Team Liquid defeats World Championship semifinalist Cloud9 and TSM gets an important victory over 100 Thieves
The re-branded LCS is back in action. The opening weekend saw some highly anticipated matches as teams showcased their new signings. Defending two-time champions Team Liquid, defeated Cloud9 in a rematch of last summer’s split finals. The second match of the day saw TSM demolish 100 Thieves, as the LCS juggernaut looked like its old self. OpTic Gaming seem ready to leave their disappointing first year behind, waging on the team’s strong Academy. It paid off with a solid win over CLG. FlyQuest went the opposite direction, filling its roster with veterans and scoring a dominant victory over a brand new Golden Guardians lineup. Clutch Gaming wrapped up the opening day by taking out Echo Fox.
TL vs C9
The main story of this match is mid laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen going up against his former teammates and his replacement, former Splyce mid Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer. C9 surprised with a Nunu pick for jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen, and it immediately paid off with a top lane gank that resulted in the first blood going to Cloud9.
TL regrouped, winning trades and holding the priority, which allowed them to take down C9’s bottom lane turret. Cloud9 clawed back during the mid game as the teams slowed things down looking for an opening. Liquid caught Svenskeren out of position and found that opening and went straight for Baron.
C9 tried to stop TL by forcing a fight, but the team lacked the follow-up to Svenskeren’s engage. In the end, Liquid had the advantage and used it to take down the bottom lane inhibitor.
Attention turned to the second Baron, Svenskeren, once again, got caught out by Liquid, which meant that the objective would go to the reigning LCS champions. With a wave coming from the bottom side towards the Nexus, C9 had to fall back to defend its base. Cloud9’s poke managed to slow TL’s advance for a moment, but the pressure coming from the three sides of the map mean that the team eventually had to concede. With the three inhibitors exposed, Liquid went for the engage and won the fight, finally destroying C9’s Nexus to win the opener.
TSM vs 100T
100 Thieves drafted a composition that lacked a reliable hard engage, something TSM used to its advantage. One of the team’s three new signings, jungler Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham (Camille) found a good engage onto superstar support Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black (Thresh) and jungler Andy “AnDa” Hoang (Olaf). With some help from TSM’s own superstar, Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, the 100 Thieves players were left low on health and AD carry Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen (Ezreal) picked the first kill with his Ultimate. As AnDa tried to escape, new TSM top laner Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik (Sion) also arrived with his Ultimate to make it two kills.
TSM followed the same strategy until the end. Andy “Smoothie” Ta (Alistar) and Akaadian would go in for the engage, Bjergsen would follow with the initial burst, while Zven finished things off. The six-time LCS champions secured the Baron buff 25 minutes in and set up the siege outside of 100 Thieves’ base. As TSM reached for the mid lane inhibitor, Akaadian went too deep inside base trying to find the engage on to Bae “Bang” Jun-sik (Lucian) and was taken down, forcing his team to fall back.
TSM secured an uncontested second Baron and rotated towards the top side of the map in order to free a second inhibitor. Bjergsen’s Ultimate let the team go for some aggressive initiations while the poke, coming from Zven as well as Bjergsen himself, never gave 100 Thieves the opportunity to go for the all-in. After a long, dragged-out fight, the LCS juggernaut came out on top and closed out the game.
CLG vs OPT
CLG tried something different with a Xerath pick for new signing Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage. A good roam by new signing Lee “Crown” Min-ho (Lissandra) created a crucial advantage and Toan “Asta” Tran (Ezreal) secured the first blood on CLG’s AD carry Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes (Xayah). Just seconds later, PowerOfEvil hit a well-aimed Ultimate to punish an aggressive jungle invasion by Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnet (Camille). Kieran “Allorim” Logue (Urgot) tried to help his jungler but did not make it in time. Gale “Moon” Holgate (Sejuani) made it two kills for CLG as the team took control of the top side.
With some help from the Rift Herald, Counter Logic Gaming secured the first turret. The match turned into a back-and-forth contest, thanks to PowerOfEvil’s artillery dishing out a high amount of damage to stop OpTic’s composition from engaging. At the 33 minutes mark, CLG’s top laner Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya (Akali) went deep inside OpTic’s jungler while chasing after Asta. Without the vision of his surroundings, Darshan was quickly taken down as OPT used the man advantage and PowerOfEvil’s cool-down to force an engage. The team secured four kills and headed straight to the Baron pit.
CLG forced a mid lane fight and initially succeeded, shutting down Asta. But the team had already spent too many resources and lacked the follow-up. OpTic turned things around to secure four kills and rushed down CLG’s mid lane. With PowerOfEvil being the only one left to defend the base, OPT had a clear path to the Nexus and managed to close out the game.
FLY vs GGS
Golden Guardians forced an aggressive bottom lane play, but a good flank off a Teleport by mid laner Eugene “Pobelter” Park (Galio) turned things around. Lucas “Santorin” Larsen (Camille) showed up to turn the fight into a 4-on-3 favoring FlyQuest as Pobelter completed the combo to take the first kill. Top laner Omran “V1per” Shoura (Sion) also teleported in to make it two kills for FlyQyest.
Golden Guardians tried to take advantage where it could and used FLY’s rotations to push in other lanes, taking down the first two turrets of the match. As the team tried to pickoff V1per, Pobelter found another big flank off a good Teleport. FlyQuest turned that into an ace and a Baron buff to finally break away from GGS. FlyQuest’s global presence with three Teleports and Pobelter’s Ultimate meant that the team could safely split push, quickly taking down the three inhibitors on Golden Guardians’ side.
A fight broke out inside the GGS base, as Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell’s late heroics left FlyQuest down to one player, delayed the inevitable. There were just too many minion waves to deal with, and as soon as the four FLY players spawned, the team went for the final push to end the game.
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CG vs FOX
The final match of the opening day was set to feature two aggressive teams. There were some interesting storylines, as Echo Fox and Clutch swapped a total of five players during the offseason. Tanner “Damonte” Damonte and superstar top laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon joined Clutch from Echo Fox while Colin “Solo” Earnest, Apollo “Apollo” Price and Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent went the other way.
Clutch had a dominant start, with Huni (Rumble) securing a solo kill on Lee “Rush” Yoon-jae (Karthus) with an aggressive jungle invasion. CG continued to force fights in narrow spaces with a hard engage combo by Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo (Camille), Damonte (Galio) and Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme (Leona) while Huni and Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin (Sivir) provided the follow-up damage. While the team continuously found good fights, it also over-committed most of those plays, which ultimately halted their early game momentum.
CG finally found a massive breakthrough when it started the Baron at the 32 minute mark. A beautiful blind flank by Damonte resulted in four kills going Clutch’s way to allow for an easy, uncontested Baron. Echo Fox survived the initial push with a pickoff on Piglet.
Echo Fox went for a mid lane engage, but Solo (Sion) missed his targets while LirA found a way into the backline. CG’s follow-up cleaned out the fight and the way to the Nexus. After 39 minutes of play, Clutch closed out the match.
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