Photo: Riot Games

We have finally reached the grand finale of the North American 2017 Summer Split, and it has been one hell of a ride. It went almost completely as expected, however there were a couple of moments and surprises that stood out.

The Dardoch and Xmithie trade, CLG dropping Dardoch for the rookie OmarGod, Dignitas managing to improve to an incredible degree, Envy becoming a decent playoffs team and even Cloud9 faltering a bit as the season closed out.

There is one thing for certain however and that is the fact that we will get to witness the two absolute best North American teams duke it out this Sunday – TSM & Immortals. TSM managed to snatch the number one seed due to a slightly better game differential even though they had the same numbers of wins and losses. They’re heading into the finals with an even head-to-head score, and things simply cannot get any more exciting.

To get a better idea of how these two teams match against each other, let’s first take a look at how well both teams played last weekend in the semifinals.

Immortals

Everyone expected Immortals to best CLG and reach the finals, however it was still a bit shocking to see how dominant they looked in doing so.

CLG started the first game strong, swinging for the fences as they’re known for doing. They brought their A-game and made it an intense game filled with some phenomenal League of Legends.

To be perfectly exact the first game was somewhat sloppy as we got to witness two skirmish-prone teams going at it and while it was fun from a spectator’s point of view it was far from clean. There wasn’t a lot of setup or strategy, it was more akin to EU LCS’s Unicorns of Love strategy – “see hero kill hero”.

While IMT made a ton of mistakes, they never let go of their gold lead. The forty-fifth minute of the game became the deciding one after a back and forth slugfest around the Baron pit, ending 4-1 in IMT’s favor.

Games two and three on the other hand were absolute stomps. Immortals came out aggressive, with more confidence and dominated in every way, shape and form. CLG didn’t have the right response and as a result succumbed to the pressure.

Their strengths

  • They’re not perfect and they make mistakes, however their mental fortitude and cool-headedness is the virtue of a championship worthy team.
  • They have threats in every lane. You cannot single out a single Immortals player, they’re all in phenomenal shape at the moment.
  • They can carry as a team, and individually as well. This is perhaps their biggest strength, as they’re not always co-dependent completely and can pop off individually if needed.
  • Olleh. The man, the myth, the legend. The words of praise that he’s been getting all over the region are well deserved. He completely destroyed Huhi with his consistent roaming to the midlane. At the moment he manages to do what no other support in NA does – roam and influence other lanes as well as his own. In addition, he almost never losses lane along with Cody Sun even though he spends a considerable amount of time away from his ADC.

Their weaknesses

  • Xmithie is their catalyst more often than not and he has ups and downs just like any other player, however his level of play goes a tad further. He will look like an absolute beast in one game – predicting enemy movements and pathing and fighting with impeccable positioning, and then straight out feed and mis-position like a complete rookie in the very next game. You can notice this pattern even in their series against CLG where he had a huge number of deaths in game one with some abysmal skillshot accuracy on Gragas.
  • They make sloppy mistakes. They overreach at times and get punished for it. You could say that that tendency is relatively manageable however against the perennial North American team things get a lot more complicated. TSM doesn’t need a lot to turn the game around. (as Cloud9 know best)

Team Solo Mid

TSM’s series against Dignitas went a tad differently, however the outcame remained pretty similar. (3-1 for TSM) Both teams started off strong, with TSM opting for a split push comp for game one.

We waited 19 minutes for the first fight, and it was somewhat worth it. It ultimately went in Dignitas’ favor, however TSM managed to punish with a quick Baron call and turned it into high gear. They took over the map and reaped the rewards. Eventually they were able to outscale as well. They frontline was durable enough to endure all Dignitas had in store, with Bjergsen and Doublelift dishing out insane amounts of damage.

Game two was an early demonstration of skill on TSM’s side, as they were ahead for over 10k gold at the 25 minute mark. They had the superior teamfighting, and completely neutralized Shrimp’s Nunu. Dignitas managed to respond with a solid game three mostly thanks to Adrian’s insane Thresh plays, but eventually failed to repeat their performance for game four.

What we saw was an incredible skill disparity in the mid lane. Bjersen was able to not only win lane every single time but also win losing matchups without much trouble.

In the end it was TSM that was able to transition well into the mid and late games, they drafted well and executed their win conditions correctly.

Verdict

Looking at how individual players stack up, it’s pretty close lane-by-lane. The big deciding factor will most likely be the mid lane matchup of Bjergsen vs. Pobelter. We have witnessed Bjergsen’s greatness time and time again, and he has always played his absolute best League in the moments that mattered the most. Another factor will be the pick and ban phase, as both teams often prioritize the same picks, with the latest one being Kog’Maw. TSM was very focused on picking it up for Doublelift in their series against Dignitas, and we know that TSM and IMT scrimmed each other just a couple of weeks back.

TSM is looking to make history. They’re looking to win three NA LCS titles in a row, and they’ve made this their tenth final showing in a row. Those are some sensational stats. On the other hand this is the absolute best Immortals squad that ever existed, the most sound and consistent.

It will be unnervingly close, however TSM is the greatest and most iconic NA organization for a reason. This is a solid, experienced lineup with great cohesion, and they perform extremely well in clutch moments.

Winner: TSM, 1.70 (odds @ Betway)

Third Place Match – Counter Logic Gaming vs. Team Dignitas

Photo: Riot Games

The match for third place is not as exciting, but will surely be a fun scrap nonetheless. We have two teams that love to fight big and fight often, and they’re both fighting for momentum before entering the gauntlet. CLG is coming off a crushing 3-0 loss against Immortals and they showed a lot of the problems that have been plaguing them during the regular season.

The moments when CLG lost were moments when they were out of sync. They were able to find the fights they wanted however they often fought without a single target in mind, thus allowing Immortals to respond correctly.

They have the individual talent in each lane, however it doesn’t always come into place. Unluckily for CLG, they had to do best they could with a last minute change in the jungle. They went from a seasoned aggressive veteran in Dardoch, to a complete rookie. It’s no one’s fault to be fair, however he is too big of a reliability for his team and it shows on the Rift. They cannot build LCS level synergy in a month or two’s time.

And that goes for the team as a whole, the volume of work that needs to be done in order for CLG to actually contend for a Worlds spot is almost uncomfortable.

Dignitas on the other hand didn’t show a lot either in their series against TSM, however they at least made it competitive. Even when behind they fought valiantly and looked for openings, and it payed dividends in their third game. They were slow to start in almost every game and they weren’t that in sync and it showed.

They were too hesitant, too afraid of what TSM could do. As the games went on, they drafted every comp they could and still lost regardless.

Verdict

Dignitas have the tools to take down CLG. They’re looking to recreate their quartefinal magic and they have a fairly easy opponent in front of them. They have the edge, and if they manage to shut down OmarGod (which shouldn’t prove to be too big of a problem) and allocate resources into their bottom lane they shouldn’t have too big of a problem taking CLG down.

Expect this one to go 3-1 in Dignitas’ favor.

Winner: Team Dignitas, 1.80 (odds @ Betway)