Last week the Golden Guardians decided to bamboozle everyone; they still went 1-1, but bested perennial powerhouse Cloud9 and fell to the previously 0-2 Clutch Gaming. If there is one take-away from this last weekend it is that teams need to ban Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung’s Tahm Kench.
The Guardians showed an in-ability to adapt in draft in their game against Clutch, drafting a composition with little team fighting ability focused on poke and split-pushing. With Henrik “Froggen” Hansen on Corki and Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell building an on-hit build on Neeko, there was no playmaking ability from the Guardians’ solo laners to make an impact in the fights that Clutch could easily force. They also had their bot duo Matthew “Deftly” Chen and Olleh put behind early with a four-man dive that was not responded to at all. The game felt out of their grasp the second Clutch pulled it off and rotated to Drake in the first 10 minutes.
In the team’s second game of the weekend against Cloud9, they went back to their roots and drafted a composition that they seemingly could execute in their sleep. A siege and poke composition with Hauntzer on a split pushing champion that can teleport in for fights, in this case on Kennen. It also helped that Froggen and Olleh were playing their comfort champions, Anivia and Tahm Kench respectively. The game started out in Cloud9’s favor, Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen racked up some early kills, but the Guardians stayed in the game thanks to securing four Drakes and some Froggen picks. The game culminated in a team fight that ended with the Guardians down a member and Cloud 9 starting up Baron, only to have the Guardians contest and win the following fight.
Looking to the future, the Guardians play 100 Thieves and Counter Logic Gaming in their quest for first place in the now wide-open race for the top spot in the LCS.
Game 1: 100 Thieves
The Guardians and 100 Thieves joined the LCS at the same time in 2018. They are 3-3 all-time against each other. If the Guardians want to make that 5-3 this would be the split to do it. 100 Thieves are currently experimenting with their roster, having their prized import Bae “Bang” Jun-sik play in Academy with no word on what their starting line-up will be for week three.
A 100 Thieves with little chemistry and a possible Academy player subbing in should equal a Golden Guardians win. Whoever 100 Thieves decides to sub, expect the Guardians to target that role, with Juan “Contractz” Garcia hovering around that lane like a hawk.
Game 2: Counter Logic Gaming
CLG is coming off a 1-1 weekend and are looking on-point after their victory over Team Liquid. CLG is 2-4 against the Guardians all-time. This game should be a proving ground for the Guardians and CLG; can the Guardians prove they are a legit contender and beat a mid-table LCS team or can CLG prove their young team has matured together and can play for a playoff spot this split?
The solo lanes should be the most important aspect of this matchup, the Danes matching up in the middle lane and Hauntzer laning against CLG’s newest player Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min. Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage and Froggen have very similar playstyles and champion pools, both favoring control mages. It should be an interesting laning phase. Ruin has yet to find his footing in the LCS, he’s yet to have a carry performance like he had at MSI and Hauntzer has been solid so far this split.
Golden Guardians should go 2-0 this weekend. 100 Thieves have shown improvement but not enough to eek out a win and with a roster shake up, it puts their odds even lower. CLG might’ve beaten up on a post-MSI Liquid but they are still 1-3. They could surprise with another unlikely win on Day Two, but it seems unlikely.
Featured photo from LoLesports Flickr
Follow Declan on Twitter: @DickyMclaughlin
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