Week 1 of the 2019 LCS Summer Split continued on Sunday, with North America’s teams moving forward with their second matches of the first round robin. Following their Saturday victory against 100 Thieves, Counter Logic Gaming stepped up to the plate versus TSM. Spring Split’s second place team, and CLG’s kryptonite for the past three years, TSM would prove to be much more difficult opponents.
The first round of bans mostly targeted high-priority flex picks–Irelia, Ryze and Sylas. CLG then opted to remove Aatrox and Sejuani, while TSM banned Yuumi. Although Akali made it through first-round bans, neither team picked her. Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Andy “Smoothie” Ta drafted the Sona-Taric bottom lane, while CLG locked in Varus and Rek’Sai first. TSM took Hecarim for Jonathan “Grig” Armao, and Vincent “Biofrost” Wang picked a surprise Zyra in response. Yet again, both teams prioritized bottom lanes and Junglers first.
Both teams eliminated solo laners in the second round bans, as well. CLG removed Akali and Yasuo as primarily mid lane picks, while TSM banned Leblanc and Neeko. Top lane Rumble came out for Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min, followed by a Zilean-Jayce lock-in for TSM. Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage took Orianna mid for the second game straight. CLG’s composition seemed more interested in early lane pressure and control. TSM’s composition essentially revolved around invulnerability, healing and movement speed boosts for Grig’s Hecarim. He even decided on Ignite, instead of Flash or Ghost.
Grig galloped right out of the gates. A botched level one invade by CLG, followed by a level two gank by Raymond “Wiggily” Griffin, allowed TSM’s jungler to power farm to 20 CS and secure First Blood for Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg by charging PowerOfEvil. Minutes later, Wiggily Flash-Unburrowed onto Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik to secure a kill for Ruin. Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes and Biofrost also Ignited Smoothie for a 2-v-2 kill in bottom lane. Shortly thereafter, Wiggily moved onto Bjergsen, but ended up dying in a 2-v-2 scuffle near mid lane. The game was even at seven minutes.
The skirmishing action continued, as TSM’s bottom lane won a kill back from Biofrost, and Wiggily ganked top again for another death from Broken Blade. CLG’s bottom lane tried to fight back, nearly killing Zven under turret, but Grig’s Hecarim dove in to kill Stixxay, instead. Wiggily tried to make the most of it by securing Rift Herald, which he quickly activated in top lane.
The first big swing happened around 14 minutes, when Bjergsen Teleported to bottom lane to join Hecarim’s engage onto Stixxay and Biofrost. Wiggily was already there, and PowerOfEvil roamed quickly to respond. Ruin also Teleported in while Broken Blade did not have his available, and the resulting brawl ended four for two, first turret bot-side and Infernal Drake in CLG’s favor. All-in-all, CLG secured seven turret plates, and they pulled ahead 2,200 gold near 15 minutes.
TSM proceeded to feed CLG a pair of kills–one from Bjergsen, one from Grig. CLG took the mid lane tier one turret and reset. TSM then proceeded to force their will back onto CLG. They grouped as five, and moved towards the second Infernal Drake. After Stixxay got poked out, Grig engaged. CLG still secured the drake, but gave multiple deaths. By 25 minutes, TSM slowly closed the gold gap to a few hundred.
From there, both teams fought back and forth for wave control and vision near Baron. Eventually, TSM snapped the tension by sending Grig in onto the backline triggering a fight. They took out CLG’s jungler, top and support, allowing TSM to secure Baron, get a Triple Kill for Broken Blade and end the game at 30 minutes.
CLG did not let the rocky level one and two snuff out their fire for the rest of the early game. Stixxay and Biofrost pressured their lane well with the Varus-Zyra duo, and Wiggily’s time top lane resulted in two early deaths for Broken Blade. Their skirmishes and focus in the first half worked very well against TSM. They even seemed to reach a tipping point when CLG started to get a couple of easy picks.
However, problems arose once Hecarim, Zilean, Sona and Taric reached a certain level of scaling. The healing, speed-ups and engages consistently took out the Zyra and Rek’Sai, or the Zilean-Jayce poked out Varus and Orianna enough to tilt the scales. Whenever they grouped, TSM just forced the engage with Onslaught of Shadows, and the Baron secure was the nail in the coffin. CLG moved to a 1-1 record after week one.
Images from Riot Games’ LCS broadcast