With the standings so ridiculously close, every game of NA LCS Week Six is important. Spectators can see that the teams are playing their hearts out to claw their way to the top. NA LCS began playing on patch 8.14 today, which brought about some significant changes. Games became longer, and some strategies were benched. As the meta continues to change, teams continue to adapt in their own unique ways on their road to playoffs, and ultimately, Worlds.
Team SoloMid v Cloud9
Cloud9 (“C9”) grabbed a crucial win against old rivals Team SoloMid (“TSM”). They did so in a clean manner with their final, locked-in roster. Blaber, former Academy jungler, played extremely well to lead his team to a much needed victory. The match was even the majority of the time, with TSM even having a lead early. TSM managed to get First Blood onto Licorice in the first few minutes, but luckily, Licorice traded a kill back. TSM tried to catch out Blaber, but a quick C9 collapse gave them two more kills, both going over to Sneaky.
Blaber’s Kindred got four stacks relatively quickly, while TSM was able to capitalize on their bottom lane’s pressure to secure two unanswered towers. TSM were also able to get a kill onto Sneaky and the Rift Herald buff off of C9’s proactivity. At 20 minutes, they were the ones with a small 1k gold and two tower lead. Because of this lead, they cleaned up the last outer tower in the middle lane a few minutes later.
C9 made their lead with kills instead of objectives, though they did get the first two Dragons. A team fight at 20 minutes went their favor three-for-two, but a prolonged play at 25 minutes was much more significant. Blaber jumped forward aggressively towards TSM to start a fight. One did break out, and Zven was killed quickly. They turned for Baron, and both teams danced around it for a while. Eventually, Licorice charged TSM down with his Dr. Mundo, and the second fight of the play was disastrous for TSM. They lost three more members, Baron buff, and their gold lead.
C9 quickly took multiple towers with this first Baron buff. After it wore off, they amassed a 5k gold lead, with 4.1k coming from the Baron Power Play. With their immense map pressure, they turned for Baron. TSM couldn’t get to the pit in time to contest, and it fell to C9. Another team fight erupted afterwards, with C9 winning it three-for-zero. They took their chance to run into the TSM base. C9 smashed the middle Inhibitor, Nexus Towers, and finally the Nexus at 35 minutes.
Counter Logic Gaiming v OpTic Gaming
OpTic Gaming (“OPT”) defeated Counter Logic Gaming (“CLG”) in one of the best displays of macro-play this Split. OPT left over Aatrox, considered a perma-ban necessity, and played around it well. Their strategy focused on split pushing with their Fiora and Teleport Ahri, and they executed it almost perfectly. Though it was a long match, OPT never gave CLG a chance to come back. It was slow for the opening minutes, but a CLG dive top brought excitement. Darshan and Reignover dove Dhokla’s Fiora. To their despair, Akaadian and PowerOfEvil came top to back up Dhokla. Because of a fantastic outplay by Dhokla, OPT came out on top of the play with two kills for none.
There were no kills for a while until CLG collapsed on an OPT play bot, winning it two for one. In the meantime, OPT secured a top tower. OPT had a decent lead here, and Dhokla was far ahead of Darshan. OPT commanded the pace with their split push and prevented CLG from getting vision on Baron while taking towers the entire time. Later on, at 29 minutes, OPT finally turned for Baron while Dhokla hit the bottom Inhibitor tower. They got both objectives and were on the advance.
OPT’s 1-3-1 split push strategy pulled CLG around the map, and they bled objectives. They took an Inhibitor and some towers, but CLG had a satisfactory defense. The first mistake came out from OPT when Dhokla was caught and killed. Shortly after, CLG turned for a last ditch Baron. OPT forced them back to base by threatening to win the game, but retreated when they arrived. CLG went back to Baron and took it on their second attempt.
OPT got a major buff of their own after CLG took Baron. They brought down the Elder Dragon, and it was empowered with four other Elemental Dragons taken throughout the game. At 40 minutes, each team had a major buff, but OPT had a whopping 11k gold and seven tower lead. A couple minutes later, after careful maneuvering, OPT destroyed all three Inhibitors.
They turned for Baron while Dhokla split bottom. CLG desperately tried to kill Dhokla to stop the OPT advance, but in a one-versus-four, the Fiora managed to escape while his team took Baron. OPT promptly closed out the game with the unstoppable Baron-buffed Super Minions they had at 45 minutes.
Echo Fox v FlyQuest
Echo Fox (“FOX”) dominated FlyQuest (“FLY”) to pick up an important win. FOX looked unstoppable with all their winning lanes even from the beginning. All FOX lanes had push pressure, but Santorin tried to relieve it top at least. He ganked Huni and killed him for First Blood, but despite this good start, FLY crumbled soon afterward. Damonte killed Keane in the middle lane and FOX’s new bottom lane of Lost and Smoothie applied massive pressure to the FLY bottom lane tower.
