And There, They, Go [ Match Page ]
They say that a certain team named Counter Logic Gaming will win one game to give fans false hope. But this time, fans could see that phrase simply was not true. There was a certain grit to the way CLG played against TiP last weekend. A cold hard determination to not let anything faze them, even in the face of a game potentially running away from them. Perhaps the team was subconsciously unsure of themselves at the beginning of the series. There definitely were mistakes made - - and yet despite falling behind early, CLG battled on. They took on the impulsive team head on and met them at every fight, every skirmish, and every objective.
Looking back on it, although the team might not have known it at the time, the first game of the series seemed to have broken the spirit of TiP. No matter how hard TiP pressed on, CLG was able to take the initial brunt of damage, disengage, and then re-engage with the tools that they had. For however many CLG players TiP was able to kill, CLG answered either with an equal number of kills or one greater. Amidst all of it was Doublelift, who ended the game with a score of 8-1-8. He played a brilliant game: constantly weaving in auto-attacks while kiting the enemy champions and was fearless in his usage of Tristana's rocket jump when the time was right. CLG earned their first victory. It was not pretty or perfect, but it was neither given to them by TiP in a throw.
Rush decided to take matters into his own hands in the second game of the series by picking up his signature champion: Lee Sin. "This series was a good example of why Rush is really good and why he's also not as good," Doublelift said in an interview with LoLeSports. "He's so ridiculously good early game. He always has insane pressure over the map. All three of our lanes had to play scared a lot of the time just because of him and the pressure he puts on us." The first two kills in Game Two went to Rush who displayed an unnerving amount of both patience and recklessness. He held his Sonic Wave (Q) for eight seconds in his First Blood gank against Doublelift, waiting until the very end for Doublelift to flash before finishing it off with Resonating Strike. In the second kill, CLG saw Rush attempting a gank sixteen seconds before it occurred. Four seconds in, Xmithie spotted Rush heading towards ZionSpartan, but ignored Rush. At the same time ZionSpartan hesitated before retreating to his tower, as if he did not believe Rush would be brazen enough to go for it. Rush still went for it and lived to tell the tale.
It takes more than a strong early game to win a game, and Rush could not pull the gold lead far enough in TiP's favor to win. Apollo showed flashes of Vayne's teamfighting power in teamfights and Impact did his best as a former world champion. CLG ignored it all and played their own game, methodically taking fights one at a time and never losing control of the game. It came down to a dragon fight at the thirty-four minute mark that gave CLG two kills, a dragon, and a follow-up Baron. One strong push and teamfight down bottom minute later and CLG had only one game left to win to play at Madison Square Garden as a contender for the LCS Summer 2015 Finals.
"Xmithie is really good at messing with people," Doublelift stated regarding CLG's jungler. "He's just a really smart player. A lot of the time he'll stop their back line from doing damage and that's all you need. A player that's extremely disruptive. He doesn't get all the farm, he doesn't get all the kills, he doesn't make flashy plays. But he's really consistent and really smart and puts in a lot of work. I'm glad we have him and I'm glad he shut the haters up."
In Game Three, Xmithie wasn't just a disruptor, he made the flashy plays that carried the team in fights. After letting him have Ekko three games in a row, he seemed to decide it was enough and show that CLG can be a threat at every level. Xmithie made key engages and assassinated the TiP backline when he could. This time, there were no close skirmishes and there was no need to pull through teamfights like in the earlier games. It was a wash for TiP from start to finish.
It was the series that CLG needed to shrug off the three years of playoff disappointments, to gain the confidence they needed, and to enter Madison Square Garden proudly this Sunday against Team SoloMid. CLG vs TSM, finally once again on one of the biggest stages in the world.