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NA LCS Week 6 Coverage

Matchup of the Week – Team Liquid versus Immortals – Winner: Immortals (2-1)

Both teams have had an impressive season so far. Immortals occupies second place while Liquid is currently fighting to hold onto third place. Each team finds themselves behind Team SoloMid but Immortals remains right on their heels and want to prove to the rest of the teams that there’s a massive gap between the top two and the rest of the league. Team Liquid have been hit and miss due to roster issues throughout the season but will look to solidify their place in the standings as the playoffs approach.

Game One – Winner: Immortals

An early mistake of overextending from Team Liquid gave Immortals an advantage. Seong “Huni” Hoon Heo teleported to Liquid’s duo lane and caught them handing two kills to his team. Team Liquid and Immortals then traded punches back and forth with Immortals slowly increasing their lead through better farm and objectives. Eventually Immortals was able to take Baron after eliminating the majority of Team Liquid’s members. Jason “WildTurtle” Tran played his utility ADC to near perfection by initiating well with his ultimate ability and earning a triple kill during a Baron fight. Immortals used their Baron buff to break into Team Liquid’s base and closed the game shortly after the expiration of that buff. Team Liquid played well in moments, but the difference in skill and game sense was apparent.

Game Two – Winner: Team Liquid

Team Liquid won the game with an early level six engage from their ADC Jovani “fabbbyyy” Guillen. His Jhin forced a team fight (using his ultimate after hitting level six) that they were able to garner a massive advantage early and continue to find picks through their duo lane. Members of Immortals were constantly caught out by Team Liquid. One skirmish in Immortal’s own jungle gave Team Liquid Baron buff and the platform to take the game. They caught Huni out almost immediately after Baron and used that buff to finish the upset. They forced game three due to their pick/ban phase and desire to base a composition around the Jhin. Immortals hurt themselves by constantly being in places they shouldn’t and taking fights when they were simply too far behind. Team Liquid will enter game three on an emotional high and hope to upset NA’s second best team.

Source: Riot Esports Flickr
Source: Riot Esports Flickr

Game Three: Winner: Immortals

Immortals looked impressive as they finished off Team Liquid in this series. Huni was constantly catching out Team Liquid’s backline and eliminating them before they could get much damage out during team fights. The Hecarim pick was stellar against the Jhin specifically due to his ultimate and speed to always be able to reach the ADC. Team Liquid looked to make a comeback after Wildturtle was caught out multiple times. Immortals played much better after that when it looked like they were being closed in on. They forced fights on their terms and quickly demolished Team Liquid’s base.

Source: Riot Esports Flickr
Source: Riot Esports Flickr

Elsewhere in the NA CLS

Friday

Team SoloMid vs. Cloud9 – Winner: Team SoloMid

Team Envy vs. Immortals – Winner: Immortals

Saturday

NRG Esports vs. Apex – Winner: Apex

Phoenix1 vs. Echo Fox – Winner: Phoenix1

Team Envy vs. Counter Logic Gaming – Winner: Counter Logic Gaming

Sunday

Apex vs. Team SoloMid – Winner: Team SoloMid

NRG Esports vs. Cloud9 – Winner: Cloud9

Counter Logic Gaming vs. Phoenix1 – Winner: Counter Logic Gaming

Team Liquid vs. Echo Fox – Winner: Team Liquid

Cover Image by: Dwight Casin

NA LCS Week 4 Highlights

Matchup of the Week – Team SoloMid versus Team Envy – Winner: Team SoloMid (2-0)

Both Team SoloMid and Team Envy came into their matchup after underwhelming performances on Saturday. Team Envy lost to Cloud9 2-0, whilst Team SoloMid pulled out a 2-1 win against Echo Fox despite playing abysmally and having some terrible shotcalling. Each team will hope to bring their best to their series today, to ease the minds of their fans that they still deserve to be atop the NALCS standings. Team SoloMid is still undefeated and will hope to remain that way against a team such as Envy who despite their bright start, has had some struggles against the best teams in the region.

Game One – Winner: Team SoloMid (1-0)

Team SoloMid won by playing by the book. They drafted well and began the game playing well. A level one gank from Vincent “Biofrost” Wang for Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg gave his Zilean the middle lane for free. Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell’s Irelia was not deeply affected by the lane swap, whilst Team Envy’s Shin “Seraph” Woo-yeong struggled mightily. Team SoloMid focused on objectives and dragons in the early game. Their farm lead was slight, but due to their ability to take early dragons, the game wasn’t as close as it looked. A slight misstep after taking a seventeen-minute inhibitor allowed Team Envy to extend the game a bit. However, Team SoloMid would not let them live long and surgically took down the rest of Team Envy’s base after taking two Earth Drake’s and a Baron. The macro play from Team SoloMid was impeccable, and the difference in team’s abilities and strategies were much more massive than most people imagined. Team Envy will need to drastically change their performance in order to extend this series to three games.

Game Two – Winner: Team SoloMid (2-0)

Team SoloMid completed the sweep with an easy demolition of Team Envy in game two. Team Envy tried playing Cassiopeia, which often in the past gave Team SoloMid great difficulty (it even put them on tilt for a whole split), but it was to no avail. Team Envy kept the game close earlier, which was an improvement to their previous game. Team SoloMid simply turned the switch on in the middle game taking skirmishes, dragons, and even a twenty-one-minute Baron which they used to break down the middle inhibitor. The series gave Team Envy a chance to show that they could compete with the top tier teams in North America, but Team SoloMid is currently just steps ahead of the rest of NA. Team SoloMid remains undefeated and miles ahead of the rest of the table in the standings.

