NALCS Playoffs Preview — Quarterfinals Match 1 — Phoenix1
Starting next Saturday, April 8th, the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NALCS) Spring Split playoffs will get underway. The first match on the docket is Phoenix1 versus Team Dignitas. I’ll be looking at Phoenix1 today, and Team Dignitas tomorrow as part of a 5 part series looking at the quarterfinal matchups and the two bye teams, Cloud9 and TSM.
Phoenix1 is a team that thrives on offence, aggression, and a general thirst for blood. Star Korean imports and marquee players, AD carry, Dong-hyeon “Arrow” No and mid laner Sang Wook “Ryu” Yoo form a formidable two-carry punch for P1 that have electrified the NALCS since the beginning of the split. Rounding out the rest of the roster is top laner, Derek “zig” Shao, junglers Rami “Inori” Charagh and William “Meteos” Hartman, and supports Jordan “Shady” Robinson and William “Stunt” Chen. While not necessarily a star-studded roster, it’s been a winning roster with P1 finishing the regular season in 3rd place with an 11–7 record.
Arguably the biggest story for the team has been the re-emergence of Meteos in the jungle. Inori was their starting jungler, carried over from the unmitigated disaster that was their 2016 Summer Split. He started off the year in MVP form, hard carrying games while Ryu and Arrow worked to form synergy with the team. After a few weeks however, his performances began to falter and he had become a Feast or Famine player — he’d either play magnificently and carry the game, or he’d be a train wreck and feed kills like nobody’s business. In mid-February he announced that he’d be stepping away from the team for a week to deal with personal matters and went home to Vancouver. Back in sunny southern California and out of the abyss that is the streaming world, came Meteos to fill-in.
Meteos immediately slotted into the roster, initially as an emergency substitute but soon found himself as their starting jungler — even after Inori came back to the team. Meteos’ performances were reminiscent of his performances on Cloud9’s original, NA-stomping roster. Using his elite vision control, and pocket picks like his Zac, P1 went on a tear and it seemed that poor Inori had been left behind. Inori conceded that he’d been disappointed to lose the starting job to Meteos, saying that he felt rejected by his team and that he wanted a chance to prove himself once more. He was given sporadic starts towards the end of the split but the games P1 played with him lacked the clean, and counter-intuitively aggressive style that they’d shown with Meteos.
As the playoffs draw near, P1’s manager has to make a tough decision as to who to play — The once-again suddenly relevant Meteos, or the come-again, comeback kid Inori.
Tomorrow: Team Dignitas
Phoenix1 face off against Team Dignitas next Saturday, April 8th at 12pm.
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