Can’t Gank This
Dignitas were ready to win their second LCS game in their own right, selecting a heavy dive comp with Rengar, Kassadin, Leblanc, and Annie all sped up with Sivir’s ultimate. Grabbing Kassadin first, Dig gave Team Impulse the devastating Gnar and Jarvan combo. With their mobile comp, Dignitas looked to either avoid all of the incoming CC or quickly kill TiP’s backline, while TiP’s comp wanted to lock down the mobile Dig comp and crush them in their aoe. The fights, on paper, were going to be epic.
The game didn’t so much as hit the ground running as it did stumble. Rush tried for a clever level 2 gank in bottom lane on Jarvan, and while he did take three summoner spells off of Dig’s bot lane, he himself had to burn his flash. Had Crumbz been healthier in the jungle, he could’ve counter jungled Rush’s red, but instead had to base for his machete upgrade.
The lanes went the way of TiP, with Gamsu letting himself be zoned by Rhux, but keeping even in CS, while Xiaoweixiao bullied Shiptur’s Leblanc and TiP gained a CS lead with their summoner spell advantage. Crumbz, looking to make a play, showed himself top in a sub-optimal gank worthy of a NA Rengar, and proceeded to burn his flash when Rush threatened to E+Q into him at five minutes.
Dig tried to emulate WFX’s strategy from an earlier game by having their bot roam up to mid, but were spotted out by a ward. Still keen on making a play, Crumbz tried to ult into TiP’s bottom lane, but they lane expected it as he had leveled up visibly in the mid lane, and he only burned Adrian’s flash in the gank. KiWiKid, low from the attempt, had to base and TiP immediately capitalize by picking up their first dragon at nine minutes.
First blood finally went to KiWiKid at eleven minutes when he and Corejj baited in TiP’s bottom lane and killed the flashless Adrian, capitalizing on Crumbz’s earlier gank. KiWiKid kept up the play by baiting in Xiaoweixiao and Rush while clearing wards in their jungle, stunning Lulu so Rengar could jump on them and pick up the kill. Rush managed to get KiWiKid on the way out, and with a good flay from Adrian, the fight had settled.
Dig kept the momentum going with more picks, but failed to transition them into objectives. With Gamsu roaming down from top after burning his teleport, Rhux was given free reign, pushing to Dig’s inner top tower while TiP also picked up Dig’s middle tower. After setting up vision around Dragon, TiP got a second dragon uncontested as Dig weren’t in a place to fight it.
TiP, unlike Dig, then got picks in Dig’s jungle and turned it into towers, once in bottom lane and again in top. Dignitas, trying to stop the siege of their base, tried to flank TiP from the Raptor bush as they took their middle inner tower, but a lackluster Tibbers from Annie and Crumbz being unable to kill Corki with Lulu next to him, the team fight went TiP’s way as they reengaged and then pushed to take the middle inhibitor.
After securing a third dragon, TiP grouped bot, having Rhux teleport in from split pushing top to take the inhibitor tower. Flash ulting, Rhux locked up Crumbz, who was instantly deleted, and TiP cleaned house and gave Dignitas the loss Coast owed them.
Despite a peculiar Gnar build, TiP’s coordination looked strong in this game, and one hopes that Impact, once he arrives in NA, will help push the team to their peak.
Cris the Undying
Having come off with a win fielding three substitutes the day before, WinterFox were hungry for their second win in the LCS. Coast, having thrown their first game against Dignitas, were focused on redeeming themselves and claiming their first win of the split. Coast locked in a poke comp with good engage and peel, while WFX looked to exert pressure with Pobelter, ShorterACE, and Flaresz making picks in the early to mid while Altec would be their late game security with Gleeb protecting him.
First blood went to WTF when ShorterACE successfully counter ganked Impaler’s J4 in the bottom lane. Impaler got his revenge though, as he netted his team a double kill by counter ganking ShorterACE in the top lane, setting Flaresz Renekton behind against Cris’ Irelia. Snowballing the advantage further, Coast once again ganked the crocodile, but sacrificed the first Dragon to WFX to do so. Coast, unsatisfied with the double-tap, once again dove Flaresz for another kill, and at that point Flaresz was out of the game.
