It's the championship weekend for the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) and the North American and European third-place matches will kick-start it all. The North American side will feature Immortals against Counter Logic Gaming and the European side will pit Unicorns of Love against H2K. All teams will enter with the hopes of ending the summer split on a high note after a hard-fought season and playoffs run.
Immortals against Counter Logic Gaming
Both teams will enter this week's matchup with disappointment slowing their momentum. Immortals was in the conversation for the majority of the split as the secondary juggernauts in North America. The team was stacked from top to bottom, with the elite duo of Kim "Reignover" Yeu-jin and Heo "Huni" Sung-hoon to anchor the lineup. However, a finals berth was not in the cards. Immortals lost a nail-biting set to the red-hot Cloud9 team and now look to recoup some of their losses.
Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) was the wild card in the playoffs picture. The team overcame some early inconsistencies in the summer split to look like a true threat entering the playoffs. It was reported that the team was adapting well to the new patch and that its strategy and overall cohesion were at an all-time high. Then it fell apart. Secondary carry Choi "Huhi" Jae-hyun's weakness -- a small champion pool -- was exposed and the rest of the CLG lineup struggled to find an answer to Team SoloMid's pressure.
Immortals should enter the matchup as the easy favorite. The lineup fell to a team on fire, but they still played up to their own standards. CLG's whimper against Team SoloMid was concerning. They fell apart at the worst possible time and a week may not be enough for a full rejuvenation. Look for consistent dominating lane phases from Immortals due to Reignover's well-timed rotations and a snowball victory.
H2K against Unicorns of Love
For H2K, this is still a high-stakes matchup. With Worlds consideration and points on the line, it borders on a must-win situation. However, last week's loss to Splyce was an eye-opener. H2K lost even though it played the way it intended to operate: slowly and meticulously. Every game, with the exception of the last one, was a grind to control objectives and secure map control and H2K still lost the set. Not only that, but H2K lost to a snowballing Gnar twice.
Unicorns of Love (UoL) played well last week against G2 Esports. The team traded leads and played strong when the set started, but crumbled when the pressure was at its peak. If not for a rather fortunate Baron steal in game 1, UoL would have been the team with an overwhelming 2-0 lead and the potential to be a finalist for the European LCS. But it was not meant to be and the Unicorns are now slated for the consolation series against H2K.
This set may be a coin flip. H2K's loss in a matchup and pace that favored it is a huge red flag and UoL's strong showing against arguably the best team in Europe was encouraging. However, H2K's raw talent should never be discredited and UoL's overreliance on early momentum means victory sometimes flies out of reach. This series will go to whichever team can dictate the pace, and my money's on H2K.