League of Legends Spring Split heats up with four weeks left until playoffs

By Jourdan Kerl
Medill Reports

Los Angeles – Cloud 9 outperformed Team SoloMid for a clean victory and nearly spotless record on Saturday evening to conclude the first half of Spring Split action in the North American League of Legends Championship Series.

With the first half of the season behind them, Cloud 9 looked ahead to competing against team Echo Fox, which shared the same record of 7-1 heading into Sunday afternoon’s match.  Echo Fox won placing then in first,  though four more weeks of competition until the playoffs can change their lead.

Under the new 10-team format, each league partner will face every other team in Riot Games NA LCS studio twice during the regular season, which started in January. The top six teams will enter the playoffs in April, where they will compete in a single-elimination tournament in Miami.

The stakes were high this week with many teams battling in must-win games. While the focus for most teams had already begun to shift toward the next half of the season, some players reflected on the first half of the Spring Split.


Cloud 9 1 vs. Team SoloMid (TSM) 0:

Cloud 9 came into this match on top of the pack tied with Echo Fox 7-1. Because Fox easily defeated 100 Thieves earlier that the day, this game became a must-win for Cloud 9 to give them a shot at first place when they played Fox on Sunday.

TSM’s mid-laner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg gave his team an early lead, as he picked up two quick kills, but Cloud 9 jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen would not allow Bjergsen’s pace to continue in the match.

He created a nice play at nine minutes for two kills for his team, after that the team seemed to be in sync for the remainder of the game. TSM could not find a response throughout the team fights. At 30 minutes, another two quick team kills by Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi for Cloud 9 allowed them to push for the Baron. Cloud 9 could take only one inhibitor because TSM respawned from their deaths, preventing a loss of two inhibitors.

As Cloud 9 took a second Baron buff, the team nearly earned an ace on TSM. Ultimately, Cloud 9 moved to 8-1 with this victory over TSM (4-5) in a game that took under 32 minutes. Cloud 9 scored 14 kills to TSM’s nine.

Team Liquid 1 – Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) 0

Throughout the entire game, these teams fought for total control of the map’s vision. Every member of CLG needed to pick up control wards due to Liquid’s Jake “Xmithie” Puchero’s consistent game warding. His vision score was nearly double that of every player in the early game.

CLG also had to play it safe in the game, looking for the correct time to engage in team fights for a safe advantage. It was nearly 25 minutes into the game before a single team battle would occur. The first began when CLG Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun finally found Liquid’s Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung left out without his teammates. He earned himself and CLG the first kill of the game. This also became the latest “first blood” of all-time in North American competition.

Big team fights swayed in CLG’s favor during mid-game, but Team Liquid found better ways to take advantage of map vision and took control over the tempo of the game with objectives. Ultimately, Team Liquid routed Counter Logic Gaming in 42 minutes with a 13,000-point lead in gold.

Photo at top: Clutch Gaming takes on FlyQuest in the NA LCS Studio with fans cheering on their favorite team. Clutch Gaming won the match. (Jourdan Kerl/MEDILL)