Echo Fox 1, Clutch Gaming 0
Echo Fox secured a playoff spot on the final day of the North American League of Legends Championship Series regular season by taking down Clutch Gaming.
Echo Fox (10-8) took its fate into its own hands and went on the offensive early in the top lane. As has been the case for the entire split, top laner Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon and jungler Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett looked cohesive. They used their Gangplank and Sejuani, respectively, to scrap out a gold lead in the top lane.
Once the kills started coming in, the rest of Echo Fox rose up and contributed to the mayhem, which led to a massive lead for Echo Fox. Echo Fox converted those hard-earned kills into a gold lead and took a free Baron around the 25-minute mark before swarming into Clutch's base to finish the game.
With the win, Echo Fox earns a spot in the postseason and looks to capitalize on tumultuous standings to punch a ticket to the world championship.
On the other side of the lobby sits Clutch Gaming (6-12), which finishes the summer split in disappointing fashion after finishing the spring in fourth. Jungler Nam "LirA" Tae-yoo looked lost for most of this one and was unable to stop Echo Fox from executing on its game plan of constant fighting. He gave first blood over to Huni at three minutes, which handed him a free laning phase lead.
The rest of Clutch isn't free from blame, either, because nobody on this squad stepped up to try to stop Echo Fox, save for perhaps top laner Colin "Solo" Earnest, who came up just short against Huni as Irelia.
Clutch Gaming is done for the split, while Echo Fox will compete in the Summer Split playoffs, which begin on at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday. Its opponent for that matchup is not yet decided.
-- Noah Waltzer
OpTic Gaming 1, 100 Thieves 0
OpTic Gaming came back after a disastrous Level One skirmish setback to take down 100 Thieves and keep its playoff hopes alive Sunday during the North American League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split in Los Angeles.
100 Thieves (10-8) pulled a new trick out of its playbook as it made that early invade to claim first blood. OpTic Gaming's main carry, mid laner Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage, was taken down as a result of the assault and then was subsequently kept in check the rest of the game due to gank pressure during the laning phase.
However, that wasn't enough to completely shut down OpTic Gaming (9-9) as it began to even out the kills in mid-game team fights thanks to timely rotations by the side lanes. OpTic Gaming's plethora of pick-creating tools such as Zoe's Sleepy Trouble Bubble, Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow, Sejuani's Glacial Prison and Tahm Kench's Abyssal Voyage were on full display in those skirmishes.
While 100 Thieves had plenty of Cleanses and Quick Silver Sashes, those weren't enough to get away from a well-timed flank from Tahm Kench.
The momentum continued to swing back and forth in the late game as both teams made attempts to destroy the neutral Epic Monsters, but each one seemed to backfire. First up was OpTic Gaming's attempt to rush down Elder Dragon around the 36-minute mark; OpTic secured the buff but lost the ensuing battle. The 2-0 team-fight victory emboldened 100 Thieves to rush over to Baron pit to take the objective. However, the numbers advantage wasn't enough as OpTic Gaming's three-man squad was able to chip away at the opposition's health bars while it was focused on taking the objective.
By the time Baron fell, OpTic Gaming had worn 100 Thieves down low enough that it could engage into the numbers disadvantage and win, and the ace that followed allowed OpTic to claim the victory.
The win for OpTic Gaming keeps its playoff hopes alive, but it will need Echo Fox or Team SoloMid to lose in its final game of the season to force tiebreaker games. If two tiebreaker games are necessary, they will be played immediately following the Team Liquid vs. Team SoloMid match. If there are three tiebreaker games needed, they will be played Monday.
-- Ben Wong
Counter Logic Gaming 1, Golden Guardians 0
Counter Logic Gaming took down the Golden Guardians to put an end to its eight-game losing streak.
Counter Logic Gaming (7-11) came out of the laning phase with a gold lead thanks to its jungler Raymond "Wiggily" Griffin's Trundle. Wiggily supplied timely ganks that yielded kills and assists as well as turrets and all of the Dragon buffs in the early game. There were some minor missteps during the mid-game for Counter Logic Gaming, but after a Baron power play around the 27-minute mark knocked down two inhibitors, it was essentially a guaranteed victory for the struggling squad.
