100 Thieves took down Echo Fox on Saturday in an action-packed start to Week 5 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series summer split.
Mid laner Tanner "Damonte" Damonte demonstrated in this game why he's been starting recently for Echo Fox (5-4). On Zoe, he paired up with jungler Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett's Trundle to find three kills for the team in under five minutes. As the game continued and 100 Thieves (6-3) began to fight back, Damonte did his best to carry as the rest of his team fell behind. He found heaps of poke and teamfight damage for Echo Fox, missing out on only a single kill participation, and even found a pick onto an enemy support that gave his team the opportunity to start Baron.
Unfortunately for Damonte, 100 Thieves had more than just one member excelling. Support Zaqueri "aphromoo" Black had a terrific performance on Shen, securing his team's first kill with a Shadow Dash-flash engage in the bottom lane before using Stand United to make plays all around the map. Meanwhile, top laner Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho's Darius was finding kills onto the Gangplank of Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon, and mid laner Ryu "Ryu" Sang-hook found fantastic teleport flanks on his Predator Vladimir to turn fights for 100 Thieves even at a man disadvantage.
With Echo Fox losing out almost everywhere on the map, 100 Thieves came into teamfights with a sizable advantage. Huge credit ought to go to Damonte for dragging the game out and even managing to win some fights for his team, but there was only so much he could do. 100 Thieves barged into the Echo Fox base and faced little resistance as it ended the game in 41 minutes.
With at least temporary sole possession of first place, 100 Thieves will look to remain atop the standings against FlyQuest on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET. Later that day, Echo Fox will face off against Golden Guardians to close out the day at 7 p.m. ET.
-- Brendan Hickey
Cloud9 1 - Team Liquid 0
Cloud9 ended its losing streak with a win over Team Liquid on Saturday in Week 5 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series summer split.
For Cloud9 (3-6) this game was all about the solo laners. Top laner Eric "Licorice" Ritchie on Poppy looked to be having a rough start when he was ganked for first blood, but quickly teleported back to lane to find a solo kill onto the enemy top laner. Additional focus onto the lane from jungler Robert "Blaber" Huang on Kindred allowed Licorice to take first turret, after which he became a menace around the map. Backed up by superb Orianna play from mid laner Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen, Licorice not only excelled as a frontliner in teamfights, but helped pressure down turrets in other lanes as soon as he took his own.
Across the map, Team Liquid (5-4) managed to find an early lead in the bottom lane. Jungler Jake "Xmithie" Puchero's Gragas helped Liquid take multiple favorable kill trades as well as a turret, also securing the first Infernal Drake of the game for his team. The primary beneficiary was AD carry Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng on Jhin, who got out to a huge CS advantage and hit his two-item power spike before the 20-minute mark.
Unfortunately for Team Liquid, Doublelift's Stormrazor build had little effect against the tank stats of Licorice, who'd built up an even greater lane advantage for himself. In fact, neither of Liquid's carries could manage to take down Licorice, who ended with a 6/1/7 KDA (kills/deaths/assists). With such a massive frontliner, Cloud9's carries had plenty of room to operate in teamfights, and, once it got Baron, plenty of zone control for easy sieges. As a result, Cloud9 was able to claim victory in just 31 minutes.
Cloud9 will look to continue turning its split around against OpTic Gaming at 3 p.m ET on Sunday. Team Liquid, on the other hand, will look to climb back towards first place against Counter Logic Gaming at 5 p.m. ET later that day.
-- Brendan Hickey
Team SoloMid 1 - OpTic Gaming 0
Team SoloMid's struggles continued Saturday as it dropped its third game, this time to OpTic Gaming, during Week 5 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series summer split.
The plan for OpTic Gaming (3-6) was clear after it drafted a strong split-pushing team composition with top laner Niship "Dhokla" Doshi's Jayce acting as the side lane threat. Team SoloMid (4-5) replied by drafting plenty of answers for a split push, putting together a team with three global ultimates in Gangplank, Galio and Tahm Kench which gave it the ability to rotate around the Rift to stop any threats in the side lane.