After a pick onto Pobelter at seventeen minutes, Coast secured their first dragon, and for the next ten minutes, won fight after fight, being rewarded for their shutdown of Flaresz with unmitigated poke damage through WFX. Taking towers and finally Baron at 29 minutes, Coast were only held back once by Altec getting a double kill on them as they tried to push down mid lane. However, after a pick onto Gleeb, Coast took WFX middle inhibitor, and continued to hold their control, taking their third dragon and later baiting Baron, where they traded Cris’ first death in the LCs for their first win.
Coast, shaking up their comp from the previous day, have shown strong objective control and solid team play so far in the LCS. It will be interesting to see the rematch between these two teams after WFX’s three starting players arrive in NA.
A Solid Team Liquid
If there was only one game where CLG could be expected to handedly beat Team Liquid, it would be the game where TL were lacking their starting ADC Piglet. Keith had demonstrated talent in TL’s game yesterday as the core of the composition, but now he was up against Doublelift and Aphromoo, one of the strongest bottom lanes in NA. TL decided to win the matchup with picks over skill, punishing Doublelift’s early Sivir pick up by grabbing Caitlyn and Annie for ADC and Support respectively. CLG, not wanting Doublelift to be harassed out of lane, sent him top lane to solo lane against Quas while pitting their substitute top laner Benny and Aphromoo against TL’s bottom lane.
No help to his record as a jungler fallen from his glory in season three, Xmithie was found by Xpecial in TL’s blue side jungler and solo killed for first blood. Trying to even up the score, Aphromoo tried to flash hook Fenix in the mid lane to set Link up for a kill, missed the hook and Fenix recalled safely.
After having solo laned for eight minutes, Doublelift returned to bottom lane to properly face off against Keith and Xpecial. Action threatened to happen in the lane when every member of the team moved to the lane, with Quas teleporting, but nothing came of it and CLG got a teleport advantage since Benny had canceled his following teleport. While returning to lane, Link tried to engage onto Fenix’s Azir, but suddenly found himself trying to flash back to his tower as IwillDominate and Quas also collapsed on him. TL used the kill to rotate into Dragon while Benny pushed down the outer top tower.
After trading some towers, CLG burned three ultimates to try and kill Quas, but failed to do so. With Dragon respawning, both teams edged up to it, and Link started the fight by harassing Xpecial, and chaos broke loose once Aphromoo pulled in Fenix, who died right after ulting Aphro and Xmithie into his team. Keith cleaned up the fight, flashing over CLG’s blue buff wall to kill Link before TL turned to claim their second Dragon. CLG were able to claim TL’s red buff after trading 3-2, but things were still looking TL’s way.
Fenix showed off impressive Azir play at the twenty two minute mark, escaping a dive from Link, Xmithie, and Doublelift by first using his ultimate to push Rengar and Leblanc off of him, then flying through the wall with his e to distance himself from Sivir while he helped finish off CLG’s jungler and mid laner with IWDominate’s help.
CLG kept on making their engages, and although some of them worked for them, getting them towers, Team Liquid were able to counter engage effectively and take more than CLG, getting themselves a Baron at thirty-one minutes. CLG where able to get the next two Dragons, but gave up a second Baron to TL who used it to push the lanes in and close out the game after a fight around the bottom inhibitor.
Once again, Keith showed impressive ADC play by coolly dodging CLG’s abilities while snatching up kills. Team Liquid fans, relieved with their team securing first place in the first week without their starting ADC, can now wait in anticipation to see what happens when Piglet takes the stage.
Falling Through the Clouds
With both C9 and Gravity looking severely off-point in their games the day before, both came into this matchup hoping to reassure fans they were still the real deal. With Balls showing up on Gnar poorly, C9 decided to ban the yorlde on blue side and grab themselves Rek’Sai with their first pick, before building a “Protect the Carry” comp with Oriana, Janna, and Sion all on guard duty for C9’s ever consistent ADC Sneaky on his favored Kog’Maw. Gravity responded with a heavy dive comp with Zed, Vi, and Kassadin, letting Cop fend for himself on his comfort pick Corki.
Gravity avoided standard lanes by sending Corki and Morgana top against Sion, while Saint Vicious and Hauntzer stole Meteos’ blue. Balls seemed safe enough in lane, having farmed Raptors with Sion’s passive and then immediately teleporting top with his level 2, but he over pushed his lane and was promptly killed 2v1 in the top lane. Meanwhile, Meteos, smelling out his blue steal, took St. Vicious blue in turn, keeping even with his counter part.
