The second day of NA LCS Week Three showcased teams fighting hard for their wins, and a multitude of strategies and play styles. The funnel strategy is still seeing use by some teams, with similar mixed success as before.
Today, the teams that will represent North America at Rift Rivals proved why they’re qualified, and showed promise for the region. Games reached longer lengths than usual, and the methodical, strategic play style was intriguing to watch. With such flexible standings, it will be exciting to see where these team go in the coming weeks.
Golden Guardians v Team SoloMid
Team SoloMid punished Golden Guardians for their mistakes in the opening match of the day. GGS, on the backs of Contractz, was able to carve a lead out for themselves early. Lourlo, on his Renekton, was a massive force against Hauntzer’s Aatrox. They were able to grab First Blood and First Blood Tower, and had a healthy gold lead of about 2k.
Individual mistakes by multiple members of GGS showcased their over-aggression, something TSM easily punished. Contractz and Matt made very disrespectful positioning errors, baiting their teams into fights. These ultimately gave TSM a number of free kills, many of which Zven on Kai’Sa secured. At 20 minutes, the gold was quite close between the teams, but TSM had a four kill lead. With Kai’Sa being the main benefactor of these kills, TSM was set up to win fights and push a lead.
TSM grabbed full control of the game after Zven picked up a Triple Kill from a skirmish, which ended up giving TSM the Baron. With this, TSM cleaned up all the outer towers and destroyed the middle inhibitor. The game stalled for a little after this, and at 30 minutes the gold lead spiked to 6k for TSM, with an eight kill and four tower lead. At around 32 minutes, TSM went to Baron and GGS grabbed an Infernal Drake for themselves as a consolation prize. Unfortunately for them, TSM responded quickly and took their top inhibitor before GGS could get back to base. Shortly after, TSM rotated around the base and brought down all three inhibitors. A fight broke out, TSM slaughtered GGS, and then blew up the Nexus at 35 minutes.
Counter Logic Gaming v FlyQuest
FlyQuest bounced back from an early deficit to dominate Counter Logic Gaming in their match. Reignover, piloting Taliyah, was able to put his team in the lead very early. He acquired First Blood for Huhi in a top lane dive, killed the FLY bot lane, and blew summoners all over the map. Crucially, FLY, specifically Santorin, was able to find trade kills and objectives. Santorin’s Kha’Zix found multiple isolated kills and made plays on the opposite side of the map Reignover was.
Messy team fights plagued CLG in the mid-game. One fight in the FLY jungle was an even one-for-one, but the next was worse. A split up fight resulted in a two for one for FLY, with Keane’s Zoe thriving in the chaotic atmosphere. The game proved to be a blood bath, and FLY was thriving in it. FLY’s first Baron came from a clean two kill team fight. Because of the Baron buff, FLY was able to finish off all the CLG outer towers and take the middle inhibitor.
This gave FLY a respectable 6.2k Baron Power Play, and a near 10k gold lead. Some skirmishes broke out, but FLY played safely enough to keep up the pressure while not overextending. FLY turned to Baron at 37 minutes and killed three CLG members. Now, they took the remaining two inhibitors, and turned to the Elder Dragon. Another fight emerged here, and by the time FLY killed off the CLG members around it, the Super Minions are flooding in to the base. They smashed the Nexus themselves at 40 minutes with no FLY champions around.
Clutch Gaming v Team Liquid
Clutch Gaming took a convincing victory over the current NA leaders, Team Liquid. The game started off with some action at level one, and while no kills were claimed, it set the stage for a CG win. Though CG won, TL was able to pick up First Blood onto Impact’s Kled. TL was also able to turn around a gank in the bottom lane and secure two kills. Despite this, CG was active early, taking a Mountain Dragon and killing TL members in the bottom and middle lanes.
Impact, with the lead he amassed against Solo’s Dr. Mundo, was a menace in the side lane. Even though this was the case, his influence was lessened in team fights. This showed in a stand off top lane, where he tried to engage onto CG. He and his team were pushed back and had to forfeit their tower. TL made a critical mistake shortly after 20 minutes. Impact and Xmithie tried to kill Solo in the bottom lane. Solo, playing Dr. Mundo, was able to heal the damage and survive. During this time, CG capitalized on the absent jungler and killed Baron Nashor.
CG had a firm grip on the lead from here. A team fight netted CG two kills and took the middle and top inhibitors. Although Hakuho was caught out and killed for free, TL was never able to gain any momentum. They went for a desperation Baron play at around 31 minutes. The result was catastrophic for them. CG slaughtered four members and ran into the base to demolish the TL Nexus at 32 minutes.
Echo Fox v Cloud9
Echo Fox took a win over Cloud9 today, with what looked like an inevitable comeback with their funnel strategy. The game started awfully for Echo Fox, losing First Blood to a botched invade at level one. Although Huni was able to outplay an early gank by Svenskeren and kill Licorice, he was ganked again. This gave Licorice lane priority, and he was able to solo kill Huni twice. At this point, C9 had huge side lane pressure, and Altec’s funnel Lucian was not that ahead. C9 looked ready to steam roll FOX when they dove the FOX tier two tower and killed Huni and Fenix.
C9 lost momentum in the mid game, and it was clear. Feng was able to pull of a couple of successful ganks against Licorice, and he lost a lot of his pressure. After the 20 minute team fight where C9 got two kills for none, they had a 5k gold and eight kill lead. They used the Rift Herald buff acquired a few minutes earlier to knock down the FOX tier two, but FOX reengaged and killed the sole carry for C9, Licorice’s Irelia. Another team fight was an insignificant one-for-one, but the next one proved fatal.
C9 grouped to take the middle Inhibitor Tower, but the ensuing fight was a devastating five-for-two, with Altec getting a Pentakill. The funnel was finally online and ready to take over. FOX pushed this advantage to secure two top lane towers and a mid lane inhibitor. While FOX was backing to spend their gold, Licorice caught two members out. C9 ran down the middle lane, and tried to end the game. In a typical C9 throw, they over-committed, causing three of C9’s players to die. FOX used this momentum to take two inhibitors and a kill onto Smoothie. C9 desperately tried to take the Baron, but they were easily ace’d, and FOX destroyed the opposing Nexus at 37 minutes.
100 Thieves v OpTic Gaming
In a similar fashion as yesterday, 100 Thieves played a long, slow game to methodically cut down OpTic Gaming. The only action to occur in the early game was in a bottom lane two-versus-two, where Arrow fell and gave Meteos First Blood. Because each team was built around the funnel strategy, they both focused on farming throughout the early and mid games to accelerate their ADC’s builds. There was one team fight in the bottom lane, but the only casualty was Gate, with Ssumday securing the kill.
The First Blood Tower was secured after 20 minutes, and gave 100T a small lead, but nothing too significant. Both funnel carries were near even as well. 100T did attempt to push their advantage with a couple of engages, but neither of them stuck, and no one died. This was until one beautiful engage by Aphromoo and Meteos, where the AOE team fighting power of 100T’s composition proved effective. Here, they took two clean kills and a Baron buff.
Ssumday again came up huge for his team in the late game. He was able to two-shot kill Arrow’s Varus with insane Gangplank damage. This in turn led to 100T taking down Big as well, and pushing down the top inhibitor. A few minutes later, they take the middle inhibitor too. At 30 minutes, 100T managed to accumulate a gold lead of 9k and a 6 kill and tower lead. Because of this, it wasn’t long before they were able to smash the last inhibitor bottom and get another kill courtesy of Ssumday. The rest of the team crumbled after he died, and the Nexus fell at 31 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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