NA LCS Week Nine starts off the last week of the regular season. All the teams want to secure a spot, whether its to revive a legacy or start their own. Some new champions are picking up steam in North America, while other picks continue to dominate. Every team fought their hearts out to pick up momentum in this crucial week to make sure they can get the best possible position moving into the post-season. With huge stakes on the line, fans had the opportunity to see some of the highest level play they’ve seen all split as their favorite teams duke it out.
Echo Fox v Team Liquid
Last split’s victors, Team Liquid (“TL”) established themselves as the first seed going into playoffs with a win over Echo Fox (“FOX”). They dominated the match but FOX didn’t roll over. They constantly made moves to trade objectives or force fights to try to grab the lead for themselves. But TL played very well. They capitalized on an over-stay on Huni, killing him for First Blood. On the other side of the map, TL’s bottom lane took the First Tower bonus through superior laning and pressure.
TL continued with the early pressure by bringing four members bottom to get two easy kills. Here, Dardoch did his best to capitalize on the lack of pressure top. He secured the Rift Herald buff during the play before, and now he used it to destroy two towers. FOX was able to get two more kills through smart macro play, but TL would prove too fierce an opponent.
At 28, FOX, who had a good position on the objective, decided to start it up. TL responded and initiated a team fight. They won it five-for-two and took the objective for themselves. With the buff, TL was able to clean up all of the towers out of FOX’s base. They fought with FOX again, but it ended in an insignificant one-for-one. The game was wholly decided around the second Baron. FOX started this one as well, and faced similar consequences. FOX got the Baron, but in the team fight afterwards, lost four members and only got one kill. With this tempo, TL rushed FOX’s base, took two Inhibitors and shortly after the Nexus just before 38 minutes.
100 Thieves v Cloud9
Cloud9 (“C9”), with their win over 100 Thieves (“100T”), lock in a playoffs spot on their seven game win streak. Though they went home with the win, for much of the match it was quite close. 100T were able to get First Blood on Jensen for Ryu, find a couple of kills onto Blaber and use Rift Herald to get the First Tower bonus. But, C9 was able to make counter plays, getting Dragons, towers and kills of their own. 100T came out ahead going into the mid game, but C9 wasn’t far enough behind to keep them down.
The game was relatively normally paced before 20 minutes, but after it became a blood bath. Both teams went for fight after fight. 100T won one of these fights because of a huge play by Aphromoo and Ssumday, but C9 won three others. Jensen and Sneaky, on their assassin-like picks, were huge threats. They ran down squishy carries and slaughtered them at any chance.
The match was favored for C9 at this point, but the last fight decided it for them. Both teams met in the middle lane, and went at it once again. C9 absolutely ran away with the fight. They executed it perfectly and cleanly ace’d 100T. With all five members alive, and no one to defend, C9 smashed into 100T’s base to plow through their structures and destroy their Nexus at 33 minutes.
OpTic Gaming v Team SoloMid
Team SoloMid (“TSM”) defeated OpTic Gaming (“OPT”) in their match today. It was crucial for both team’s playoffs hopes, and TSM are poised to advance. TSM had a very clean win, controlling every aspect of the game. They gave no room for OPT to breathe and their dominance started early. Zven and Mithy created a massive lead in the bottom lane. Zven had a huge CS lead, which translated into an early Infernal Dragon and First Tower bonus. In the middle lane, TSM found First Blood for Bjergsen onto Akaadian, further pushing their lead.
TSM in the mid game continued their great macro play, although it was slow. They accumulated a 4k gold lead by 20 minutes. This translated to them taking all of OPT’s outer towers and a total of three precious Infernal Dragons. Between 20 and 30 minutes, the game was very slow. TSM picked off their advantages, and made it a 9k gold lead by 30.
Action finally happened at 31 minutes. Here TSM started fighting Baron Nashor and OPT responded. The ensuing team fight went two-for-zero in the favor of TSM, and they took the Baron buff as well. With it, they began a one-three-one pressure strategy, allowing them to pressure all lanes at once with the empowered Minions. OPT was bleeding structures, and all three Inhibitors fell at nearly the same time. Once TSM had these, they went for kills. They found three OPT members, and shortly after the Nexus at 34 minutes.
Golden Guardians v FlyQuest
FlyQuest (“FLY”) solidified their spot in playoffs with a win over the Golden Guardians (“GGS”). They had the advantage the majority of the match, but not a huge one until later on. Santorin and his team were able to bully Contractz and make him useless by invading him and taking his camps. He was killed for First Blood, and was so far behind in levels he couldn’t utilize his Ultimate until later and to less effect. But to GGS’ credit, they turned around a FLY tower dive in the bottom lane to pick up two kills, while losing none.
Around 13 to 15 minutes, both teams danced around Rift Herald. The first encounter lead to a team fight, where FLY won two-for-zero because of Flame’s Equalizer Ultimate. Shortly after, Contractz did manage to secure the buff but gave his life for it. From here, there were a number of objective trades with an Infernal Dragon and multiple towers falling on both sides.
At 20 minutes, FLY were only ahead by 1k gold. FLY did push their small lead at some points, getting vision control and a Cloud Dragon. Finally, at 25 minutes, they made a more significant plays. Here, they pushed the middle lane, where they took a kill and two towers. A minute later they took another fight, which they won three-for-one. This allowed them to get the Baron buff easily. With it, all they had to do was group in the bottom lane and siege. They demolished the tower then turned to do the same to GGS’ players. They slaughtered them in their base and pushed onward to destroy the Nexus at 29 minutes.
Counter Logic Gaming v Clutch Gaming
Counter Logic Gaming (“CLG”) defeated Clutch Gaming (“CG”) in the final match of the day. They did so fairly convincingly; they had a lead early on and snowballed it efficiently. It began with a cheesy level one gank onto the CG bottom lane, which turned into a three-versus-three. Stixxay secured First Blood in the early skirmish, putting himself ahead. Wiggly, who was pulled up from academy along with FallnBandit, also executed a great gank onto Solo to get a kill for himself. He took multiple Dragons and set up dives and other plays for his team.
Biofrost, on the Bard, and Wiggly controlled the entire map. They established and used pressure to secure kills, objectives and towers. CG did attempt to trade towers, but were unable to do so with kills. At 20 minutes, CLG had five kills to none and a 2k gold lead. There were a number of fights in the next 10 minutes, but the most important was at 29 minutes. Here, CLG won a four-versus-five fight, getting two kills for none. This also gave them the ability to secure the Baron buff. This buff gave then numerous towers and objectives, but couldn’t crack the base.
The game stalled for a while after that, until the next Baron Nashor spawned. Both teams contested it, but CLG was the one to walk away with the buff without losing any members. Their composition allowed them to pressure all three lanes at once to great success. Structure fell, but the match blew open in the final fight. The two teams collided in CG’s base, but CLG easily won the fight four-for-one. The Nexus was destroyed with no resistance at 39 minutes.
To watch the NA LCS, visit watch.na.lolesports.com. For more information on the split, teams, standings, and players, visit www.lolesports.com. Recaps of former weeks and other LoL content can be found at https://thegamehaus.com/league-of-legends/.
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