NA LCS Week Three is underway, and it is certainly enthralling to see rivalries emerge. Team Liquid and Echo Fox fought for the first place spot for the upcoming Rift Rivals. Old fan favorites Cloud9 and Team SoloMid played for the first time in a throwback to previous finals. 100 Thieves and Clutch Gaming, two teams that found great success last split, also fought to prove themselves as the better new team.
The funnel strategy was popular today, and though it had mixed success, it is clear NA teams are considering it a strong strategy. Substitutions and meta adaptations continued this week, causing this first day to be full of incredible matches.
Cloud9 v Team SoloMid
C9 is becoming synonymous with the term “throw.” Like in their games in week two, C9 managed to amass a large lead, but ended up losing the game. The match started off with C9 applying pressure all over the map, allowing them to make proactive plays. Although Svenskeren secured First Blood, C9 lost two members after the fact. C9 made many plays, but TSM managed to trade back most of the time.
There were a number of objective trades in the mid-game that opened up the map. At 20 minutes, there were only seven total kills, seven towers taken, two Dragons slain, and a Rift Herald killed. Fights became bloodier at this point, with one fight going the way of TSM. A key C9 counter engage led into a Baron minutes later. C9 used the buff to destroy the middle and bottom inhibitors, gaining a 3k gold lead at 30 minutes.
TSM fought hard at this point to stay in the game. They pushed C9 out of their base and bested Licorice and Svenskeren in a team fight. They recall to deal with the super minions pounding on their Nexus turrets, and the three man squad of C9 turns for Baron. With a clutch Tahm Kench ultimate from Mithy, Grig steals the Baron from C9. From here, Zven, who accumulated a number of kills in an expert display of skill, was able to slaughter C9 and their base.
A last desperate attempt was made by C9 at their last inhibitor tower, but the power of full build Varus and Hauntzer’s Aatrox was too much, and TSM destroyed the Nexus at 41 minutes.
Team Liquid v Echo Fox
The battle for first place was terribly one-sided. FOX drafted a typical draft for them, but TL efficiently dismantled it. The blood bath started at level one, where Fenix died in the river to TL’s bot lane duo. Xmithie commanded the early game by counter jungling the funnel strategy, positively influencing his lanes. He got successful ganks off on bot and top, setting them up to carry. TL was able to firmly establish their lead after a three for one fight in their jungle.
It became a massacre after that. TL dove FOX members at every opportunity, and they were constantly getting caught out. Even though Altec was ahead in gold and levels, the funnel strategy was shut down when he was killed numerous times with the dive and engage capabilities of TL. Doublelift was the major benefactor of many of the skirmishes, getting his kill count into double digits. A clean ace for TL around FOX’s attempt at Rift Herald lead to TL picking up a mid tier two tower and a massive gold lead.
TL grouped and secured the middle and bottom inhibitors soon after that development. A couple times Xmithie was picked off, but TL was able to respond with a team fight re-engage or by taking towers elsewhere.
By the time 20 minutes elapsed, TL had a kill lead of 20 to 4, tower lead of 7 to 0 and three neutral objectives. The last ditch team fight FOX started by their inhibitor tower proved to be catastrophic. Pobelter’s Irelia picked up a triple kill, FOX was aced, and their Nexus exploded at 22 minutes.
100 Thieves v Clutch Gaming
100T took down CG in one of the closest nail biters of the season thus far. Though they ran a funnel composition with Cody Sun at the forefront, Ssumday’s Jax was the deciding factor in this match. First Blood came out in a two versus two mid, with Cody Sun grabbing the 400 gold but dying to Febiven in return. CG’s bot lane was able to assert dominance early, but died to an all-in by the 100T bot lane of Meteos and Ryu.
The game was relatively slow until 30 minutes. There was a team fight that helped gain an advantage for 100T, and though Aphromoo had some great engages, the teams were hesitant to fully commit. That was fine for 100T, whose Jax was scaling and amassing a lead for himself in the side lane against Solo’s Aatrox.
The first turning point came when 100T started up Baron. They went through all the steps setting it up, and CC’d LirA to stop a Smite steal, but they didn’t pay attention to one player. Hakuho on Zyra came up huge and stole the Baron with Zyra’s ultimate, Rise of the Thorns.
This was the turning point for CG. After this, CG won a team fight by killing Cody Sun and began dismantling the 100T base. The mid inhibitor fell, along with two Nexus towers. They looked to end the game here, but Ssumday wasn’t going to let a victory be achieved easily. With a miraculous four man Counter Strike stun, he brought those same four members down to the grave.
From here, the game stalled out for a long time. This was until CG forced an engage onto 100T when they saw Ssumday splitting bottom lane. 100T were able to kite it out until Ssumday took the inhibitor and teleported in. Once there, he was able to dive the back line to turn the tide of the fight. Though Apollo tried to back door the open Nexus, he was stopped, and 100T took the CG middle inhibitor. They went for another Baron and barely secured it. With this momentum, Cody Sun and his line of supports, along with the super fed Jax, were able to kill three members and run it down into the base to finish the Nexus at 51 minutes.
FlyQuest v Golden Guardians
FLY was able to rebound from the first two weeks and take down GGS. The game started off roughly for FLY when WildTurtle gave over First Blood due to his disrespectful positioning. The game flip flopped when another two-versus-two in bottom lane went the way of FLY, as well as a top lane dive netting two kills for them.
The key to shutting down the funnel strategy is to win your side lanes, something Santorin did well. He enabled Flame’s Aatrox to pressure his lane and bully Lourlo to take the first tower. Because of this, Flame was ahead of Deftly’s funneled Kai’Sa in gold.
Flame was crucial to their victory. He smashed his opposing laner in the side lanes and when he grouped he had great damage numbers. FLY used the Rift Herald to take mid tower and four kills in an ensuing engagement. This gave FLY a 5k gold lead at 15 minutes, a five kill lead and three tower lead. GGS tried to be proactive by diving Flame at his bot lane tower, but only dug themselves in a deeper hole. FLY responded by destroying two tier-two towers.
By 20 minutes, the gold lead grew to around 8k. GGS managed to get a pick onto JayJ’s Fiddlesticks, but when FLY engaged, they were done for. A great Flash Taunt from Keane’s Galio set up him and his team to annihilate GGS by killing four members. From here they secured the Baron Nashor. With an 11k gold lead, it didn’t take FLY long to take first the mid inhibitor, then top, then bottom. GGS practically rolled over and died. While they put up a defense, it was a pathetic sight to see. FLY easily cleaned them up and took their Nexus at 26 minutes.
OpTic Gaming v Counter Logic Gaming
CLG dominated OPT in their match. They clearly had a game plan ready for combating the funnel strategy, and it worked magnificently. Reignover was instrumental for pushing his team forward, he made multiple visits to the top lane to give Darshan a lead. After Reignover stopped going top, Huhi took his place. He and Darshan dove Allorim multiple times and effectively took Allorim out of the game.
Although they made one mistake and gave PowerOfEvil’s Tristana three kills, CLG played almost perfectly. They brought down towers all around the map and gathered a significant gold lead; 4k at 20 minutes. Mere minutes later, a four-for-one team fight victory granted CLG the Baron, and another kill on Arrow who tried desperately to defend the buff. With a 10k gold lead, they pressured all lanes and cleaned up the outer towers. While PowerOfEvil and Gate tried to kill Darshan, and failed because he didn’t have Grievous Wounds, CLG broke the top inhibitor. Soon after this, OPT tried to make a play at Baron but were clean ace’d. CLG teleported in and took down their opponent’s Nexus at 33 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.
From Our Haus to Yours.