Photo: Riot Games

Much like Europe, North America had it’s fair share of upsets and unexpected swings and turns. Patch 7.14 brought a plethora of changes, and as it goes by default some teams ended up with the shorter end of the stick. The latest competitive patch changed a bit more than most expected, and the meta changed almost immediately. New pick and ban priorities went through the roof and teams that didn’t adapt fast enough had very little chance to come out victorious.

Let’s take a closer look at what exactly changed, and how it will impact this week’s matches.

Phoenix1 vs. Echo Fox & CLG

Phoenix1’s situation could not be more confusing, and for any and all fans – frightening. When the split began, they were unexpectedly weak, especially after a strong showing in Spring. Their whole jungle position situation was publicly scrutinized, and soon afterwards their decision to swap out support players didn’t go too good either. However they seemed rejuvenated when MikeYoung joined the team. What he brought was a fresh take on the game, a different strategy. His aggressiveness and the leads he built in the jungle carried over to the team and for a little while, Phoenix1 looked good. Along with Xpecial’s late game plays (that didn’t always came to fruition) they looked like a team possessed.

Until they came back from Rift Rivals.

Now they simply look lost. The meta is shifting towards tank junglers, something that MikeYoung didn’t show great proficiency on, Arrow and Xpecial are among the worst bottom lanes statistically in the NA LCS, and to top things off – Ryu is taking time off due to stress and burnout. While he was pretty inconsistent during Summer, he was still their shinning light most of the time, hardcarrying games on the likes of Corki and Orianna.

His replacement – Selfie (who is coming over from Tempo Storm) is no slouch, but he won’t be able to fill Ryu’s shoes, nor have the impact Ryu had on his team.

vs. Echo Fox

They’re a team that is no longer focused on winning. What their core strategy is at the moment – no one outside of the organization can tell for sure, but it’s not winning every possible match and getting into playoffs. That makes them a team you should absolutely rarely bet on. To make matters even more complicated – as of the last couple of weeks, you never really know their starting roster either. They subbed out Froggen – arguably their biggest performer and best player. Akaadian is nowhere to be found as Grig is starting now more often – also fairly illogical as the early advantages Akaadian created were the only saving grace Echo Fox had in Spring. The only thing they had going in their favor was their strong early game, however that went out of the window.

It didn’t take a lot of time before CLG and TSM dismantled them last week. Phoenix1 on the other hand are nowhere near the upper echelon of NA LCS at the moment, so this match is a completely different ball game. While CLG completely demolished them in 2-0 fashion, they did manage to take a game win against TSM which is not too shabby.

Bet on Echo Fox. They know that this is one of the easiest wins that they can get at the moment, so they shouldn’t be fooling around too much with their roster. While closing out games was never their forte, they know this is a must win.

Winner: Echo Fox, 2.00 (odds @ Bet365)

vs. CLG

Unluckily for P1, no matter how well they might prepare, they don’t stand a chance against CLG. Even with a less experienced jungler, CLG has the upper hand in almost every department. Expect this one to be a rather swift 2-0 victory for CLG.

Winner: CLG, 1.30 (odds @ Bet365)

Immortals vs. Team Liquid & Team Dignitas

Immortals continued their dominance over NA LCS last week with a clean 2W-0L weekend. They don’t have any obvious problems or holes in their game which is not something you can say about their competition, it’s all just a question of how well they will perform on a given day. So far, they’ve been performing at the highest level as they have taken sole possession of the number one spot in the LCS. Their roster is a strange one, as they don’t have any monster players on first glance. They don’t have someone like Doublelift, or a jungler known for his mechanical prowess. Instead, they have five guys working their hardest and having insane team cohesion. They all bring something unique to the table and they all work off each other, sharing their leads and moving as a unit.

A lot has been said about their trade for Xmithie at the beginning of the split, but it cannot be overstated how big of an impact he had on the team. He was the perfect addition stylistically to Immortals, enabling his teammates rather than taking resources for himself. Thankfully, his teammates have stepped up big time as well – each and every member of IMT are arguably Top 2 in their position at the moment. Cody Sun is playing out of his mind and when paired with Olleh you get arguably the strongest bottom lane in the LCS. Their versatility and aggression is something that not a lot of teams can rival.

vs. Team Liquid

Something clicked with TL last week, as they were finally able to string two series wins in a row. That was no small task as they were facing Team Envy and Phoenix1. They were finally all on the same page, moving as a unit and setting up plays way faster than their opponents. To make matters more interesting, the current meta is shifting towards tank junglers which is Reignover’s forte, and with recent news of TL signing former ROX Tigers’ midlaner Mickey, CLG’s Dardoch and solo-queue standout instanityXXX, it seems like they are on a good path.

Sadly, they have yet to win against a top tier team, and it doesn’t get any more “top tier” than Immortals. They have the cleanest macro and are strong in every stage of the game, so expect this one to be a somewhat close 2-o series in Immortals’ favor.