Source: Riot Esports Flickr
Source: Riot Esports Flickr

Elsewhere in the NALCS

Friday

-Counter Logic Gaming vs. Immortals – Winner: Immortals

-Liquid vs. Apex – Winner: Liquid

Saturday

-Cloud9 vs. Team Envy – Winner: Cloud9

-Team SoloMid vs. Echo Fix – Winner: Team SoloMid

-Immortals vs. Liquid – Winner: Immortals

-NRG Esports vs. Phoenix1 – Winner: NRG Esports

Sunday

-Cloud9 vs. NRG Esports – Winner: Cloud9

-Counter Logic Gaming vs. Phoenix1 – Winner: Counter Logic Gaming

-Echo Fox vs. Apex – Winner: Apex

 

Cover Image by: Josh Rigg

NA LCS Week 3 Highlights

Matchup of the Week – Team Envy versus Immortals – Winner: Immortals (2-0)

Team Envy and Immortals enter their matchup with 4-0 and 3-1 records respectively. The winner of this series will have sole possession of second place in the 2016 NA Summer Split and will validate themselves as legitimate shots to win the summer championship and possibly earn a spot at this year’s World Championship. Immortals came into the split as favorites to dethrone current champions Counter Logic Gaming while Team Envy had much lesser expectations from the masses. Team Envy, in their first split in competitive League of Legends, has delivered incredible performances in all of their series and remains undefeated. This comes as a huge surprise from a team many expected to be battling for their lives to remain in the LCS. The matchup between Immortals and Team Envy was one not many looked forward to at the start of the season, but is now a battle for second place behind current leaders Team SoloMid.

Source: Riot Esports Flickr
Source: Riot Esports Flickr

Game One – Winner: Immortals (1-0)

Immortals took game one after one of the more competitive encounters of the summer. Team Envy looked to be a bit behind early, but they were simply biding their time until they had any advantage and would force a fight. The game went heavily in favor of Team Envy after they earned a Baron buff after demolishing Immortals in a team fight. Team Envy cracked Immortals’ base open due to the Baron buff and were looking to close out the game with the spawning of the next Baron. Shin “Seraph” Wu-Yeong and Noh “Ninja” Geon-woo massive AoE damage from Ryze and Karma respectively allowed them to get to this point. Ninja got an important double kill as Immortals were looking to retreat from a team fight that allowed Team Envy to secure Baron. However, the Karma seemed to struggle as the late game came, especially due to the massive sustain from Immortals. Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin and Adrian “Adrian” Ma were able to keep members of Immortals alive with their heals from Nidalee and Nami. This allowed the game to be turned around when Team Envy went for their second Baron. Immortals out-sustained them, took Baron for themselves, and quickly dispatched all of Team Envy’s base.

Source: Riot Esports Flickr
Source: Riot Esports Flickr

Game Two – Winner: Immortals (2-0)

Immortals completes the sweep and takes second place after finishing off Team Envy in only two games. Game two was one of the most dramatic games in recent memory with constant fighting and decision making that put both teams in positions to win the game multiple times. Immortals had control for most of the game, but one huge team fight in favor of Team Envy gave them a chance to win. They took a Baron buff and Elder Drake. They eventually took Immortals’ base, other than the Nexus (it was at 50%) before getting wiped out by Immortals. Immortals simply walked down mid and finished the game. Team Envy had a chance to win it, but their lack of late game composure ended up hurting them. They didn’t commit for the Nexus or the team fight as a whole and the split damage resulted in them losing the game. Regardless of this outcome, the series was intensely competitive and Team Envy does show that they are indeed a strong team and won’t be disappearing from the top of the standings anytime soon.

Elsewhere Around the NA LCS

Friday

-Cloud9 vs. Team SoloMid – Winner: Team SoloMid (2-1)

-Team Liquid vs. Phoenix1 – Winner: Team Liquid (2-0)

Saturday

-Counter Logic Gaming vs. Echo Fox – Winner: Counter Logic Gaming (2-0)

-Team Liquid vs. NRG Esports – Winner: Team Liquid (2-1)

-Phoenix1 vs. Apex – Winner: Apex (2-1)

Sunday

-Team SoloMid vs. NRG Esports – Winner: Team SoloMid (2-0)

-Cloud9 vs. Apex – Winner: Cloud9 (2-1)

-Echo Fox vs. Immortals – Winner: Immortals (2-0)

-Counter Logic Gaming vs. Team Envy – Winner: Team Envy (2-1)


Cover Image by
: Dwight Casin

NA LCS Summer Split Week 2 Highlights

Matchup of the Week: Team SoloMid vs. Immortals

Team SoloMid versus Immortals has become one of the most anticipated matchups in the west over the course of the last two splits. Immortals fell to Team SoloMid in the semifinals of the 2016 Spring NA LCS Split and came into the matchup looking to prove themselves in a best of three against the elite of NA. Team SoloMid wanted to keep their perfect performance streak going after one of the most impressive starts to the season in their history. Team SoloMid’s players have been firing on all cylinders and their top laner Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell has made a case so far this split that he is the best top laner in NA and his matchup against Immortals’ Seong “Huni” Hoon Heo would likely play a major part in determining the winner of this series.

Game One – Winner: Team SoloMid (1-0)

Team SoloMid completely demolished Immortals in the opener. A crafty beginning from Immortals, looked like they had a slight advantage, but a massive mistake from Adrian “Adrian” Ma recalling in the wrong spot, gave first blood over to Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng.

After that play, Team SoloMid pushed their advantage. A solo kill from Hauntzer on Huni earned them leads in both outer lanes, whilst Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg farmed away on Vladimir in the middle lane. Immortals went out of their way to avoid Team SoloMid for the rest of the early game, giving up two Infernal Drakes to Team SoloMid for almost nothing in return. Team SoloMid didn’t rest and pushed their advantage constantly forcing skirmishes and dives on Immortals. The game was over before the middle game even ended and Team SoloMid continues to impress with their absolutely dominating performances.

