The quest to reach a fourth straight World Championships continues for League of Legends’ most storied franchise. Team SoloMid bested Dignitas to advance in the League Championship Series playoffs yesterday afternoon.
The 3-1 win over Dignitas propels SoloMid into a PAX Prime showdown with LMQ next week. The winner will advance to the World Championships, the $2.2 million culmination of a year’s worth of league action. SoloMid is just one series win away—either against LMQ or in the third place match should they fall against the Chinese team-—from reaching their fourth World Championships, the only team to appear at every single version of Riot Games’ massive event.
Dignitas put up quite a fight. The first two games ended with ridiculous solo plays at the Nexus.
When Dignitas picked up Darshan “ZionSpartan” Upadhyaya to man their top lane at the start of the season, one common criticism of the move was Upadhyaya’s tendency to split push. But his strength split pushing won Dignitas their first playoff game, as Upadhyaya’s Nasus single-handedly took down Team SoloMid’s nexus to close out the first game.
In game two, SoloMid tried to get in on the action. Jason “WildTurtle” Tran managed to dash into Dignitas’ base with the Nexus open after two of his teammates fell in a fight. He expertly took advantage of his Lucian passive, weaving abilities in between auto attacks to proc extra attacks and push down the Nexus’ health as Dignitas closed in.
Then, he hit Lucian’s ultimate, The Culling. Whoops.
Tran assumed he could instantly cancel the channeled ability, but it has a built-in grace period to prevent players from accidentally canceling the ability when they spam the “R” key. Tran missed out on a couple auto attacks, and Dignitas saved their Nexus. Luckily, his teammate Maurice “Amazing” Stuckenschneider managed to hide in Dignitas’ jungle to return and finish the job.
Tran blamed his teammates for the mistake in his post-game interview. “The voice comms were like… use The Culling,” he said with a grin that could easily have been replaced with a horrified expression, if SoloMid had lost the game. Luckily the misplay didn’t cost them.
That map win was extremely important, tying the series and giving SoloMid the momentum, keeping them from falling into a two-game deficit.
That allowed SoloMid to close out the final two games decisively. In game three Tran went on a rampage with the scaling monster marksman Tristana, posting a 12/1/3 KDA backed by solid support jungling from Stuckenschneider on a 0/1/15 KDA Nunu. That Nunu again played a key role in game four as the German jungler posted a 3/0/11 KDA, showing that his reliance on a small champion pool, a knock against the player earlier in the season, is a thing of the past.
Team SoloMid will need more play like that from Stuckenschneider if they hope to best LMQ in the semifinals. SoloMid failed to crack LMQ in four meetings, losing every single game against the Chinese team.
While SoloMid travels to PAX Prime in a bid to continue their Worlds appearance streak, Dignitas must battle for their LCS lives. They’ll face their own PAX Prime battle, but one with dire consequences. The loser of the fifth place match between Dignitas and the loser of the Counter Logic Gaming and Curse Gaming match today will head to relegation, where their LCS careers will be on the line.
Screengrab via Riot Games/YouTube