The close of NA LCS Week Eight brings the competing teams to the last week of regular season play, and every game matters. Games are lasting longer, and teams are certainly cleaning up their play. The adaptations from the newly implemented patch 8.15 are exciting and definitely shaking up the meta. Teams are feeling the heat as they near the end of the split, and the race is on to see who will represent North America at the World Championships.
Echo Fox v OpTic Gaming
In the first match of the day, OpTic Gaming (“OPT”) took down Echo Fox (“FOX”) in an exciting game. It swung back and forth with decisive calls from both teams, but OPT edged out the victory in the end. The game, however, didn’t start well for them. They secured First Blood onto PowerOfEvil’s Fizz, but ended up losing two kills for it. Damonte solo killed Akaadian and FOX got the First Tower bonus in the top lane. OPT struggled early, despite grabbing an Ocean Dragon and a kill onto Dardoch.
FOX had a great use of Rift Herald to net them two towers in the bottom lane, but OPT fought back. They forced a team fight and won it three-for-one. Two factors in the mid game helped OPT gain ground back. First was Dhokla’s Fiora winning the one-versus-one against Huni’s Rumble. Secondly, Arrow’s Draven cashed in almost 1,500 gold from his passive with a kill on Dardoch. These factors gave them the strength and map pressure to take Baron Nashor at 30 minutes, only sacrificing PowerOfEvil.
But FOX made a huge push with the man advantage they had after killing PowerOfEvil. They charged down mid, taking two towers and the Inhibitor. They also took a kill on Dhokla and the bottom Inhibitor a few minutes later. FOX was in control of the game, so they started the Elder Dragon. OPT contested and Arrow actually landed the last hit, giving his team the buff. OPT obliterated FOX in the ensuing team fight four-for-one. Because of the longer death timers, OPT had enough time to push through the top lane, destroy the structures and the Nexus at 36 minutes.
Golden Guardians v Clutch Gaming
Clutch Gaming (“CG”) claimed a very deserving win against Golden Guardians (“GGS”) to move away from the last place spot. The match did start horribly for them, though. CG decided to invade GGS’ red buff at level one, and the teams danced around each other for well over a minute. Finally, the level one fight broke out, and GGS claimed First Blood and two extra kills to CG’s one kill. GGS had the advantage, but clearly couldn’t capitalize it. CG had full control of the early game, taking an Ocean Dragon, two kills, and the First Tower bonus in the top lane.
CG’s players were able to control the game through pressure, not necessarily kills. This was until a 19 minute team fight exploded in the bottom lane. Here, CG killed three members for one and secured an Infernal Dragon. Minutes later, they were able to pressure the map and use said pressure to secure the first Baron buff. With it, they took the top lane Inhibitor and all the Tier two Towers. GGS did make plays to stop the sieges, killing a couple members here and there to stall.
At 32 minutes, GGS found a great pick onto Solo. CG did take the Baron while GGS rotated towards them, but GGS started a great fight and won it, getting two more kills. But Lourlo and Matt were greedy and had late recalls, so CG was able to catch them out and kills them. This man advantage got them two free Inhibitors and a Mountain Dragon, their fifth Dragon of the game. They grouped bottom to siege the last Inhibitor and GGS started a desperation fight. CG killed two members here, allowing them to push into the base and destroy the Nexus just before 35 minutes.
Team SoloMid v 100 Thieves
A long, seesaw match ended with Team SoloMid (“TSM”) winning out over 100 Thieves (“100T”). They started off the game on the right foot, mainly on the back of Grig. He secured First Blood, multiple neutral objectives and the First Tower bonus. TSM made smart rotations in the early-mid game, which gave them a tower lead and a small 2k gold lead at 30 minutes. Throughout the mid game, Grig was responsible for securing more Dragons and winning smite-fights for neutral objectives.
A while later, at 33 minutes, the game got interesting. 100T began the Baron, but TSM pushed them off of it. Then, TSM themselves seized the opportunity to take the buff themselves. They did secure it with a lucky hit from Hauntzer, but lost the team fight afterwards. 100T grabbed four kills-for-one, and a minute later took the Elder Dragon away from TSM, who had amassed four Elemental Dragons. With these buffs, they demolished the middle Inhibitor and outer towers in the side lanes.
