Team SoloMid needed three Baron buffs, an Elder Dragon and the third longest game of the split to finally put the brakes on 100 Thieves, earning the team a victory as well as control of its playoff destiny heading into the final week of the NA LCS Summer Split.
All split long, 100 Thieves has been lauded for its ability to prevent snowballing and extend the game to a position in which Zaqueri "aphromoo" Black's veteran shotcalling can shine. However, Sunday's loss to TSM marked the first time 100 Thieves has ever lost a game longer than 50 minutes.
TSM had an early lead thanks to Jonathan "Grig" Armao's play on Nocturne and managed a Rift Herald and three Elemental Drakes before 100 Thieves even netted a kill, but 100 Thieves seemed to slowly come back with strong late-game objective control along with strong tank play by Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho.
TSM was eventually able to take the game after a teamfight win around the third Baron of the game. TSM's nine major objectives (Rift Herald, four dragons, three Barons and one Elder Dragon) taken were the most in a single game this split and the most since Echo Fox took 10 on June 4 last year against Team Liquid.
More importantly, Team SoloMid has now evened its record at 8-8 in advance of next Saturday's showdown with fellow six-placed team, OpTic Gaming. The winner will guarantee itself at least a tiebreaker match to make the playoffs. The match is of even more importance as both have games against teams vying for a playoff bye on Sunday (100 Thieves and Team Liquid).
Historically, the two teams have met three times, with TSM holding a 2-1 game advantage. OpTic has the most recent result, dominating TSM in Week 5 behind Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage's 7/0/3 performance on Victor.
The matchup will almost certainly have a large focus on the mid lane with two of the most versatile mid laners facing off. Both Soren "Bjergsen" Bjerg and PowerOfEvil have played 11 unique champions this split, tied for the most among mid laners. PowerOfEvil has shown off on assassins, picking up the only plays of Ahri and Fizz across the NA LCS this split, both leading to team wins. Meanwhile, Bjergsen has opted for greater team synergy, with unique picks of Darius and Anivia, along with jumping on the recent resurgence of Zilean in the win over 100 Thieves.
Both teams also seem to win in surprisingly similar fashion, putting a premium on late-game Baron control. They both arrive at that point in different ways, however, as TSM tends to cede early-game dominance to its opponent. Meanwhile OpTic attempts to find picks via PowerOfEvil, while Niship "Dhokla" Doshi splits the map as much as he can on champions such as Jayce, Fiora, Yorick and Camille, leading to a league-worst 1.7 KDA.
Notably, OpTic will also have side selection on Saturday as it beat TSM despite having red side disadvantage earlier this split. This also means that if OpTic wins Saturday and somehow finds itself in a two-way tie for sixth with TSM at the end of the week, it will own the head-to-head and not have to play a tiebreaker match.
Cloud9 brings on substitutes
Cloud9 all but secured a playoff spot after beating Team Liquid for its sixth game in a row, and brought in unlikely substitutes in Greyson "Goldenglue" Gilmer and Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen to assist. The surprise change seemed to work wonders as mid laner Eugene "Pobelter" Park had the worst game of his Team Liquid career with a 0/3/0 performance on Orianna. His previous worst game was a 0/5/0 showing on Syndra when he was with Immortals.
The biggest surprise of the game came in the form of Svenskeren showing off his Worlds 2016 form with a 4/0/4 performance on Lee Sin. Lee Sin had previously lost 11 of his last 12 games in the NA LCS in which the champion was picked, dating back to July 2017.
This coming week, Cloud9 has games against 100 Thieves and Flyquest. If it wins both, Cloud9 is guaranteed at least a tiebreaker match for a chance at a first-round bye. On the other hand, if it loses both matches, there's still a chance that Cloud9 doesn't make the playoffs.