The final of the NALCS is here, and it brings an exciting match that is sure to be a satisfying conclusion to one of the finest splits in NALCS history. Team SoloMid comes to the match with a 17-1 record and a 3-0 drubbing of Counter Logic Gaming in their most recent semifinal match, while Cloud9 has improved throughout the season and beat Immortals in a tough five game set.
TSM is the favorite for many in the match, as they have simply dominated in the NALCS save for one series loss against Phoenix1. Their control over almost every game has been astounding and they will be attending Worlds as one of North America’s representatives.
Cloud9, on the other hand, has been less of a power this season. After finishing the split in third place they were able to knock off Team Envy in the Quarterfinals and Immortals in the Semifinals in relatively close series. The pre-split addition of World Champion top laner Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong and former jungler William “Meteos” Hartman has led them to a better place as a team. Not to be discounted, however, is the addition of NALCS Coach of the Split runner-up, Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu. With his drafting prowess and analysis, Reapered enabled Cloud9 to knock off a tough Immortals team that had beaten them twice in the regular season. ADC Zachery “Sneaky” Scuderi will as well be important to Cloud9’s plans.
After TSM’s peak in last season’s playoffs, many thought that the introduction of rookie support Vincent “Biofrost” Wang would be a downgrade. However, he surpassed all expectations and was recently named Rookie of the Split, on top of his previous honor of the NALCS All-Pro first team which was also given to three of his teammates. The other members of his team have performed extraordinarily well, with mid laner Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and ADC Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng placing first and second in the MVP rankings. The honor of MVP was not an unexpected one for Bjergsen, as he scored top five marks in both KDA ratio and CS per minute. His impressive performance against CLG, exemplified by his 9.33 KDA ratio, was key in TSM’s win.
Unlike possibly any other team in North America, TSM has the ability for any member to carry the game, as all five have shown consistently strong play this season. Top laner Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell will have to shut down Impact to avoid the problems faced by Immortals last week when Cloud9 was able to prevent star top laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon from having any influence on the game.
Not to be outdone by Cloud9, TSM’s coach Parth “Parth” Naidu also came in above Reapered to win Coach of the Split in his first full split as TSM’s coach.
The match will almost certainly be closer than TSM’s victory over CLG, but it remains to be seen if Cloud9 can defeat TSM in a series for only the second time since last split’s finals. TSM has already clinched their place at Worlds, but they can guarantee themselves the first seed with a win. Cloud9, on the other hand, must win to avoid the gauntlet.
The match will take place on August 28 at 12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern.