The 2018 NA LCS Summer Split entered its third week, and teams have continued to innovate and experiment with champions and compositions. The patch 8.12 meta is evolving, with players utilizing different positions, off-roles, and traditional picks to gain the edge over their opponents. 100 Thieves’ match versus Clutch Gaming showcased even more change than the two prior weeks, but top laner Ssumday was the true star.
Ssumday has proven himself as a formidable top laner in the NA LCS, but he has not always performed to fans’ highest expectations. He joined Dignitas in 2017, and played reasonably well, earning third team All-Pro honors in Spring Split and first team All-Pro in Summer Split. Moving to 100 Thieves for 2018, Ssumday dropped back to third team All-Pro this past spring, despite the team finishing second in playoffs. Summer’s week three match versus Clutch demonstrated Ssumday’s true carry potential, and will supplement his case for All-Pro honors again at the end of this split.
CG banned three powerful, flexible mages in the first draft phase–Swain, Taliyah, and Zoe. Meanwhile, 100T targeted LiRa’s champion pool, banning Skarner and Nocturne, while also removing Varus. They decided on Rakan for first pick, a major play-maker. CG responded by locking in Aatrox and Sejuani, their complete top side. 100T drafted Xayah to compliment the Rakan, and a puzzling Morgana. Lulu rounded out the pick phase for CG.
To provide Solo the best match-up possible, CG banned Fiora and Shen in the second phase. 100T responded by removing Lucian and Kai’Sa, most likely targeting Apollo. CG locked in Ezreal, while 100T took Jax and Tahm Kench. Zyra was CG’s final pick, providing a fairly standard composition. When 100T’s champion swapping settled, Cody Sun and Aphromoo took Xayah-Rakan as a mid-Smite funnel, Ryu and Meteos took Morgana-Kench bottom lane, and Ssumday took Jax top. The top lane match-up would be an uphill battle, as Aatrox carries a 66.9 percent win rate across all professional league, and a 66.7 percent win rate against Jax, specifically.
The Early Game
CG’s top and bottom lanes had priority in the early game, frequently pushing in 100T. However, Febiven’s Lulu could not really compete with Cody and Aphromoo’s push mid. LiRa’s main job was relieving mid lane pressure and tracking 100T’s roaming duo. He tried a couple of ganks mid, resulting in a kill for Febiven, but Cody was the first to draw First Blood. A two-versus-two kill bottom lane gave Ryu and Meteos more agency over the early game. Top lane would not be very interactive for Ssumday, as Jax needs time to build Trinity Force. Farming safely under turret while anticipating Sejuani’s turret dive was his main objective. At 11 minutes, Solo had a 12 CS lead.
Around 14 minutes, LiRa started taking the Rift Herald, but 100T caught onto the move when Solo left lane. Cody, Aphromoo, and Ssumday collapsed onto the pit and engaged. In seconds, both teams’ full rosters fought in the top river, with CG securing Herald and no one dying. By 15 minutes, Ssumday finished Trinity Force and Solo finished Titanic Hydra. Solo was still 14 CS ahead.
Meteos made a surprise roam top to assist Ssumday while Solo’s passive was down. They secured the kill and knocked down the turret, but Apollo did kill the Kench. Both teams lane-swapped their top and bottom lanes, so Ssumday headed down bot and made up the CS differential. After pushing out the wave, Ssumday moved into the river to drop a control ward and a trinket near CG’s Gromp to track LiRa and Solo. By 21 minutes, Ssumday surpassed Solo with his own 10 CS lead.
Once CG took all three outer turrets, they needed to look for engage onto 100T’s four members, while Ssumday pushed a side lane. With Sejuani’s Glacial Prison and Aatrox’s Dark Flight, CG attempted an initiation, but 100T kited and survived. With CG motioning towards Infernal Drake, Ssumday met Solo in the mid lane and finished him.
Afterwards, Ssumday resumed split-pushing bottom lane. He took the tier one turret, and, knowing he could win the head-to-head, continued to push towards the tier two. By 25 minutes, he finished the Titanic Hydra himself, and almost killed Solo underneath his turret, resulting in Ssumday taking that turret, too. He had even pulled ahead a 46 CS lead.
Once Solo cleared a wave bottom and turned to group with the rest of CG, Ssumday roamed towards the lane to continue the push. Instantly, Aphromoo Flash-engages onto Apollo, initiating a fight, which triggered Ssumday to Teleport and join. They pushed CG back with low health bars and turned to start Baron, but fell back before securing it. With Infernal Drake and CG’s mid turret low, 100T sent Ssumday to pressure bottom lane again, resulting in their securing both objectives without much fight.
The Late Game
Both teams continued to play passively past the 30 minute mark. In theory, 100T’s chances of winning increased as the game progressed, since Jax and Xayah would scale with more items. While Ssumday pushed bottom lane against Solo, 100T moved to start Baron, but, unfortunately, Hakuho stole it. The Baron steal completely halted 100T’s tempo, because Ssumday could no longer stay pushing a side lane. CG scored a couple of picks and knocked down 100T’s mid lane inhibitor.
CG continued to siege down both Nexus turrets, while 100T’s members respawned one by one. Ssumday lingered on the side, trying to chip away the wave. With Ryu low, CG turned to finish him, and Ssumday saw his chance. He used Leap Strike onto Apollo, then Flashed to follow his Arcane Shift. Ssumday activated Counter Strike and miraculously stunned all four members. He secured a Triple Kill, and kept 100T in the game.
Both teams focused on vision control until Baron respawned. After picking off Solo, Ssumday and Meteos started Baron, while the rest of the team cleared the mid wave. 100T secured the buff and took a two-for-two, bringing Ssumday up to a 7-0-2 scoreline. The team attempted a similar strategy for taking Elder Drake, with Ssumday and Meteos starting it up. This time, Ssumday secured the buff virtually by himself. With both buffs live for 100T, Ssumday returned to the side lane, knocking down a turret.
Both teams regrouped to the mid lane, with CG motioning towards top-side river. Ssumday cut straight up mid to pressure more structures, but Aphromoo and the rest of 100T engaged. Ssumday finished off the bottom inhibitor, before Teleporting into the fight. He assisted in killing Apollo, Hakuho, and LiRa, while Febiven and Solo took 100T’s mid inihibitor and moved towards the Nexus. 100T successfully defended again.
For the final fight, CG actually engaged onto the funneled Cody Sun, but he survived with Featherstorm, Mercurial Scimitar, and all of 100T’s shielding. Ssumday flanked from the river again, and took down most of the back line. They finished three-fifths of CG, with Ssumday making a bee-line for their Nexus and ending the game.
While this week three match did not necessarily pan out well for either team, Ssumday really made the best of a non-ideal situation. 100T drafted him a losing match-up against a power-pick Aatrox. Ssumday yielded the laning phase, biding his time until he could buy crucial items. He coordinated well with the rest of 100T to contest Rift Herald, kill Solo, and take the top turret. Once he made up his CS difference and built the necessary items, Ssumday split-pushed and grouped when necessary. One single outplay against four of CG’s members prevented them from finishing the game, and every flank afterwards allowed 100T to punch through and win.
So far this Summer Split, Ssumday looks like a top contender for All-Pro honors. With Meteos traded, and Brandini-Levi starting at Rift Rivals, the rest of Ssumday’s season remains uncertain. Although he has not always necessarily performed to global fans’ expectations since transferring to North America, performances like this exhibit just how high his ceiling truly is. Hopefully, 100T puts his back in the line-up, so fans can enjoy more of Ssumday’s S-tier moments.