It’s been a competitive Summer Split this time around and it continued into Week 4. There were a lot of good match-ups this week, including the game today between Team Liquid and Clutch Gaming. TL have asserted themselves as quite the force this split, however Clutch have made many improvements since the spring. A roster change in the Bottom Lane has given them new life and their record has shown it.
Team Liquid have had a rigid plan for champion select that they’ve applied in almost all of their matches this split. Their bans of Rumble, Irelia, Olaf, Leblanc and Twisted Fate are similar to yesterday’s bans against the Golden Guardians. By focusing on the Top side of the map with their bans, TL were able to limit the champion pool of Seung-hoon ‘Huni‘ Heo and allow Eon-yeong ‘Impact‘ Jung to comfortably play Jayce. Also, the Leblanc and Twisted Fate bans had the same affect on Nicolaj ‘Jensen‘ Jensen in the Mid Lane.
Clutch Gaming had a similar plan in mind by banning Karma, Aatrox, Yuumi, Camille and Gangplank. Champions like Aatrox, Camille and Gangplank have been powerful in the Top Lane, making it very beneficial to take them off the board. On top of those bans, Karma and Yuumi were banned away from Yong-in ‘CoreJJ‘ Jo of Team Liquid. CG had the right idea, but their execution would have to pay off in order to take down TL.
Both sides mimicked each other during the Pick and Ban phase, making it a much closer match-up on paper. However, Jake ‘Xmithie‘ Puchero was able to pick Sejuani in the Jungle. This champion has proven to be one of his favorites, giving his team the edge heading into the game.
Team Liquid Nullify Clutch’s Heat
Entering this match, Team Liquid had bested Clutch Gaming in both of their previous meetings. This likely gave them a slight boost of confidence, but Clutch were ready to give them a fight.
The game started with some early action in the Bottom Lane, as CG were able to attain first blood on Peter ‘Doublelift‘ Peng. Almost immediately after, they secured a seven minute Mountain Dragon to further increase their advantage. However, Team Liquid responded soon after with a Gank on CG’s Bottom Lane duo.
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Throughout the first 20 minutes or so, Team Liquid were reacting to their opponents. Clutch had established some pressure in both the Jungle and Bottom Lane, making it hard for TL to play aggressively. Instead, Xmithie took what he was given and made up for his teammates’ early struggles. Despite the early Dragon loss, he secured the next three to keep Team Liquid in the game. At this point, they were strong enough to turn their efforts to group fighting and ultimately close out a very intense match.
The real story of this one was Team Liquid’s ability to team fight and out-maneuver Clutch Gaming. Overall, their decision making was better, they moved better as a unit and did a great job of closing out the game. This win keeps TL at the top of the LCS, whereas Clutch drop to a record of 4-4.
The MVP of this match was clearly Xmithie for Team Liquid. His map awareness was on point all game, making it easier to set up plays for his teammates. By securing an emphatic double kill in the Bottom Lane early on, Xmithie built up a sizable lead for himself en route to a 6/0/10 scoreline. His efforts in today’s win were monumental in helping Team Liquid secure their 2nd 2-0 weekend in a row.
As for Clutch Gaming, they’ll now move closer to the middle of the pack. Their impressive performance today against one of the best teams in the LCS is evidence that they won’t be down for long. Many of their mistakes were a result of great play from their opponents, but they’ll need to work on handling advantages. They controlled this game for the most part through the first 20 minutes, however Team Liquid managed to pick them apart and battle their way back. Don’t be surprised if CG make a nice run in the next few weeks.
Featured Image Courtesy of LoL Esports.
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