Clutch Gaming 1 - Team SoloMid 0
Clutch Gaming put on a clinic in perseverance as the team mounted a massive comeback victory against Team SoloMid to kick off Week 4 in the North American League Championship Series Spring Split on Saturday in Los Angeles.
The contest between the two middle-of-the-pack teams began with a disastrous Level 1 for Clutch Gaming (3-4). After Clutch got greedy during an invade, Team SoloMid (3-4) collapsed, allowing TSM to eliminate the enemy bottom lane and give AD carry Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen an early lead in lane. That advantage was short-lived, though, because the team's macro play and objective control was lacking. Combined with a lack of vision control, TSM gave Clutch every opportunity it needed to come back.
Although Clutch found itself at a disadvantage, the team was able to pick up an early Infernal Drake and quickly found a second with an impressive steal from a perfectly-timed ultimate by AD Carry Apollo "Apollo" Price's Ezreal. His thieving ways didn't stop there: Later in the game, Apollo stole a Baron that allowed Clutch Gaming to take a resulting teamfight and immediately claim the Elder Dragon. Apollo's performance was critical to his team staying alive in the game and allowed Clutch Gaming to stall long enough to make a comeback.
The perseverance of Clutch Gaming paid off massively as TSM got antsy and continually forced fights and objectives without proper preparations. This allowed openings for Clutch, which it capitalized on. As late-game teamfights erupted, Clutch Gaming came out decisively on top, allowing the team to swiftly push into the enemy base after claiming an ace.
Team SoloMid will need to work on pushing its advantages in order to bounce back as it takes on Counter Logic Gaming at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday. Despite the impressive victory, Clutch Gaming remains near the bottom of the standing and will look to claim a 2-0 week as it takes on OpTic Gaming at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday.
-- Chase Geddes
Cloud9 1 - Team Liquid 0
Cloud9 walked away with a swift, 30-minute win over Team Liquid on Saturday during Week 4, Day 1 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split in Los Angeles.
Team Liquid (5-2) had been the better-looking team to begin the Spring Split with four sub-30 minute wins in the first four weeks. However it was Cloud9 (6-1) who would race out to a demonstrative lead, quickly earning advantages in all lanes thanks to efficient farming and applying suffocating pressure with perfectly-timed ganks.
Despite Team Liquid prioritizing the top lane in the drafting phase, Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong could do nothing to stop the siege with his Gangplank, and he looked flustered by the pressure. After Impact was taken down for first blood by C9 top laner Eric "Licorice" Ritchie, his Vladimir was able to dominate the side lane split-push battle. It didn't take long for Cloud9 to use this to its advantage, piling up objectives while Licorice single-handedly held down the side lanes in the second half.
A Cloud9 Baron power play around the 22-minute mark left Team Liquid's base in shambles, with only one standing inhibitor. While C9 might've been able to keep the pressure on and finish the contest, it decided to make the safe play and reset before putting together a final push. There was little that Team Liquid could do as Cloud9 dove into its fountain to secure a few more kills before knocking down the Nexus.
Cloud9 will try to tally another win on its ledger against a struggling FlyQuest squad at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, with Team Liquid look to bounce back against another top-tier talent in Echo Fox later that day at 6 p.m. ET.
-- Ben Wong
OpTic Gaming 1 - Counter Logic Gaming 0
OpTic Gaming showed its ability to claim a clean victory in an upset of Counter Logic Gaming on Saturday.
Counter Logic Gaming (3-4) started off with a strong early game, picking up first blood along with several early kills thanks to an impressive showing from mid laner Choi "Huhi" Jae-hyun on Aurelion Sol. Unfortunately for CLG, however, things quickly fell apart as the game progressed, as OpTic Gaming (2-5) bounced back with little effort.
OpTic swiftly responded to CLG's aggression, orchestrating proactive plays of its own that ultimately caught CLG off-guard. Time and time again, the team found crucial engagements that kept CLG on its back foot. With the strength of mid laner Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage's Ryze, OpTic quickly traversed the map and forced teamfights that further bolstered its advantage. Once the team had closed the gold gap, OpTic moved on to securing neutral objectives with impunity to completely shut CLG out of the game.
