Sunday marked Raymond “Wiggily” Griffin’s first LCS playoff performance, and it couldn’t have gone much better.
“I thought I was going to be more nervous,” Wiggily told Dot Esports. “But it really wasn’t that much different than playing LCS normally.”
CLG made swift work of their opponent and plowed their way through quarterfinals with a 3-0 victory against OpTic Gaming. Before the series began, the outcome was far from certain. In week nine, OpTic went on a tie-breaking rampage to secure their quarterfinal position
The team was coming off of a burst of momentum, while CLG quickly lost to C9 and forfeited a bye to the semifinals. CLG’s slip up in week nine, however, didn’t phase Wiggily.
“It would have to take a lot of messups from us and also really poor drafting in order for us to even drop one game,” he said.
Wiggily felt CLG matched up well against OpTic in terms of individual skill. And as long as OpTic remained predictable in drafts, CLG wouldn’t have issues closing the series. That 3-0 score, however, was much tougher to achieve.
Within 20 minutes, OpTic had secured Baron. A few minutes later they had taken Baron again and again for a total of four times. To add to OpTic’s objective control, the team had simultaneously claimed four Dragons. Wiggily and CLG were in a bind. If something didn’t happen, and fast, they were going to lose.
“We were having a lot of discussions like—what can we actually do?” he said.
Against OpTic’s comp, CLG didn’t have strong engage and they were outranged. Wiggily and his teammates were constantly getting poked down. But Wiggily and Biofrost found key picks as the game dragged on. Eventually, the death timers were so long it didn’t matter that OpTic had four Barons or four Dragons.
“We knew the only way we could win was finding those picks,” Wiggily said. “We just had to go for them and we managed to luckily find two or three in a row somehow.”
After finding the final pick onto Noh “Arrow” Dong-hyeon’s Ezreal, CLG ran down mid to secure the win. “It was really like a relief to get out of that game,” Wiggily said. The game had extended to 46 minutes and at just about every point in the game OpTic was on the verge of taking CLG’s base.
Game one was a struggle. So between games, CLG discussed their mishaps in draft and continued the series with a refreshed mindset. Their next two games went smoothly and Wiggily’s confidence coming into the matchup was proven correct.
“We just wanted to make sure we had a draft that had more options even when behind,” Wiggily said. “We did that pretty well I think and we ended up winning early anyways.”
With the quarterfinals in the past, Wiggily and CLG are now looking toward the semifinals, where they will face Cloud9, who defeated them just a few weeks ago.
“It was a very anti-climatic way to end the season,” Wiggily said. “We didn’t feel like we really got to show the C9 vs. CLG game that should have happened.”
In that previous match, CLG made a crucial mistake in the early game, which allowed Cloud9 to completely snowball the game into their favor. To Wiggily, however, that was “a one-off game” and he’s sure the rematch won’t play out the same way.
“It’ll be a good series,” he said. “When we get a good draft, a good start to the game, I think we’re usually one of the harder teams to beat.”
At the same time, Wiggily is hardly going into this best-of-five worry free. His primary concern against Cloud9 are their unpredictable drafts.
“They’re kind of all over the place in terms of what they want to do, what they want to prioritize so that’ll be a difficult challenge for us,” he said.
To overcome Cloud9’s tricky drafts, CLG will have to think carefully about their picks. Wiggily notes the team will be closely looking at their champion pools to determine what will effectively play into Cloud9’s pool and to ensure their games start off on the right foot.
CLG’s rematch against Cloud9 begins this Saturday, Aug. 17, at 12pm PT.