In a hotly contested opening series to the 2017 North American League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split, Counter Logic Gaming took a 2-1 victory over Cloud9 on Friday in Los Angeles.
Counter Logic Gaming made the jungle a priority in Game 1, using all of three of its first-round bans on jungle champions. Cloud9 jungler Juan "Contractz" Garcia wasn't fazed by the extra attention, gradually helping his team gain the advantage in teamfights as Olaf. With Contractz, who didn't die once through the first 35 minutes, running in with a head full of steam into every fight, mid laner Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen's Orianna and AD carry Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi's Varus were able to bring the finishing touches in pivotal teamfights. CLG had no way back in and fell to C9 in 37 minutes.
Coming off the tough loss, CLG needed a spark to keep hope alive in the second game of the series. That spark came in the form of the team drafting the flashy bottom lane duo of Xayah and Rakan for AD carry Trevor "Stixxay" Hayes and support Zaqueri "aphromoo" Black. While things looked a bit rough for CLG early on when mid laner Jae-hyun "Huhi" Choi's Orianna was picked off twice. Huhi and CLG stabilized during a fairly slow midgame. Once the late-game hit, CLG dominated with gusto. Its bot-lane duo controlled teamfights with the help of Huhi to lock up the win after 41 hard-fought minutes to force a Game 3.
C9 went for a risky team composition in the final game, not drafting a tank and instead opting to rely on the shielding from Andy "Smoothie" Ta's Lulu. The decision ended up backfiring quite spectacularly, with CLG using its bursty composition to shred Cloud9 in teamfight after teamfight. Cloud9 fought valiantly while pushing the game to 53 minutes, but its lack of a tank presence was its ultimate downfall as CLG pushed forward to lock up a win in the first series of the 2017 Summer Split.
CLG will have a quick turnaround Saturday when it takes on Team Liquid at 3 p.m. ET, while Cloud9 faces the defending NA LCS champion Team SoloMid on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.