The NA LCS Summer Promotion Tournament begins on April 6th and I am predicting some big changes incoming. The new format includes the bottom three LCS teams and the two top Challenger teams. The first match will be between the lowest seeds from the LCS and the Challenger Series, with the loser being eliminated straight away. The winner will then join the remaining three teams in a double elimination tournament format. This very first match up is between Team Dignitas, who finished in 10th place in the Spring Split of the LCS, and Team Dragon Knights, who lost in the NA Challenger Series finals against Apex Gaming, finishing second.
Round 1 – Dignitas vs. Team Dragon Knights
Dignitas was a very strange team during the LCS season. There were times early on in games, even against some of the best teams in NA, that they were very competitive. They even found themselves holding an early lead in a game late in the season against the 1st place team, Immortals. But as has been the case for DIG for multiple seasons now, they are notorious for their throws around the Baron. They constantly give away games by trying to play around the Baron pit and either they lose objectives outright or lose the following team fights. Along with their Baron woes, DIG have consistently had problems closing out games. No matter the lead, their builds, or the map control they have, they are terrible at closing out games. Although Danny “Shiphtur” Le has improved over the course of the season and has had some good performances, DIG as a team lack talent at nearly every other position. Alan “KiWiKiD” Nguyen has never been a good support player at any point in his career, and Apollo “Apollo” Price has been a mediocre AD Carry at best in my opinion.
Team Dragon Knights made some serious roster changes going into the NA CS playoffs, and they seemed to have been quite effective. Cuong “Flaresz” Ta in the top lane and Alexey “Alex Ich” Ichetovkin in the mid lane have provided stability that was missing in those roles throughout the regular season. Alex Ich also provides some veteran leadership and initiation that the team was lacking. Although he had a bad performance in the NA CS finals, Oh “Ohq” Gyu-min was a standout performer and arguably the best AD Carry in the NA CS.
Although Alex Ich has looked better in the Challenger Series, he will be facing an LCS mid in Shiphtur and he did look shaky against LCS competition while on Renegades earlier on. However, TDK is made up of multiple players who have competed at the LCS level so they should not be lacking in talent when compared to DIG. DIG had serious problems closing games with leads and many times they were just outright beaten by better teams, never even seeming competitive. I believe this will be a close match up but I am picking TDK to take the series in five games.
Prediction: Team Dragon Knights over Dignitas 3-2
Round 2 – Renegades vs. Team Dragon Knights
That win would relegate DIG and put TDK up against Renegades in Round 2. This will be quite the match up considering it was these two teams who made a massive trade towards the end of the season. Alex Ich, Flarez, and Oleksii “RF Legendary” Kuziuta were sent over to TDK in exchange for Shin “Seraph” Woo-yeong and Noh “Ninja” Geon-woo. Once that trade went through, REN looked like a different team. They were much more competitive once they were able to field Ninja, who was coming off of a suspension. With their new roster fully intact, they closed out the season winning four of their last five games. Aleš “Freeze” Kněžínek was a silver lining on the team as he still performed very well despite the team’s struggles earlier on. Seraph also looked much better in LCS than he ever did in the Challenger Series.
REN has much more talent than DIG and should be formidable. Ninja and Seraph look to be stronger than Alex Ich and Flaresz, and Freeze should be able to neutralize any duo lane advantage TDK has with Ohq. I am picking Renegades in this match up over TDK in four games.
Prediction: Renegades over Team Dragon Knights 3-1
Round 2 – Team Impulse vs Apex Gaming
Team Impulse has been a mess all season long. Due to VISA issues early in the season, they had to use Seraph, on loan from TDK, and also used their support Austin “Gate” Yu as both a mid and top laner. Once their Korean imports settled in and they had everyone in the correct position, the standout on the team was Kim “Procxin” Se-Young in the jungle. Procxin finished the season with the highest first blood participation and the highest percentage of his team’s damage among junglers. The team’s limited success was focused around Procxin being able to get his laners some sort of advantage, as Brandon “Mash” Phan had the lowest numbers in terms of damage among all AD Carries.
On Apex Gaming in the NA CS regular season, AD carry Park “Police” Hyeong-gi also had some of the lowest damage numbers. However, he stepped his play up heavily and even outperformed Ohq in the NA CS finals. The team was loaded with talent as they had LCS veteran Alex “Xpecial” Chu at support and former Gravity mid Lae-Young “Keane” Jang. They also had two of the best junglers in Challenger Series with Seo “Eve” Jun-cheol coming over from Samsung Galaxy in Korea and former Team Coast member Lee “Shrimp” Byeong-hoon as his sub. Apex were far and away the very best team in NA CS this past season and were very dominant.
It is because of the multiple threats and wealth of talent on Apex that I am picking them to beat TIP. With their two junglers they have multiple looks that they can give TIP on top of the fact that they have better players at every position. This should be a fairly comprehensive beat down as Apex sweep the series.
Prediction: Apex Gaming over Team Impulse, 3-0
Round 3 – Team Dragon Knights vs Team Impulse
With the double elimination format, the two losers, TDK and TIP, will then face off in the final series. Between the two teams, I believe TDK is the more talented line up and Ohq should heavily outclass Mash in the AD carry role. Kevin “Kez” Jeon was a very good jungler in the Challenger Series focused on vision control and should be able to somewhat neutralize the only advantage TIP have in Procxin. Despite his previous trouble in the LCS, I don’t think Alex Ich will lose heavily enough to a player like Choi “Pirean” Jun-sik to make a difference. Also, Flaresz has mainly been a tank initiator for TDK in the top lane. Wang “Feng” Xiao-Feng has attempted to play carries in the top lane for TIP but has not found much success. With their biggest strength lining up with one of the opposition’s strengths, I find it hard to see TIP coming out on top. I am picking TDK to win the series three games to one.
Prediction: Team Dragon Knights over Team Impulse, 3-1
If my predictions follow through, we would see two new teams in NA LCS this summer. While I do not believe Apex or TDK can win in their first LCS season, I do believe that they can upset some teams and make some noise. Renegades also look to be much better next season and could find themselves being much more formidable. This series play could also benefit these teams as the summer split in NA will be played in a BO3 format. This could benefit a team such as Apex who play two different junglers. If I am correct it will be interesting to see how these teams fair in the upcoming season.
Images provided by Riot Games
Written by Oscar Left
Edited by Williaf