Week Four Day One
We are four weeks into the Summer Split and we finally have an answer about the state of the meta. There is no one true meta. There are many. Teams can play a number of different styles and win. Funnel strategies are running rampant and mages in the bottom lane have been adopted from the EULCS. The tried and true method of using marksmen in the bottom lane can even work. The time has come for true strategic diversity.
Game One: Echo Fox vs Counter Logic Gaming
To start us off, Echo Fox came out swinging in the draft against CLG. Echo Fox drafted a European style team, with Heimerdinger in the bottom lane and Fiddlesticks support. This likely came from the adaptations Echo Fox had to make after losing to Europe during Rift Rivals. Echo Fox also put Tanner “Damonte” Damonte, fresh off a suspension, in the Midlane on Yasuo. They are likely trying to get Damonte time on stage after being suspended for the 5 games.
The game started out with CLG getting the first blood on Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon and quickly picking up an advantage in the Top Lane. The lead for CLG’s Top Laner Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya transitioned into a large kill deficit for Echo Fox and a lost Baron. Darshan continued to dominate throughout the end of the game, securing a triple kill and cementing the win for Counter Logic Gaming.
Game Two: 100 Thieves vs Team SoloMid
The second game gave us the first time Andy “AnDa” Hoang was playing for 100 Thieves and the first time we saw 100 Thieves since their unimpressive run at Rift Rivals. Like they have done before, 100 Thieves played a funnel strategy, with AnDa playing Rakan to Cody “Cody Sun” Sun’s Xayah. The funnel composition by 100 Thieves was met by a different funnel composition from Team SoloMid. TSM also adopted the Heimerdinger that the European teams innovated.
The first blood did not come till around 12 and a half minutes into the game off of a lane swap. TSM got the bottom lane turret from 100 Thieves and then rotated to the top lane. However, the advantages for TSM dried up quickly, as 100 Thieves picked the TSM members off with their superior initiation. The team TSM drafted was very squishy and mostly Magic Damage, making it easier to itemize against them. Minutes later, after a few poor team fights, TSM fell to the Thieves.
Game Three: Cloud9 vs Flyquest
Coming in for game three, Cloud9 had something to prove. They attempted to write the story that they are not the weakest team in the league that their record indicates. They drafted a composition that almost completely lacked any Physical Damage against the Magic Soaking Colossus himself, Galio. Cloud9 began the game off on the right foot however, securing the first blood on Lee “Flame” Ho-jong. Superior crowd control on Cloud9’s side allowed for a number of outplays against Flyquest.
Listening to the communication within Cloud9 it is evident that they have a strong voice from their Support Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam that can help them in the future. His calls and calming voice were enough to inform the team of his situation as well as that of the enemy. Zeyzal’s play as well is a major part of his worth as a player as well. His hook onto Lucas “Santorin” Larsen to stop him from retreating was essential to winning the team fight, as well as the game, for Cloud9.
And in one of the most anticipated returns to the #NALCS @Zeyzal on Pyke crosses @FlyQuestSports off of @Cloud9 's list as they take them down in the final game of the day! pic.twitter.com/Smsozms1QZ
— LoLEsports Stats (@LoLEsportsStats) July 15, 2018
Game Four: Clutch Gaming vs Golden Guardians
Going back to basics for everyone in the game, two traditional compositions faced off in the fourth game of the day. An early gank to the bottom lane from Juan “Contractz” Garcia secured a double kill. A return gank from Contractz opened up an opportunity for the Golden Guardians to push their bottom lane advantage further. Golden Guardians dictated the pace of the game and continually pressured Clutch Gaming.
Mid-way through the game, Clutch Gaming was able to win a few team fights by having more people than Golden Guardians could commit to a fight. This small advantage then came crumbling down when Golden Guardians fought on their own terms. Son “Mickey” Young-min, the Midlaner for Golden Guardians was able to pressure the Clutch Gaming players into suboptimal plays, leading to an eventual Golden Guardians win.
Game Five: Team Liquid vs OpTic Gaming
Finishing off day one, Team Liquid faced off with OpTic Gaming in an attempt to cement themselves as the number one team in the league. OpTic chose to play the mage duo bottom lane of Heimerdinger and Fiddlesticks against Team Liquid’s traditional bottom lane marksman. Team Liquid did, however, run a funnel composition using Shen and Taliyah as the catalysts. An early kill from Jake “Xmithie” Puchero onto the opposing Jungler looked to set Team Liquid up for success.