Team Solo Mid vs Immortals in Week 2 Day 3 of the 2016 North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) Summer Split at the NA LCS Studio in Los Angeles, California, USA on 12 June 2016.
Source: Riot Esports Flickr

Game Two – Winner: Immortals (1-1)

Team SoloMid kept the momentum going after earning a one minute first blood for Doublelift. However, that was the extent of success Team SoloMid would achieve in game two. Immortals obliterated Team SoloMid’s perfect record through sheer dominance. Huni’s Irelia found kill after kill and destroyed Team SoloMid’s back line. The Soraka pick from Adrian allowed Huni and Jason “WildTurtle” Tran to be nearly invincible. Team SoloMid played a similar style, but this game, their aggressiveness backfired on them due to the more effective team composition for Immortals. They took the game in under thirty minutes and forced a game three.

Game Three – Winner: Team SoloMid (2-1)

The most exciting game of the series was indeed the finale. Immortals started off strongly and certainly looked like they would walk away with the series. However, Team SoloMid would not give up. The game came down to one or two crucial team fights, the most important one being after a Baron take from Immortals. Immortals took Baron and looked to escape, but Team SoloMid, through Bjergsen’s Zilean and Hauntzer’s Swain, they were able to force a team fight and take an early kill. Immortals attempted to retreat after that but a S-tier god Bard ultimate from Vincent “Biofrost” Wang stopped that escape. He hit three members of Immortals and Team SoloMid was able to delete them and ultimately, improve to 4-0 on the season and alone in the top of the standings.

Source: Riot Esports Flickr
Source: Riot Esports Flickr

Week 2 Results

Friday:

-NRG Esports vs. Immortals – Winner: Immortals (2-1)

-Apex vs. Team Envy – Winner: Team Envy (2-1)

Saturday:

-Liquid vs. Counter Logic Gaming – Winner: Counter Logic Gaming (2-1)

-NRG Esports vs. Echo Fox – Winner: NRG Esports (2-0)

-Phoenix1 vs. Cloud9 – Winner: Cloud9 (2-1)

-Team Solomid vs. Apex – Winner: Team SoloMid (2-0)

Sunday:

-Team Envy vs. Phoenix1 – Winner: Team Envy (2-0)

-Cloud9 vs. Counter Logic Gaming – Winner: Cloud9 (2-1)

-Echo Fox vs. Liquid – Winner: Liquid (2-1)

 

Cover Photo By: Dwight Casin

NA LCS – Opening Night and Day

The NALCS is back for the 2016 Summer Split with a new format. The NA League went to a best of three series for every matchup which will surely create a more competitive and dramatic atmosphere. The new schedule hoists the defending champions, Counter Logic Gaming, against runners-up Team SoloMid in the opening night. Matchups will take place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, ensuring League of Legends will span the entire weekend.

Team SoloMid vs. Counter Logic Gaming – Winner: Team Solomid (2-0)

Team SoloMid began their march towards worlds with an impressive 2-0 victory over archrivals Counter Logic Gaming. Their new starting support Vincent “Biofrost” Wang impressed in his first LCS series. He went 1-3-27 overall on Karma and Braum. Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, his duo in Team SoloMid’s bottom lane, commented on how much of a hard worker he’s been since his tryout.

Game one went heavily in Team SoloMid’s favor. They came out of the gates strong through Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen constant pressure in the jungle. Counter Logic Gaming’s entire team struggled immensely. Their ADC Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes had no impact on the game despite his promising performance at MSI. He was often caught out of position in skirmishes, something that Ezreal needs to perfect to get damage done to opponents.

The second game looked the polar opposite of the opener. Counter Logic Gaming was able to grab Vladimir, whom Team SoloMid banned out in game one, for Choi “HuHi” Jae-hyun which appeared to have tilted the game into their advantage. Team SoloMid would not give up and adapted to the change in strategy of Counter Logic Gaming as the game continued. Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell dictated the pace of the game on Ekko. His team fighting was immaculate, constantly pressuring Stixxay and hindering Ezreal’s ability to do damage. Eventually Counter Logic Gaming was caught out of position and Team SoloMid was able to complete the sweep and improve to 1-0 on the season.

tsmbiofrost

Team Envy vs. NRG eSports – Winner: Team Envy (2-1)

The benefits of switching to a best of three were put on display in this matchup. Team Envy won games one and three whilst NRG eSports took game two in an hour long battle. NRG eSports looked completely different from last split retaining only Lee “GBM” Chang-suk from the start of their Spring season. Team Envy is a newly formed LCS organization that has been around for years in other video games.

Team Envy looked strong in the opener, nearly pulling a perfect game out on their opponents. The game was incredibly tedious as there were only six kills throughout the game. First blood was picked up late as well and Team Envy was forced to build their massive gold lead solely through farming and objective control. A mistake from NRG eSports bottom lane heading to lane forced them far behind and ultimately served as the main catalyst to their lack of control of the game. Team Envy won methodically and looked far superior to NRG eSports.

However, the beauty of adaptation was shown in the last two games. Game two was one by NRG eSports after over an hour. The game was extremely competitive, but it did lack clean and crisp play. Both teams threw leads away throughout the game showing that nerves and lack of synergy will play a part at the beginning of the season. Eventually GBM’s Vladimir became too strong for Team Envy to deal with and he served as the deciding factor in the final few team fights. A semi-backdoor ended the game and forced the first game three of the new format.

Team Envy made sure to take Vladimir with their first pick and it proved vital to their victory. They gave it to their top laner Shin “Seraph” Wu-Yeong who split pushed with the champion earning his team vital map position. The game played out in similar fashion to game one in that it was a methodical victory for Team Envy. It was a closer battle but Team Envy was in control for the majority of the encounter. Team Envy improves to 1-0 and begins the split positively whereas NRG eSports continues their form from last split with another loss.

team envyus

Cloud9 vs. Immortals – Winner: Immortals (2-1)

If there was one team that was most looking forward to the best of three format, it would be Immortals. They laid an egg in last splits’ playoffs and were desperate to get more practice in series. They redeemed themselves massively in their 2-1 victory against Cloud9 showing that they do indeed have the ability to adapt, even if they refuse to play the meta.

