out for that. I’d expect to see Bjergsen on something like Syndra or Irelia again to help him dominate the mid lane, but we could see his Zilean as well if they’re really set on strong teamfights and preventing Dignitas from finding any pick on them.
Can Dignitas overcome their old foe, or will TSM relegate them again to sitting on the sidelines with this third return? A loss for Dignitas here means the end of their playoff hopes, if not already dashed by the day before, while a TSM loss means the team needs to hope Immortals doesn’t win out and push them into the lower playoff bracket. A win, however, will guarantee them a top-four finish to the regular Split.
2020 LCS Week 9: Immortals vs. Evil Geniuses
Immortals vs. Evil Geniuses sees two of the league’s newest orgs duke it out as both try to jockey for a position in the playoffs, though for Immortals there’s extra on the line here. Not only are they trying to climb into the upper echelon of the playoffs, but they’re still trying to guarantee their spot in the playoffs at all, with Team Liquid still nipping at their heels to drag them below the cutoff line. With a struggle to find consistency in the back half of the Split, they’re dangerously close to falling flat just before the finish line, with the team failing to put up a better than one and one week in recent weeks. Evil Geniuses, meanwhile, are currently on a five-game winning streak and looking like one of the best teams in the league after Cloud9. They’ll be looking to end the Split on a high note here and lock in a top-two finish, a huge accomplishment for an org in its first split back in League in almost six years.
If Immortals want to win this they need to play through their strengths in the top lane and jungle, and while Xmithie has been faltering out of as of late, SOAZ is still looking like one of the best top laners in the league. He’s going to have to be the carry for his team here and get things going if they want to have a chance here, especially as the rest of the traditional carry positions have faltered. Eika has really failed to take off in the mid lane and live up to any of the hype the team tried to build around him at the start of the season, while the bottom lane has still struggled to find relevancy even as Apollo and Hakuho have been reunited yet again following Altec’s disappointing return. SOAZ is going to need to get something to split push with, such as Camille or Fiora, or a late-game hyper carry like Gangplank or Aatrox that can really help open up fights for his team. In order to help facilitate this, Xmithie will likely be spending most of his time in the early and mid-game focusing down Kumo topside to help get SOAZ that lead, leaving the rest of his lanes to mostly watch after themselves and play safe.
Evil Geniuses, meanwhile, have found its players to be playing much stronger as of late, with less inconsistency across the board, none more so than Jiizuke in the mid lane. The former Team Vitality mid laner has been working wonders over the last couple weeks and is quickly pushing himself into the talk for a potential run at the Second Team All-Star Mid Laner (at this point it’s going to be impossible to pass Nisqy for First Team). The “Italian Stallion” work on LeBlanc, Ryze, and other mage carries have absolutely decimated other mid laners in the league, and with the lagging skill of Eika on Immortals, he should be able to run away with this game. Expects been Sven to put a heavy focus here and in the bot lane, where former world champion Bang has been putting in the work as of late to come back into his SKT form, and can serve as a potential secondary carry in this game, especially with IMT’s struggles in that lane as well.
Objective control is going to be key for these teams especially IMT considering they have one of the longest game times of any team, so we should expect multiple large-scale team fights over Herald, Drakes, and Baron. If EG manages to win a couple of these convincingly, however, I fully expect this game and EG to snowball out of control, putting the kibosh on IMT’s hopes of locking themselves into the playoffs and forcing them to rely on Cloud9 doing work on Liquid.
Can IMT hold onto their playoff spot, or will EG force them to rely on Cloud9 to lock them in? I went here for EG should lock them into a top-four finish for the split, but a loss will see them hoping that other games in the day have gone ahead and held them up in the top four. Immortals meanwhile, will be locking up with a win here, but a loss is going to force them to hope for a usual result for the following game and an upset in the final game of the day.
2020 LCS Week 9: Team Liquid vs. Cloud9
Before the start of the split, many thought this game in the final day of the regular split would be the decider for who takes first place heading into the playoffs, with two of the league’s best teams over the last two years going head-head yet again to prove who truly is the king of the LCS. After how this Split is gone, however, this isn’t a fight for first for Team Liquid, but one just to keep their playoff hopes alive as the team has utterly collapsed over the course of this Split. From visa issues for Broxah to motivation issues for Doublelift, and just a lack of smart macro and even mechanical play by almost every member of the team, Team Liquid has looked like a shadow of their former selves. They could be looking at the possibility of becoming the first reigning LCS champion in history to fail to make the playoffs.
There isn’t much meaning to this match for Cloud9 other than ending the Split on a high note, and while they’ve been goofing around as of late, they’re sure to want to make sure that Liquid doesn’t get into playoffs and magically shows up in form there to cause them trouble. Expect Cloud9 to take this game very seriously and give it their all as they look to knock out a potential contender from the playoff race.
