During Season 3, we had the opportunity to witness a huge meta shift in how the game was played compared to Season 2. Instead of waiting 40 minutes for teamfights to erupt and have AD carries blow up tanks in 3-4 crits, we saw an evolution of strategies come out from all regions of the world whether it be the Chinese freight train or double AD fast pushing compositions. For the next couple of days, some of the analysts here at Cloth5 will be choosing and discussing some of our favorite games of Season 3 as it officially comes to a close. So while you’re out there trying to grind your way in solo queue for tier rewards, take a break and breathe in the nostalgia. Have fun!
Today’s pick come from MANGO SENTINEL who spent the season covering the North American LCS.
MLG ANAHEIM: TSM vs CLG Week 3 NA LCS Summer Split
There’s a saying in other professional sports: This game has a playoff atmosphere, regardless of whatever implications the present game has going for it at the moment. For the oldest rivalry in the existence of League of Legends, that saying fit this game absolutely perfectly. The stage was set at MLG Anaheim, and two of the most legendary teams in League of Legends history met on the Rift once again for another chapter in their fable. TSM, down to 0-2 already in the week, was already desperate for a win. CLG had been coasting along in MLG Anaheim week, sitting at 1-1. However, they were definitely not content to let TSM have a win at MLG, and were looking to shut them out for the week.
Going in though, I don’t think the teams, the casters, and most of all the crowd had any idea what kind of a thriller they were about to witness. They gave us one of the most tooth-and-nail fight to the bitter end akin to the hard-scaling and hour long Rocky IV slugfest. And remember, this was only Week 3 of the NA LCS but above all, this was a match where neither team did not want to lose no matter what for the sake of their pride.
Picks and Bans:
TSM decided they wanted nothing to do with Link’s TF or Jayce this game, while additionally banning the current flavor of the month jungler, Nunu, who fit Bigfat’s playstyle. However, they still allowed Nien to get his top lane Elise and Bigfat’s comfort Nocturne was also picked up. ChausterLift ran an Urgot/Janna combo, a powerful lane bully comp that also counters TSM’s Karthus/Kennen AoE wombo combo composition in the later aspects of the game. Additionally, they grabbed Zed for Link for the purpose of split-pushing and assassinating WildTurtle.
CLG banned out Xpecial’s Thresh, which is a given due to Xpecial’s absurd playmaking ability on the champion. Wildturtle’s Caitlyn is an excellent ban against him, especially considering they picked Urgot who has a pathetic 425 auto attack range. Lissandra, at the time seemed like an offbeat ban, but her playstyle is perfectly suited to Reginald’s aggressive initiations from his AP mid pool, and additionally would be a difficult target for Nocturne to dive due to the self casted ultimate.
Both teams compositions are powerful through all stages of the game, but TSM definitely has a stronger teamfight composition in a 5v5 scenario. However, CLG had two incredibly powerful 1v1 champions in Elise and Zed, and ability to allow for easy pick scenarios with a Level 3 Urgot Ultimate and Nocturne Ultimate. It is a classic clash of a split-push team vs. a direct combat 5v5 teamfight team, where decision-making and personal mechanics will be the breaking point.
Season 2 Titans at it Again
The game had a fairly aggressive start with TSM attempting an invasion into CLG’s red buff. Aggressive warding and counter warding led to some minor skirmishing at Level 1, but there was no boil-over point in the aggression and CLG managed to secure Bigfat’s red buff at the cost of Nien’s first creep wave, which unfortunately put him at a disadvantage against Dyrus and his Kennen. First blood of the game was secured by some hyper aggressive Urgot play as he hit a Corrosive Charge on Xpecial’s Sona and chunked her down while spamming Acid Hunters.
As the game progressed into the midgame, CLG showed unusual objective priority for the pre-Montecristo era, pushing down turret after turret against TSM with no real trading. Their superb splitpushing from Elise and Zed made it very difficult for TSM to get their proper 5v5 teamfights. CLG played to their strength and avoided TSM’s.
However, lategame rolled around, and to be blunt, all hell breaks loose. Numerous baron plays gone awry, open inhibitor fights everywhere, teamfights devolving into chases that reform into a teamfight again after the players reform their lines and then devolving into split pushing and chasing some more. This game became a shade of prior events in the early and midgame as 6 item builds began to emerge and with that, understanding that the game could be decided with one teamfight or skirmish gone sour. With one of the most intense couple of minutes of any game ever, this surely would be one of the most memorable moments of all of Season 3.
THE FINAL MINUTES OF THE GAME
…and that was just the last two minutes of the game. And Nien had only been playing toplane for roughly 3-4 months at the time. This game was a real throwdown and it really was a great game to showcase why League of Legends and other eSports are just as real as any other sport out there.
The passion and energy of the crowd. The sheer excitement and joy of CLG as they won. The bitter look of defeat on TSM as they lost to their eternal rival, lighting a fire under them to defeat CLG the next time they match up against each other.
This isn’t just what eSports is about, this is what SPORTS itself is about. If you ever needed a game to convince a skeptic that eSports are the real deal, make sure this game is on the shortlist as it’s one that displays a rivalry as real as any RedSox/Yankees matchup.