The first half worked out beautifully for Team SoloMid as it quickly began collapsing on the split-pushing threat in the top lane, picking up kills while building a gold advantage. The repeated ganks kept Dhokla in check but OpTic Gaming's mid laner Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage's Viktor was able to delay Team SoloMid's advance across the Rift. PowerOfEvil's quick wave clear and excellent use of Gravity Field deterred turret dives, grinding TSM's momentum to a halt. With neither team gaining ground, the stalemate was finally broken by a massive teamfight over Baron around the 29 minute mark. OpTic pulled off the miracle, not only securing the buff but absolutely crushing Team SoloMid in the ensuing teamfight. It only took one more teamfight victory for OpTic Gaming before pushing to the upset victory.
PowerOfEvil didn't need to funnel in order to carry OpTic Gaming. His Viktor play came through in the clutch as he went on a seven kill spree in the final five minutes of play to finish with a 7/0/3 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) to go along with the most damage dealt to champions.
OpTic Gaming look to build on its momentum against Cloud9 at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday while Team SoloMid will look to put an end to its three game losing streak against Clutch Gaming later that day at 6 p.m. ET.
-- Ben Wong
Golden Guardians 1 -- Counter Logic Gaming 0
The Golden Guardians finished the first half of the North American League of Legends Championship Series summer split on a three-game win streak, as it managed to take down Counter Logic Gaming on Saturday in Los Angeles.
The Golden Guardians (5-4) used its first-pick advantage to load up on power picks, drafting the dreaded Hiemerdinger/Fiddlesticks bottom lane duo plus Talon for mid laner Son "Mickey" Young-min. Counter Logic Gaming (5-4) opted to rely heavily on AD carry Trevor "Stixxay" Hayes, lending him Varus in what would turn out to be a futile attempt to control engagements.
The early game set the tone for the match, as Golden Guardians slowly plodded forward with a gold lead, relying on a handful of small skirmish wins, which yielded objectives. While the advantage didn't jump up a staggering amount at any point through the first 25 minutes, the steady deficit meant that CLG was forced to make risky plays by the mid game in order to have any hope of pulling out a victory.
A pick on Counter Logic Gaming jungler Kim "Reignover" Yeu-jin caused what would eventually become the death blow for the team, as Golden Guardians quickly capitalized on the numbers game by securing Baron and marching into an extended power play -- one that left just two turrets standing by its conclusion. With a loss likely imminent, Counter Logic Gaming desperately attempted to engage Golden Guardians in a fight as it retreated to its base. The move predictably yielded little gain as the backlash was so severe that Golden Guardians netted two more kills before waltzing through the enemy Nexus.
Counter Logic Gaming look to even out its week in matchup against Team Liquid at 5 p.m ET on Sunday. Golden Guardians will attempt to extend its win streak when it challenges Echo Fox on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET to close out Week 5.
-- Ben Wong
FlyQuest 1 - Clutch Gaming 0
FlyQuest continues to climb the standings as it picked up a win against Clutch Gaming to close out Saturday's North American League of Legends Championship Series action in Los Angeles.
The first half of the game was close, but FlyQuest's early focus on the bottom lane yielded a lead for AD carry Jason "WildTurtle" Tran's Varus, giving it a small advantage to play around for the rest of the game. WildTurtle put his gold lead to good use as his sniping skills lit up the scoreboard with kills. The one-point skill shots netted WildTurtle a 11/1/7 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) as well as most damage dealt to champions. All of teamfighting dominance earned FlyQuest (5-4) plenty of map pressure but Clutch Gaming (4-5) found ways to stay in contention in the second half.
Clutch Gaming is no stranger to coming back in the late game, but an unlucky Baron call prevented it this time around. The call came at a good time as it was after Clutch Gaming won a 3-for-2 teamfight. However, the two members of FlyQuest left alive were the well fed WildTurtle along with jungler Lucas "Santorin" Tao Kilmer Larsen and they easily marched into the Baron pit to take the buff as well as a double-kill, helping their team quickly regain any map pressure it had lost from the earlier fight and then some. FlyQuest reset after the Baron steal, opting to group up and add a few more kills and objectives before strolling into the remnants of Clutch Gaming's base to claim victory.
FlyQuest starts off the second half of the split against the first place 100 Thieves at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, while Clutch Gaming look to bounce back against the struggling Team SoloMid at 6 p.m. ET later that day.
-- Ben Wong