For most of the game it seemed, Team Liquid was on the back foot. However, when they fought on their terms and engaged as a team, Team Liquid was able to win fights. The solid frontline of Team Liquid also contributed to their success as OpTic’s line up was full of squishy champions that were easily killed. A single successful team fight from Team Liquid was enough to tip the scales in their favor as they killed the nexus.
If at first you don't succeed…throw another rock!@Pobelter 's Taliyah helps @TeamLiquidLoL overcome a rocky early game vs @OpTicLoL to take the Game 4 win! #NALCS pic.twitter.com/8hAPnSwqQ6
— LoLEsports Stats (@LoLEsportsStats) July 15, 2018
Week Four Day Two
Game One: Golden Guardians vs 100 Thieves
Opting into using the mages in the bottom lane, Golden Guardians started their game off against 100 Thieves with a bang. Less than a minute into the game, Mickey hits a Sleepy Trouble Bubble, causing AnDa to fall asleep and leading to his quick death. Throughout the whole game, Golden Guardians appeared to be the team in control. A fight nearly 12 minutes into the game showed the teamwork of Golden Guardians. They were able to turn a fight that seemed to be hopeless by not giving up and moving forward.
Mickey came up huge in this game, going legendary and only dying in the second to last fight. The one-shot potential from his build and positioning made it almost impossible for anyone to step up to him. Superior teamfighting on the side of Golden Guardians led to a complete stop of 100 Thieves.
Game Two: Flyquest vs Team Liquid
Team Liquid seriously botched this match. It appeared to be another attempt at giving Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng stage practice as Vladimir. Assumedly, Team Liquid figured that this would have been an easy match, so they chose champions that they were able to play, but not picking comfort. In the end, this doesn’t crush Team Liquid’s hopes of achieving first. If anything, this win for Flyquest cements the fact that they are indeed a contender and not only a middle of the pack team.
Liquid’s final hope came when they attempted to hold by their top inhibitor. The damage that Jason “WildTurtle” Tran was dishing out in the final team fight was due to his build being physical damage rather than magic. The pressure that his Midlaner was exerting by being magic damage allowed him to go physical and put his opponents at a disadvantage when itemizing. An ace in the final fight led to Flyquest running away with the win, one kill shy of a perfect game.
Game Three: Team SoloMid vs Echo Fox
In the third match of the day, both Team SoloMid and Echo Fox were scrambling for a match win to close out their week. A pretty even draft from both teams led to an even game. However, the tower disparity Echo Fox was able to create began to be too much for TSM. Echo Fox was able to pull further and further ahead, inch by inch, until it was out of TSM’s reach.
The deficit was apparent when it came to the fight at Baron almost 30 minutes into the game. Team SoloMid was not able to step up to contest the Baron. The pressure from the Baron was enough to crack into TSM’s base and take the game in favor of Echo Fox.
Game Four: Counter Logic Gaming vs Cloud9
Both Counter Logic Gaming and Cloud9, in the penultimate match of the day, faced off in an attempt to go 2-0. To begin the game, Counter Logic Gaming appeared to be in control. The initiation from Vincent “Biofrost” Wang was critical to the success of CLG early in the game. CLG was even able to get a Baron 25 minutes into the game because of Biofrost’s engage onto Cloud9’s Jungler, Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and prevent him from going over the wall to steal the Baron.
Apparently, one Baron was not enough to finish off Cloud9, because Cloud9 was able to get a Baron of their own and knock on CLG’s front door. Thirteen minutes after the initial Baron, CLG was able to steal the Elder Dragon from Cloud9, get the Baron, and end the game off a huge Shockwave from new NA resident Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun.
Game Five: OpTic Gaming vs Clutch Gaming
What an interesting match to finish off Week Four. Two teams, near to each other in the standings, battling it out in a traditional style match. OpTic came out to an early lead, with Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham carrying the team with his Nocturne. Akaadian’s advantage made it so that OpTic was even able to get a Nexus Turret around 37 minutes into the game off of a huge three thousand Baron Power Play.
Clutch Gaming, however, was able to get a Baron for themselves and start a base race. OpTic messed up seriously by opting into the base race. Clutch Gaming had three people in the base of OpTic and the Baron Buff, while OpTic only had two members and no Baron. The only possible route to winning would have been if OpTic based and attempted to kill Clutch outright. Half of Clutch Gaming holds OpTic off while the other half goes in for the kill on the base.