The fifth week of the North American LCS took place on the weekend of  February 23-24

With the season half over, it’s crunch time for a majority of the teams to lock in a playoff spot.

Following is a breakdown of all the matches!

February 23

 Match One: 100 Thieves (100) (3-5) vs. OpTic Gaming (OPT) (2-6)

First match of the weekend kicked off with two teams who are in dire need of some wins. OpTic Gaming being on a 5-game loss streak after subbing out their academy roster for their original starting roster and 100 Thieves on a 2-game loss streak themselves after several on and off performances through the previous weeks. 100 Thieves seemed to show some improved map control when an attempt for the infernal drake led to confidence in OpTic to trade the objective for Baron.

A beautiful ultimate from 100 Bang, on Ezreal spots the baron attempt and results in a switch in objectives catching OpTic out of position and neutralizing OpTic’s jungler, OPT Meteos on Nocturne , allowing them to secure baron. OPT not allowing 100 to take baron for free, engage on the baron in a 4v5 and miraculously extend the team fight to where OPT Meteos can come back from respawn and pick up 4 kills in exchange for Baron. 5 Minutes later an with the increase in gold from the previous fight, OPT gains map pressure allowing OPT Crown, on Ryze, to push into a side lane and catch out 100 Huhi, on Lissandra, in a classic “death bush” and resulted in a clean 1 for 0 pick in favor of OPT leading to a easy baron. With the empowered Baron Buff OPT was able to push in their lanes including a bottom lane inhibitor.

Minutes later Baron is back on the table and 100 Decide to leave 100 Huhi to defend against OPT Crown, 100 is successful in their defense and obtaining Baron. This must have given 100 Confidence because a large lack of awareness pushes 100 to Elder Dragon for another powerful buff and this action sends OPT to the base of 100 to close out the game in a backdoor style finish. Optic breaks their 5-game losing streak and extends 100 Thieves to a 3-game losing streak.

 

Match Two: Team Liquid (TL) (7-1) vs. Echo Fox (FOX) (4-4)

Middle of the pack Echo Fox takes on first place Team Liquid. The game for me starts off in champion select where TL picks up the newest champion in League of Legends, Sylas who has massive success and failures in all professional regions around the world, for their top laner TL Impact. First blood is obtained by Echo Fox in the mid lane finding the jungler for TL, Xmithie in the river with a low mana mid-laner, Jensen, unable to backup. A quick combo from FOX’s mid-laner and jungler, Fenix and Rush, leads to a quick kill onto Xmithie. At twelve minutes a pick on FOX Rush allows TL Jensen to pick up his first kill of the game on and a smooth rotation for a Mountain Drake to allowing for more effective objective control.

At 20 minutes a pick on FOX Rush prompts TL to attempt the early Baron. A successful FOX defense prevents TL from obtaining the objective and keeps the game even with the edge still towards TL. Twenty-four minutes we see our first real time fight when TL rotates bot lane and catches FOX top laner, Solo, and picks up a kill on both Solo and Rush who got caught in the crossfire also resulting in another Mountain Drake to make pressure on objectives something FOX can’t ignore.

At 30 minutes we see the next Infernal Drake obtained by TL with no resistance from FOX. The 36-minute mark TL finds a pick onto support FOX Hakuho which leads no frontline to protect from the powered up late game of TL and leads to a instant base push.

 

Match Three: Golden Guardians (GGS) (3-5) vs. Clutch Gaming (CG) (2-6)

The third match of the day also highlights in champion select, with both top laners, GGS Hauntzer and CG Huni picking up ability power-based control mages in Kennen and Cassiopeia. With even more variety we have GGS Deftly picking up the popular Yasuo with GGS Olleh’s Ornn to look for a wombo combo. This is offset with CG Piglet and CG vulcan picking two engaging champions in Irelia and Alistar.

This offset leads to CG picking up first and second blood on GGS Olleh in the bot lane for CG Piglet. Very Shortly after CG picks up another two kills on GGS bot lane puts bot lane of Golden Guardians very far behind. Eighteen minutes in a set up by CG around the dragon pit leads to a flank from CG mid laner CG Damonte, that forces GGS into a unprepared fight losing 3 members and the dragon.

The large advantage CG has gained at this point allows them to easily set up for the Baron after another pick onto GGS Olleh once again setting GGS another step back. Twenty-seven minutes in an overzealous CG PIglet is pushed up without his team and very well execute from the Lee-Sin of GGS Contractz puts CG on a defensive note. This is very short lived as CG find themselves another fight resulting in a clean Baron. A now steady minded CG methodically takes the rest of the base of CG while GGS in their last attempt to fight off CG takes place on a nexus push at thirty-four minutes resulting in the CG win.

 

Match Four: Cloud 9(C9) (6-2) vs. Flyquest(FLY) (5-3)

The battle for 2nd place, breaking down champ select we see some big picks coming through for C9 in the Sylas for mid laner, C9 Nisqy, and Kindred for jungler, C9 Svenskeren. In the mirror we see the Yasuo coming in bot lane again for the 2nd game in a row but this time in the hands of bot laner, FLY Wildturtle. A very close gank hand first blood over to FLY Wildturtle with great tank synergy between FLY JayJ on Alistar and FLY Santorin on Sejuani allowed a hardcore lock down of support, C9 Zeyzal’s Galio.

A very sly Infernal Dragon attempt at 5 minutes gives a early damage buff over to C9 thanks to C9 Svenskeren. At the 10-minute mark we come up to our first team fight, FLY JayJ finds a perfect flash + Pulverize combo on his Alistar sending 3 members of C9 airborne allowing the Ultimate of FLY Wildturtles Yasuo to obliterate the health bars of C9 resulting in a 4 for 1 team fight with a great ocean drake pick up for FLY, pushing a 3k gold lead.

At 14 minutes we find FLY collapsing onto C9 in top lane but a missed ultimate on FLY Santorin’s Sejuani leads to a counter engage from C9 leading to a miss positioning of FLY and allows the Carries on C9, C9 Svenskeren and bot laner C9 Sneaky to pick up two kills and a rift herald bring the gold lead back to even. At 16 minutes FLY finds a pick midlane as C9 attempts to summon the Rift Herald in attempts to force some lane pressure but results in FLY Santorin finding another Sejuani ult to scatter C9 for a easy pick up on C9 Sneaky. At twenty-one minutes with confidence FLY set up what looks to be a well-choreographed towerdive.

FLY Wildturtle missteps and gets destroyed under tower by C9, with the carry eliminated an already in position, C9 set up for baron, a successful baron take under pressure from the remaining FLY team ends with another team fight ending in FLY’s favor but still leaving 2 baron buffs on C9 Nisqy and C9 Zeyzal. The Match doesn’t catch its next bit of action until twenty-seven minutes where FLY Wildturtle finds himself in front of 4 members of C9 in mid lane. A mid lane push from C9 then finds Top laner, FLY Viper on Irelia, and sets the focus of C9 to baron. When on Baron C9 looks bloodthirst as they hop over the baron pit to kill some members of FLY which delays the baron because of the flank by FLY m

 

Sunday – February 24th

Match One: Echo Fox (FOX) (4-5) vs. Golden Guardians(GGS) (3-6)

Starting off day two of week five we get two nice picks in champ select in Corki picked up for FOX Fenix and Kalista for GGS Defty. First blood starts when GGS Contractz comes in for a gank forcing FOX Fenix to flash and to recall back to base, in order to not fall too far behind Fenix teleports back in but Contractz hasn’t left the area and walks back into lane to pick up first blood, at the same time FOX Rush is also in the are an picks up a retaliation kill onto Contractz.

Less than two minutes later Contractz gets caught in the river gifting a kill over to Fenix. A nice roam from GGS Olleh catches Fenix in the mid lane setting up mid laner GGS Froggen to pick up a kill. Not far behind the Bot lane of of FOX Apollo and Hakuho make their way to mid lane as well for another retaliation onto Olleh who was a bit extended because of his own successful rotation. Looking to reset their lead GGS converges to pick up a Infernal drake for some extra damage as well as 4 members finding FOX Hakuho misplaced next to the Drake pit.

Keeping up their pressure GGS picks up the next Air Drake for some extra movement speed but is traded for a kill for FOX Solo and Rush onto GGS Hauntzer. Switching their pressure to top side GGS picks up an easy Rift Herald for increased laning pressure. FOX wanting to set the pace of the game, attempts to start a fight mid lane using the Sion ultimate from FOX Solo but is only diffused by the Support GGS Olleh who tanks the damage and allows his team to counter engage and picking up a kill on FOX Rush. A surge of excitement occurs across the map when we find a solo kill for GGS Froggen on to FOX Rush but simultaneously a skirmish breaks out midline that finds GGS Deftly a kill but only to be out shined by the end of skirmish dive clean up by FOX Fenix on Corki picking up kills on Deftly and Contractz.

After several small skirmishes A fight leads to GGS Froggen asserting their dominance secure kills onto Rush and Solo to secure a baron and establish their gold lead and pressure the base of FOX. The 36-minute mark comes in and with being on defense for so long had pushed Rush to the edge and acted on a questionable engage allowing GGS to take control and end the game.

 

Match Two: Clutch Gaming(CG) (3-6) vs. OpTic Gaming(OPT) (3-6)

Match two brings us another tie breaker and a roster change come in for OpTic as Jungler Meteos is subbed out for OPT Dardoch who brings out the unconventional Jayce into the jungle. First blood comes in a little late this game at around nine minutes when CG top laner Huni on his malphite goes all in onto OPT Dhokla and is followed up by CG Lira for a secured kill.

A trade kill comes in almost immediately after in the mid lane with OPT Crown on Zoe finds a assisted kill onto CG Damonte with the help of OPT Dardoch. A slow game is brought some action with a crazy 1v1 outplay in the mid lane leaving OPT Crown with a kill. At the same time OPT support Big gets a pick onto CG support Vulcan and results in a kill and two assists for OPT on Dardoch an OPT bot laner Arrow. An engage at 23 minutes by CG onto OPT Dhokla dosen’t turn out quite the way they want when it is hard to put down the sustain of Dhokla’s Vladimir. The counter engage by OPT Dardoch and Big pick up on CG Piglet and a botched Teleport from CG Huni gets him a kill at the cost of his own life.

A few minutes later we find CG Lira closing the gap on a gank for a kill onto Dhokla, this prompts OPT to start the baron on the other half of the map, despite OPT picking up the baron they lose three more members in the process resulting in four deaths on the side of OPT for just a baron and four kills netted to CG evening out the gold lead. A little under 10 minutes later we have a fight in the bot lane engaged by a Malphite ult by CG Huni that leads to a very messy disengagement by CG while OPT chases them down back to the Dragon pit and picking up a kill.

At 34 minutes we see our first attempt at a baron by OPT and a split up CG gives OPT a baron and a kill and only lose two member is the process. With a minute left in baron buff OPT pushes into the base of CG and lose one member. This shifts the focus of OPT to the Elder Dragon buff for a huge late game power spike. Near the 40-minute mark a nice engage for CG results in a messy teamfight that allows for CG Piglet on Lucian to pick up some clean up kills and take the pressure off their base. Even though the fight is won the base of CG is in shambles which doesn’t allow CG to be able to contest any of the map objectives letting OPT have the baron uncontested.

After 40 minutes OPT find their fight at Elder dragon eliminating the team of CG and finishing off the base.

 

Match Three: Cloud 9 (C9) (7-2) vs. Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) (4-5)

Champ select in game 3 is pretty standard with no off meta picks coming through although CLG allows Sylas to land in the hands of Nisqy once again on day 2 of week 5. With a slow start into the game C9 use their strong lane picks and jungle pressure towards the bot lane to obtain an early ocean drake at seven minutes to keep up their lane sustain for future skirmishes.

At eight minutes the bot lane of C9 find a successful 2v2 to pressure the Bot lane of CLG behind tower, but a nice rotation from the CLG jungler Wiggily picks up a kill onto the C9 Support Zeyzal. After CLG Wiggily and CLG Stixxay push up but are caught off guard by a Teleport from C9 Nisqy who shows off his prowess on Sylas and picking up a double kill in retaliation to the CLG First Blood. After initiating the second ocean drake CLG starts a fighting believing they had man advantage with the Galio ultimate from CLG Biofrost turns against them while C9 Sneaky plays the fight perfectly to net himself two kills and allows his team an easy 2nd ocean dragon.

