Worlds: The Collapse of North America

With the group stage of Worlds now complete, the competition is moving to London for the quarterfinals. You will not be seeing the 3 teams from North America there however. CLG, Cloud 9, and TSM all failed to make it out of groups. This is the first time in the history of the LoL World Championship that no team from North America was able to make it out of groups. It was heartbreaking this year considering where the teams stood after the first week of groups. Then the second week of groups came around and North America ended up 0-10 in their final 10 games. How did each team fail? Why did NA choke so bad? Is NA the worst region in the world? Let’s discuss.

CLG

CLGsad

 

In my eyes CLG were the biggest disappointment coming out of the tournament simply because they are the only NA team that I predicted would make it out of groups. The cruised out to a 2-0 record after their first two games and then they met the KOO Tigers. KOO dismantled CLG in one of the most dominant games of the tournament. CLG finished the week 2-1 with a share for first place. Then week 2 game around and CLG were never the team they were in week 1. CLG once again were absolutely destroyed at the hands of the KOO Tigers. They then went on to lose a to the Flash Wolves in a “must-win” game and after their fate had been sealed, they lost to Pain Gaming. Their 0-3 day seemed a bit predictable however since they hardly made any changes after the first week. Doublelift almost only played Tristana this tournament, and Pobelter couldn’t play any champ not named Lulu well at Worlds. CLG also went back to the Ekko pick in the jungle as well as top lane and neither payed off. Aphromoo didn’t make big plays and Xmithie never really had any success on ganks. The biggest disappointment on this team for me was ZionSpartan. In a top lane focused meta, Zion should of thrived. I’ve been a fan of Zion since his Good Game University days. I know he can carry any game. He never really outperformed any player in the top lane and led to CLG’s demise. Of course his play isn’t the only reason. CLG seemed to only want to play their quick turret pushing strategy and when it was taken away faltered. CLG will look back and see that their champion pools need to be increased as well as their macro game strategies.

Cloud 9

HaiSad

Many people think Cloud 9 collapsed harder than CLG. Although they probably did, who really expected them to get out of groups anyway? I predicted Cloud 9 would go 0-6 in groups and was shocked at their 3-0 in the first week. This team finished 7th in the North America LCS, a league with many weak teams. Without a miracle gauntlet with multiple reverse sweeps this team wouldn’t have been here. That being said, this team has improved immensely from the one we saw in the NA LCS. Hai is a necessity on this team because without his shot-calling this team is dead in the water. Incarnation also stepped up his performance at Worlds, but when teams banned out Veigar and Azir in the second week, he never recovered. Cloud 9 also thrived in their quick tower pushing strategy like CLG, but failed without it as well. I felt LemonNation and Balls showed to be the weakest members of this team by their weak laning phases. shallow champion pool, and misplays throughout the tournament. Cloud 9 lost all 3 games in week 2 as well as their tiebreaker to finish 0-4. Cloud 9 weren’t suppose to make it out of the group until after the first week. They couldn’t change their playstyle much like CLG couldn’t and it caught up with them in the end.

TSM

TurtleSad

TSM was the only team from NA that didn’t have a good week 1 showing, but they followed suit with the rest of NA in week 2 and also went 0-3. The same old problems looked to bite TSM in the butt and it cost them a change to move on to the knockout stage. Turtle was caught multiple times this tournament. Santorin once again seemed to be invisible in the majority of the games. Lustboy was even worse than he was in the summer split, which is really bad considering I thought he was awful in the summer. Dyrus was giving up first blood yet again after failing to be in the right place at the right time in lane swaps. Once again the only shining star for TSM was Bjergsen. His statistics at this tournament just proved how accurate the name “Team SoloMid” actually is. TSM finished 1-5 in this group which is what I thought they would finish. It was a very tough group and although TSM fans will be disappointed, I can’t look at them as a disappointment similar to Cloud 9.

So is NA really this bad?

To answer the question bluntly, yes. NA was really bad at this World Championship. Do I believe they are the weakest region in the world? No, I still think the NA region as a whole is better than the LMS and EU LCS, but even that can be debated and I may give EU an edge now. The top teams from the LMS and EU  however are stronger than the top teams from NA. I thought coming in the tournament that AHQ was definitely a better team than any team NA sent, but I didn’t expect the Flash Wolves to be better than CLG, but they turned out to be better than them. You could probably say that NA has never sent a weaker group of teams to Worlds, but the fact is that the NA teams are currently weak compared to competition around the world. NA has always had a team in the quarterfinals, but regions like Europe and Taiwan definitely improved from last year and beat up on the North American teams. The top level talent in North America is not as strong as the other regions, and if this doesn’t change, than North America will eventually become the weakest region in the world.

 

By: Jeff “Gravy” Miskin