Team Liquid lost both its Week 4 matches but bounced back Saturday against Counter Logic Gaming to start Week 5 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series in Los Angeles. Tencent Games and its League of Legends Pro League both began geolocation this year, and so far, the experiments have been a success. That sets the stage for other leagues, like the North American League Championship Series, to try it in years to come. Lee "Rush" Yoon-jae took 18 months away from professional League of Legends play and faded from fans' memories after some remarkable performances on Cloud9. The jungler left to pursue a bigger dream, he said: A League Champions Korea roster slot.
Team Liquid lost both its Week 4 matches but bounced back Saturday against Counter Logic Gaming to start Week 5 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series in Los Angeles.
Tencent Games and its League of Legends Pro League both began geolocation this year, and so far, the experiments have been a success. That sets the stage for other leagues, like the North American League Championship Series, to try it in years to come.
Lee "Rush" Yoon-jae took 18 months away from professional League of Legends play and faded from fans' memories after some remarkable performances on Cloud9. The jungler left to pursue a bigger dream, he said: A League Champions Korea roster slot.
Clutch Gaming 1 - Team SoloMid 0
Clutch Gaming continued to roll as it extended its win streak to four games against a struggling Team SoloMid, kicking off the second day of Week 5 in the North American League of Legends Championship Series in Los Angeles.
Both teams played around the top lane matchup, hoping to get the upper-hand in split-pushing in the side lanes. While things were looking good for Team SoloMid (4-6) early, as top laner Kevin "Hauntzer" Yarnell's Gnar secured first blood, that wound up being TSM's only kill of the game. Clutch Gaming (6-4) began to dominate skirmishes around the mid game, slowly building a considerable gold lead.
Clutch Gaming showed great patience in waiting for the right opening to engage and push objectives. The patience paid off in the end, as Clutch took several clean teamfight victories that gave Clutch's pick composition to extend its lead well out of Team SoloMid's reach. Soon, Team SoloMid was desperately trying to find a way back into the game, including a failed attempt to steal Baron by jungler Michael "MikeYeung" Yeung's Sejuani. Clutch Gaming expertly applied splitpush pressure with Baron empowered minions, barreling through TSM's base and picking up what might be considered an upset win.
Clutch Gaming looks to continue storming its way up the standings as it faces off with Counter Logic Gaming at 4 p.m. ET on Friday, while Team SoloMid needs to make some major improvements before facing the tied for first place Echo Fox at 5 p.m. ET that day.
-- Ben Wong
Golden Guardians 1 - Team Liquid 0
For the second time in as many Sundays, Golden Guardians picked up a big upset win, this time taking down Team Liquid in Los Angeles during the 2018 North American League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split.
With Team Liquid (6-4) sitting in third place and Golden Guardians (2-8) limping along at the bottom of the standings, few gave the Guardians any hope of walking away with a win. Indeed, it looked as though Liquid was going to easily waltz its way to a victory after jungler Jake "Xmithie" Puchero picked up first blood with his Sejuani. That first kill was a start, but Liquid didn't have a chance to build on that once the Guardians kicked into high gear.
Following the Liquid first blood, Guardians secured five of the next six kills and added in a Baron secure to gain full control over the game. In the final half of the game, all Liquid could do was try and stall the game long enough for its carries to complete their late-game builds.
Each time it looked as though Liquid might have an avenue back into the game, though, the Guardians rose to the occasion with decisive teamfighting to keep hold of its lead. Rather than try and rush things, the Guardians took its time, securing three Barons and two Elder Dragons before finally feeling confident in making a game-winning push. Once it pulled the trigger, Liquid was powerless to stop the onslaught as the Golden Guardians secured its second win of the split.
Liquid will try and shake off this surprising loss when it takes on FlyQuest at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday, while the Guardians will try and get a win streak going against OpTic Gaming at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday.
-- Wyatt Donigan
Echo Fox 1 - Cloud9 0
Echo Fox proved that it's the best team in the North American League of Legends Championship Series on Sunday with a big win over Cloud9 in Los Angeles.
