Today marked the second day of action in Week Two of the 2016 North American League Championship Series (NA LCS) Summer Split.
On this day, we saw Team SoloMid continue on in a dominant fashion with a flawless record thus far. At the same time, Team Liquid faced off against Counter Logic Gaming in a back and forth series between a resurging TL with Dardoch and a hint of the exceptional team that was CLG at MSI.
Counter Logic Gaming 2-1 Team Liquid
Coming back from a brief hiatus due to team synergy issues, Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett came out of the gates running in the first game against CLG. By focusing on the top side of the map, he was able to consistently net kills against Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya’s Swain, snowballing the game out of control to a win.
In Game Two, Darshan brought out one of his most well known champions, Jax. Despite this exciting pick, it was Jake “Xmithie” Puchero that took control of the game with his Kindred play. Every lane he showed up in would be swung into the favor of CLG. With a final score of 11/1/8 and a game score of 22-3, CLG showed why they were the best team in North America in Spring.
With the momentum of the series, CLG went into Game Three with confidence, which was boosted even further when Xmithie netted first-blood on Kim “FeniX” Jae-hoon. Initially the game looked like it would snowball in the same fashion as Game Two, but thanks to TL’s superior team-fight composition, the game was closer than it appeared. It was only when CLG reached their item thresholds that they could fight back and be proactive in their plays around the map. By picking off players of TL with their exceptional team coordination, they were able to finish off the game with a quick push down mid.
NRG eSports 2-0 Echo Fox
Suffering three losses in a row, NRG had something to prove in this series. Standing in their way was Echo Fox, who acquired a few early kills with their early skirmishing power and the element of surprise. It is only when Echo Fox entered into longer drawn out team-fights that they ran into trouble against the strong double frontline of NRG. By outlasting Henrik “Froggen” Hansen’s Swain and locking down Park “kfo” Jeong-hun’s Fizz, NRG shut down any chances Echo Fox had of winning the game.
In Game Two of the series, Echo Fox looked out of sorts when faced with the unusual champion picks by NRG. Diego “Quas” Ruiz’s performance on Illaoi demonstrated both the power of the champion and the unfamiliarity Echo Fox had in dealing with it. On multiple occasions, the players of Echo Fox were executed by the residual effects of the champions kit, netting him kills, when normally they would survive. He ended the game with a score of 4/0/2 and nearly 5k gold over his lane opponent.
Cloud9 2-1 Phoenix1
Phoenix1’s play in Game One can be described in two words: blind aggression. Due to a lack of vision, every time a member of P1 would go aggressive on their lane opponent, they would be punished severely by C9. These types of mistakes are characteristic of new LCS teams and consequently, C9 got farther and farther ahead. Eventually securing a Baron, they pushed both the mid and bottom inhibitors and finished the game with a perfect 11-0 score.
Game Two of the series was a much more exciting yet messy game from both teams. Initially starting out even in the first 27 minutes, the game shifted into P1’s favor after C9 over aggressively tower dove Derek “zig” Shao. In the ensuing fight, Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi got caught, leaving C9 at a huge disadvantage as P1 chased them down to secure three more kills. Despite some shoddy shot calling that allowed P1 to grab both Elder Dragon and two Barons back-to-back, C9 were able to hold out in an impressive display of team fighting at their exposed nexus. But eventually, P1 was able to win a key team fight at 56 by Baron to close out the game.
Game Three was much like the first game for C9 in the way they completely took over the game with better map positioning to take advantage of the misplays of P1. One by one, the players of P1 were picked off as the beneficiary of these pick-offs, Sneaky, went on to take over the game. The players of P1 looked demoralized in their play after the 20 minute mark with a score of 1-13 and nearly a 8k gold disadvantage. In a last ditch effort, P1 called for a Baron and ended up securing it, only losing zig in the process. Despite the valiant effort by P1, they were too far behind and the game finally came to an end at 29 minutes, ending the series 2-1 in favor of Cloud9.
Team SoloMid 2-0 Apex Gaming
In Game One, the first thing to note is in the team composition of Apex: the majority of the damage was centered around Kindred and Ashe, both physical damage dealers. With the only possible front line being Jeon “Ray” Ji-won’s Fizz, Apex had to rely on the ultimate of Kindred and Zilean, and the shields of Karma, to survive team fights. This required very precise communication and teamwork. Even though Apex acquired two early kills, they fell significantly behind TSM in gold due to unfavorable matchups in top and mid lane. That was why when team fights broke out in the mid-late game, Apex fell apart and lost the game.
Game Two between these two teams looked much like Game Three between Phoenix1 and Cloud9 the same day. Apex were slowly picked apart, starting with Ray in the top lane who TSM focused heavily on in the early game. In a matchup that can be decided with the smallest advantages, TSM made sure to shut him down for the rest of the game. With the snowball occuring top lane, the rest of Apex fell apart in much the same way that P1 did. With morale at an all time low, TSM took Dragons and Barons with much resistance, finishing the game with a score of 22-4 in their favor.
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