Immortals took game one from Cloud9 after a highly contested affair. Both teams looked extremely close in skill and macro-play. Immortals simply performed better in the last few team fights which allowed them to take Cloud9’s base. Jason “WildTurtle” Tran’s massive farm lead over Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi accounted for the majority of gold differential. The strength of Ekko being able to single out opponents was once again highlighted.

Game two was a game that Cloud9 should have won quicker. They had a massive gold lead but sloppy plays from William “Meteos” Hartman losing some smite battles extended Immortals’ life. The difference maker in this matchup was clearly Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and his Fizz. He was able to kill members of Immortals almost on sight and constantly got into the backline erasing his opponents.

In similar fashion to game two, where Cloud9 showed growth in their adaptability, Immortals finally showed their fans their ability to evolve into a series. The pocket Riven pick from Seong “Huni” Hoon Heo (who still refuses to play the meta) worked out marvelously as he destroyed his lane opponent and was constantly a nuisance to Cloud9’s damage dealers in team fights. His split pushing shaped the map into a version that allowed Immortals to take numerous dragons throughout the matchup. The final team fight was a clean ace in Immortals’ favor and took the extremely competitive series for their own.

26379854222_7a69ee34f8_h

Echo Fox vs. Phoenix1 – Winner: Echo Fox (2-0)

Newly formed Phoenix1 looked weak against a lineup from Echo Fox that remained the same as last split. The entirety of Echo Fox boasted incredible KDAs throughout the series.

Game one saw Swain brought back to the NA LCS thanks to Henrik “Froggen” Hansen’s massive champion pool. The recent rework to that champion created a juggernaut and the amount of influence Swain had on the game will certainly persuade other mid laners to play him in the future. Despite the massive kill defecit, Phoenix1 was able to keep the gold relatively close due to impressive farm from their top and mid laners. Echo Fox merely overpowered the rookies through shotcalling and objective control.

Game two had a similar story. The game was much bloodier than the series opener, but Phoenix1 never really looked in control of the game. It appeared only to be a matter of time before Park “kfo” Jeong-hun led Echo Fox to victory with his stellar performance on Fiora. Echo Fox was able to take their first win of the season cleanly and will hope that this performance was a sign of things to come for a roster desperately hoping to make the playoffs.

efweek1

Team Envy vs. Team Liquid – Winner: Team Envy (2-0)

Team Liquid made a drastic move days before the start of the split by benching star jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett in favor of former NRG eSports starter Galen “Moon” Holgate. The move, as many expected, was detrimental to the team. Team Liquid looked completely lost without one of their best players. They lost 2-0 to Team Envy who has now improved to 2-0 and alone atop the standings.

Team Envy looked to have lost game one as they were behind for a large portion of the match. An incredibly poor play Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent, where he almost gave up first blood before two minutes, set their bottom lane behind. However, smart itemization and patience from the duo let them get back into the game and their contribution, along with rising star Seraph, earned them the victory.

In game two, Team Envy looked much more impressive. The engages from Seraph’s Lissandra were nearly perfect and almost always forced Team Liquid to attempt to retreat after falling apart. However, Kassadin was able to catch all the stragglers and end the game rather quickly compared to most other games this weekend. Team Liquid was expected to challenge for the playoffs, but their choice to use Moon clearly backfired in this series.

seraph

Apex vs. NRG eSports – Winner: Apex (2-0)

NRG eSports was once again 2-0d in their second series of the weekend. Most people believed the team would struggle to make the playoffs but their losses prove how far behind most of the NALCS teams truly are. Apex, a team made up of some LCS veterans, won their inaugural series and appear to be much stronger than people gave them credit for after their quick demolition of NRG eSports.

The first game started out heavily in favor of NRG eSports. They amassed an early lead but eventually fell apart once the middle game came around. Apex slowly erased the deficit and ultimately took completely control after a Baron play. Eventually the final fight broke out over Elder Dragon which Lae-Young “Keane” Jang dominated. His Vladimir was able to find the backline of NRG eSports and forced the team fight into his teams’ favor.

Game two was much more in favor of Apex. Their whole team dominated. The bottom lane duo was specifically impressive. Apollo “Apollo” Price and Alex “Xpecial” Chu have been around for years and it appears they still have plenty left to offer at the competitive level. Overall, NRG eSports played horribly and they will certainly need to reflect if some of their roster changes, such as Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen and Alan “KiWiKiD” Nguyen were actually beneficial.

APEXGAMING

 

Cover Photo by: Josh

SKT wins MSI 3-0

SKTelecom T1 and Counter Logic Gaming enter their MSI Finals matchup on emotional highs. SKTelecom T1 finally looks like the team everyone expected them to be after their 3-1 victory over Royal Never Give Up. Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok played like the world’s best and Lee “Duke” Ho-Seong was able to influence team fights; both were missing in the group stages at some points. Counter Logic Gaming conquered Flash Wolves in their semifinal matchup with a 3-1 score as well. Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black team captain and savior of the hopes of North America, pulled out some amazing pocket supports including Sona to surprise his opponents and the world. Both teams find themselves full of confidence in a matchup that looks to be one of the most competitive matchups on the international stage in the past year.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Game One – Winner: SKTelecom T1

SKTelecom T1 took Counter Logic Gaming out in the first game of the series after a back and forth affair. Counter Logic Gaming came out of the gates looking extremely nervous getting constantly caught out and making numerous mistakes. SKTelecom T1 gained a huge momentum lead through this and dictated the pace of play throughout the early game. Aphromoo played far too confidently and gave Faker an early kill essentially guaranteeing him a win in lane against Choi “HuHi” Jae-hyun. The middle game saw Counter Logic Gaming fight back and earn themselves a Baron. Jake “Xmithie” Puchero played well throughout the middle game and was their main catalyst to erasing their deficit. After their Baron capture, Counter Logic Gaming stagnated far too much and took a bad team fight where they could have disengaged rather easily. Huhi was essentially nonexistent in the late game team fights and the team had no peel for Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes. One final team fight in Counter Logic Gaming’s bottom lane decided the game in favor of SKTelecom T1. Faker played incredibly well on Azir completely shifting the favor of team fights with his ultimate.