Having gained some levels after double-jungling with Saint, Hauntzer went bot lane and was soon joined by Bunny, leaving Cop to farm solo in the top lane safely against Balls’ Sion. Lemonnation was forced to burn flash at five minutes when Bunnyfufu, roaming with Saint, caught him out at his own red, but Meteos evened up the flash count with a visit to bottom lane which burned Bunny’s flash.
Similar to C9’s game against TSM, they had come out with an advantage in a lane swap situation, with both Balls and Sneaky heavily out farming their counterparts. Also like that game, they failed to turn it into an advantage, despite having immense vision control in the river bed. A fight broke out at GV’s blue buff, with Saint and Keane diving onto Hai and then butchering Meteos before getting killed by Balls and Sneaky. Despite GV retaliated C9’s deep vision efforts, Meteos still used Rek’Sai to lay down vision throughout GV’s jungle.
GV went for the plays by diving high in the mid lane, with St. Vicious flashing in to ult onto him as Vi. With Hai locked down, Bunny and Keane followed up to slay C9’s commander, burning Balls’ teleport. With Sneaky and Lemonnation pushing down top lane tower, GV grouped up to claim their first Dragon at 16 minutes.
With Sneaky and Lemon still in GV’s red side jungle and Meteos rejoining them with Rek’Sai ult they looked for a pick onto Saint’s Vi. Seeking revenge, GV chased with Kassadin, Corki, and Morgana until Keane on Zed showed up, killing Meteos and Hai after losing Hauntzer to Sneaky. Balls had pushed the bottom lane up to the inner tower, but Saint had respawned and headed down to stop any further split push.
At 20 minutes, C9 had pushed up with four to GV’s inner middle tower, leaving Balls to split push bot. Saint, seeing Sneaky dawdle slightly behind his team, flashed ulted onto him to start the fight. A lackluster shockwave from Hai, Balls’ delayed arrival, and the early kill onto Sneaky had GV take the fight with Keane picking up a triple kill, and GV pushed took both of C9’s middle towers outside of their base. However, they failed to ward up the Baron side of the map, and C9 took an early Baron at 21 minutes.
C9 put their Baron to good use, taking towers off of GV, retaliating for their tower in the bot lane and GV’s second Dragon. After Baron buff wore off, GV saw an opportunity when Sneaky overstepped just a hair to trade with Cop’s Corki, and Saint once again flash initiated on him with Vi ultimate. The fight played out with Keane being able to dive in with Bunny’s Morgana ultimate, killing Hai, Sneaky, Meteos, then Janna while ignoring Balls’ Sion completely, only losing Keane to Kog’Maw’s passive.
The game was wrenched from C9’s control once GV got their hands on their own Baron at thirty-three minutes, killing two of C9 before claiming their middle inhibitor. C9 tried to defend their base, but GV played patiently, stacking up their Dragon buffs to four, comfortably in position to end the game the moment C9 erred. Keane and Haunzter picked off Hai in top lane while split pushing, and soon GV had taken every one of C9’s inhibitors.
With no chance of withstanding the siege of Super minions, C9 ran out of their base to try and claim the third Baron of the game at 39 minutes, but GV was onto their plan. Acing C9, GV were happy to have given C9 last place in the LCS after the first week, something nobody with reason expected. With Hai floundering in both games this week, one hopes that he returns to form by the next week.
Because We Needed One More Upset
With the results of this game, NA LCS 2015 week one is officially an unforeseen week of upsets the likes we’ve rarely seen.
Debuting Porpoise’s Nocturne in the LCS while facing off against Bjergson’s deadly Leblanc, Team 8 looked like they were fighting an uphill battle after the picks and ban phase with TSM getting big power picks like Gnar. Sticking to their guns, Team 8 locked in their comfort picks and headed off into the rift with a laneswap, sending Sivir and Nami top against Dyrus while double jungling with Porpoise and CaliTrlolz.
T8 played out a classic counter TSM strategy from the days of Reginald, focusing on Dyrus in the top lane while having their mid laner just try not to die to the jungle camp in mid. At 3:35, T8 dove Dyrus top lane with four members, exchanging his flash for Porpoises in order to secure the kill. Dyrus teleported immediately back to lane as Lustboy had arrived to assist him, leaving Wildturtle to solo farm in bottom lane. TSM tried to gank Slooshi in the mid lane, and Santorin showed good presence of mind by waiting to throw his empowered Bola until Slooshi had burned his flash, but Bjergson’s spells were on coold down and his mana low.
