Thoughts on the NALCS Semi-finals


This weekend saw the coming and going of the NALCS Semi-finals.

I was disappointed that both of the teams that I have been rooting for, for most of the season were eliminated. However, there were some exciting games that could have gone either way, and I think the major caveat here is that Team Impulse was down a man that was with them for all but one game of the regular season, and had a backup player in his stead, who hadn’t really played much during the season. Xiaoweixiao really screwed over his team with the ELO-boosting shenanigans.  I think TiP would have taken their series against Counter Logic Gaming a lot further if not won it altogether had it not been for this fact.

On Saturday, it was the aforementioned best of five: TiP vs CLG. I had called TiP as the winner, but that the series would take all five games to determine. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Just as they had done to Dignitas the week before, TiP was swept, 3-0 by CLG. Watching the games was difficult, because I know that Rush and co could have won, but they made mistakes that CLG was able to capitalize on. During the first match, TiP came out strong and had a lead to begin with. They made a few mistakes, Rush did his best but then started to throw a bit, and next thing you know CLG took their nexus. It seems like they threw the entire series after that; everyone was on tilt. Apollo had a steady performance game after game, and Gate actually didn’t do all that bad but was put on what are considered “safe” champions for two out of the three games. He didn’t have the carry mid-lane presence that XwX typically brought to the table. This put all of the weight on the shoulders of Apollo to carry, along with Impact and Rush needing to synergize well and make plays. There were plays, sure, but in the end CLG took all the victories and that’s what matters. Doublelift was in god mode, and surely carried his team to victory, though there were solid contributions from the rest of his team as well. CLG managed to push every advantage and not let up, and that seemed to be the key for them to win. This is actually going to be their first finals ever I believe, so they are in all new territory. Time will tell as to what they can do with this position.

I had to watch the VODs of Sunday’s games, as I was out of the house most of the day, but I took some notes as to what happened and it was an impressive series, mostly by Team Solo Mid though nearly every game of the series could have gone either way. Team Liquid was on point in most things, but made some fatal flaws that ultimately cost them the series. Here’s my notes as I wrote them, because I’m lazy.

Game 1: TL takes early leads in all lanes, but back to back shitty team fights throw the match. Wildturtle hits too many Jinx ultimates. Ridiculous Bjergsen quadra to win it. TSM win.

Game 2: Steady game, staying even for damn near the whole thing. Potential game changer where Quas gets fucked by Azir ult bouncing him back twice. Comes down to a failed team fight for TL when trying to get 5th dragon. TSM win.

Game 3: Very even game; poor dragon team fight gives TSM a clean ace. Then several great team fights in favor of TL. Piglet is a god on Vayne. Actually a bit of a throw by TSM from the early game where they were ahead. TL win.

Game 4: TSM in firm control this match, GG take the series 3-1.

Obviously when you’re looking at nearly four hours of video material, this isn’t every single detail, but you get the gist. So now we move onto next weekend’s matchups:


TSM vs CLG in the NALCS Finals
TiP vs TL in the 3rd place matchup.

There are some interesting scenarios here, because of the way League points work, and honestly I only know a little when it comes to the topic. I know that finishing first in the Spring split netted TSM quite a few points, and they are already in Worlds because they are in the finals here, regardless of if they win. However, Team Liquid was first place in the Summer split, so they have a lot of points and will be ready for Worlds if they take third place? Again, not really sure how it will work out, but basically league points are a secondary system that takes into account a team’s performance during the first portion of the season (spring split), and along with their performance during the second half they get a total that can help them into worlds even if eliminated in playoffs. It’s something to that effect.


As you can see, TSM holds the most points from being awesome in the spring, and mostly good in the summer. CLG is right behind them but so is TL. However, TL losing this weekend might push them out. There were some scenarios where Cloud 9 might make Worlds due to a good performance in the spring, but I think they shot themselves in the foot enough during the summer it’s not possible. I think there are only two seeds that make it from each region to worlds, so I imagine that would be TSM and CLG, however I know there’s this thing called “the gauntlet” and even the MSI from earlier in the year are counted towards getting into Worlds. If I get a better understanding of this I might be able to explain it better, but for now I’m just going to call it how I see it for next weekend.

Though CLG hasn’t choked like they have in past splits/playoffs, I think they will choke against TSM. TSM is just so utterly dominant when it comes to the playoffs, I think they’ll take the series but that it will take all five games. For the third place matchup between TiP and TL, I think TL will take the win, only because I’ve lost a bit of faith in TiP. I think TiP will be dominant next year, with a fresh batch of new challengers to face (Renegades make the spring split from the Challenger series and TiP and other squads like C9 might have new roster members), but I think they’ve tilted too much at this point and TL seem determined to make Worlds. I’ll see if I can get a better understanding of championship points in the meantime so I can explain it better after next weekend. I’m sure the analysts and casters will be talking more about it then.

This run went a bit further, but I’m still not making it as far as I would like.

#leagueoflegends #nalcs #progaming