Game Two – Winner: SKTelecom T1

Game two was essentially a rematch of game one. All players played the same champions and even the bans were repeated. The game was much more competitive throughout but SKTelecom T1 seemed to always hold a slight advantage over Counter Logic Gaming. Eventually Duke become unkillable and was able to run rampant through the entirety of Counter Logic Gaming’s Team. This eventually became Counter Logic Gaming’s downfall in the last team fight. They already lost once to the same team and rather than adapting to counter SKTelecom T1’s strength, they stuck with the same strategy. Counter Logic Gaming had a much better start than in the first game of the series but if they do not hit SKTelecom T1 with a different plan in the pick/ban stage, it’s likely the same result will play out.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Game Three – Winner: SKTelecom T1

Counter Logic Gaming finally adjusted their pick/ban, but it did not have a positive result. Instead of making their team stronger, they picked an odd team composition consisting of Cassiopeia mid and Caitlyn ADC. Both picks did not have the desired outcome and ended up being the main hindrance of their team. SKTelecom T1 completed the sweep in the most lopsided game of the series. They’ve constantly grown stronger as the tournament has continued and game three of the finals was one of the most their most dominant performances at the event. Bae “Bang” Jun-sik and Lee “Wolf” Jae-wan were standout performers of game three. Wolf’s Nami was exceptional and he was able to land important CC on priority targets of Counter Logic Gaming. Counter Logic Gaming’s entire team simply didn’t show up on the biggest of stages and their strategies for each game were questionable at best. SKTelecom T1 showed why they’re still the strongest team in the world through superior micro and macro play over their opponents throughout the knockout stages.

SKTelecom T1 Completes the Sweep

SKTelecom T1 can add another trophy to their cabinet. They came into MSI as heavy favorites and met those expectations. The journey to be crowned champions was not as straightforward as many predicted but they became stronger throughout the tournament. After a lackluster group stage, they performed nearly perfectly in the semifinals and finals, only losing one out of seven games. North America can be proud of Counter Logic Gaming’s performance in the stages leading up to the finals, but they fell on their faces against the reigning world champions. Poor strategies and overconfidence were their downfall and SKTelecom T1 took complete advantage of all of Counter Logic Gaming’s mistakes. Some people think the gap between Korea and the world is shrinking, but SKTelecom T1 has proven that Korea is still the region to beat.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

 

Cover Image by: Skadi 

SKT advances to MSI Finals

Royal Never Give Up (RNG) and SKTelecom T1 (SKT) entered their semifinal matchup opposite of many peoples’ expectations. Royal Never Give Up defended their home turf with an impressive 8-2 record in the group stages whilst SKTelecom T1 stumbled their way past the group stages more due to other teams not taking the tournament seriously than due to their own prowess. They finished tied for third with a 6-4 record and despite their struggles have a chance to redeem themselves for their poor performances. SKTelecom T1 hopes to become the team many people believed them to be and begin rolling over the competition. Royal Never Give Up looks to keep the home team momentum going and keep the MSI trophy in China for another year.

Source: Riot eSports FlickrSource: Riot eSports Flickr

Game One – Winner: Royal Never Give Up (1-0 RNG)

Royal Never Give Up took game one in exciting fashion. All three of SKTelecom T1’s inhibitors were down and it was four versus one, but Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok was able to finish off the Nexus as Trundle. Royal Never Give Up grew into the game as it reached its conclusion. They amassed a massive gold lead that slowly increased through superior macro play. The team found a perfect opportunity where they took a Baron and a team fight that allowed them to open up their opponent’s base. They knew exactly where and when to hit SKTelecom T1. SKTelecom T1 played too reactionary and simply never looked threatening to take control of the game. Their Teleports were abysmal and far too late and Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok , despite a strong performance, started dominating far too late to make an impact. The series looks promising for the home team whilst the reigning world champions start this series off poorly.

Game Two – Winner: SKTelecom T1 (1-1)

Calling game two a stomp would be doing Royal Never Give Up a favor. SKTelecom T1 simply dominated from beginning to end. The game was over in under twenty-five minutes and it only lasted that long because SKTelecom T1 was playing safe. Whatever team talk Kim “kkOma” Jung-gyun gave his players before this game started was miraculous. The whole team, specifically the bottom lane, looked miles better and their team fighting was nearly flawless. They took an early lead despite being a composition that shouldn’t necessarily dominate early. Royal Never Give Up had great farm in the early game but simply overextended too often and took far too bad of team fights. This gave them a massive deficit and despite that, they kept forcing engages only making things worse. All the momentum looks to have completely shifted into SKTelecom T1’s side as the series goes deeper.

Source: Riot eSports FlickrSource: Riot eSports Flickr

Game Three – Winner: SKTelecom T1 (2-1 SKT)

The most competitive game of the series so far as it could have gone to either team throughout the early and middle game. However, SKTelecom T1’s ability to find unsuspecting members of Royal Never Give Up and assassinate them gave them the advantage in the late game. Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong extended past their vision and was caught out giving SKTelecom T1 an easy team fight win and a Baron as the reward. A hiccup from SKTelecom T1 as they tried to implement a 1-3-1 gave Royal Never Give Up an opening, but that was quickly squashed due to the superb balancing of Ekko. SKTelecom T1 quickly ended after wiping out their opponents and only need one more win to secure themselves a spot in the finals.

