Aug 28 2016 - 1:55 am

Immortals take third in the NA LCS playoffs again with win over CLG

For the second consecutive split since joining the NA LCS, Immortals were forced to settle for third place in the playoffs after dominant regular season performances
Fran Berkman
Dot Esports

For the second consecutive split since joining the NA LCS, Immortals were forced to settle for third place in the playoffs after dominant regular season performances. The team took down Counter Logic Gaming 3-2 today at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

The series was entertaining from the very start as game one turned into a bloodbath with 46 total kills, featuring a seemingly constant stream of team fights. CLG mid laner Jae-Hyun “Huhi” Choi carried with a 14/1/12 spread on Syndra. Huhi gave CLG an early lead by unloading a full combo on Eugene “Pobelter” Park’s Karma for a solo-kill shortly after hitting level six.

At one point, CLG aced Immortals twice in a two-minute span. That would spell certain doom for most teams, but with their base in shambles Immortals forced yet another team fight at the Baron pit. With a few too many flashing health bars for a team that had more than a 10k gold lead, CLG barely won the fight and took the game minutes later.

Immortals turned the series around in game two by converting a successful mid-game team fight into a quick 33-minute victory. The near-capacity crowd chanted the summoner name of Immortals AD Carry Jason "WildTurtle" Tran, a Toronto native, during a timeout, and he rewarded their praise with an 8/1/5 performance on Sivir.

Game three and four both lasted longer than 50 minutes. The former was a wild back-and-forth contest in which Immortals recovered a Baron steal at the 45-minute mark by CLG jungler Jake “Xmithie” Puchero. Immortals went for broke when they abandoned a team fight in CLG’s base to power down the nexus 50 minutes into the game.

In game four, CLG lost their early lead when Immortals picked up a delayed ace at the 25-minute mark. Long-range picks by Huhi’s Vel’Koz and AD Carry Trevor "Stixxay" Hayes’ Jhin let CLG recover, and a split push on the nexus turrets by top laner Darshan Upadhyaya’s Shen forced Immortals into a doomed Baron fight, which allowed CLG to end the game.

Six hours after the event began, the crowd erupted in cheers when WildTurtle picked up first blood in game five. The mental grind of the long series may have worn down CLG as they made some uncharacteristic mistakes that allowed Immortals to build a 6k gold lead at 20 minutes. In the end, it was the hometown hero WildTurtle who carried Immortals to the series win, going 10/1/5 on Ezreal in the final game.

WildTurtle celebrated by waving the Canadian flag that was draped over the back of his chair throughout the series as the crowd chanted “Turtle.”

Immortals may have made their smartest move by banning Jhin for game five. Stixxay went 29/7/28 in three games with Jhin throughout the series. The constants for Immortals in their three wins were Pobelter playing a nearly unkillable Vladimir and top laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon on Ekko.

Before the series began, Riot awarded the split’s Most Valuable Player honor to Team SoloMid mid laner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. Both CLG and Immortals will be pulling for Bjergsen in TSM’s finals matchup with Cloud9 tomorrow.

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Even with the loss, CLG will qualify for Worlds if TSM beats Cloud9. If C9 wins, CLG will have to win one series (likely a rematch with Immortals) from the top position in the regional qualifier to make Worlds.

Immortals will also be pulling for a TSM win, which would leave them with the top spot in the regional qualifier since they would have more championship points than C9.

Here are the crucial moments from Saturday’s series.

Game 1

Immortals was losing the game from the moment Huhi solo-killed Pobelter at the six-minute mark, but they continued to challenge CLG with team fight after team fight. After being aced two minutes prior, Immortals engaged another team fight and nearly won, but CLG held strong.

Game 2

Playing at a slight gold deficit, Immortals outdueled CLG to steal a cloud drake. In the aftermath, Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin scattered CLG with a Gragas ultimate, allowing Pobelter’s Vladimir and Huni’s Ekko to slip into the backline to take out Stixxay’s fed Kalista.

Game 3

In a match that was chaotic until the very end, Immortals made the do-or-die call to abandon the team fight and power through CLG’s nexus at the 50-minute mark.

Game 4

After Immortals clawed back from an early deficit, CLG put them in a catch-22 situation by starting Baron while Darshan split pushed onto the nexus turrets. Immortals tried to force the Baron, but CLG’s four-man squad wasn’t about to let that happen.

Game 5

The deciding game of the series turned on an early team fight. Immortals took control of the skirmish after CLG gambled to try to burn down Pobelter’s Vladimir, a recurring mistake CLG made throughout the series.