Having backed with too little gold for an item competent, Maplestreet and Dodo squared off against Wildturtle and Lustboy, holding their own in trades with Nami’s heals, but falling behind in CS. Rather than capitalize on the mismatch, Santorin tried to gank a flashless Sooshi with his ultimate, but he and Bjergson miss-timed their efforts and get nothing for it. Finally trying for something in the bot lane, Turtle and Lustboy hid in a brush, faking a recall as T8’s bot lane pushed up. Engaging onto them with Bjergson coming in, TSM failed to get a kill on the slippery T8 team. Immediately after the failed dive, Porpoise and Cali dove Dyrus top, once again killing him but losing Porpoise to the tower, giving him a kill. Still, camping Dyrus paid off, as Cali recreated the success Irelia has seen against Gnar NA LCS.
Santorin’s camping of mid finally paid off, with Bjergson locking down Sloosheis Orianna with a chain for an easy Empowered Bola Strike out of On the Hunt follow up, getting Bjergson’s first kill of the game. However, TSM failed to snowball the gank into any objective, and two minutes later at 15:21, Cali had taken Dyrus’ tower.
At sixteen minutes, Santorin once again visited mid lane with his ultimate, claiming Slooshi’s flash yet again, but this time Slooshi retaliated, forcing Bjergson’s flash with Command Shockwave. Trying to follow up, Porpoise ulted in as Cali dove Bjergson, but Bjergson picked up Cali under his tower instead. T8 tried to force down TSM’s tower, their focus on Dyrus paying dividends as he couldn’t take one Q+W from Oriana without being forced to retreat, but Wildturtle came up from bottom lane to peg Maplestreet with Collateral Damage for a kill. 16 minutes in and neither side had postured for Dragon, both teams solely focused on killing each other.
At eighteen minutes, Slooshi, Maple and Dodo quickly picked off Wildturtle in the midlane and finally forced down the tower while Santorin and Bjergson picked off Porpoise in bottom lane and pushed to the inner tower. They overextended however, with both of them being killed by the rotating T8. This signaled the first dragon for T8 at nineteen minutes, then rotating to kill bottom lane tower. Santorin, farming Gromp, was caught out by T8 and picked off, a mistake on the new junglers behalf.
T8 grouped up mid to siege the middle inner tower, and this is where TSM tried to make the game reversing play by having Dyrus teleport on a ward far behind them for a flank. Dodo died to Bjergson, not before getting his spells off, but the fight went in T8’s favor when Slooshi obliterated Wildturtle and the still squishy Dyrus with Command Shockwave. TSM, trying to have Bjergson carry, sent him to split push in the bottom lane with the Elixir of Sorcery to improve his split pushing abilities. This held no fruition, as after T8 had taken TSM top inner tower, Cali teleported to the bottom tower and stopped him.
On the retreat, Bjergson tried to bait in T8 with Leblanc jukes, but he was taken low and Lustboy was picked off as he tried to save his teammate. A minute later, 25:35, T8 contested TSM’s blue buff, having continually kept if off of Bjergson for some time. Clustered in the narrow corridors, TSM was decimated yet again by Slooshi’s Orianna, killing Bjergson and Santorin almost simultaneously with another great ultimate. Picking up Dyrus and Wildturtle, T8 rolled down mid and claimed TSM’s middle inhibitor. Most of this was enabled because TSM had focused their vision into T8’s red side jungle rather than making sure their own jungle was safe.
After losing the inhibitor, TSM were able to claim their first Dragon, but T8 cleverly sneaked a Baron in the meantime. Sending Cali off to split push, TSM could do nothing as T8 pushed in to the inhibitors on both sides, destroying all three of TSM’s inhibitors. Dyrus, trying to make one last play, flashed ulted members of T8 into his team just as his Mega-Gnar wore off, a timing issue he had been struggling with all game. Slooshi once again cleaned house, and although Maple died to tower after the fight, T8 were able to finish off TSM’s nexus in a wild finish to the first chaotic week of NA LCS.
Credits to @gallexlol For the graphics!