Week Two Day One
With the meta still being figured out for many teams, this week we saw a smattering of different playstyles, from the traditional team composition to a game with dueling funneling strategies. The NALCS Week Two expanded the potentials for teams and has not resulted in any one team seeming to be a favorite.
Game One: Counter Logic Gaming vs Team Liquid
The first game of the second week pitted old teammates against each other as Counter Logic Gaming and Team Liquid faced off. Both team compositions were standard, with a marksman in the bottom lane for both CLG’s Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes and Liquid’s Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng. The game began with a first blood onto Liquid Top Laner Jeong “Impact” Eon-yeong.
From that moment, incensed, Team Liquid began the pressure, outplaying CLG. Tower after tower Liquid knocked down, which lead to a team fight in the top-middle jungle that led to an “Ace” of CLG. Liquid charged into CLG’s base and routed them, ending the game in a dominant fashion.
Game Two: Team SoloMid vs Clutch Gaming
A rematch of last split’s quarterfinals, TSM vs Clutch Gaming shaped up to be the beginning of a rivalry. Coming off a 2-0 week the previous week, TSM appeared to come into the game trying to prove they could be at the top of the pile this split.
In typical TSM fashion, the game was slow, with the first blood not coming till nearly 15 minutes into the game. The first blood would be at the hands of Clutch Gaming’s Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo onto TSM’s star Mid Laner, Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg.
From there, Clutch Gaming took control and pushed deep into TSM territory. In a stroke of good luck and good play, TSM’s Jungler, Jonathan “Grig” Armao was able to steal the Baron away from Clutch Gaming and begin to claw back into the game. However, in a team fight around the Elder Dragon LirA got revenge on Grig and stole the Elder Dragon setting Clutch Gaming up for success. TSM attempted to mount a defense inside their base, however, Clutch was too powerful and killed the whole team and the Nexus. Defeating Team SoloMid once again.
Game Three: OpTic Gaming vs Echo Fox
Ask anyone last split if they thought that a game between Echo Fox and OpTic would be as entertaining and close and they would say it could never be. Tell that same person that OpTic won by Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage being able to stand up against Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon and they would ask you if Huni was drunk.
This game was a clash of two competing gold funneling strategies wherein OpTic won. The true hero of this game was the draft. The fact that OpTic had Noh “Arrow” Dong-hyeon on the Lucian as well as PowerOfEvil on the Kai’Sa allowed for a second carry to step up when PowerOfEvil fell in a teamfight. A huge mistake in shot calling on Echo Fox’s side to go for the Baron late in the game when they were all low health led to their demise. PowerOfEvil cleaned Echo Fox up and cleaned up the base.
Game Four: 100 Thieves vs Flyquest
This game was one sided from the beginning, starting with the dive on top tower just before ten minutes into the game that got 100 Thieves’ Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho a kill on Lee “Flame” Ho-jong. From there, Ssumday was able to get further ahead and get to a point where he was nearly unbeatable in a fight.
This was evidenced by the fact that in a fight near the dragon pit, where Ssumday was likely dead, however, he pressed his ultimate ability at the last possible second which filled up Aatrox’s Blood Well, causing him to revive mid-fight to then output damage. 100 Thieves were able to play the team fights slowly and methodically which contributed to their win.
Game Five: Golden Guardians vs Cloud9
In a clash of styles, a gold-funneling strategy of Golden Guardians was pitted against the traditional composition of Cloud9. For a majority of the game, Cloud9 was in the driver’s seat. However, it all took a turn for the worst when Cloud9’s Jungler, Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen attempted multiple times to assassinate Matthew “Deftly” Chen and Golden Guardians took the fight to a surprised Cloud9 each time.
The fight that sealed the deal for Golden Guardians was right before 40 minutes where they nearly wiped Cloud9, took three more towers, and then headed towards the Baron. The game came down to a “Base Race” where players on each team just push into the enemy base and attempt to end the game before the other team can do so.
