Team SoloMid and Phoenix1 will be put to the test to determine the top team in NA, but with both teams fielding MVP candidates, there is more on the line than just playoff seeding for these two teams. Pheonix1’s ADC No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon and Team SoloMid’s Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg are both having MVP caliber seasons, and with the playoffs quickly approaching, their clash provides one final opportunity to see the two face-off head to head.
Win or lose, Team SoloMid is going to be the number one seed in the NA LCS playoffs after their series with Phoenix1. Team SoloMid are yet to lose a series in four weeks and look once again be the strongest team in North America. The race with Cloud9 for a spot atop the standings has disappeared over the past few weeks as C9 stumble and continue to tally the losses. Yet where Cloud9 have faltered, another has risen to take their place.
Coming into the season, it was clear that Phoenix1 was a team brimming with potential. The team revamped a disappointing roster with some of the best free-agents available, and could easily be considered the off-season’s biggest winners. From Korea, they added the star AD Carry Arrow from KT Rolster, in addition to Mid laner Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook who had been playing in the EU LCS for H2K Gaming. Support Adrian “Adrian” Ma was the final addition to a roster that only retained Jungler Rami “Inori” Charagh and Top laner Derek “Zig” Shao.
As expected with an almost completely new roster, Phoenix1 were still shaking off the growing pains as their staggered out of the starting blocks, setting a 4-4 record to start the Spring Split. When Inori was forced home to handle some personal issues, help arrived from the most unlikely source; after some persuading, the former Cloud9 Jungler William “Meteos” Hartman agreed to join the squad. The change was remarkable: Meteos controlled and consistent playstyle provided a solid base for Phoenix1’s stars to build off, and allowed Zig to play the carry top laners he thrived upon.
Phoenix1’s star of the show however, was Arrow. Leading the NA LCS in KDA, Arrow has been (to put it lightly) an absolute monster for P1 and the clear carry for the team on the rift. Arrow leads all ADCs in kill participation, a testament to his impact and importance.
Unafraid of unfavourable match ups, often Arrow will blindly pick Ezreal, confident that regardless of his lane opponent he will come out on top. As the season has progressed Arrow has clearly become the best ADC in NA, and has catapulted himself to the top of the MVP conversation despite this only being his first split in the region.
The other player in contention for the NA MVP award has already won the accolade multiple times; Bjergsen has three of the coveted titles to his name already, and may well be primed to win his fourth. When Team SoloMid plays Phoenix1 this weekend, these two MVP candidates will collide in what will likely be a preview of a future playoff series. This series can be a statement, not only for the upcoming playoffs, but for who has earned the right to claim on the NA MVP title.
With a final opportunity to impress the judges for the NA MVP award, there is no doubt this series will showcase some of the best talent NA has to offer. With both teams riding a wave of momentum towards the playoffs, one can emerge as the favourites to claim the league title. The rosters will have to rely on their stars to turn in another MVP performance: if P1 Arrow is to claim the crown, here is his moment to prove his worth.