Team Liquid 1 - 100 Thieves 0
The North American League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split kicked off on Saturday with a rematch of the Spring Split finals, and just like it did then, Team Liquid took down 100 Thieves.
In regions all over the world, the meta has shaken out with an extremely diverse champion pool in the bottom lane. Despite the relative wackiness elsewhere, both 100 Thieves and Team Liquid proved that the traditional marksman AD and melee or mage carries are still very much viable. AD carry Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng went with Xayah in this one and quickly secured first blood at Level 1 before going into a defense-heavy item build. Rather than rushing to get the big items, he delayed his power spikes until the late game when Liquid was handily dominating teamfights.
100 Thieves went with a team full of bruisers in this game and struggled once those teamfights broke out, as it was unable to break through the front line to get to Doublelift's pesky Xayah. After Team Liquid strung together a few teamfight victories, it began to split push and quickly bolstered its gold lead by knocking down all the outer turrets. Liquid then pushed on and picked up an ace that rolled right into a Baron that allowed it to bowl through 100 Thieves' base and take down the Nexus in just over 30 minutes.
Doublelift wasn't the only one who powered Liquid to this big opening win. Top laner Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong switched up his style with an Aatrox pick, and despite his tendency to struggle to make an impact on carry champions, Impact put together a solid performance and finished with a 1/2/11 KDA (kills/deaths/assists).
Team Liquid face off against the Golden Guardians at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, while 100 Thieves hope to bounce back against Counter Logic Gaming in the next game at 3 p.m ET.
-- Ben Wong
Team SoloMid 1 - Counter Logic Gaming 0
Counter Logic Gaming couldn't hold off a surging Team SoloMid on Saturday during the opening day of the North American League of Legends Summer Split.
While you never know what you might see these day in League of Legends due to the topsy turvy nature of patch 8.11, both CLG and TSM brought more traditional team compositions to this series. As such, this played right into TSM's hands as it weathered an early storm from CLG to come away with the win.
After an extremely slow early game that didn't see a first blood until 13 minutes in, CLG looked to be in control of things with both mid laner Choi "Huhi" Jae-hyun's Renekton and top laner Darshan "Darshan" Upadhyaya's Ornn picking up a couple kills early on. Perhaps feeling confident due to the early advantages, CLG forced a fight in the bottom lane at 25 minutes that ended up leading to its downfall. CLG picked up two quick kills in that teamfight, but TSM fired right back with three kills out of nowhere thanks to AD Carry Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen's Kai'Sa and top laner Kevin "Hauntzer" Yarnell's Aatrox turning the tide of the fight.
With the big teamfight win in hand, TSM was now in the driver's seat as it immediately moved to Baron and secured the powerful objective to begin closing the gold deficit. From there, the team continually got the upperhand in teamfights as its composition was much more suited for split-second fights. CLG was simply unable to stand up to the continual pressure as TSM did whatever it wanted in every aspect of the game before finally pushing into the CLG base to close out the 42-minute win.
TSM will try and make it 2-0 in the opening week when it takes on FlyQuest at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, while CLG look for its first win against 100 Thieves later in the day at 5 p.m. ET.
-- Wyatt Donigan
Clutch Gaming 1 - Cloud9 0
Cloud9's revamped roster put up a good fight, but it wasn't enough as Clutch Gaming claimed its first victory of the North American League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split on Saturday in Los Angeles.
From the beginning of the match when Clutch Gaming picked up two quick kills before minions even spawned, it looked as though Cloud9's decision to bench some of its key starters from the Spring Split for a trio of players from its Academy team had crashed and burned on takeoff. To its credit, though, this roster didn't go quietly and evened things out a bit in the mid game. With mid laner Greyson "Goldenglue" Gilmer dishing out damage on Zoe in teamfights, the team slowly but surely tried to start taking back a bit of control.
While the momentum briefly swung in Cloud9's favor, it quickly shifted back to Clutch Gaming when the team began grouping up and dominating the teamfights as its players started scaling into the late game. Clutch Gaming jungler Nam "LirA" Tae-yoo started to pop off on Graves in those late game teamfights thanks to some good support plays by Nickolas "Hakuho" Surgent's Morgana, carrying the damage en route to a 3/0/10 KDA (kills/deaths/assists).
Once Clutch turned those teamfights victories into major objectives, Cloud9's AP-heavy team composition struggled to clear waves of Baron-empowered minions, and C9 gave up turrets and an inhibitor that it failed to recover from. Clutch Gaming had little to fear while pushing for more objectives from then on and smashed Cloud9 late on its way to a 33-minute win.
Clutch Gaming look to continue its winning ways against Echo Fox at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday while Cloud9 take on OpTic Gaming following at 5 p.m ET.
-- Ben Wong
Echo Fox 1 - FlyQuest 0
Echo Fox started off its North American League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split campaign with a quick victory against FlyQuest in Los Angeles.
Echo Fox embraced the new meta as it drafted Yasuo for Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon and moved him to the bottom lane with AD carry Johnny "Altec" Ru replacing him in the top lane on the tank champion Dr. Mundo. It was a new lane assignment but the same aggressive Huni as he was almost constantly picking fights in the bottom lane that didn't always pan out. With each team trading skirmish victories, the gold race remained extremely close throughout the first half of the game.
All it took was one bad teamfight from FlyQuest for Echo Fox to take complete control of the game. After Echo Fox scored an ace in a teamfight over Baron, it wasted no time in running a minion wave down the middle lane into FlyQuest's base. FlyQuest tried to defend but its resistance could do little to stop Echo Fox from finishing off the Nexus in under 24 minutes.
The wackiness of the current meta seems to favor the team ready to throw all of its resources behind a single player, and Echo Fox played into the strategy perfectly by putting that weight on Huni's shoulders. While teams already have to prepare for the new meta, Echo Fox just added another wrinkle to the equation as teams will now have to wonder where Huni will turn up next.
FlyQuest will be going up against Team SoloMid at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, while Echo Fox squares off with Clutch Gaming at 4 p.m. ET later that day.
-- Ben Wong
OpTic Gaming 1 - Golden Guardians 0
OpTic Gaming shrugged off a slow start to storm past the Golden Guardians to close out Saturday's action in the North American League of Legends Championship Series.
With both teams drafting normal compositions in contrast with the new-look team makeups that many squads ran Saturday, this game was a complete change of pace from start to finish. OpTic and Golden Guardians were both content to farm their way into the late game rather than going for an all-out early game blitz.
OpTic got on the board first when mid laner Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage picked up first blood with his potent Viktor, which ended up being a omen that hung over Golden Guardians' heads as the game progressed. Golden Guardians tallied a few kills during the mid-game that gave it a chance to slowly crawl back into the game, but as it turns out, OpTic had the Guardians right where it wanted.
Around 30 minutes into the game, OpTic won the first major teamfight that ended up being the catalyst it needed to break the game open. With two kills in hand, OpTic went right to the Baron pit, picked up the decisive objective and began switching into gear to close things out. Golden Guardians was completely on the back foot and powerless to prevent OpTic from securing whatever objectives it wanted.
Once OpTic was ready to pack it in, PowerOfEvil picked up two more kills as part of a 3-for-0 teamfight win that slammed the door shut on the first day of the Summer Split.
OpTic Gaming will now look toward a match against Cloud9 at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, while Golden Guardians will face Team Liquid earlier in the day at 4 p.m. ET.
-- Wyatt Donigan