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Snake Esports picked up a vital 2-1 series win over NewBee on Thursday to close out Week 5, Day 1 of the League of Legends Pro League in Shanghai, China.
Making his return to the LPL after a lengthy hiatus, NewBee mid laner Yu "Cool" Jia-Jun had a standout performance on LeBlanc in Game 1. As both teams traded kills and towers back and forth in the early game, Cool did a good job of controlling the mid lane while picking up enough kills to snowball in the mid game. After picking up several kills in an elongated 4-for-2 exchange at 19 minutes, Cool dealt massive damage in the late game, including a couple of kills in a 5-for-0 ace at the 25-minute mark en route to a 9/1/3 KDA (kills/deaths/assists). Picking up a Baron kill on the back of that fight, NewBee demolished Snake's defenses to take the first game in 31 minutes.
After shuffling its roster around, with Yang "kRYST4L" Fan moving from AD carry to support, Le "SofM" Quang-Duy moving from support to jungler and backup AD carry Oh "Ohq" Gyu-min getting the starting nod, Snake (3-4, 6-10 match record) was surprisingly strong in the early game. Mid laner Liu "Zz1tai" Zhi-Hao was a monster on Ekko, absorbing constant jungle pressure while the rest of Snake picked up kills and towers across the map. While Snake did experience a bit of a setback in the form of a NewBee (2-5, 7-11) jungle steal, Ohq's damage dealing Ezreal and Zz1tai's split-pushing Ekko gave Snake the wherewithal to fend off NewBee. After securing a late Baron at 35 minutes, Snake was able to use the buff to fully stabilize and pick up an unlikely 41-minute win to force Game 3.
Fielding the same starting lineup as in Game 2, Snake fired on all cylinders early on, with Ohq's Ezreal picking up first blood just before SofM's Kha'Zix secured a kill at five minutes. Controlling both sides of the jungle, SofM's early kills were snowballed into tower kills and a 3-for-1 teamfight win for Snake that catapulted it into a strong gold lead. SofM was solid throughout the match, finding picks off of Snake's map pressure and dominating the neutral objective game for an 8/0/4 KDA. After securing an Ocean Drake, a Mountain Drake and a 24-minute Baron kill, Snake Esports finally found the win it's been desperately seeking as they swept through a final 4-for-0 teamfight in NewBee's base to complete the 29-minute stomp and take a 2-1 series win.
NewBee has little time to rest as it takes on Group A leaders Royal Never Give Up on Friday at 11 p.m. ET. Snake Esports will face Vici Gaming on Saturday at 5 a.m. ET.