For Liquid, their main avenue of victory has been through Jensen in the mid laney, so expect the teams to focus heavily on him in the draft, with an emphasis on carries like Syndra, Orianna, or his ever-present Zoe, which he is currently 4-1 on. Liquid will be looking to play safely in the top lane with a tanky champion, as Impact usually plays well on these, but I would be looking for them to grab a late-game hyper carry that Doublelift can scale upon, if he’s even playing today. His motivational issues have been a huge problem for Liquid this Split, and the teams decision to split time between him and Tactical is surely causing synergy issues for the team.
For Cloud9, it’s going to be business as usual and the team picking carries across multiple rolls to go along with their aggressive team fight style, and that means we’re sure to see some strong fighting picks like Gragas, Sett, and Aphelios. Nisqy is sure to pull something unique in interesting out of his hat in the mid lane. I can’t wait to see what he’s got cooked up his sleeve for this game. We may also see them flex some more unique picks this game as they look to confuse and strike fear into their opponent’s hearts for the playoffs. By showing off the massive array of champions they can flex and play across multiple roles, they’ll be making prep against them much harder for their opponents there, and showing another champion they can play well is only going to add to that burden for teams.
The keys to winning here are to make sure that the team doesn’t get over-excited and just start feeding like crazy. The last couple weeks their experimentation has seen them put themselves in disadvantageous situations to practice coming back from behind, which has proven wonders for the team as they’ve been able to win games off a single team fight even when down. It’s a scary situation to be in, though, and one C9 shouldn’t force themselves into here.
Liquid is going to need to draw this out to the late game in order to come online, and that means focusing on Drake control for themselves. The dragons can help extend a game by a significant margin, especially if they get a Soul, so expect them to continually fight for each and every one of these, especially after we find out which Soul it is. Cloud9, meanwhile, will be playing as usual, so expect them to put a heavy focus on ganking early to force backs in a lane before rotating over to take a neutral objective in the river, whether that be Rift Herald or drake, and a focus on strong team fighting..
Can Team Liquid redeem the horrendous Split they’ve had, or will Cloud9 relegate them to looking outside in on the playoffs for the first time in two years? A loss here for Liquid would all but guarantee them missing the playoffs if the rest of the 2020 LCS Week 9 matches go as expected, though a win would at least keep them in the running depending on how the rest of the day went.
2020 LCS Week 9: 100 Thieves vs. Counter Logic Gaming
You may be surprised to see that I’ve put all five games as important 2020 LCS Week 9 matches to watch, but with it being the final day of play and only one team guaranteed playoffs so far, every match really does count, and no more so within the final game of the day.
While the game doesn’t mean much for CLG, 100T needs this win to hold on to their playoff spot. With a game against TSM the day before that potentially having ended in a loss, and Liquid nipping at their heels and sitting just one win back from them in the race for that sixth and final playoff spot, the team is going to need this win if they are to make it over the line. While CLG has only managed three wins for themselves across this entire Split, they aren’t a team to be trifled with.
Pobelter has done crazy work to bring this team back up into a competitive form, and general consensus among analysts has that if he had been there since the beginning the team would likely be much closer in standing to the rest of the league than they currently are, and may even have been fighting for a playoff spot at this time. With such a growing threat to be going against, 100 Thieves is going to have to rely on talent that has been slowly building up over the course of the Split.
While Meteos has been struggling to regain his old form this split, Ssumday has still shown up as a dominating and terrifying forest for any team that goes against 100 Thieves, with the former KT Rolster top laner devastating most opponents he’s gone up against. Ryoma, meanwhile, has finally been showing the potential that PapaSmithy was preaching at the beginning of the Split and has developed into a solid mid laner on Zoe, Syndra, and Orianna. With those two lanes also being CLG’s main strengths, this fight’s going to come down to the bottom lane, a place both teams have struggled with this Split.
While Cody Sun has had a solid season this Split, and is looking like a top-five ADC in the league, Stunt has struggled to perform on par with him so far, with the young support looking rather worse for wear as the weeks have gone on. That’s nothing compared to CLG’s bot lane, though, as Stixxay and Smoothie have just failed to click all Split long and look like one of the worst duos in the league. If Cody’s Sun and Stunt can pick up an early lead here, they may be able to turn this game is laying on in 100T favor and get the ball rolling for an easy win. That’s going to depend on Stunt actually showing up though, and if he can pop off this game, there is a good chance 100 Thieves walks away with a nice solid win. But if he plays like he has most of the Split, it could get rather ugly really quick, especially if Wiggly and Pobelter turn their attention towards here.
Expect both teams to focus on trying to get early leads across the map, and fight to gain mid-game objective control as the Baron and the drake soul start to come online. Both of these teams are going to want to take team fights around this point to try to push their opponents in order to gain control of these objectives and run away with the game, so expect it to turn bloody around the 20-minute mark very fast.
Can 100 Thieves end the Split on a win and hold onto their playoff spot, or will Counter Logic Gaming put an end to their efforts to revitalize their fortunes?
That’s it for the second part of our 2020 LCS Week 9 matches blog, thanks for reading. Check out the schedule of each match here. We’ll be back next week with more LCS coverage as we head into the playoffs, so stay tuned!