Day one of the NA LCS spring 2017 playoffs featured a quasi-reunion for Team Dignitas’ Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho.
Up against the league’s third seed in Phoenix1, Ssumday faced his former KT Rolster teammates in Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook and Noh “Arrow” Dong-hyeon.
Once teammates back in their LCK days the trio moved over to sunny Los Angeles in late 2016 to compete in the NA LCS, becoming the stars of their respective teams. For Ssumday and Arrow this would be the first time they played one another in a best of five. They only parted ways recently, after playing together for two years.
With such a long history together, there was no doubt that at least a modicum of pride was on the line in this quarterfinal match.
Banning three junglers, P1 came into game one clearly intending to squeeze Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyun’s champion pool. Picking the Ivern for Rami “Inori” Charagh in the first pick rotation, P1 forced Chaser to fall back on Nidalee—a jungler who has partially fallen out of the meta.
Despite the Nidalee pick, Chaser managed to get through the laning phase relatively unscathed. Aside from a couple of kills on either side, neither team were able to find a noticeable lead in the early game. P1’s initial lead came from an overextension by Dignitas’ duo lane and jungler. P1 utilized their heavy crowd control oriented team composition to collapse on and pick all three members of Dignitas.
P1 used this skirmish win to launch their lead, earning more objective kills and map pressure. But even with a deficit, Dignitas managed to sneak not one but two Barons. But despite this, even with the second buff, Dignitas could not win a teamfight. Eventually Dignitas pushed their luck with the third Baron, and were aced by P1. And with late game death timers, P1 used this ace to end the game.
Against Caitlyn and Nami as Ezreal, Arrow was faced with a difficult lane in game two. But with the help of William “Stunt” Chen’s Karma, Arrow could find a kill onto Benjamin “LOD” deMunck.
With Arrow in full control of Dignitas’ duo, P1 proceeded to push their bot lane lead. Roams to the bot lane by Ryu and Inori converted Arrow’s lead to the team as a whole. As the game transitioned to teamfights P1 quickly snowballed their lead, taking every Dragon and Baron—and eventually the game.
One game away from the semi finals, Ryu closed out the series with style as Orianna. Where there was action Ryu was sure to be close by. Like the previous game, both teamfights and picks continued to go in the way of P1.
Dignitas tried to fight back, with attempts at teleport flank maneuvers with Ssumday’s Nautilus, but Ryu made sure to prevent these attempts from succeeding. Off the back of Derek “zig” Shao’s backdoor, P1 were able to break through Dignitas’ base to end the series with a convincing 3-0 victory.
With this win Phoenix1 advance to the semifinals, where they will face Cloud9 next week due to the league’s dynamic seeding. As long as P1 shore up their Baron control in the coming week, they stand a decent chance against the NA LCS’ second seed.