Perhaps because of the pressure of its impending demise, CLG made countless mistakes while trying to battle back into the game. At every moment, the team was met with titanium-like defense by OpTic that lived up to the Green Wall moniker and kept it rolling right along. Once CLG fell far enough behind against OpTic's scaling composition, it had no avenue for a comeback other than a critical error from the enemy team. OpTic made no such error and easily closed out the 35-minute victory.
OpTic will attempt to mimic its strong performance SAturday against Clutch Gaming at 9 p.m. ET Sunday, while Counter Logic Gaming will have to rethink its mid-game as it takes on Team SoloMid at 7 p.m. ET Sunday.
-- Chase Geddes
FlyQuest 1 - 100 Thieves 0
FlyQuest slaughtered 100 Thieves in a 35-minute victory on Saturday.
100 Thieves (4-3) entered the game as the heavy favorite, which also built in the fact FlyQuest (3-4) was starting its mid laner Song "Fly" Yong-jun for the first time. Thanks to visa issues, Fly was forced to miss the first three weeks of the Spring Split, but his debut couldn't have come at a better time. His Galio performance brought life to the team, finishing with a 0/0/12 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) and 100 percent kill participation.
100 Thieves, which has had success this split capitalizing on errors from its opposition, stayed true to its form, picking up several macro advantages and claiming first blood off a crucial mistake by FQ's top laner Lee "Flame" Ho-jong who opted to teleport on Gangplank directly into two enemy champions. Unfortunately for 100T, this would be the only bit of success the team would find.
Although FlyQuest didn't focus on picking up kills in the early game, the team was able to control vision expertly, allowing it to pick up back-to-back drakes and a Baron in the 23rd minute following a teamfight victory. Against the 100 Thieves scaling composition, all FlyQuest needed to do was remain calm and prevent any critical mistakes from happening.
100 Thieves could not find an opening as its carries were eliminated swiftly, leaving the team without any offensive power in teamfights. FlyQuest sensed an opening and ran with it, moving aggressively and picking up multiple kills in the process. It wasn't long after that FlyQuest finally finished off its opposition, isolating key targets to pick up the win. With multiple members of FlyQuest boasting 100 percent kill participation, the entire team's stellar performance resulted in a well-deserved victory just shy of 35-minutes.
FlyQuest's performance indicates a potential upswing as the roster is finally complete. It will look to mimic the performance from Saturday's contest as it takes on Cloud9 to kick off Sunday's matches at 5 p.m. ET. 100 Thieves is likely to bounce back from the defeat as it takes on Golden Guardians, the last-place team in the league, Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.
-- Chase Geddes
Echo Fox 1 - Golden Guardians 0
Echo Fox refused to be upset on Saturday, claiming victory over the winless Golden Guardians to conclude Week 4, Day 1 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split.
Echo Fox (6-1) quickly assessed where its focus should go in this game and acted accordingly. With plenty of wave clear on both sides in the mid lane and passive scaling champions in the bottom lane, the lane-dominant Vladimir of top laner Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon was the clear choice to assist with jungle pressure. As such, jungler Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett on Jax made multiple trips to the top lane in the first five minutes of the game, grabbing a total of three kills for Echo Fox in the process.
Miles ahead of their counterparts, Huni and Dardoch quickly spread the love around the map, taking a 4-0 turret advantage and maintaining perfect control over the drakes. An Echo Fox victory was beginning to feel like a foregone conclusion when Golden Guardians (0-7) finally managed to strike back with two kills in the bottom side jungle just shy of the 17-minute mark. Golden Guardians followed up by finding several more picks as Echo Fox pushed its leads too aggressively, managing to even up the kill score. Crucially, most of these kills found their way onto GGS top laner Samson "Lourlo" Jackson on Camille, salvaging an otherwise miserable game.
Unfortunately, while Golden Guardians could find the fights, it could never find the objectives. With its gold lead still well intact, Echo Fox quit fooling around and took Baron in the face of GGS at 28 minutes. It went on to summarily bust its way into the GGS base, and AD carry Johnny "Altec" Ru, who'd been quiet most of the game, even snagged a quadra kill on Ezreal as his team ended the game at the 34-minute mark.
Golden Guardians will get its next chance at a win against 100 Thieves on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET, while Echo Fox will look to retain its share of first place when it takes on Team Liquid at 8 p.m. ET the same day.
-- Brendan Hickey