One of the oldest franchises in League of Legends won their first major title in years this weekend. For the first time in the organization’s long history, Counter Logic Gaming is the League Championship Series (LCS) champion.
The esports organization acquired its first LCS title by defeating Team SoloMid in a shocking sweep in New York City. The win represents the culmination of a dramatic turnaround for Counter Logic Gaming (CLG). Just one year ago they were nearly relegated from the LCS, but now they’re champions who will represent America in October’s Riot World Championships.
While Counter Logic Gaming entered the final as the top seed after sweeping Team Impulse in the semifinals, Team SoloMid seemed the favorites. They had qualified for every LCS final thus far and entered the Summer split as the defending champions. Counter Logic Gaming, on the other hand, were a squad infamous for choking on stages smaller than the one they walked this weekend in iconic sporting venue Madison Square Garden.
The final kicked off with a first blood that no one was able to see, as Riot’s live feed of the game cut out during that initial confrontation. It was Counter Logic Gaming picking up the unseen kill, and the team’s momentum would only build further from there.
It was in many ways a day of vindication for embattled AD carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng. Long considered America’s best AD carry player and one of the most iconic players in League of Legends worldwide, the veteran of nearly five years had never won a major championship until now.
The Counter Logic Gaming star led his team to victory in the first game to continue his perfect streak of Tristana play during the summer split with Counter Logic Gaming posting 17 kills against only three for Team SoloMid.
Peng then secured a dramatic pentakill in the second game with Jinx to help clinch a victory and then demonstrated his increased versatility by switching to a more supportive style with Ashe in the third game. And while the second and third matches were closer than the first, the result was ultimately the same: Counter Logic Gaming victory.
Peng made sure to send a message to his supporters after the victory.
Shoutout to all the people who said I’d never do it. Never give up my friends :^)
— Yiliang Peng (@TSMDoublelift) August 24, 2015
He also made a point of vengefully retweeting a very specific message sent just over a year ago by Team SoloMid owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh:
— Andy Dinh (@TSMReginald) July 27, 2014
It’s been a long time coming for Peng his team of four years, Counter Logic Gaming. Team owner and former player George “Hotshotgg” Georgallidis couldn’t hold back tears as his team celebrated on stage after the match, finally clasping the trophy that’s eluded them for years.
The win secures a top seed for Counter Logic Gaming in this year’s edition of the Riot World Championships. Team SoloMid will join them in the competition as a second seed. The third and final North American team to compete will be determined at the regional qualifier next week.
Photo via Jacob Wolf