As good as Golden Guardians looked last split, was just as good as Clutch Gaming looked in this past game. Clutch went around the map and took all the early objectives and towers that the translated into a dominant mid game and eventual win.
The Guardians drafted themselves into a corner this game. With an early Neeko pick for Kevin “Haunter” Yarnell and a Corki pick for Henrik “Froggen” Hansen to counter Clutch’s Sylas, there was no great team fighting threat coming from the solo lanes. And with a Sejuani, Ezreal and Thresh to round out the composition the Guardians plan was to poke and scale into late game. Which, isn’t the most optimal strategy for a meta revolving around early aggression and games lasting, at most, 30 minutes.
Clutch went with a much simpler composition, nabbing Rumble, Jarven IV and Nautilus for team fighting and a Jinx for scaling if the game ever went to the late game. The Guardians were starting with a loss from draft and it only got worse.
Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung was also denied his Tahm Kench, having it banned away in the second ban phase.
The game started out with an early invade from Clutch, resulting in vision of Juan “Contractz” Garcia’s start in the jungle and an eventual three buffs for Nam “Lira” Tae-yoo.
The first bit of action was at five minutes into the game when Clutch four-man dove the Guardians bottom duo. Giving Clutch an easy two kills and Drake. This was the Guardians first drake taken against them in the 2019 Summer Split.
At 10 minutes Clutch took the Rift Herald, dropped it top and took the tower. In the next five minutes they took bottom tower, their second Drake of the game and rotated top to kill Huantzer at the tier two tower.
After 15 minutes the Guardians were down about 2,000 gold, their only laner up a significant amount in cs was Huantzer who gained a 40 CS lead over Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon. At around 20 minutes, Golden Guardians grouped mid try to engage a fight with a Thresh hook and immediately get turned on. They lost the fight 0-4.
Clutch Gaming then took down the outer towers, getting vision on Baren and waiting for a Golden Guardians mistake to take the buff. They got a pick on Froggen at 24 minutes, that turned into a Baren for Drake trade.
Then Clutch played a 4-1 with Huni splitting in bottom lane while the team ran the Baren buffed minions down mid. They traded his life for the middle inhibitor. This was Golden Guardians first kill of the game. Clutch rotated bottom and took the inhibitor, while Huni died again, and after a quick reset they looked for the top inhibitor.
Golden Guardians then decided to stop bleeding out and take the fight in their base. They lost the fight and then lost the game at 31 minutes.
The Guardians got outmaneuvered around the map and in draft this game. Contractz did get the proactive start he had last week and while top and mid came out of lane phase with leads or even, it didn’t mean much because their champion picks could not team fight or force plays.
Clutch drafted a simple composition and played it to perfection. This does not bode well for the Guardians next matchup on day two against Cloud9.
Follow Declan on Twitter: @DickyMclaughlin
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