In the first match of Week 2, Day 2, Team Liquid faced off against Counter Logic Gaming. Both teams were coming off a rather rough start to the Summer Split and looked to gather momentum in this match-up. Team Liquid picked up a morale boosting win over 100 Thieves yesterday, whereas CLG dropped a game to OpTic Gaming. The energy and stakes were high, no matter the side.
During champion select, both teams showed a commitment to their game plans. To start, Team Liquid banned Yuumi, Ryze, Rumble, Lucian and Kai’sa. These coincided with their bans from previous weeks, as they continue to focus on the Top and Bottom Lanes. By taking away these champions, Team Liquid gave themselves a minor advantage in both lanes. Limiting their opponents’ champion pool ultimately gives them more confidence in lane, but CLG had their own plans to get them back.
To counter Team Liquid, CLG banned Irelia, Sona, Xayah, Leblanc and Akali. What made this group of bans so impressive was the ban of Xayah. Team Liquid have played the Lover’s Duo of Xayah and Rakan in each of their first three matches, so CLG didn’t hesitate to take it away. On top of that, their ban of Sona eliminated any chance of the Sona and Taric duo. CLG’s Bottom Lane bans were most likely executed to give their Bot duo a better chance of winning. Considering TL’s incredibly talented Bottom Lane duo, CLG had the right idea in mind.
It seemed that CLG had a better grasp of their game plan in champion select and this translated onto the rift. Since Team Liquid stuck to their usual bans, they weren’t able to adapt to the potential of their enemies. Instead, CLG were able to keep the match very close.
Countering the Enemy’s Logic
After speculation of Team Liquid starting the split on a slower note, CLG turned it into a reality. This match was much more competitive than anticipated, partly because of TL’s inability to sync as a unit. Their hesitation and overall lack of focus made it very hard for them.
The early game consisted of a lot of back-and-forth action. This didn’t result in a kill until after five minutes into the match, where Jake ‘Xmithie’ Puchero picked up first blood in the Top Lane. His pick of Olaf showed his plans to scale and carry his team, but CLG knew exactly how to counter him.
What stood out in this match was CLG’s ability to respond to their opponents. Whether it was getting a kill or securing an objective, they either matched or beat TL’s value in almost every fight. This translated to a fairly early Dragon lead, which helped them snowball into the later stages of the game.
In the end, Team Liquid were struggling to find a sliver of hope to get back into the game. Their positioning was off, they lacked ward coverage and overall seemed a step behind. This could be a result of minimal practice after MSI, but it could also mean that CLG are improving. Nonetheless, CLG capped off Week 2 with a huge win over a limping Team Liquid.
For CLG, it was their Jungler that made the difference. Raymond ‘Wiggily’ Griffin made sure to be wherever he was needed at all times, resulting in a large advantage in the Jungle. This allowed him to counter Xmithie’s pathing and respond to enemy ganks. His presence against one of the best teams in North America was profound, giving his team a much needed win.
Both teams will now move to 2-2, but Team Liquid will likely be falling a spot or two. This loss was very uncharacteristic of Team Liquid, considering how experienced and talented their team is. However, they lacked synergy and overall skill with their team composition. CLG’s smart banning phase in champion select was a big factor in this. Now, Team Liquid will have to make drastic changes to stay in contention.
Featured Image Courtesy of LoL Esports.
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