Game 1 was an absolute slugfest in this series. An early red invade by Dignitas started the bloodbath of the game and it ultimately showed the path that it would take; a skirmish heavy game with kill counts racking up by the minute. Vulcun was able to get the better of the scraps with Dignitas though, including multiple team fights at their bottom tower that had sub 100 health in each of these fights, effectively baiting Dignitas into bad fights with the lure of that global tower gold. Giving Vulcun Shen and Twisted Fate on Sycho Sid and Mancloud proved to be a huge mistake as the early map pressure put out by these two champions in combination with Xmithie’s Lee Sin was absolutely brutal on Dignitas’ early game which accelerated the game out of their control before Scarra’s Karthus could make any impact plays. Additonally, Bloodwater’s intiations were spot on as always: his zoning with Zyra ultimates in conjunction with Lee Sin kicks made it difficult for Dignitas’ hard engage composition of Kennen/Karthus/Evelynn to get in and stay in to do damage. Even the few times that Dignitas managed to get good fights in, Vulcun’s supreme map control prevented them from doing anything aside from farming a few creep waves or going back to base to heal. A strong showing in the opening game by Vulcun, showing why they finished second in the regular season of the LCS.
This game started off similar to Game 1 with an early fight involving the junglers and mid laners that led to an early advantage once again for Vulcun. Xmithie’s countergank in mid picked up 2 kills where there should have been none, setting the pace for Vulcun to jump out to another early lead. Dignitas opted into picking Evelynn again, which I feel was largely ineffective in Game 1 and was most likely a comfort pick for Game 2. However, the Evelynn really failed to have the type of impact that she needs to make early in order to be a factor in the game, so that pick proved largely ineffective despite the 5/5/5 score, and Dig would have been better served by picking another jungler. In this game, Dignitas attempted to exert more map control by fighting at Dragon multiple times and attempted to invade Vul’s jungle early to take a blue. Unfortunately, these fights were simply just that: they were fights without any followup objective control. Dignitas had multiple chances to go for objectives over fights, but instead they opted for the fight which was basically the downfall of their entire season; Dignitas played a very season 1-2 style of game that relied on getting those 5v5 fights before objectives instead of taking the objectives and then seeing if there is a fight to be had. Vulcun’s map control for the second game in a row smothered Dignitas and sealed their fate as the 4th place finisher in the LCS Summer Split, giving Vulcun the ticket to the World Championships.
Cloud9 again proved how scary their champion pool is by having multiple substitutes for each role’s main champs this game. TSM tries to ban out intiation from the AD carry by banning Ashe, and C9 simply picks Varus and works it into the comp. Constant scrimming between these teams proves how much they can read each other’s moves, as they mirrored each other perfectly in lane swapping and attempts at objectives. However, throughout the game C9 knew what they had to do and executed perfectly. TSM’s play was not lacking by any means, but they fell into the trap of playing against C9 under their own conditions. The extreme power of C9’s midgame overwhelmed TSM’s lategame comp and pushed into their base before TSM’s comp could outscale them. For instance, Sneaky did not have any crit until his third item Infinity Edge and attack speed in his build outside of his passive, and instead opting for the Euro-style caster AD that just puts out damage for the team instead of relying on attack speed and crit to pump damage out. C9 followed their normal strategy of taking command of the game around level 6 and forcing the enemy team to play their game, leading to another by design win for Cloud 9.
TSM again went for a strong late game comp, while C9 had basically the same composition of mid game dominance, which is a curious choice by TSM to say the least since most teams would consider making adjustments in light of their previous loss. The game unfolded in a very similar manner, with C9 again grabbing control early through Meteos’s dominance and Hai’s heavy roaming. C9 focused on clamming up Turtle in this game, sending consistent ganks and counterganks to botlane to keep the foot on his throat. This is the second game in a row Turtle has had 1 kill and 4 deaths at the same time, a fairly rare sight for Turtle despite his penchant for being hyper aggressive. The tankiness of Meteos’ Nocturne and the raw power of C9’s AOE teamfight proved to be a brick wall that TSM didn’t have the power to break through with their midgame strength. Once again, C9 put the game into overdrive and denied TSM the lategame they needed to win the game, securing the second win of the best of 5 series.
Game 3 began and ended with the fishy story in mid: Reginald’s Fizz. Whether this was a desperation pick or something they had practiced in scrims against C9 (more likely, since C9 banned him in game 2), Reginald’s performance on Fizz was something left to be desired for. Hai’s Zed punished Regi’s Fizz and again, Meteos dominating Oddone in terms of jungle impact which put TSM on the back foot and forced them into playing under their terms again. Typical as C9 gets, a Dragon fight resulted in massive casualties for TSM, which in turn tilted the game even more in C9’s favor. At the twenty minute mark, Reginald and Oddone were a combined 1/10, and it didn’t get much better from there. A crushing fight in botlane looked like it would be the deathblow onto TSM, but TSM managed to sneak a Baron, despite Meteos contesting it. Howerver, it was all for naught in the long run as the Baron buffs were instantly lost in the following teamfight against C9. Despite their signs of life, C9 was ultimately able to beat down the Spring Split champions TSM in one final teamfight, securing their Summer Split Champions title and a bye in the World Finals.