Reflection on North America’s Big Three

      North America continues to smell defeat as another year goes by without having proved themselves on an international stage. The North American scene looks to make more roster changes with a bitter taste in their mouth from a disappointing performance from all teams.

Cloud 9

      Six months ago the shot caller, and seemingly beating heart and center, of the Cloud 9 organization retired for several reasons. The organization (and even Hai initially) claimed it was due to a persistent wrist injury in the star mid-laner. But through interviews it was later revealed that Cloud 9’s bonds of friendship and trust that had once united them on the Fields of Justice were now in tatters. The team bickered, questioned calls, and their once fluid unquestionable team fighting style was now virtually unplayable.

      Hai called it quits and the former SK Gaming Mid-Laner was pulled from the depths of a permanent ban to begin anew with Cloud 9. This time Meteos was leading the charge, but it was quickly obvious that without Hai Cloud 9 was stumbling about the map without an idea of what to do. Week after week and loss after loss didn’t help the teams morale before Meteos decided to swap spots with Hai. Cloud 9 flourished again and ran the gauntlet successfully with newly acquired coach Bubbadub (yes the support player from former Complexity) outdoing a heavily favored Team Liquid.

      Cloud 9 was looked at with dismay as they entered the World Tournament; however, the North American team surprised everyone with a 3-0 start Week One. Ultimately however, they faltered and emotions seemed to get the best of them as they didn’t win a single game in Week Two.

      Cloud 9 is only looking ahead with Season Six in sight. Lemmonation is now on a staff position in the Cloud 9 organization as open tryouts for Support and Jungler will ensue. Hai will once again definitively stay with this team. It seems Cloud 9 is sure they need their shotcaller. Basically tryouts are to look for either position and Hai will fill whichever doesn’t end up having a player selected. So we could see the former Mid-Laner in Support, which has been a long lived dream for many Cloud 9 fans. Meanwhile, in the background whispers and hints from manager Jack Etienne suggest that a challenger team surrounding Meteos might be in the works as well.

 

Counter Logic Gaming

      Counter Logic Gaming saw its first ever LCS season victory this year. It was no easy season for these champions either. CLG has never really been a team at rest with itself. Even when dominating the team members are consistently at each other’s throats. We might be able to safely say that CLG is in the past now. Former Vulcun’s Jungler came back into the scene ready to play again for CLG. An older wiser CLG squad has emerged from the troubled ashes of Counter Logic Gaming after they went through relegations last fall. With long time Mid-Laner Link stepping down and airing out their dirty laundry, CLG looked to start anew. Link took to defending Xmithie for heavy scrutiny of mechanics and positioning, and it seemed to have worked as the player stayed on the starting roster. And they did that with an acquirement of all new players. With Dignitas’ downfall came the release of Pobelter, Zionspartan, and Scarra (though Scarra wouldn’t last more than a split, and it was at a heavy cost to CLG as well as they were found guilty of poaching both Scarra and Zion). The team did dominate all split long, only dropping games to TSM, Gravity, and Team Liquid. And with a sounding victory over favorite Team Solo Mid, not letting them take a single game, they looked ready to take the international stage by storm. Some controversy surrounded the team as they announced a temporary replacement of Xmithie with substitute Mid-Laner Huhi. The VISA issues of Xmithie were resolved though, and it was announced the Jungler would be joining them against the other titans of the world.

      In order to begin with CLG’s World’s performance we need to begin with another team: PaiN Gaming. Brazil and other wildcard teams have never been looked at with any seriousness. Many suggested that PaiN didn’t even deserve their 3-0 win over Kaos, with poor micro play. They came to the World Championship with a dream to win. At least that’s what they said to the cameras. But every single person knew what was really on BRTT’s mind, Doublelift. The two trash-talking kings have butted heads for well over a year at this point and being pitted against each other in the group stages was perfect.

      Counter Logic Gaming opened with a close victory over Sword Art’s YOE Flash Wolves. The team looked in dire straits up until play maker Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng’s Jinx kicked in and began decimating the Flash Wolves. CLG was heavily favored to make it out of groups; however no one anticipated the force the Flash Wolves brought to the international stage. They continued to drop games in the tough group, first to the KOO Tigers, then to the Flash Wolves. In a final match against PaiN Gaming both teams played signature champions, both teams seemed to be in full knowledge that they would not advance from groups: this game was for bragging rights. The match was neck and neck for the first ten to fifteen minutes. Then the positioning errors from CLG set in and BRTT’s Draven began to snowball heavily. Ultimately CLG has seen quite a bit of negative press regarding the loss, and the organization itself has sought restructure. A new change is on the horizon as CLG’s secondary Mid-Laner will now see the fields of justice, HuHi. The former Korean Mid-Laner from Big File Miracle will look to prove himself in the North American scene.

 

Team Solo Mid

      The team with the largest fan base in North America (potentially even the world) has seen hard times over the last year. With more wins in major tournaments than any other organization in existence this might come as a bit of a surprise; however, if you follow TSM it isn’t. TSM doesn’t have the one win they want, Worlds. Between two different Junglers and two different Support players, TSM just can’t find the sweet spot they’ve been looking for. And the tension has risen, it’s glaringly obvious in TSM legends with owner, Andy “Reginald” Dinh and coach, Yoonsup “Locodoco” Choi arguing with virtually every player on the team. TSM is the center of controversy for the League of Legends stage. How can a team with such a dismal living situation thrive? The answer is they can’t. Dyrus and Santorin have retired leaving two open positions in the TSM lineup for certain. Lustboy is moving to analyst making it three, and now Dinh has called for trial by fire for the long time AD Carry WildTurtle with open tryouts. WildTurtle has announced that he will be participating. What does that really leave after the dust settles? The only thing that’s left is TSM’s bright shining star Bjergsen. This has been the glaringly obvious answer for some time, build a team around the superstar. The question is: what kind of TSM will emerge?


Written by asunderpanic

Edited by Williaf

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