Brandon Sturak

Brandon Sturak

Brandon is a Niagara University graduate with a passion for esports. He writes about League of Legends and esports, with analysis and commentary on both. He is a founding member Niagara University Esports and the previous mid laner/coach for the NU Esports LoL team. Twitter @GhandiLoL

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LCS Summer 2019 Match Preview: TSM vs Cloud9

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Team SoloMid ("TSM") and Cloud9 ("C9") are organizations every League of Legends fan knows well. The legacies of these teams go back years, and their rivalry does the same. Because of this, it is always a treat to watch them go head-to-head no matter the occasion. This weekend they will battle on the Rift once again and its gearing up to be quite the exciting match.

C9 is currently fighting for the first place spot, and even with a substitute top laner, they are looking like a serious contender to do so. But TSM are no slouches either. They are only one win behind C9 and the other teams tied for first, so they're eager to make their way into that tie and prove they're a top team. Of course, the rivalry is fierce between these two teams, and they'll give their all to win. It's definitely going to be a great game to watch!

Team Strengths

TSM has some strengths that will pair nicely up to C9's. The most glaring one is in the top lane. Broken Blade is known for his aggressive, carry style champions that net advantages early. Last week, Kumo subbed in for Licorice, and is likely to do so this week too. As a result, TSM may be able to exploit the rookie top laner and gain a sizeable advantage for Broken Blade. Kumo did play well in his games last week but his lack of experience could be a weak point TSM can attack.

That's of course not all though. Bjergsen is always a high-quality carry and can be depended on to deliver great performances. In addition, Zven and Smoothie have played some aggressive bottom lane duos to decent success which could be an avenue to victory too. But their jungle position is shared between Grig and Akaadian, both of which have had their ups and downs.

Crucially, this is where one of C9's biggest strengths is. Svenskeren has been a monster this split and is regarded by some to be the best jungler in NA right now. His ability to carry his team through the early game and set them up for success is truly impressive. Nisqy seems to pair well with Svenskeren too and they can accumulate leads together effectively. Svenskeren can probably get the advantage of either TSM jungler, but moreso if it's Akaadian playing.

C9 is typically a proactive team with a strong focus on the mid-game. C9's players are relatively equal in terms of strength compared to their TSM counterparts. But their main distinction is their proficiency at grouping and making smart mid-game plays. Zeyzal is a great shotcaller and initiator, while Sneaky dishes out the damage he needs to.

Keys to Victory

As said previously, TSM can look to the top lane to find an advantage. Kumo had two good games, and even solo killed TL Impact, but his lack of experience and possible small champion pool can be used against him. A winning 2v2 in the bottom lane is another potential avenue for them. Sneaky and Zeyzal can struggle if put under early pressure, so if Zven and Smoothie can get strong early champions and jungle pressure they'll be in a good position.

On the other hand, Svenskeren will need to continue his impressive performances. Right now he is definitely better than Grig or Akaadian and will be the main difference maker in the early game. Their main focus should be on making it to the mid-game where they truly thrive. TSM has focused their attention more on being an early game team, and though C9 has a strong early themselves, they outclass TSM in the mid-game.

In the end it'll likely be a close game. The teams are pretty even in power levels so their match is sure to deliver a good deal of action. TSM performed better than C9 at Rift Rivals and has their full main roster, which makes one want to side with them. But with C9's recent victory over Team Liquid, they look very strong too. This is a difficult match to predict, but the money is on C9 to pull through. Their overall score is better and TSM's jungle position looks easier to exploit than C9's top laner. Either way, make sure to tune in this Sunday for this exciting matchup!


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Photos via LoL Esports Flickr.

Featured image via LoL Esports.

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