The LCS 2019 Summer Split regular reason is nearly finished, and after seven weeks, the teams' post-season fates will be decided by two weeks' worth of games. TSM and Cloud9 will play crucial matches this weekend against Golden Guardians and CLG as they look for playoff byes.
TSM's jungle issues have officially been resolved, and they've decided to proceed with Matthew "Akaadian" Higginbotham as their starting jungler over Jonathan "Grig" Armao. Even with this element of consistency finally added to their team dynamic, they remain as one of the hardest teams to read in the LCS.
Last weekend, in their game against Cloud9, TSM secured a large early game lead and eventually threw it down the drain. They can't afford to make those mistakes again if they truly want to assert themselves as a strong team. And with GGS as their opponent, a team with incredibly strong and experienced laners, any game-changing fumbles won't go unpunished.
GGS could have a slight edge in this game if they end up crossing paths with the same TSM that we saw last week. Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg has been struggling to successfully implement new and innovative picks into the team's strategies, and against Henrik "Froggen" Hansen's vast champion pool and laning prowess, he won't have time to feel out an unfamiliar match up.
Even still, TSM will be generally favored to win here. This could possibly be their first full week of practice without splitting time between two junglers, and given the success that this five-man had in the Spring Split, it's likely that they've on the verge of ramping up.
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Looking at standings alone, C9 is the clear second place team in the LCS right now. They wiggled their way out of multiple ties, and now are only one win and one loss behind league front-runners Team Liquid. Despite this, one glaring question has been glued to the minds of analysts everywhere: where is Eric "Licorice" Ritchie?
After taking time off to allow his wrist to heal, Licorice is slated to return last week, yet Colin "Kumo" Zhao remained in the starting lineup. While Kumo burst onto the scene with some dominating performances, Licorice's absence was made apparent by the team's sketchier performances in week six.
CLG may have suffered a 0-2 week recently, to tie them with TSM for third place in the standings, but they won't let C9 off the hook easily. This team is close to tasting domestic success for the first time in over three years, and know how to step up to a challenge from a powerful opponent. They've taken out Liquid, they dismantled TSM, and they have the tools to defeat C9 as well.
In each position aside from the jungle, CLG possess laners of equal of greater strength than C9's. This game will be decided by which team is able to use their lead to bar the enemy from activating their team composition. It will come down to a battle between Raymond "Wiggily" Griffin and Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen. Wiggily's task is to ensure that Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage comes out ahead of the mid lane two versus two at all costs, and Svenskeren's will be to disrupt Wiggily's tempo and be the first to make a play bot lane to speed the game along.
TSM play GGS on Saturday July 20 at 3 p.m. PDT, and C9 play CLG on Sunday July 21 at 1 p.m. PDT.