Finding a low health CLG jungler at Rift Herald sets up an easy steal for C9 and a successful Rift Herald usage taking down 2 towers in the mid lane. Almost immediately after a rotation top lane catches out CLG Wiggly and Stixxay for two more kills for the C9 Sneaky putting him in a very comfortable position for future fights. Not even twenty minutes in C9 have a lead of 4 towers 2 dragons and ahead 5 kills over CLG.

After a small skirmish at eighteen minutes leaves Wiggily with his 4th death of the game and allowing C9 to take a infernal drake for free. As the game slows down, we see the macro gameplay of C9 take over by increasing their vision in CLG’s side of the map and methodically taking towers, baron and dragon uncontested by CLG. One last team fight for C9 in the base of CLG ends in a definitive victory for C9 over CLG.

 

Match Four: Team Solo Mid (TSM) (5-4) vs. FlyQuest (FLY) (5-4)

Champion select in this match does not have any pop out picks other than an off meta Varus pick by TSM Zven and another Sylas pick up by TSM Bjergsen. The game starts off hot with a skirmish bot lane initiated by FLY JayJ’s Alistar leaves TSM’s bot lane of Zven an Smoothie caught off guard leading to Boomerang Blade combo with a flash auto attack by FLY Wildturtle to seal first blood.

At the same time FLY Santorin on Nocturne catches TSM Akaadian in FLY’s jungle a follow up with FLY V1per leads to an easy kill onto TSM Akaadian quickly escalated a two kill lead for FLY. Further extending their lead a counter gank by FLY Santorin in the top lane turns the fight against TSM Akaadian and Broken Blade granting Santorin another Kill and V1per another assist.

TSM find their first retaliation kill at nineteen minutes onto FLY JayJ from a lane gank by TSM Akaadian and a teleport from TSM Broken Blade allows TSM Zven to pick up the execute. The game takes a solidly slow pace up until the 29-minute mark when a fight breaks out at FLY tier 2 top turret with a Dive by TSM onto FLY Pobelter. A sly disengage from FLY seems to turn the fight around on TSM but tides turn once again when it’s FLY’s turn to over extend past the safety of their turret and give TSM the time for their members to show up and change the outcome of the fight picking up a single kill in the mess.

After TSM falls back and controls the vision around Baron and secures the Buff for the next push. A very paced TSM slowly pushes with their baron buff in the bot lane for a inhibitor that lets TSM disengage and reset for their next planned push. The game rounds out when TSM set up their next baron and with little options FLY attempt to defend but the crowd control and patience of TSM allow them to secure the baron and take the win at 39 minutes.

 

Match 5: Team Liquid (TL) (8-1) vs 100 Thieves (100) (3-6)

Champion select came with a few surprises with TL allowing 100 to pick up the valued Sylas pick in the midlane while they picked up a Trundle for their jungler Xmithie with standard picks in the other lanes. First blood is obtained by TL in a very intense bottom lane fight that started with TL CoreJJ bringing in TL Jensen with his Tahm Kench ultimate flanking the 100-bot lane. A teleport by 100 huhi on Sylas looks like it may turn the fight but the teleport from TL Impact as Jarvan in the top comes in develops a surprise wombo combo onto 100 Aphromoo and huhi rewarding him a kill as well as a kill for TL Doublelift as well, putting the bot lane of TL ahead.

An early rift herald by TL Xmithie is brought bot lane to take first turret of the game rewarding a massive amount of gold. 100 finds their first kill with a gank onto TL Jensen in the mid lane thanks to layered crowd control from 100 AnDa on Sejuani. TL picks up several other kills along the course of the next couple minutes resulting in a mountain drake to help with the future pushes and objective control. At the 29-minute mark TL find themselves in a position to safely start up the Baron buff that will aid them in another kill onto 100 AnDa trying to stop the Baron attempt but only allows TL to take 100 mid lane inhibitor.

A well-exectuted rotation turns TL bot lane with a split push by TL impact to take several objectives in a matter of seconds. The final fight breaks out as TL pushing onto 100 Nexus, in a last attempt 100 dives into TL but only get blown up by the front line of TL which prompts TL to not go for kills and just end the game at 32 minutes.

By Kevin Miller

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