Game Four  – Winner SKTelecom T1 (3-1 SKT)

SKTelecom T1 advance to the finals after shattering the hopes of the home crowd in an impressive 3-1 series over Royal Never Give Up. RNG tried to adapt to SKTelecom T1’s dominance in the previous two games but it failed massively in champion select. They left current top tier champion Maokai open in favor of first picking Azir, a champion that Faker doesn’t necessarily need to dominate the game. When the game started it appeared that Royal Never Give Up focused more on trying not to lose rather than playing the style that saw them earn such massive success in the earlier stage of the tournament. SKTelecom T1 perfect gamed in the closing game and will certainly inspire fear into whoever they play in the finals. They have found their form and it looks like the powerhouse will go into the finals as massive favorites. Royal Never Give Up played well for the most part in the tournament but the quality in this best of five was simply too much for them.

Source: RIot eSports FlickrSource: Riot eSports Flickr

Cover Image by: Dwight Casin

MSI Coverage – Day 3

The 2016 Mid-Season Invitational has been one of the most exciting international events to this date. Between the massive upsets, the closely contested games, and the drama surrounding G2’s choice to vacation in China, the tournament has everything it needs to appeal to the fans. The first two days showed that the home team, Royal Never Give Up, means to defend their home turf and that Europe may be losing their number one seed at worlds. G2 Esports will need a massive turnaround to make the knockout stage while most of the other teams will look to find some consistency in their performances as knockout stages meet the halfway point in Day 3.

Game 1: Flash Wolves versus Royal Never Give Up – Winner:  Royal Never Give Up

The first game of the day pitted two teams who took down tournament favorite SKTelecom T1 earlier in the groupstage. Both teams entered with impressive records, but Flash Wolves came out of the gates ready to perform. They garnered an early lead through impressive macro play but ultimately gave up the win after a team loss fight that gave Royal Never Give Up Baron and the ability to control the game. Royal Never Give Up’s bottom lane continued their masterful display at the tournament. Wang “wuxx” Cheng and Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong didn’t have the strongest start, but when the game was on the line, they made the necessary plays to win. Royal Never Give Up improves to 5-0 after beating every team in the first half of the groupstage. Flash Wolves will look back at the game and see they had the opportunity to close it out. They fall to a respectable 3-2.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Game 2: Counter Logic Gaming versus SKTelecom T1 – Winner: Counter Logic Gaming

Most analysts thought SKTelecom T1 would roll over the competition at MSI, but they are now 0-3 in their last three games. Counter Logic Gaming completely outclassed SKTelecom T1 in terms of macro play. Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes continued his impressive play in the biggest of games and carried his team to many team fight wins. Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok looked much more like himself and completely dominated his lane, but ultimately couldn’t affect the game enough. Multiple Baron buffs and a Dragon aspect were acquired by the teams throughout the game. The last team fight came down to a Baron where Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun made up for his rather poor performance by doing an incredible amount of damage. Counter Logic Gaming improves to 3-2 and are back on track after an impressive win that will surely give them the momentum to perform for the rest of the tournament.

Game 3: Supermassive versus G2 Esports – Winner: G2

Gamers2 finally got their first win of the tournament after a hard fought battle with Supermassive. Both teams played well, but ultimately Supermassive’s shotcalling was their downfall. Gamers2 took advantage of their opponent’s poor decisions numerous times including at a pivotal moment near the end of the game. Gamers2 took two inhibitors and a nexus turret just for a quarter health of their own inhibitor. Berke “Thaldrin” Demir spent far too much time trying messing around instead of teleporting or recalling to defend the Baron-empowered Gamers2 from taking his base. The win from Gamers2 will give European fans hope that they may be able to turn things around in the second half of the group stages after improving their record to 1-4. Supermassive falls to 1-4 and last place in the standings.

Game 4: Flash Wolves versus SKTelecom T1 – Winner: Flash Wolves

SKTelecom’s nightmarish MSI continues as Flash Wolves methodically took yet another game from the World Champions. Flash Wolves fell behind early but they knew their win conditions and kept the game close enough that once late game came they would be in a position to win the game. The game was turned on its’ head after Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan stole a Baron. They took two inhibitors with that buff and then ended the game shortly after. SKTelecom T1 was once the favorites of the tournament, now it’s unknown if they’ll even finish in the top four and move on to the knockout stages. Flash Wolves rise to 4-2 while SKTelecom T1 are now 2-4.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Game 5: Counter Logic Gaming versus Supermassive – Winner: Counter Logic Gaming

Counter Logic Gaming redeemed themselves for their loss in the first matchup between the teams. They beat Supermassive via their superior macro play. Counter Logic Gaming didn’t make many mistakes and it was one of the cleanest games of the tournament. Supermassive went with an odd pick with Poppy support which accomplished almost nothing. Mustafa “Dumbledoge” Kemal Gökseloğlu was caught out of position and away from his teammates throughout the game and was the major reason the game ended so quickly. Supermassive falls to an almost irredeemable 1-5. They will need a miracle to make it past the group stages in the coming days. Counter Logic Gaming improves to 2-0 on the day and 4-2 overall. They’ve fixed most of their issues from the previous days in their performances today and will look to secure a spot in the next stage soon.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Game 6: G2 Esports versus Royal Never Give Up – Winner: Royal Never Give Up

Royal Never Give Up remains perfect with a record of 6-0. They didn’t have the most impressive of performances and they didn’t blow G2 out of the water, but ultimately the team fighting prowess from Royal Never Give Up won them the game. Their micro play throughout the game was exceptional. Their engages were amazing and it gave them the advantage in nearly all their team fights. They’re forcing their opposing teams to play their own style and it allows them to always be in control of the games. G2 falls to 1-5 and despite getting their first win in the tournament earlier the day, still faces an incredibly hard task in trying to make the top 4. They looked better than they did in the first few days but the amount of mistakes G2 made throughout the game truly shows how detrimental it was for them to vacation instead of prepare for one of the most important tournaments of the year.

