It’s been 6 weeks now of LCS with Seraph manning the top lane position for Counter Logic Gaming. Lots of high expectations were placed on him heading into the next split for several reasons. First and foremost, he’s a top laner coming from the region that’s known for its top lane players as well as having played with Korean Team NaJin White Shield.
Second of all, these high expectations were exemplified by Seraph running a clinic on NA Soloqueue while playing with Aphromoo during and after All-Stars with his Nidalee and Yasuo play. Going into the split was supposed to be the rise of CLG total dominance in both laning and macro strategy. Was it a success? Was Seraph the strength they needed to fill Nien’s shoes or is he a weak link? Will they be able to 4-0 this coming super week?
The community can be a frightening being and I can’t speak to Seraph’s state of mind after any of the LCS games but he has received a lot of criticism. Even one of the casters pointed out how they haven’t seen the hype around him. This, to me, is a very unfair expectation on Seraph’s performance when taken objectively.
Yes, Seraph has felt a little lackluster upon the first week of LCS, but remember that a new team needs to take time for it to be good. I can’t think of a single roster change in the NA LCS that wasn’t at the bottom of the rung that has taken so little time for the team to continue to see success–especially with a foreigner who has English as a second language.
It is however the halfway point of the LCS and the next Superweek approaches. From the beginning until now, CLG has looked a stronger team each week and so has Seraph.
Charting these statistics, it’s clear as I stated before that Seraph and CLG did not mesh optimally at the beginning of the LCS but really, that should never have been a surprise given the caliber that the other NA LCS teams have risen to this split. However what we should be tracking is his improvement across this split.
If we examine the first week of the LCS, the super week, we’ll see some really disappointing scores for Seraph. Even though they went 2-2, Seraph failed to impress as he racked up a large number of deaths and low amount of kills and assists. Just looking at KDA alone, you can see how much Seraph has come in terms with being with his team as he gets up to around a 4 or 5 KDA minus the losses to Curse and TSM in the latest weeks.
Specifically, if you look at the wins against Curse and EG (Games 1 and 3), CLG won despite lack of teamplay with the rest of CLG. It’s clear that CLG was able to win those games almost completely without Seraph. Or rather, he was a non-factor to the victory against EG and Curse and a factor in the losses to LMQ and C9.
The Superweek is particularly a crucial time for CLG to see how they stand against the other teams in the region as they move closer to the playoffs and a chance at going to Season 4 World Championships. They face off against Complexity, Cloud 9, LMQ and Curse. While Compexity and Curse are at the bottom of the pack right now, they have been able to take games off of the top teams and should not be taken lightly. Plus, with the end of the season around the corner they, Curse and Complexity, need to pick up the pace or risk facing relegation for next season.
As for facing off with LMQ and Cloud9 it will be a very tricky battle for the Counter Logic Gaming combatants as they have an 0-2 record against Cloud 9 and a 1-1 record against LMQ. I am however, confident that with the progress that has been made since week 1 with Seraph meshing better and better with the team that they’ll be able to take a game off of at least one of them while keeping a consistent winning lead versus Curse and Complexity. a 4-0 dream may be unlikely but not impossible.
The chances of them winning against these teams are highlighted by a number of things. One being Cloud 9’s wild inconsistency within the LCS. It is true that they have a great record versus the top teams and a bad record versus the bottom teams but with that kind of inconsistency from two time NA LCS Champions with dominant records in past splits, it really comes down to C9’s draft phase and strategy going against CLG. It’s a matchup that is very likely for both teams to win of course.
But for the sake of a proper analysis instead of saying that anything can happen, I’ll say that I believe in CLG’s strength to overcome LMQ. The Chinese team came into the NA LCS like a bomb and they have and still are going strong. They have started to lose some steam though as their telegraphed patterns have begun to unravel. For context, they used to do the exact same red invade for a few weeks. If CLG ever needed a good time to strike LMQ in the gut, this is the week to do it.
Further evidence points to Seraph’s cohesion with the team being a success. Look at their recent victories over teams like LMQ or EG (who is much stronger at this point into the split with the additions of Helios and Altec in the lineup) where Seraph racks up a high number of assists with a lower number of deaths.
I bring up the specific match ups with Cloud 9 and LMQ despite me talking about specifically about Seraph is because to take down the top teams in a region, your players across the board cannot have any obvious weak spots that are easily exploitable to say in the least. Last split proved the worth and capability of each CLG player but as Seraph is the new variable, it’s his test and I think for the sake of CLG’s worlds potential, that test is now. The pieces have finally fallen into places. I have high hopes that Seraph will become the rock solid cornerstone that they need in the top lane, and I’m sure that time is soon, if not now.