Jan 21 2017 - 10:55 pm

Contractz shines as Cloud9 topples TSM

Cloud9’s rookie jungler made a big splash in his LCS debut
Xing Li
Dot Esports
Photo via Riot Games

Cloud9’s Juan "Contractz" Arturo Garcia didn't just make an impression in his LCS debut. He blew away all expectations, and showed himself to be a force to be reckoned with.

Contractz was the last cut from the Players to Watch list we wrote before the League Championship season. We weren’t sure how much priority Cloud9 would give him, especially with so much talent elsewhere on the roster. Still, we felt uneasy--someone not on the list was almost guaranteed to break out.

We just didn’t know that it would happen in the very first series.

In a rematch of last summer’s LCS Finals, Cloud9 and TSM clashed on the rift. And despite the star power that this matchup brings, much of the focus was on Contractz. He was a major focus for C9, almost a win condition in themselves.

Let’s see how he did it.

Jungle Priority

Due to the changes Riot made to the jungle in the offseason, priority has risen for junglers. More experience and more ganks means a good jungler can more easily carry a game. Cloud9’s coach, Bok “Reapred” Han-gyu talks about priority all the time.

Priority is a League term that indicates which lane has a strong matchups and should be a focus for jungle ganks. The player or lane with priority gets earlier picks and more attention from the rest of the team.

In a bit of a role reversal, C9 picked jungle to have priority in game one. That meant C9 players actively played around Contractz’ Kha’zix and made plays to get him ahead. In one telling instance, AD carry Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi burned his Ashe ult so that Contractz could invade and secure red buff.

Contractz rewarded that allocation by killing TSM ADC Jason “WildTurtle” Tran for First Blood. Cloud9 picked a risky comp that required Contractz and mid laner Nicolaj Jensen (playing Fizz) to snowball. Aided by some questionable team play from TSM and baffling itemization from WildTurtle, they accomplished that.

How would TSM react in game two?

A Lee Sin God

Cloud9 continued to give Contractz priority by first-picking Lee Sin for him (only one jungler, Rengar, was banned). This time, he lived in TSM’s red side jungle, playing around pressure from Jensen and top laner Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong.

A well-executed gank gave C9 First Blood again, this time on Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. C9’s duo lane kept their own red-side safe, allowing Contractz to clear and run to the top lane to kill Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell.

For much of the series, Cloud9 exhibited superior team play and coordination, and Contractz was at the center of big plays. He is an aggressive, carry-oriented player and C9 enabled that aggression extremely well. Even when TSM jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and the rest of the team was there, it was often C9 making the right moves, faster. Following a decent TSM dive in the bot lane, Contractz responded with kill after kill.

It’s still very early in the season, but this team has come together very fast. Their communication was superb as was the shot calling. TSM had poor performances from Turtle and Svenskeren, but this victory was still more about C9's macro-oriented team play, rather than individual performances. They will have chances to come back, just like C9 will have to keep their play high by continuing to aid their jungler.

Contractz just dominated what was the best team in NA. Keep this performance up, and he’ll find himself on another one of our lists: the end of split awards.

Jan 21 2017 - 10:20 pm

G2 Esports and H2k-Gaming on top after EU LCS opening weekend

Last year's top teams haven't missed a beat.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via Riot Games

G2 Esports and H2k-Gaming picked up exactly where they left off as the 2017 European LCS season got underway.

Both G2 and H2k, who had the most championship points in Europe in 2016, won both of their first two matches of the 2017 Spring Split as they look to win out in their respective groups.

In the biggest match of the weekend on paper, G2 beat Fnatic 2-1 in a thrilling series to the delight of the crowd in the LCS studio. The first game was a cagey affair, with G2 securing all of the objectives and getting a relatively comfortable win, but the second game was far closer.

The game was level for most of the first thirty minutes, until Fnatic managed to take Baron. From there the team's advantage slowly developed despite G2's best efforts. Fnatic broke down G2's defences and left the Nexus exposed, before this daring flash play let Fnatic in the backdoor to win the game.

Fired up by the audacious play, G2 Esports fired back in game three. Though Fnatic were able to secure more kills than G2, 20-14, G2 once again took almost all of the objectives. They wore down Fnatic with repeated attacks on the Nexus until Fnatic could no longer withstand the pressure.

G2 also defeated Roccat 2-0, finishing the week top of Group A.

H2k-Gaming went just one better than G2 in Group B—not only did they win both of their initial matches, they also did without dropping a game. The 2016 World Championship semifinalists defeated Origen in the first game of the season, before knocking off fellow World Championship competitors Splyce.

Misfits and Unicorns of Love were the only other victorious sides on the opening weekend, over Giants Gaming and Vitality respectively.