The rest of the game was just a slow and steady siege through what remained of the Golden Guardians base. The near 10,000-gold deficit didn't stop the Golden Guardians (5-13) from putting up a fight in an attempt to save its Nexus. The defensive stand held out for a little bit as Golden Guardians jungle Juan "Contractz" Arturo Garcia's Graves traded his life for a pair of kills. However, the time that those kills bought was spent stuck inside the base clearing minions while Counter Logic Gaming took its second Baron buff of the game.
This Baron power play was enough to put an end to the Golden Guardian's Nexus as well as Counter Logic Gaming's eight-game losing streak.
The 2018 season was another disappointment for Counter Logic Gaming as it failed to qualify for Worlds for the second year in a row. There will be plenty of time for CLG to practice and make tweaks to its lineup in the offseason before the 2019 season starts up in the spring.
Cloud9 1, FlyQuest 0
Cloud9 took a convincing win over FlyQuest on Sunday to earn a playoff bye and stretch its winning streak in the NA LCS to eight.
Mid laner Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen was a monster as LeBlanc, finishing with a 6/0/3 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) to lead Cloud9 (11-7). The early game was admittedly rough against FlyQuest (10-8) early on as Cloud9 surrendered a few kills pre-10 minutes, but Cloud9 bounced back with aplomb around 15 minutes, skirmishing beautifully in the bottom lane to take control.
Once ahead, Cloud9 forced fights to keep FlyQuest at bay while Jensen was free to deal massive damage and terrorize FlyQuest's backline. A Cloud9 Baron buff cracked open FlyQuest's base and eventually destroyed FlyQuest's Nexus before 30 minutes, sending a message to the rest of the NA LCS that C9 is for real.
FlyQuest still showed that it can hang with the best of the NA LCS in this loss. Getting bamboozled in the draft phase into what Cloud9 wanted to do was a bad start, but FlyQuest still managed to pick up some early kills.
Once the fights started going Cloud9's way, though, FlyQuest seemed unsure of how to respond and gave up advantages across the map. FlyQuest has some time before playoffs to work on some of these macro issues, but if it doesn't, its playoffs appearance might be brief.
Both C9 and FlyQuest have qualified for the NA LCS playoffs and await seeding to prepare for their respective matchups.
Team SoloMid 1, Team Liquid 0
Team SoloMid took down Team Liquid and secured a playoff spot on Sunday in Los Angeles.
Things have been tumultuous for Team SoloMid (10-8) throughout the split, but it managed to pull itself together in a pivotal matchup against the No. 1 team in North America, Team Liquid (12-6). With TSM's postseason hopes on the line and a tiebreaker matchup if TSM should fail, the underdogs relied on mid laner Soren "Bjergsen" Bjerg to carry them to victory.
That game plan paid off when Liquid allowed Bjergsen to snatch Akali with the first pick in the draft, which he used to tear Liquid apart. Bjergsen's prowess on the assassin was breathtaking as he dashed around and killed Liquid's backline, most notably AD carry and former teammate Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng's Tristana. Bjergsen finished with a staggering 14/1/5 KDA (kills/deaths/assists). On Bjergsen's back, the rest of TSM did what it needed to to close out the win and lock in a playoff spot.
Liquid looked great early on as Doublelift dominated the bottom lane and killed TSM AD carry Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen a couple of times in-lane. Once Bjergsen got fed, though, the contest went downhill fast. Suddenly, nobody was safe from Bjergsen's devastating burst damage, and that forced Liquid to play on the back foot with a composition that wanted to start team fights.
What's more, Liquid might have showed a bit of its hand too early by sticking top laner Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong on a carry in Rumble rather than a tank, the latter of which was Liquid's strategy for a majority of the split. Still, Liquid is the No. 1 seed and has a bye for the first round, which will give the team an opportunity to prepare and learn from this loss.
Tiebreaker matches for playoff seeding will take place on Monday.