If you were living under a rock or just woke up from a very long nap, we’re here to get you all caught up on what happened during the semifinals and finals at the NA LCS Summer Playoffs.
After overcoming a transitional period for most of the past year, Cloud9 came out aggressively once again and secured a spot in the finals to compete against TSM.
The return of William “Meteos” Hartman made a huge impact (pun intended, more on him coming up!) on Cloud9. He secured the highest KDA among junglers last split, helping to fill a void left by Rush. He was also key to Cloud9’s semifinal upset of Immortals.
Also coming up big in the playoffs was starting top laner Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong. Impact was one of the key figures in helping dismantle Immortals’ duo of Huni and Reignover, ultimately helping Cloud9 make it back into the finals.
How they did it
Coming into this series, Cloud9 was slightly disrespected. Immortals were the odds on favorites, but everyone clearly remembered them choking away a series in which they were favored last split.
If you haven’t watched this series yet, we strongly suggest that you carve out a portion of your day to do so. Every game saw stellar action on the Rift, with all five games passing 45 minutes. But let’s hone our focus to the top lane matchup between Impact and Huni.
In Game One, Huni had a powerful performance on Rumble while countering Impact’s Gangplank. With a perfectly timed ultimate and teleport early game in the bottom lane, Immortals was able to turn around an even game into a lead that they eventually built into a win.
Cloud9 came back with a Rumble ban in the second game, and Huni tried countering Impact’s Gangplank with Riven. It didn’t end in his favor that time. Impact had his way in the top lane, securing an early lead and being a huge reason why Cloud9 took the victory.
Both Gangplank and Rumble were banned in Game Three, leading Impact to choose Gnar and Huni responding with Kennen. Huni’s counter didn’t work as well as he thought, leading to an Impact solo-kill on Huni in the first nine minutes for first blood.
It was all downhill from there for Immortals, as Meteos ensured that Cloud9 took the victory, sending them into a fourth game.
The fourth game was hotly contested, with Immortals desperate for a win. This time Huni would find the favorable matchup after Immortals picked up Gangplank for him. Adrian also improved his performance in Game Four on Taric.
A desperate move by Jensen on Lissandra, diving on Immortals entire team trying to secure damage, left him exposed to Immortals crowd control with death quickly following.
This series felt preordained to go all five games, and neither team disappointed. When Reignover went down trying to contest Baron at 46 minutes, Cloud9 was able to march into the base and win 19-5 in 47 minutes, obtaining their spot in the finals.
TSM and CLG have been battling it out for more than five years now, with CLG taking the most recent victory in last split’s playoff final. Ever since that loss to CLG, TSM has been hungry for payback.
They’ve prepared and worked the hardest we’ve ever seen in a split from TSM, resulting in the best split in the history of the organization.
TSM is not only extremely methodical in their map pressure but also very meticulous when it comes to their micro-game. They had the patience and strength to capitalize on objectives and take complete control game after game.
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) August 28, 2016
How they did it
In dominant fashion. CLG was clearly not on the same level as TSM.
At times this felt like an unfortunate League of Legends Challenger team trying to play against a Worlds contender. We’ll keep this short, as recapping a three-game sweep would be akin to watching grass grow.
This is the second straight playoffs that Immortals has lost a series they were expected to win. The pick and ban phase was once again a hang-up for this team. We know Huni has a deep champion pool, but five different champions played in five games? That’s a bit much.
Another recurring weakness is Immortal’s inability to properly scout their opponent. This team felt ill-prepared for Impact’s GP top lane.
Counter Logic Gaming
So much for turning it on when it mattered most. CLG barely bothered to show up for the TSM series. There appears to be some serious leadership/motivational issues that this team needs to hammer out before Worlds starts.
CLG has always risen and fallen with the success of Darshan, but his inconsistencies, coupled with the team’s other weaknesses, have left a damper on this split. They’ll need to rebound and quickly.
It didn’t take long for TSM to regain their throne as the best NA LCS team. After dispatching Cloud 3-1, TSM has now won four splits within a four-year window. (There are two splits a year.)
TSM continued to add to their legacy, with the organization having qualified for every single Worlds. In fact, TSM has reached every NA LCS finals since the inception of the organization more than five years ago.
Counter Logic Gaming
Thanks to TSM’s victory over C9 in the finals, CLG will also qualify for Worlds based on points (they beat TSM 3-2 in the Spring Split Final). It may not feel like a huge victory after being pummeled by TSM a week ago, but it at least gives the team a shot of motivation.
Cloud9 lost a series where they were competitive in every single game. They played their hearts out, but TSM’s micro-game has been on another level this split.
Giving up those small leads piled up and it was just too much for C9 to handle.
You would imagine that Immortals would much rather face CLG in the NA Regional Qualifier tournament. Instead, they’ll most likely have to overcome a pissed-off Cloud9 team. Let’s see if they can fix their issues and finally win a meaningful series.
With that, we say “thank you” to Canada for being such a generous host nation. The crowd was truly thrilling to listen to during games.