Photo: Riot Games

The seventh week of LCS play is upon us. It’s hard to realize that there are just three weeks of regular season play left. It feels like the Summer Split had only just begun, and yet we’re nearing its completion. Regardless of how well a team performed back in Spring, every team has the chance to attain redemption. The Summer Split is the only thing that matters, and it is the point at which everything coalesces.

Months of hard work and months of grinding could all be in vain if a team is unable to step up and get the job done. With only three weeks left, every single win matters, and teams simply do not have the luxury of dropping games to contenders ranked below them.

History has taught us that the eight and ninth weeks of play end up being the most important, so make sure to tune in this week and watch how the playoff picture resolves.

DAY ONE

Cloud9 vs. 100 Thieves — This is an incredibly exciting match to open up the day. Who would’ve thunk it, after everything that transpired with 100 Thieves throughout 2019? For what it’s worth, they’ve actually stepped up immensely over the last couple of weeks. After they attained their first win, everyone thought “hey, at least they have something”. Then they started stringing wins and no one knew how to react. “Is this really happening?” They went from last place to a very respectable 5W-7L record. In fact, they won five out of their last seven games, with their only two losses coming against Team Liquid and Team Solo Mid. Not too shabby.

Right now, even though a lot of time has passed, we don’t have a good enough read into their inherent strength. They’re solid, there’s no denying it, but it’s still too early to tell how strong they really are. They’re definitely in the running for playoffs and should be able to lock down a spot sooner rather than later. As for this match-up, in particular, everything is on the table.

We’re siding with Cloud9 on this one, although it really could go either way. 100 Thieves already beat Cloud9 a couple of weeks ago, but they did fight against Blaber instead of Svenskeren — a mitigating circumstance for sure. Regardless of the way this game eventually resolves, we should be in for one heck of a ride. Both teams love to skirmish and will surely fight for every inch of the Summoner’s Rift.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.35 (odds @ Betway)

Team Solo Mid vs. Golden Guardians — This one isn’t particularly exciting, and that’s a shame. The Golden Guardians definitely started the Summer Split off with a ton of momentum but have slowly regressed back to their prior inconsistent form. The fact that they’re playing with FBI and Huhi as their bottom lane seriously impacted their team cohesion and overall potential. Why they decided on such a thing still remains a mystery, but they basically hindered their chances of reaching the playoffs. The fight for Top 6 has never been this intense and there are many teams who are similar in strength and are looking to cement their spot in the playoffs.

The Guardians, as it stands, simply isn’t a solid contender. They’re prone to making good plays overall, but they’re just not good enough — neither individually nor as a five-man unit.

Sadly, they’re up against a game Team Solo Mid who, while not as strong as they were in Spring, are still one of the best teams North America has to offer. No matter how well they might start off, they’re bound to lose sooner or later. Team Solo Mid simply has too many tools at their disposal in order to drop this game, and if they draft seriously and play like they can, they shouldn’t have any problem in taking the Guardians down. That said, if Froggen steps up as he’s prone to do, this might be a lot closer than most people expect.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 1.50 (odds @ Betway)

FlyQuest vs. Counter Logic Gaming — Next up, we have an absolute banger. FlyQuest are on a huge resurgence and are an actual playoff contender whereas Counter Logic Gaming cemented themselves as an incredibly capable Top 4 team. Now, neither of these two rosters have what it takes in order to tango with the defending champions, but they’re very solid and well-rounded nonetheless.

FlyQuest, in particular, has to start winning games and upsetting teams if they want to stand a chance of reaching the playoffs. This means they will fight their hearts out now that everything is on the line,  and that one fact makes them an incredibly dangerous opponent. On the other hand, CLG is no slouch and will surely fight back to the best of their ability.

In the end, we have to side with Counter Logic Gaming on this one. They showed more on the Summoners Rift and have been far more consistent. One could argue that their highs weren’t that amazing when compared to FlyQuest, but they have solid fundamentals and are a bit more versatile and dangerous than their opponents. That said, this match could really go either way, especially if both teams bring their A game.

Winner: Counter Logic Gaming, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

Team Liquid vs. Clutch Gaming — This is where things get a bit less interesting. Maybe that’s even an understatement. There’s just not much that Clutch will be able to do against Liquid if the latter plays up to their full potential. That doesn’t mean this will be a complete blowout as Clutch rarely goes down without a fight, but no one’s really expecting a competitive match. Things might be a bit closer than anticipated, but in the end, the defending champions should be more than able to get the win.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.28 (odds @ Betway)

Echo Fox vs. OpTic Gaming — Finally, we have a fight between two gatekeepers to close out the day. Not exactly a must watch, but it should be an entertaining scrap regardless. Now, both of these teams are entering today’s match without much hype or momentum. Echo Fox is currently ranked tenth, whereas OpTic Gaming crashed and burned to a shocking degree after being in the Top 5 for multiple weeks in a row.

We can rightfully say that they’re both even in strength and potential right now, but it’s important to highlight that OpTic Gaming have very specific win conditions — Meteos has to create an early lead, and Crown has to hard carry like there’s no tomorrow. If they’re unable to do so, if they are unable to get off on the right foot, then they simply don’t have an avenue towards success.

To be fair, Echo Fox is not much better overall, but at least they’re consistent in their mediocrity. That said, we know just how capable they are. We’ve seen their commendable highs, the only problem is the fact that they can’t maintain such a level of play. They lost more than they had to, and they were often inches away from victory. To their credit, they were able to take down Cloud9 last week which was definitely a surprising twist, and it begs the question — are they “back”? Are they a solid middle of the pack team right now, or was it a one-off thing? Echo Fox definitely doesn’t need much in order to upset, so we’re giving them our benefit of the doubt on this one. They might not be a spectacular, well-rounded team, but they definitely have what it takes in order to take a struggling OpTic Gaming down.

Winner: Echo Fox, 2.45 (odds @ Betway)