With a single Baron buffed minion, Deftly and his Jungler Juan “Contractz” Garcia, pushed into Cloud9’s base and took down an inhibitor and both nexus turrets, finally ending with the Cloud9’s Nexus.
Week Two Day Two
Game One: Flyquest vs OpTic Gaming
A winless Flyquest attempted to throw off OpTic with a change up in the draft, going for a gold-funneling strategy and throwing Jason “WildTurtle” Tran into the Middle Lane. Despite a good start, Flyquest faltered a bit in the mid-to-late game which set up OpTic to begin taking control over the game. However, OpTic bit off more than they could chew by heading into Flyquest’s base and beginning to end the game.
Flyquest counter then with an Elder Dragon play in which WildTurtle maintains his cool and gets the 50/50 Smite on the Dragon. This allows Flyquest to march into OpTic’s base and take down the Nexus.
Game Two: Cloud 9 vs 100 Thieves
Like their previous game, Cloud9 once again failed to capitalize on the fact that they were ahead for a majority of the game against 100 Thieves. The downfall of Cloud9 can be traced to one teamfight around 26 minutes into the game where Svenskeren was once again out of position and cost them the fight. Cloud9 was fighting in the jungle where the fight lines were broken up. 100 Thieves were able to split Cloud9 away from their only tank in Sejuani and took down the squishy members of Cloud9.
From there, it was all downhill. Cloud9 got desperate at Baron and fed kills to 100 Thieves, costing themselves a chance at the Baron and signing the game over to the likes of the Thieves.
Game Three: Team Liquid vs Team SoloMid
In my opinion, this game ended in the draft. The fact that TSM put Bjergsen on Lulu was enough to sign TSM’s death certificate. Bjergsen needs to be put onto something proactive to make any kinds of plays. Lulu is far from proactive, being almost exclusively reactive instead.
Liquid was making plays all around the map, with their bottom lane winning from an early first blood, they went Top Lane and killed Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell. For some reason, Alfonso “Mithy” Rodriguez, was constantly out of position, getting caught multiple times by skillshots thrown out by Team Liquid. The rest of the game was just Team Liquid making better decisions and map movements than Team SoloMid. A secured Baron buff and ensuing fight win allowed Team Liquid to walk into TSM’s base uncontested.
Game Four: Clutch Gaming vs Counter Logic Gaming
For most of this game, the teams were matched up evenly. It wasn’t until an over-commit at Baron around 23 minutes into the game that the game tipped into CLG’s favor. Clutch Gaming stayed too long around the Baron at low health and seemed to forget that CLG’s Mid Laner, Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun was on his way.
Nearly ten minutes later, CLG decided that the game needed to end, and began to take Clutch Gaming’s base. After taking one and a half Nexus Towers, Counter Logic Gaming had to back off and reset in order to make another push. CLG then pushed to Elder Dragon and secured it, causing their three Infernal Drakes to multiply in usefulness and allow them to do massive amounts of damage and end the game.
When @Huhi gets his hands on Aurelion Sol, @clgaming usually gets their hands on a win – and they did against @ClutchGaming ! #NALCS pic.twitter.com/Mzh7UTfUac
— LoLEsports Stats (@LoLEsportsStats) June 24, 2018
Game Five: Echo Fox vs Golden Guardians
In a match that many would classify as David vs Goliath, Golden Guardians came into the game swinging, with Sam “Lourlo” Jackson getting first blood and picking up a double kill early in the game.
In this game, Huni appeared to be frustrated evidenced by his lack of awareness for most of the early game. However, it appeared as if the hubris of Lourlo and Golden Guardians played a role in their downfall. Lourlo believed that he could do more than he actually could against Huni and bit off more than he could chew, getting ganked by the whole Echo Fox team.
The next large fight the teams got in was all decided on the positioning of the players. Matthew “Matt” Elento, attempted to charm and stun Echo Fox’s entire team before his teammates were there to follow up. A Baron and a few more team fight wins for Echo Fox sealed the game in their favor.