This week we have the NA LCS Expansion Tournament coming to a close. Four teams will be competing for a spot in the finals and later to take their team to the LCS. The final rounds are taking place on December 12th—14th. Team Fusion will be taking on Final Five and Team Coast will face off against Curse Academy. All four teams have fought well and hard, some being brand new to the scene all together, definitely deserving of their spots in the top four.
Team Fusion is a new team having been announced just a few months ago is a team made up of LCS and OGN veterans looking to compete in the NA LCS Expansion. With players like MakNooN, Nientonsoh, and NintendudeX under their belts, they’ve really taken the Expansion by storm. Gleebglarbu is their starting support but has has been replaced by Chunkyfresh for the duration of the tournament. Their first round opponents, Confusion eSports forfeited the match sending them to the next round where they dominated Enemy eSports 2-0. MakNooN surprised casters and players alike with a Poppy pick in both games played against Enemy eSports. Despite being focused down in the laning phase and seemingly shut down, MakNooN came back with a vengance an unstoppable force with double digit kills in both games, and a quadra kill in the first game. They are definitely not a team to be taken lightly despite having a relatively unknown support playing for them this tournament. Once they get even a little bit ahead, they will stay there and close with fearless engages.
Final Five is another newer team with their top laner, Rhux, having split from Team Coast to form his own team. Final Five did not have a full roster until just a week before the ranked 5’s ladder lock. Still, they qualified into the Expansion in seventh place. In round one they defeated Zenith Esports 2-1, having a lot of trouble in the laning phase of the first game leading to their defeat. Though they are made up mostly of new players, they have shown their ability to adapt to situations, playing more conservatively and making a win out of less than ideal situations against CompLexity in their first game and in the matches against Zenith eSports. Their manager, MizzPeach, attributes the first loss to Zenith to nerves, stating that “the early level one put us on tilt”. Rule 18 seemed to have the most trouble on their team, frequently being caught out of position. Despite this, they’ve shown incredible aptitude when it comes to getting ahead and closing a game.
Fusion definitely has the edge on paper with a team full of veteran players, but Final Five will give them a run for their money if they can stand up to the incredibly aggressive playstyles of HuHi and MakNooN. If Final Five gives them an inch, they will take a mile so it will be crucial that they keep losses to a minimum. Aside from popular bans, we may see a Poppy ban go down after MakNooN’s performance against Enemy eSports and possibly a Lee Sin ban after seeing ShorterACE’s dominance of CompLexity’s laners. This will be an intense match as both teams show aptitude with explosive playmaking.
In the second matches of the day, we have Team Coast and Curse Academy. Team Coast definitely had an easier time than Curse Academy this series with an undefeated record and absolute domination of Call Gaming and Team LoLPro. They are just a force to be reckoned with in this tournament making very few mistakes and very few losses for incredible gains. Their bot lane is definitely something to keep an eye on, Sheep’s Janna is just a force of nature (a monsoon, maybe?) and he just enables Mash to bully the enemy laners and get ahead very quickly. Impaler’s ganks are very well put together. He’s just all over the map, as is Cris with his teleports. Jesiz really shines with the utility he brings to the table, very good at zoning out the enemy and helping his team in fights. A very solid team overall, strong and confident.
Curse Academy is also a team with an air of confidence, taking down CompLexity White though with more struggle than Coast has had in their matches. Saintvicious hasn’t changed at all, still missing Smite every so often, but a very strong jungler nonetheless bringing incredible engage power and utility to his team. Up there with Saintvicious in the utility is BunnyFuFuu showing us unbelievable engage and disengage power, saving many a life of his teammates. Cop and Hauntzer are newer additions to Curse Academy’s line-up this year. Cop gunning down enemies with ease on ADC and Hauntzer wreaking havoc across the map with his on-point teleports. Keane has proved to be an influential and sometimes unorthodox player, using Hecarim as a couterpick mid against Zed and winning by a landslide against goldenglue. This team has really strong players in its midst along with some very familiar faces. Though they made some heavy mistakes, Curse Academy pulled through and they certainly should not be taken lightly.
Curse Academy will definitely have to be careful against Team Coast as mistakes will be heavily punished in this match. Coast definitely has strong players that really size up their opponents well and make good calls. If Curse Academy isn’t careful, they’ll find themselves in an landslide match. Trying to keep BunnyFuFuu off of Janna may be a good move and an Ahri ban wouldn’t be surprising after Jesiz’s unreal 11/0/11 Ahri match against Call Gaming. Other critical champions that may get banned out include Cop’s Corki and Impaler’s Rengar. If Curse Academy makes the mistakes they made against CompLexity White, they will definitely have some trouble against Team Coast, so long as Team Coast doesn’t let a lead go to their heads.
These matches will be starting at 2:00 PM EST starting with Final Five vs Team Fusion. Both will be a best of three series and the winning teams will move onto Round 4 for a chance to go to NA LCS. Make sure to tune in at the LoL eSports website this weekend to watch the action live!