For the first time in two years, Counter Logic Gaming reached the LCS Semifinals. CLG broke into the top four with a 3-0 victory over OpTic Gaming, effectively reestablishing itself as one of the best teams in North America.
Counter Logic Gaming is a team of rich history. The organization has been a part of the competitive League of Legends scene since Season 1. And while it has only two LCS titles to its name, it still managed to build a passionate fanbase and make constant playoff appearances.
However, the last two years haven’t been kind to Counter Logic Gaming.
The organization plummeted to the bottom of the standings miles behind other endemic teams like TSM, Cloud9, and Team Liquid. To make matters worse, this losing streak was a huge hit to the CLG brand. It thus became increasingly difficult to approach big names and sign star players.
At first, it looked like 2019 would be more of the same. The Spring Split was nothing short of disastrous for CLG. The organization finished the regular season in eighth place—two spots away from the desired playoffs threshold. But Counter Logic Gaming wasn’t content being the league’s bottom feeder. They made a single mid-season move of bringing in the Korean top laner Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min in place of the North American veteran Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya.
Suddenly, everything clicked.
CLG then produced a 12-6 run in the 2019 Summer Split, ending the regular season in third place and barely missing out on a bye to the semifinals. This marked a massive improvement over their result in spring.
The team kept the momentum going in the playoffs. The quarterfinals series against OpTic Gaming saw CLG pulling out a variety of playstyles to pave the road to a 3-0 victory. And even though some of the games came down to the wire, it always felt like CLG were a step ahead of their opponents when it came to map movement and objective control.
Pushing for Worlds?
Despite the dominant quarterfinals victory, CLG is now in for an uphill battle. The next playoffs round will see them clash with Cloud9—a team many consider a title contender. On top of that, Cloud9 should have no issues turning up the aggression and targeting CLG’s sluggish early game.
Fortunately, the semifinals aren’t a do-or-die case for Counter Logic Gaming. The team has already locked a sport in the Regional Finals. Therefore, even if they fall to Cloud9, they can still contest the final World Championship seed in the gauntlet. Plus, it’s very possible CLG will represent North America at Worlds 2019.
Image courtesy of Riot Games.