NA LCS Saturday: A final playoff push and the fight for seeding

The day's games will play a huge role in determining seeding in the postseason.

Photo via Riot Games

This is the last week of regular season play in the North American LCS, and while the majority of playoff spots are locked in, two teams will duke it out for the final berth.

Those teams that are guaranteed to miss the playoffs might be fielding new rosters in preparation for next split, while some may seek to play spoiler. Every match counts in the fight for seeding, so expect teams to play their hearts out.

Here’s a recap of all the action in the NA LCS on Saturday, Aug. 18. This article will be updated as each game finishes.

Team Liquid shoot down Echo Fox

Liquid came into the game looking to cement their place as the best team in North America, while Echo Fox were trying to continue their upward trend.

As a team that loves to play around its star marksman Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, it was no surprise that Liquid picked up Varus, one of the best ADCs in the game. Doublelift and his partner Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung smashed their lane, taking an early tower. That opened them up to roam and pick up kills around the map, and the game was all but sealed from there.

While Liquid played sloppily at multiple points in the game and were drawn in by Echo Fox’s skirmish-heavy, chaotic playstyle, Fox’s tendency to fight without proper vision allowed Liquid to end the game with their second Baron buff.

With the win, Liquid secured first place in the regular season. The only team that can catch them in wins is 100 Thieves, but Liquid own the head-to-head 2-0.

Cloud9 fly high in their win over 100 Thieves

The showdown between a stable top two team and the hottest one in the league began with a bang. Cloud9 drafted two assassin-like champions in Fizz for mid laner Nicolaj Jensen and Quinn for marksman Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi. Jensen’s Fizz gained an early advantage by bullying Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook’s Zoe.

While it seemed like 100 Thieves would make a comeback in the mid game, they had no answer for Jensen. The four-carry composition from 100 Thieves couldn’t hold up against the fed fishy assassin from Cloud9, who went on a tear. He reached the backline of Ryu and marksman Cody Sun in fights and took out at least one of the two. A clean fight in the mid lane allowed Cloud9 to roll to victory.

Cloud9 are riding high on a seven-game win streak and they guaranteed a spot in the playoffs with this victory.

TSM take a page out of OpTic’s book in a dominant win

OpTic came into the game with the chance to solidify their playoff spot. A win over the NA LCS titans TSM would have given OpTic the 2-0 head-to-head record, guaranteeing them the final playoff berth.

TSM drafted a safe, hard-scaling composition in classic fashion, while OpTic went for a more mid-game focused one. TSM’s bot lane duo of Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez built a massive CS advantage early on in a passive lane, giving the team free reign over neutral objectives like Elemental Drakes and Rift Herald.

TSM pulled a page out of OpTic’s playbook, sending star players Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and and Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell to splitpush in the side lanes. Three Infernal Drakes, Zven’s massive lead, and mithy’s Tahm Kench prevented OpTic from engaging on TSM’s core and allowed TSM to slowly extend their lead until the late game.

TSM slowly and methodically choked OpTic out of the game. They elevated their strong play from last week, and are now in control of their own playoff destiny. If they can hold on to their current form, TSM will be a beast for any team.

FlyQuest break through Golden Guardians’ defenses for victory

Golden Guardians gave Academy League mid laner Boyuan “bobqin” Qin precious playing time on the main stage since the team can’t make the postseason. On the other side of the map, FlyQuest had the chance to force a tie for second place, a massive step forward for a team that ended eighth in the spring.

FlyQuest dominated the jungle matchup early, with Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen taking three of the first four buffs and both of the initial scuttle crabs. Golden Guardians jungler Juan “Contractz” Garcia’s Nocturne hit the all-important level six extremely late, making it hard for him to impact his lanes.

Smart splitpushing by bobqin and teammate Samson “Lourlo” Jackson’s Dr. Mundo extended the game, especially since the only answers FlyQuest had for Mundo, the best anti-magic tank in the game, were mages. Amazing Rumble Equalizers by FlyQuest top laner Lee “Flame” Ho-jong destroyed Golden Guardians, however, and FlyQuest took the game off the back of another won teamfight.

FlyQuest keep their Cinderella story alive and have a chance to qualify for a first-round playoff bye.

CLG grind out a win over Clutch Gaming

Neither team are making the playoffs, so CLG took the chance to try out Academy League top laner Kevin “FallenBandit” Wu and jungler Raymond “Wiggily” Griffin, perhaps indicating the current roster won’t be seen again. Clutch still have the chance to make the regional gauntlet, since they retain 30 Championship Points from the spring.

CLG played fast and aggressive, contesting Clutch’s blue buff every time it was up. Wiggily and CLG support Vincent “Biofrost” Wang invaded Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo’s jungle constantly, keeping LirA at a deficit. In skirmishes, Biofrost’s ultimates were picture perfect, catching out enemies or preventing assassinations by Clutch mid laner Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten’s Syndra.

Using their early-game lead, CLG began baiting objectives, forcing their opponents to face check bushes and often resulting in kills. A couple of picks in the mid lane gifted the team the Baron buff, but Clutch were able to stall out the game even more. One final mid lane fight sealed the deal for CLG, who ended the game with a five-man fountain dive.

Clutch’s chances of making the World Championships through the gauntlet are now slim to none. CLG, while victorious, showed the same mistakes past the early game that they usually do even with a revamped roster.