Standings

Rank Team Record
1st  RNG 6-0
2nd  FW 4-2
3rd  CLG 4-2
4th  SKT T1 2-4
5th  G2 1-5
6th  Supermassive 1-5

Cover Image by: Dwight Casin

CLG Repeats as Champions

Retaining Their Crown

Counter Logic Gaming repeated as Champions in the North American LCS. They exceeded expectations massively after their roster reshuffle prior to the season. They were the most consistent team throughout the spring due to their ability to craft team compositions that outperform their opponents. They repeatedly out-drafted Team SoloMid throughout the series and played to their strengths as a team.

Team SoloMid came into the series with incredible momentum but faltered when it came to preparation. They allowed the champions to draft to their strengths far too easily and failed to create strong enough win conditions.

Counter Logic Gaming certainly earned the victory and will represent North America at MSI in two weeks.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Counter Logic Gaming won in champion select. Team SoloMid looked like they would defy the odds of their poor pick and bans but Counter Logic Gaming’s use of double teleport negated any advantage Team SoloMid created due to the teleports strength in deciding team fights. CLG outsmarted TSM throughout the game and it ultimately was a lack of awareness from TSM that allowed minions to destroy their nexus. CLG will look to improve their early game to become even more dominant in this series whilst TSM will need to rethink everything from their draft to their shotcalling.

TSM went to the often effective “protect the adc” composition. They fixed some of their champion select issues leaving Graves unbanned which is nearly as contested as Ekko in the meta. They were able to grab that Graves and with the Lulu protecting him and Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, their win conditions were set. They executed these from the very beginning with an important teleport from Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell that gave Doublelift a free lane. The damage and protection from Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg’s Lulu in an early skirmish ballooned Team SoloMid’s gold lead and the platform to a quick victory was set. Counter Logic Gaming looked resigned to the game and allowed the series to be evened up and began to focus on future games of the series.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

TSM abandoned all common sense once again in pick/bans. CLG built a completely dominant team composition, earned a massive gold lead through impeccable shotcalling and macro game, and destroyed Team SoloMid’s chance of keeping their momentum. Team SoloMid allowed Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black to play his Bard and Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaha to once again carry via the Poppy. To top it off, Choi “HuHi” Jae-hyun picked up the Ekko that was the main reason CLG won the first game of the series.

TSM evened up the series forcing a game five after an impressive showing where they returned to the same strategy that won them game two. TSM fixed (hopefully, permanently for their sake) their pick and ban again by limiting CLG’s ability to get too many strong champions. An impressive Baron steal from Jake “Xmithie” Puchero gave CLG some hope to get back into the game but ultimately TSM’s gold lead was simply too much and a perfect engage from Haunzter earned them the tie in the series.

CLG closed out the series in a blowout. TSM once again, faltered in champion select not realizing how important the Ekko was to CLG’s team fighting. CLG used the double teleport (double teleport improved to 4-0 in the series) impeccably once again. They earned a gold lead through this and pushed their advantage for a simple and straightforward win.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

A Tribute to Immortality

Immortals returned to regular season form in a 3-0 sweep of Team Liquid in the third place match. Seong “Huni” Hoon Heo focused on the actual meta and played tanks after his collapse in the semifinals to Team SoloMid.

Immortals clearly looked much more prepared and focused after their disappointing sweep against Team SoloMid and made sure Team Liquid fulfilled their eternal destiny of finishing fourth. Team Liquid did a lot of trash talking during the week but came up short during actual gameplay. Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett was able to make some plays in the series but the rest of the players made more mistakes than anything else. After a game one that could have went either way, Team Liquid regressed massively whilst Immortals improved as the series continued.

Immortals’ third place finish earned them fifty championship points while Team Liquid’s fourth place finish gave them thirty. Championship points determine who attends Worlds so that twenty-point swing can make the difference of attending the World Championship or watching it from home.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Immortals still looked a bit shell-shocked after their loss to Team SoloMid in the semis, but they were able to pull out a victory in game one. Team Liquid was able to capitalize early on mistakes from Huni and Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin but ultimately, lost some pivotal skirmishes after their strong laning phase that caused them to lose the game. Pobelter and Jason “WildTurtle” Tran were exceptional in team fights and were the main catalysts for the win. Immortals didn’t have the strongest showing and the complete dominance of the laning phase from the regular season was nonexistent. They were able to win the game but it was more due to Liquid’s inability to take advantage of opportunities.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Immortals looked nearly as impressive as they did in the regular season in the second game of the series. They dominated from the very beginning and took Team Liquid’s nexus in under thirty minutes. Reignover partially redeemed his poor performances of the previous weekend in this by completely controlling the game on a carry style jungler, Graves. He influenced the game at all stages and was the biggest reason Immortals was able to amass such a massive lead in the game. Immortals has grown into this series whilst Liquid looks to fulfill their destiny.

Pure dominance from Immortals summarizes game three. Liquid looked like they admitted defeat after falling behind 2-0 in the best of five. Immortals completed the stomp in similar fashion as game two. They won in thirty minutes and demolished Team Liquid in essentially every team fight. Team Liquid never had a foot in this game will certainly need to look at improving their shot calling after a completely terrible Baron call that pushed the game out of their reach. Immortals took that opportunity and ended the game (and the series) from the benefit of that team fight.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Cover Image by: Dwight Casin 

NA Semifinals Highlights

Preview: Flourishing as Underdogs

Team Liquid and Counter Logic Gaming’s rosters are extremely different from previous iterations. Team Liquid fields three LCS rookies whilst Counter Logic Gaming plays two. Counter Logic Gaming’s roster was dismantled after their successful summer split where they were crowned NA champions.