When fighting for sole possession of first place, one would think that Cloud9 (8-2) would try and avoid making Echo Fox top laner Heo "Huni" Seunghoon angry. Echo Fox (9-1) did some tricky flexing with both of its solo lane picks in the draft, but Cloud9 upped the ante, giving rookie top laner Eric "Licorice" Ritchie one of Huni's signature picks in Lucian. The pick worked wonders early on, giving Cloud9 unparalleled control of the top side of the map. Eventually, though, Echo Fox found an opening as jungler Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett's Sejuani gave first blood over to Huni, setting up a massive snowball effect.
For the rest of the game, Echo Fox went out of the way to kill Licorice, who finished with more deaths than the entirety of C9 had kills. That's not to say this was a hard carry from the top side for Echo Fox, though, as mid laner Kim "Fenix" Jaehun worked wonders on Vladimir, picking up a couple of aggressive solo kills to keep Cloud9 from coming back into the game. C9 had glimpses of hope, such as when Echo Fox went too aggressive, giving C9 four kills and a Baorn buff, but it only delayed the inevitable as Echo Fox surged to a 33-minute win to claim sole possession of the top spot the standings.
Cloud9 will look to get back on track when it faces 100 Thieves at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, while Echo Fox clashes with a struggling Team SoloMid at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday.
-- Noah Waltzer
100 Thieves 1 - Counter Logic Gaming 0
100 Thieves took a nail-biting win over Counter Logic Gaming on Sunday in the North American League of Legends Championship Series in Los Angeles.
This match was a bloodbath featuring two teams expected to perform well coming into the split scratching and clawing to stay afloat in the standings. 100 Thieves (5-5) had a rough start to the mid game, especially since support Zaqueri "aphromoo" Black's Bard kept getting caught out of position, but it never stopped the Thieves from keeping up with CLG (3-7). For every fight CLG took, 100 Thieves would find some magic of its own, keeping the gold lead even until the closing moments of the game. After giving up a Baron buff to CLG at 35 minutes, things seemed grim for 100 Thieves, but CLG's lack of decisive playmaking meant that CLG couldn't capitalize on its buff, ending in a Baron Power Play of minus-402 gold.
On and on, the action went, with both teams content to dance around the middle lane while minions knocked down side lane turrets for both teams. In the end, 100 Thieves did a better job of controlling objectives, rushing down its first Baron early on before a heroic Baron steal by 100 Thieves jungler William "Meteos" Hartman's Jax set the team up for a 5-for-2 ace and game-winning push at 52 minutes. CLG showed some improvement, but it couldn't shake off the problems that have plagued it since the start of the spring split. While neither team will be particularly happy with how this game played out, 100 Thieves takes comfort in the fact that it stole an entertaining win from CLG.
100 Thieves faces a big test on Saturday when it faces Cloud9 at 5 p.m. ET, while Counter Logic Gaming will go back to the drawing board to prepare for Clutch Gaming in the following game at 6 p.m. ET.
-- Noah Waltzer
FlyQuest 1 - OpTic Gaming 0
FlyQuest put itself firmly into playoff contention Sunday, as its victory left it ahead of opponent OpTic Gaming in the standings to finish off Week 5 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split.
OpTic AD carry Noh "Arrow" Dong-hyeon repeated his pick of Draven from Saturday, but this time into the Caitlyn of Jason "WILDTURTLE" Tran. As a result, FlyQuest (4-6) found almost all of its early advantages through the bottom lane, finding the first turret of the game there as well as a constantly increasingly creep score lead, which grew to over 50 before the 20-minute mark. OpTic Gaming (3-7) still found most of the early kills, but none of them went onto Arrow, so Draven's passive gold remained unspent.
FlyQuest had a small gold lead heading into the mid game, but OpTic's saving grace was its dragon control, as it found itself with an Infernal and a Mountain Drake. However, this quickly became OpTic's downfall, as its greed for another Infernal Drake led jungler Matthew "Akaadian" Higginbotham on Sejuani to sacrifice himself for a Smite steal that, while successful, allowed FlyQuest to take Baron at 24 minutes.