The game stalled again, until the second Baron spawned. 100T, like before, started it up and TSM contested. TSM managed to win the team fight two-for-zero and grabbed the buff. With this momentum, TSM pressured lanes and secured an uncontested Elder Dragon. The two buffs allowed them to get the middle Inhibitor. When they turned top, 100T fought back. A great engage by the 100T lineup gave them a huge team fight win, where they killed four TSM members and lost none.
100T now had the game in their hands, and with so many TSM members dead, they destroyed two Inhibitors in the top and middle lanes. The third Baron spawned, and once again the teams turned towards it. 100T started attacking Baron Nashor, and TSM quickly responded. TSM won this last team fight four-for-zero, also getting the Baron buff. Though Ryu one-shot Zven trying to defend his base, the remaining four members were too strong to stop. TSM swiftly knocked down 100T’s base, Ryu and finally the Nexus at 53 minutes.
Team Liquid v Cloud9
The surge continues for Cloud9 (“C9”) as they defeat the number one seed Team Liquid (“TL”). C9 shifted their roster once more for this game, substituting Svenskeren and Goldenglue in for Blaber and Jensen. The swap worked great. Svenskeren, on his Lee Sin pick that made waves at 2016 Worlds, dominated the early game. He, with the help of Goldenglue, constantly dove Pobelter, killing him three times and taking his tower.
Come mid game, Svenskeren continued his rampage. He helped his team bring down all the Tier One Towers, killed Xmithie and got the first Infernal Dragon. He swung skirmishes back in the favor of C9, and had a huge impact. By 20 minutes, they had amounted a sizable 5k gold lead. With this lead, they engaged a team fight in the middle lane. They got two kills here, a Tier Two Tower and a Baron buff. This first Baron snowballed the lead further, which allowed C9 to take all the outer towers and double the gold lead.
After the buff expired, C9 secured another Infernal Dragon, but stalled and waited for the Baron to respawn. When it did, C9 immediately kicked into gear. They forced a fight that netted them a kill on Impact. This allowed them to take a free Baron. This Baron found much more success, giving C9 the strength to destroy all three Inhibitors. TL pathetically tried to defend their Nexus Towers, but C9 grew impatient and dove them. They fought and killed some members, but more importantly, destroyed the Nexus at 36 minutes.
FlyQuest v Counter Logic Gaming
FlyQuest (“FLY”) dominated the struggling Counter Logic Gaming (“CLG”) in the final match of the day. FLY controlled all aspects of the game, and snowballed their early lead to the end of the game efficiently. Their success started with a First Blood for Wildturtle, though he traded his life for it. Significant advantages were gained with multi-man plays in the middle lane, where FLY aggressively ganked and dove CLG members a couple of times. FLY was proactive, and dove the CLG bottom tower to kill Stixxay and get the First Tower bonus.
CLG used the Rift Herald to trade a tower, and they killed and Ocean Dragon, but other than these they were quite helpless in the mid game. FLY constantly pushed the tempo, getting multiple kills and towers. By 20 minutes, they amassed a significant 6k gold lead. From here, they bullied Darshan with multiple Abyssal Voyage ganks. The team killed him twice, and after the second time, FLY made a huge play. They dove the bottom lane Tier Two, and killed four members for none. They took that tower and a second Infernal Dragon. Now, the gold lead increased to 11k.
It wasn’t long until FLY took Baron. Though Flame had to sacrifice his life to get it, it was worth it. With it, they were able to take the bottom lane Inhibitor. They went from there to the Dragon Pit, to take their third Infernal. By now, their gold lead increased to 13k and they had the scaling from three Infernal Dragons. They were unstoppable when they marched down mid at 31 minutes. CLG was obliterated as FLY dove them. FLY finished off their Nexus dominantly at 32 minutes.
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Featured image via LoL Esports Flickr.
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