FOX’s bottom lane was able to take the First Tower bonus uncontested, and though FLY secured Rift Herald, they couldn’t answer a tower top with it. Because they had the tempo advantage, FOX rotated between top and mid to clean up all the outer towers. At 15 minutes, FOX already had a gold lead of 4k, a very large lead so early on.
At 17 minutes, FLY made a move to get back into the match. They found a quick kill onto Dardoch, but to their surprise, FOX engaged the four-versus-five. FOX won it four-for-one in kills, getting an Ocean Dragon too. Another fight at 20 minutes seemed like a FOX member would be picked off, this time Huni. To FLY’s further despair, they lost the fight. They picked up no kills but lost two members and the Baron Nashor.
Now FOX had an 8k gold lead cresting 21 minutes. They pressured all three lanes very hard, and destroyed all three Inhibitors in just over two minutes. FOX attempted to finish the game here, but thought better of it and returned to base to spend their gold. The FOX members regrouped for the final push, and funneled the stacked Super Minion waves into the FLY base.They desperately tried to defend, and finally decided to engage a desperation fight. FOX brutally killed all the FLY members and finished their Nexus at 25 minutes.
Golden Guardians v Team Liquid
Team Liquid (“TL”) won a comeback victory against Golden Guardians (“GGS”) in an action packed match. The game was bloody, and though TL stumbled early on, they came together to bring the win home in the late game. GGS had an exceptional early game, with Contractz setting Mickey up for multiple kills on Pobelter The GGS duo lane outplayed a Xmithie gank too, killing all three TL members without dying themselves in the two versus three. They continued to make plays bottom, getting First Tower bonus and Lourlo teleport ganking the TL duo lane to get two more kills.
GGS seemed to make some crucial mistakes though. A failed dive handed two kills over to TL, and they gave over multiple objectives. GGS undoubtedly had the lead still though, as they won a couple more fights. TL gained some control over the game with the first Baron. They had been able to turn some fights into their favor, including one crucial one. TL won a team fight in the middle lane off of a GGS engage, killing two members, and securing the Baron buff. With it, they cleaned up all the towers outside of GGS’ base, but not any Inhibitors.
A 33 minute team fight was a nail biter. GGS engaged to save their bottom Inhibitor, and because of Lourlo’s insane five-man Mega Gnar Ultimate, they narrowly won the fight three-for-two. The game slowed down for a few minutes, until the 36 minute mark. TL engaged onto GGS and found two kills. Now that TL had the man advantage, they took the second Baron buff, along with the Elder a couple minutes later. With the two major buffs, TL carefully pressured down the top and middle Inhibitors.
At 40 minutes, there were 30 kills and a 12k gold lead for TL. GGS engaged one last time to defend their final Inhibitor, and though Lourlo landed another beautiful Mega Gnar Ultimate, TL won the fight one-for-zero. They proceeded into GGS’ base, finished off the last Inhibitor, and soon after, their Nexus at 41 minutes.
Clutch Gaming v 100 Thieves
Breaking the record for the longest game of the Split, 100 Thieves (“100T”) brought down Clutch Gaming (“CG”). It was a match dictated by Baron Nashor, as both teams danced around it the majority of the time. The match was slow from beginning to end. Ssumday did manage to secure First Blood onto Solo in a two-versus-two in the top lane. Moon got revenge for his top laner by killing Ssumday in a gank afterwards. 100T did win the bottom lane by winning the two-versus-two and taking their tower, though CG did get the First Tower bonus with Rift Herald earlier.
100T went into the mid game with a slight gold lead, but it was quite even. Towers and objectives were gained and traded, but both teams tunnel visioned on Baron Nashor. Both teams went for it at times, but disengaged from it multiple times. After 13 minutes of little action, CG started Baron at 33 minutes. They disengaged, and in an extended play killed three 100T members for none. Crucially for 100T, they weren’t able to take the Baron here.
At 40 minutes, 100T started Baron. They finally secured the buff after an excruciating 20 minute dance. When they grouped mid to push down, CG tried to engage, but 100T was ready. They turned it to their favor and and won three kills for one. This momentum allowed 100T to take the middle Inhibitor and both Nexus Towers, but not the Inhibitor. CG still could stall, and they did.
Already past 50 minutes, the teams continued to skirt around each other as they had before the first Baron. This was until 100T turned for Elder Dragon. CG contested the objective, but lost a member and the buff in the end. 100T used this to take their second Baron buff for free. 100T failed to push mid, but regrouped and pushed bottom.
A last team fight erupted here, and it was very close. Both teams still proceeded with caution, but Ssumday went mid to take that Inhibitor. Under CG’s noses, he took the Inhibitor and ran to the Nexus to sneakily destroy it after 56 long 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/.
Featured image via LoL Esports Flickr.
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