Week Eight Day One
As we make it deeper into the split, the teams are finally separating. Playoff berths have already been secured by the likes of Team Liquid, 100 Thieves and Echo Fox. With patch 8.15, the meta is becoming more secure and traditional compositions are the flavor of the week.
Day One Game One: 100 Thieves vs Echo Fox
The battle for Second Place began in the draft phase. 100 Thieves were able to get an advantage by counter-picking Poppy into Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett’s Lee Sin pick. Poppy counters a lot of what Lee Sin has to offer, especially with her Steadfast Presence countering Lee Sin’s main engage tool. The advantage in the jungle was enough to put Dardoch far enough behind that there was almost no coming back.
In addition to the counter-pick that 100 Thieves was able to secure for themselves, they also were sporting the traditional composition. Echo Fox decided to put their star AD Carry from Oceania on Swain, a mage. This led to a mismatch in the damage output department, as Echo Fox’s damage was heavily reliant on Dardoch being ahead. He was to be a physical damage source along with the Yasuo of Tanner “Damonte” Damonte. Dardoch’s inability to get a lead fell back on the team and their damage profile was mostly Magic Damage, allowing for 100 Thieves to have an easy time building Magic Resist items. A decisive team fight and Baron call from 100 Thieves secured them the Baron and soon after, the win. With this win, 100 Thieves moves into Second Place and Echo Fox falls to third. This was a generally poor showing from Echo Fox, with Dardoch seemingly playing tilted and his team unable to carry him.
Day One Game Two: Cloud9 vs Golden Guardians
Cloud9 came into this game knowing what they wanted to pick, their infallible combination of Zilean and Kindred. They got that combination after all, and from the draft phase on, they played around it. They made a play top lane for the first blood where Robert “Blaber” Huang dove the enemy Top Laner. In addition, Zilean came in and turned the fight around with a revive onto Blaber’s Kindred after he was engaged upon. Minutes later in the bottom lane, Blaber sits in the enemy tri-bush and waits for a teleport from the Zilean to come through before engaging. During the play, Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi was seconds away from dying before the Zilean ulted him. Having the Zilean ultimate on himself, Sneaky had the confidence to continue the fight and secure the kill.
With the advantage that Cloud9 built up for themselves, it was all but impossible for Golden Guardians to come back. The only way that the game could have gone their way was if Cloud9 decided to over-extend themselves. There was a moment by the bottom inhibitor turret where it could have all changed for Cloud9. They were moments away from throwing the game, yet calm determination was enough to keep them afloat.
Day One Game Three: Counter Logic Gaming vs Team SoloMid
This classic rivalry rears its head again, with Counter Logic Gaming facing off against Team SoloMid. This game was one of inches. TSM was ahead CLG throughout most of the game. They were ahead on the play that resulted in the first blood of CLG’s jungler, Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin. TSM was also inches ahead when it came to dragons and team fights. They were, for most of the game, less than a thousand gold ahead of CLG until they decided after a won team fight to head to Baron and secure it.
From the Baron secure onward, TSM was able to set up their lanes in ways that were favorable. This let Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell, split-push and create pressure on the third and final lane they needed. This pressure, then, was what cracked the game open for TSM. They were able to walk their minions into the base of Counter Logic Gaming and almost too easily took the game.
Day One Game Four: OpTic Gaming vs Team Liquid
In a bold declaration, Team Liquid gave up the Akali for Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage to play and took two huge tanks in response. They had the Galio in the middle lane as well as the unexpected Malphite in the top lane. This opened Jake “Xmithie” Puchero, the arguably best Jungler in the NALCS, up to play a carry jungle champion: Graves.
Xmithie, allowed to carry, was able to get a lead over his opposition. This then gave way to the opportunity to take Baron twenty-nine and a half minutes into the game. The ensuing team fight was enough to all but secure the map for Team Liquid. They were able to, using the duration of their Baron buff, to end the game off of a few favorable team fights since they were so far ahead of OpTic.
Day One Game Five: Clutch Gaming vs Flyquest
Once again, a European import Midlaner was able to pick up the Akali and once again, it failed. This time, it wasn’t large frontline tanks that stopped the Akali, but mobility and maneuverability on the side of Flyquest. That same maneuverability was on display as Flyquest was able to move around the map with ease, ganking other lanes faster then the opposition. In addition, Flyquest could assist their fellow laners quicker, which led to mismatched team fights.
It cannot be understated on how many times Jason “Wildturtle” Tran came up clutch in many different team fights. He was able to go in, deal a ton of damage and back off without dying, many times with very low health. Wildturtle was able to be the damage dealer that his team needed, a Physical Damage threat that was able to bypass the Magic Resist his enemies were buying. In the end, his secure place in the team’s ecosystem allowed for a Baron bait that ended the game in a very Flyquest fashion.