NA LCS Teams Have a Promising Performance at IEM Gyeonggi
From Dec. 16 through Dec. 18, eight League of Legends teams from around the world faced off at the Intel Extreme Masters in Gyeonggi, Korea. This small tournament was the first time fans got to see many of these teams compete with their new lineups following off-season roster changes. As was expected, the Korean teams dominated the tournament. Both Kongdoo Monsters and Samsung Galaxy went undefeated through the group stage and made it to the finals, where Samsung Galaxy won 3-1, which came as little surprise to anyone.
The bigger surprise from the tournament was the performance of the North American LCS teams. Immortals and Team Liquid have both undergone some pretty significant roster changes and their first tournament with their new lineups, though far from perfect, showed quite a bit of promise.
Both Immortals and Team Liquid were able to advance from the group stage of the tournament. While the non-Korean teams in these groups were not exactly the toughest competition, both NA LCS squads showed that they could win decisively against teams that they are favored against.
Even against the Korean teams in the semi-finals, both Immortals and Team Liquid showed that they could at least compete with these teams. Immortals were able to take one game off of Kongdoo Monsters and were close to taking a second had it not been for a few mistakes in the late game. And while Team Liquid lost 2-0 to Samsung Galaxy, they were also able to gain a significant lead in the early game (their downfall was their inability to capitalize on their early lead in the late game).
If both teams can continue to polish their play during the remainder of their respective off-seasons, they will both definitely be serious contenders in the 2017 NA LCS Season.
This pattern of winning in the early game and losing in the late game shows that these North American teams have the individual skill to compete with Korean teams. What they lack is late game decision making, something that will become easier once their new rosters engage more in competitive play.
As for individual play, each team had players with impressive performances. For Immortals, their new Jungler, Dardoch, was a big reason for their success. His early pressure was a big reason that his team was able to get the early game leads that they had.
As for Team Liquid, their Top Laner, Lourlo, had quite the performance. Lourlo was able to get multiple solo-kills in the early game, something that is incredibly unexpected with the top-lane being so focused on tanks.
While both Immortals and Team Liquid would have no doubt liked to walk away from IEM Gyeonggi with a first place finish, each team can be satisfied with their performance. If both teams can continue to polish their play during the remainder of their respective off-seasons, they will both definitely be serious contenders in the 2017 NA LCS Season.