Week 4 was expected to be an exciting one and it certainly lived up to the hype. To get the action started, Team Liquid faced Golden Guardians in another battle for 1st place. Entering the games today, there were six teams tied for 1st place, which shows the parody of the league. TL’s experience and talent have carried them a long way, however GGS weren’t ready to give away a free win.
The Pick and Ban phase went pretty much as expected for Team Liquid. Their bans of Irelia, Yuumi, Olaf, Kennen and Leblanc coincide with what they’ve done in previous weeks. By eliminating Irelia, Yuumi and Olaf, they are less likely to get ‘cheesed’ as the community likes to call it. On top of this, they stuck with their roots in the Bottom Lane by picking Varus and Tahm Kench. These two champions have become favorites of both Peter ‘Doublelift’ Peng and Yong-in ‘CoreJJ‘ Jo, so they had to feel comfortable going in.
As for Golden Guardians, they looked to ban out Jake ‘Xmithie‘ Puchero in the Jungle. His champion pool is rather wide, but GGS took away a few of his favorites in Sejuani, Gragas and Trundle. They also took the newly-buffed Karma off the board, as well as Sona. What was most surprising was the Draven and Braum selections in the Bottom Lane. With Matthew ‘Deftly‘ Chen and Joo-sung ‘Olleh’ Kim at the helm, this duo can become very deadly.
Both sides were very prepared entering champion select, making it very hard to determine a winner. However, GGS seemed to pick more according to their game plan. Their composition of Jarvan, Braum and Vel’Koz had a lot of power for team fights, as well as securing objectives. This would be the only edge, but it ended up being a very close match.
The Midas Touch Gets Liquefied
Of course these two teams have changed since the spring, however TL were able to sweep GGS in their previous two meetings. This was the result of great team play: one of their best qualities. Golden Guardians were aware of Team Liquid’s synergy and did a great job of shutting down a lot of their plans early on.
The early game was rather uneventful, but that was only because both sides were waiting for a mistake to pounce on. Since each team is so polished and prepared, there were barely any plays to make. In fact, there weren’t any kills until Henrik ‘Froggen’ Hansen picked up First Blood at around 14 minutes. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, TL responded quickly with two quick kills in the Bottom Lane. Their ability to respond is what made this an even game, because without that quality, GGS would’ve ran away with it.
As the game progressed, each team began to get restless. The lack of action from the first 20 minutes quickly turned into a big and long team fight. What really began to stand out was the DPS from Eon-yeong ‘Impact‘ Jung. His play on Aatrox was outstanding and allowed for Team Liquid to sustain through many rough fights. On top of that, Nicolaj ‘Jensen’ Jensen was able to work some magic on Azir, resulting in a massive victory for Team Liquid.
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Golden Guardians deserve a lot of credit for how well they handled TL, but poor decision-making was the root of their defeat. It seemed that they were out of position too often, making it much easier for TL to take advantage. GGS now move to 4-3 on the Summer Split, whereas Team Liquid remain in 1st place.
TL couldn’t have pulled this one off without the play of Impact in the Top Lane. His ability to almost 1v5 as Aatrox made it nearly impossible for GGS to get anything going when fighting. He finished with an impressive scoreline of 6/2/8 against a very tough opponent in Kevin ‘Hauntzer’ Yarnell. Impact has become more and more important in Team Liquid’s game plan as of recent and it seems to be working. They now stand at 5-2 with their sights set on Clutch Gaming tomorrow.
Neither side should take anything drastic from this match, but Golden Guardians now have a better understanding of where they are among their peers. They’ve shown glimpses of potential thus far, however they looked a step behind against Team Liquid. This shouldn’t be much of a scare, as practice will certainly help them gel more as a unit and work out the kinks.
Featured Image Courtesy of LoL Esports.
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