Winner: Immortals, 1.30 (odds @ Bet365)

vs. Team Dignitas

Dignitas is an enigma for itself. However if one thing became apparent over the last couple of weeks it is the fact that they’re an astoundingly strong team with their current roster. They have on and off weeks, losing to lower ranked teams, then demolishing the upper echelon the very next week. (lost against Envy and FlyQuest in Week 5, then went on to beat CLG and TSM)  However when they come to play, they wreck house. When Ssumday and their bottom lane start off strong, they snowball super hard regardless of the opponent, and they know their way around the map. Long gone are the memeing days of the “Dignitas Baron throws” – taking quick Barons are now their specialty. Individually they’re all performing fantastically, with Altec and Adrian being the absolute highlight.

It seems as though that defeating Dignitas starts off with the draft. Luckily for IMT, they have a fairly solid pick and ban phase so they shouldn’t be outdrafted by any stretch of the imagination. They also have a lot of footage to look over, and seeing how Dignitas have a lot more holes in their game it shouldn’t be too hard for IMT to come up with a solid game plan.

That said, this will probably be an insanely close series, going 2-1 in Immortals’ favor.

Winner: Immortals, 1.53 (odds @ Bet365)

TSM vs. FlyQuest & Team Envy

Their Week 7 games against Dignitas and Echo Fox were extremely sloppy. In standard TSM fashion, they failed to adapt fast enough to the patch and went on autopilot. TSM know how badly they played. They know how bad of a grasp on the meta they have and are surely working extremely hard to fix all issues. Luckily for them thanks to an easier schedule, they won’t have to sweat a lot in Week 8.

While both FlyQuest and Envy are capable of surprising teams, TSM know that these two matches are a must win if they want to retain their chances of a playoff bye.

vs. Team Envy

Even though NV ended last week with a 1W-1L score, it was far from good. They looked lost and de-synced. If anything Nisqy seems like a really solid addition to their roster as he had a couple of monstrous Syndra games. He is always with his team, often at the right place at the right time. Will they bounce back? Probably. They are a solid mid-tier team that has upset potential, however their upcoming schedule is anything but forgiving. They have TSM, CLG, Immortals and Cloud9 in a row, so don’t be surprised if Envy ends the next two weeks without a single match win.

Winner: TSM, 1.36 (odds @ Bet365)

vs. FlyQuest

Historically, FlyQuest and TSM always have exciting matches and this should be no exception. It always went in TSM’s favor, and to be frank this match should be no different. They’re breaking at the seams so it shouldn’t be too hard for TSM to take advantage of their weak laning and (as of late) questionable late game shotcalling. If anything, they manage to stay even for a good portion of the game, but they always find a way to fall off. At times they even manage to sneak a game win – regardless of the opponent however those wins are too few and far between.

Betting on TSM would be the better choice.

Winner: TSM, 1.20 (odds @ Bet365)

CLG vs. Team Envy

Something felt off when CLG decided to swap out Dardoch for OmarGod – a jungler far less experienced – a couple of weeks back. They said it was due to them wanting to share stage time, but it never looked like it. A couple of days ago news broke out that they have sold Dardoch’s contract to Team Liquid, and will be starting OmarGod for the rest of Summer. Now that is incredibly unfortunate, as Dardoch gave them the aggressive, mechanical edge they needed. While he didn’t play out of his mind as most people expected, he gelled with the team in a fascinating way, and it payed dividends fairly quickly. They enter Week 8 with a roster that is a big question mark. Sure they shouldn’t have much trouble beating Team Envy, but they have both Dignitas and TSM next week, and without a consistent jungler – they don’t stand a chance.

All eyes are on OmarGod. And with good reason.

Winner: CLG, 1.53 (odds @ Bet365)

Cloud9 vs. Team Liquid & FlyQuest

After a couple of shaky weeks, it seems like Cloud9 are finally coming back into form. While they still have a lot of holes in their game, you can at least expect a certain level of consistent high-level play whenever they enter the LCS stage. The meta is going into a direction that fully suits their players, and Impact specifically. He is a fairly versatile player, but he wrecked house a split or two ago on tanks and there is no reason for him not to do so again.

Luckily for them, their schedule for Week 8 and 9 is a fairly easy one. They will simply have to continue working on their strengths and will surely come out of this week 2-0. However expect both Liquid and FlyQuest to put up a bigger fight than expected.

vs. Team Liquid

Winner: Cloud9, 1.30 (odds @ Bet365)

vs. FlyQuest

Winner: Cloud9, 1.40 (odds @ Bet365)

Echo Fox vs. Team Dignitas

One of the more one-sided matches this week. Regardless of the roster Fox comes out with, Dignitas is looking like an extremely strong team at this moment. Echo Fox isn’t strong enough to contest in any possible area, which will surely lead to a dominant 2-0 victory on the side of Team Dignitas.

Betting on Dignitas would be the more logical choice.

Winner: Team Dignitas, 1.40 (odds @ Bet365)