The 2019 League Championship Series (LCS) Summer Split enters its postseason phase, with quarterfinals playing out this weekend. While TSM and Cloud9 sit out the first round of matches, Clutch Gaming faces TSM and OpTic Gaming takes on Counter Logic Gaming. With playoffs, regional gauntlet and World Championship qualifications on the line, these best-of-fives have a lot of pressure behind them.
CLG may feel the most pressure of all. Summer split 2019 has been the organization’s best performance in years, and they only have two ways to get to Worlds for North America: win playoffs or win the gauntlet. A loss in the quarterfinals would severely inhibit both of these conditions. And while CLG beat OPT in their most recent match-up, OPT beat CLG back in Week 2. CLG also lost to 100 Thieves and the tiebreaker against Cloud9, ending the regular season on a down note. This quarterfinals match-up could turn out to be more difficult than the standings would suggest.
TOP SIDE–NO ADVANTAGE
Ruin: FB Vic 31.6% GD10 +80 XPD10 +84 HLD 37% KP 56.9% DPM 454 KDA 2.3
Dhokla: FB Vic 5% GD10 -53 XPD10 -40 HLD 50% KP 51.7% DPM 362 KDA 2.9
There is no clear advantage for either top side between CLG and OPT. Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min and Niship “Dhokla” Doshi both exhibit clear weaknesses, but assume specific roles within their teams. Ruin takes more risks, which generally pays off in gaining slight laning leads and adding more aggression to CLG’s fights. Giving him Kennen, Aatrox, Jayce and Renekton makes a lot of sense for assuming this role. He tends to push for advantages in the 1-v-1 and looks for flanks later in the game.
This aggression does often expose Ruin, leading to his very high death share and First Blood victim rate. Considering CLG’s high win rate, Ruin’s KDA is relatively low. Ruin somehow finds ways to contribute in games where he has fallen behind, jumping in for kills and damage while trading his life to win objectives and map control.
Dhokla assumes more of the “Dyrus treatment” for OPT. They really only interact with top lane to take Rift Herald 50 percent of the time, but otherwise leave him alone in side lanes. Dhokla rarely wins lane, but he also rarely dies in lane. The Poppy priority and how often teams give the Aatrox pick to OPT makes total sense for this playstyle. Dhokla has the lowest kill participation of any LCS player and some of the lowest damage of any laner, because OPT usually uses him for side lane pressure instead of grouping.
Wiggily: FB 37% GD10 +76 XPD10 +44 HLD 37% DRAG 63% KP 74%
Meteos: FB 35% GD10 +24 XPD10 +85 HLD 50% DRAG 48% KP 78.5%
PowerOfEvil: GD10 -55 XPD10 +4 KP 64.2% DPM 486 GPM 409 SOLO KILLS 4
Crown: GD10 +41 XPD10 +126 KP 66.7% DPM 530 GPM 415 SOLO KILLS 3
While there is not a huge difference between CLG and OPT’s mid-jungle duos, OPT does seem to have a slight advantage. William “Meteos” Hartman and Raymond “Wiggily” Griffin have both been pivotal to their teams’ success this split, but Lee “Crown” Min-ho is definitely more impactful than Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage. The two duos tend to do similar things. Crown and Meteos gain mid and jungle control earlier, and win earlier skirmishes. Wiggily and PowerOfEvil are not as successful early, but prioritize dragon control and scaling.
Both teams prioritize the meta picks for these positions–Azir, Corki, Jarvan and Sejuani. If those get picked or banned, then CLG looks to Orianna or Leblanc. OPT moves to Twisted Fate, Sylas or Olaf. Both teams tried new picks right at the end of the season. Wiggily’s Xin Zhao kind of flopped, while Crown’s Taliyah popped off. The right draft could help OPT put CLG on the back foot, forcing them out of comfort. Sylas and Viktor may be higher priority in this best-of-five than others.
CLG’s best hope is to get Crown on Azir or Viktor–champions that have less early impact and lower mobility. OPT likes to give him Twisted Fate, Corki, Taliyah and Sylas because of their mobility and ability to impact the rest of the map post-level six. By removing that flexibility, CLG could continue to focus on objective control and teamfighting without having to worry about Crown having so much influence to counter. OPT’s ideal scenario would be take the Corki into Azir, then pick or ban Sejuani and Jarvan, forcing Wiggily to take his second tier champions. Meteos and Crown would then need to prioritize the Dragon pit for river vision and bottom lane pressure.
BOTTOM LANE–ADVANTAGE CLG
Stixxay: KDA 4.4 GD10 -6 XPD10 -29 DPM 459 GPM 420 KP 61.4%
Arrow: KDA 4.5 GD10 -74 XPD10 -34 DPM 491 GPM 422 KP 67.8%
Biofrost: XPD10 +129 KP 73.5% DPM 196 VSPM 2.33 KDA 4.6
Big: XPD10 +4 KP 68.3% DPM 154 VSPM 2.57 KDA 2.8
Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes and Noh “Arrow” Dong-hyeon line up similarly individually, but Vincent “Biofrost” Wang versus Terry “Big” Chuong tips the scale in favor of CLG. Their support has been stellar this split, particularly on Lux, Rakan and Yuumi. OPT tends to put Big on tankier supports, Nautilus and Thresh for engage, or Tahm and Braum for disengage. All teams prioritize Xayah and Sivir right now, but Arrow plays Ezreal and Draven more frequently than Stixxay, who prefers Caitlyn and Sona.
CLG tends to focus vision and skirmishing around Dragon pit, which is why Stixxay and Biofrost tend to draft for laning phase advantaged match-ups. CLG is also happy to scale while they out-macro for turrets and neutral objectives. Biofrost is their key member, participating in nearly three-fourths of the kills. Watch him set up kills during laning phase, around objectives, roaming to mid lane and during teamfights.
TEAM SYNERGY–ADVANTAGE CLG
CLG: WIN 57.9% K:D 1.16 GD15 +754 FT 58% F3T 63% DRAG 63% BARN 59%
OPT: WIN 50% K:D .96 GD15 +612 FT 50% F3T 45% DRAG 48% BARN 50%
As far as team-wide coordination goes, CLG is clearly the better squad. They have stronger objective control, better macro and better teamfighting. OPT’s only consistent leverage over CLG will be mid lane and Rift Herald control in the early game.
It will be interesting to see how the draft evolves over the course of the series, as CLG and OPT grapple for champions to lean into their strengths or reduce the opponent’s strengths. However, CLG have shown a wider variety of compositions and strategies that have resulted in wins. From the passive Sona bottom lane to the Caitlyn-Lux aggressive lane, from Leblanc-Jarvan to Sylas-Corki, from Ruin’s Jayce top to Ryze mid, CLG seems a bit more flexible.