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The Return of the Stream King: The North American League Championship Series starts today!

Arguably the biggest regular event in eSports, the NA LCS returns with gusto today on the outset of Season 4. Here's what to expect on Opening Day!

With an impressive start to the European League Championship Series over the last few days featuring records being broken and teams stumbling out of the block, today marks the beginning of the NA LCS. With a pseudo-European invasion happening on some of the NA LCS rosters, today will be an interesting day to get a feeling for how the season will go.

Will the old Big 4 (Counter Logic Gaming, Team Solo Mid, Curse and Dignitas) be able to keep up with the relatively new but debatably stronger teams Cloud 9 and XDGG (The team formerly known as Vulcun)? Or will Season 4 mark the end of an era in the NA LCS and beginning of new talent flooding into the scene? For now, we can speculate. For today, here are my two games to watch for!

http://hydra-media.cursecdn.com/lol.gamepedia.com/archive/f/f3/20130528073711!Cloud9_Logo.jpgCloud 9 vs Team Solomidhttp://images.wikia.com/leagueoflegends/images/archive/5/5e/20121015104433!TSM_Logo.png

A match-up of the Season 3 champions and "America's Team," the first match of the season is sure to deliver on the fanfare before it. With TSM bringing in European mid player Bjergsen, they change their roster for the first time since the infamous Chaox incident that brought Wildturtle on board before (who actually played for Cloud 9 beforehand). Cloud 9, on the other hand, after a decent but ultimately disappointing showing at the Season 3 Worlds tournament, decided to stick with their roster for better or worse going into the Spring Split.

The key to this matchup will be how well Bjergsen can perform with his new team compared to a Cloud 9 roster that has been together for much longer than the newest edition of TSM. While his playstyle is very similar to Reginald and he is the designated shotcaller for the team, it's still difficult at first for a new team to click on the level needed to compete against professional competition, especially a team that went 25-3 last split.

For this matchup, look for Cloud 9 to come out victorious. While I do not believe this game will be a blow out, Cloud 9 is simply more solidified as a team in their methods of play and how they will go about to win a game.

http://images.wikia.com/leagueoflegends/images/archive/5/5e/20121015104433!TSM_Logo.pngTeam Solomid vs Evil Geniuseshttp://hydra-media.cursecdn.com/lol.gamepedia.com/thumb/1/1a/EG.png/300px-EG.png

My other game of the day also features Team Solo Mid, this time against the new to the NA LCS roster of Evil Geniuses. Featuring 3 of Europe's wiliest veteran's from the old CLG.EU/Evil Genius roster in Wickd, Yellowpete, and Krepo, Evil Geniuses look to take the NA scene by storm this split. Joined by the wunderkind Pobelter who has finally come of age to compete in the LCS, and one of the best kept secrets in the NA of Innox, EG fields a very powerful roster that is capable of placing high in the LCS this split.

Almost every player in this game has a fairly storied history in professional play, so I believe the key to this game is the only one who hasn't had pages upon pages written upon him: Innox. An amateur league player who was recruited up to join Evil Geniuses, he shows great potential and is a real x-factor in this game compared to the more predictable, veteran players. His matchup is no cakewalk though, going against big guy Dyrus, the longest tenured professional top lane in NA and arguably the best.

However, I still believe that Team Solomid will win this matchup. The matchup between two of the strongest botlanes in the NA scene currently will be a focal point in this game, but I think that Xpecial and Wildturtle will have the advantage over Yellowpete and Krepo given the current botlane meta. I believe that Wildturtle plays the current big three of Lucian/Sivir/Jinx at a higher level than Yellowpete. The matchup between Xpecial and Krepo is a complete wash because they both play the strongest "meta" supports currently at incredibly high levels and there will be no real advantage either way.

Look for the NA LCS starting at 3PM EST/12PM PST today!
Published Jan. 17th 2014

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