Despite the massive changes, Counter Logic Gaming has enjoyed a successful run during the 2016 Spring split. They earned a bye to the semifinals after finishing second during the regular season and were also the only team to beat top seeded Immortals during the season. Their ability to surpass expectations that many had for the team has allowed them to grow and flourish throughout the year and find themselves in a promising position to repeat as champions in North America.

Team Liquid had some big changes to start the split where they added a second player to every role on their team. These players would exist to better the starters. Ultimately their slow start forced these substitutes into starting roles. They adapted quickly to the LCS and have been some of the strongest performers in their respective roles during the regular season. Team Liquid swept NRG eSports in the quarterfinals 3-0 to earn their spot in the semifinals and will hope to improve on their consistent fourth place finishes with a victory in the series.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Series: A Fight Over Time

Team Liquid won handedly in game one. Counter Logic Gaming essentially lost in champion select by picking a team with minimal crowd control. Team Liquid’s carries of LeBlanc, Kindred, and Caitlyn were able to do constant damage with little threat of getting caught or brought down because of the poor picks from Counter Logic Gaming. Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin’s positioning was stellar throughout the game. His team fighting earned him a quadra kill which ultimately tilted the game into their favor. Team Liquid was simply able to win every team fight by outplaying Counter Logic Gaming. The victory in game one gave Team Liquid the platform to complete the upset.

As well as Team Liquid played in game one, they didn’t show up in game two. Known as a carry top laner, CLG’s Darshan showed that even in this tank meta he can still lead his team to impressive victories. Counter Logic Gaming fixed a lot of their champion select issues with the Elise pick for the jungle. Jake “Xmithie” Puchero impacted the game early and showed how much of an underrated player he is. The complete dominance from Counter Logic Gaming did not bode well for the rest of the series for Team Liquid.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Counter Logic Gaming took game three in an even quicker fashion than the second. They continued their momentum and only improved on their gameplay. After a solid performance in game two, Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes had the most damage in the game against champions by providing over fifty percent of Counter Logic Gaming’s damage. His KDA was incredibly impressive and he mimicked the impressive performance from Piglet in game one. Counter Logic Gaming outsmarted Team Liquid once again in preparation and strategy for this game. If Team Liquid wants any chance at turning this series around, they will have to completely shift their pick/bans and actually ban out champions that Darshan can carry on.

CLG_vs_TL_highlights_Game_5_NA_LCS_Spring_2016_Playoffs_Counter_Logic_Gaming_vs_Team_Liquid

Team Liquid fixed whatever their issues were to pull off the biggest demolition of Counter Logic Gaming to force a game five. They completely annihilated their opponents as a team and ended it before Counter Logic Gaming could even find their footing. Matt “Matt” Elento’s performance on Bard was the best of the game and some of the plays that he made were simply impossible to outplay. His ultimates and stuns were on point the whole game and he certainly was the difference between the two teams in this game.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

A Chance to Repeat – CLG to the Finals

Counter Logic’s Gaming series win gives them a chance to repeat as champions in the final. The series was intense and game five had a chance to go to either team. Counter Logic Gaming’s success this season shows that sometimes synergy is more important than raw skill.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Immortals versus Team SoloMid

Preview: Momentum

Team SoloMid and Immortals entered their semifinal matchup on emotional highs. Team SoloMid eliminated Cloud9 from the playoffs the previous weekend in their most impressive showing since the current team was put together. They were heavy underdogs after their disastrous 2016 Spring LCS split but they seemed to click after they were blown away by Cloud9 in the first game. They went on to win three games in a row and earn their spot in the semifinals. Their performance earned respect from many analysts around the community who shifted their view on Team SoloMid and actually gave them a chance to win a series against first seed Immortals.

Immortals had a bye in the first round of the postseason due to their nearly flawless record in the regular season. They went 2-0 against Team SoloMid during the regular season and should be heavy favorites in this series. However, the recent meta shift has caused some to jump off the Immortals hype train in favor of other teams. The tank meta that exists currently is deemed by some analysts to go against Immortals’ style. Immortals performed amazingly in the regular season and they hoped to continue their momentum and prove the doubters wrong. They’ve won almost everything this year and it’s hard to imagine a slight shift in the meta for top laners would drastically effect their team’s ability to win.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Series: Sixth Equals First

The first game of the series often sets the tone for the day, and it seemed like Immortals would take a stranglehold after amassing a massive lead during the early and middle game. However, just when Immortals looked like the game was secured, Team SoloMid won a pivotal team fight and turned the game on its’ head. Immortals didn’t look the same from that moment and Team SoloMid was take control and close the game out effectively.

Team SoloMid continued their superb play from game one throughout the whole series and won in one of the most decisive games of their season. Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg played his famous Zed and despite being laned against a hard counter in Urgot was able to completely dominate the game. Immortals looked lost throughout the game and picking anti-meta picks like Urgot certainly shows how titled they were getting as the series progressed. Seong “Huni” Hoon Heo, arguably the biggest carry in North America during the regular season, played awfully and earned a 0/5/0 game on Gangplank, one of his better champions. He clearly did not adjust to the tank meta at all and still attempted to play carry champions that have seen massive nerfs in recent times.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Old Battles Resume – Team SoloMid Finds Their Footing

It appears Team SoloMid was able to find their footing just when they needed to. Despite being the sixth seed entering the playoffs, Team SoloMid was able to dismantle old rivals Cloud9 and then completely demolish Immortals in a sweep. The playoffs improved astronomically in the playoffs and have certainly earned their spot in the finals against Counter Logic Gaming.

Source: Riot eSports Flickr
Source: Riot eSports Flickr

Cover image by: Dwight Casin