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The Rise of Clutch Gaming

Clutch Gaming play the first LCS gauntlet match against FlyQuest on Friday. CG began their season rather slow with reactive play, however, Clutch showed moments of greatness throughout the split. It was clear that CG has great tools to succeed, however, it took time to figure out how to implement them to win matches.

CG Match UpsWhen everything came down to the wire, CG pulled out a miracle and solidified themselves a spot in the playoffs. Clutch couldn’t catch a break, with one of the toughest playoff draws in their first match against Team Solo Mid. Despite what some called a slump, TSM could boast a 10-8 record with major wins over C9 and CLG early in the split.

With their backs against the wall, Clutch absolutely demolished TSM winning the series 3-1. It seemed that Clutch completely changed their play style, focusing on snowballing the Top Lane and Mid Lane. while Bot Lane absorbed pressure extremely well. However, Clutch had another hurdle to cross: Team Liquid.

In an electrifying 5 game series, Clutch took two extremely convincing wins over TL. This pushed TL to their absolute limits and forced the TL Bot Lane to play the dreaded Sona-Taric team comp. Despite their emotional loss, Clutch vowed to bounce back.

They came out swinging in the Third Place match, going up 2-0 over CLG before eventually falling in a reverse sweep. Though they played well, CLG seemed to figure out their playstyle just in time, and by Game 5 Clutch looked a bit broken, unsure how to respond. A bit more flexibility could have been the answer in this series, and will be needed moving forward.

Now, CG has an opportunity to earn themselves a seat to worlds and a certain 7 time LCS champion believes they can do it. Furthermore, this would be the organization’s first berth into Worlds and Huni’s first worlds since his finals loss while on SKT.

As underdogs of the Gauntlet, how will they fare see how they may fare against their upcoming opponents, Flyquest.

FlyQuest
Image Courtesy of LoL Esports Flickr

FlyQuest (5-13)

FlyQuest couldn’t catch a break during the summer split. It seemed that they couldn’t piece together wins, despite having both talented newer players and seasoned veterans. However, early in the split, FQ did manage to take one victory over Clutch Gaming. FlyQuest could take one upset victory over CG, but It’s clear that Clutch has evolved their play style and created a winning formula that works. If Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon can take advantage of Omran “V1per” Shoura’s inexperience and snowball early in the top lane and Cody Sun takes a lead in the bot lane, CG could walk away with an easy 3-0 victory.

Chance at Worlds

If they make it past FlyQuest as they should, their biggest hurdle will be facing CLG once again. If they learned enough from their close defeat in their last best-of-5 matchup, they have the necessary pieces to come out on top. After that, all that stands in their way would be the TSM team that they so easily defeated just recently. With the right strategy and a little luck, Clutch could definitely extend their season to Worlds this year.

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