NA LCS semifinals: CLG defeat Liquid 3-2


The NA LCS semifinals kicked off today with Counter Logic Gaming taking on Team Liquid.

It was one hell of a day for League of Legends fans as both Europe and North America had two amazing semifinal series.

The first semifinal was in Europe between Origen and H2K, and that matchup went to a thrilling five games (that was won by Origen). Not to be outdone by Europe, Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) and Team Liquid also had an intense five-game series.

Both teams were very evenly matched, but CLG simply had more juice in the end. Here is a breakdown on how it all went down.

Game one:

CLG tried some trickery in the draft by picking both Ryze and Ekko early, thus making them strong flex picks. After all the picks were in, CLG switched champions to make it Ryze top and Ekko mid, but then they switched one more time to make it Ekko top and Ryze mid.

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It was a standard game at the beginning, and the first edge was given to Liquid when they had a three-man dive on Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaha that gave Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin first blood.

CLG really messed up by letting Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett free farm on a Devourer jungler, and Dardoch took advantage by hitting Sated Devourer at an impressive 17 minutes.

The game was even at 20 minutes with very little action, but then CLG went all-in for a big play. Liquid were shoved up mid, and CLG tried to do a double teleport flank to force a fight. However, Liquid were able to interrupt one of the teleports to keep things a four-on-four. Multiple people nearly died in the fight, but it ultimately ended in nothing happening (besides Liquid gaining the teleport advantage).

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Things started to heat up at around 23 minutes. CLG allowed Liquid to get their third free dragon of the game, but they did that so they could go rush down Baron. The move surprised Liquid and they weren’t able to react quick enough. CLG got the quick Baron while only losing Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black.

CLG used the Baron buff to push down the lanes and take a tower to give themselves their first gold lead of the game.

CLG’s lead didn’t last long, however, as things went bad when they tried to contest Liquid’s fourth Dragon. Not only did Liquid take the objective, but Piglet dominated the fight and got a quadrakill to put Liquid up by 3K gold.

It was all downhill for CLG after that moment. Liquid took down the first inhibitor of the game at 32 minutes and then went to do Baron soon after. Liquid pulled off Baron to fight CLG, and a great combination of Kindred’s ultimate and Poppy’s ultimate led to Liquid getting a clean ace to win the game.

Game two: 

Nothing tricky happened in champion select for game two, but the drafts did turn out identical to the previous game.

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It took awhile for action to start in the first game, but it was the complete opposite in this match. At only six minutes into the game, Liquid put a lot of their resources into forcing a fight, but things take a turn for the worst and CLG comes out with three kills and a 2K gold lead because of it.

Liquid strike back four minutes later by forcing another fight, and this time they got two kills and a tower out of it. However, that was the last good thing Liquid did this game.

CLG simply controlled the map by dominating vision (had double Sightstones on the team), and this allowed them to get multiple picks which accumulated to a 3K gold lead at 20 minutes.

A couple of minutes later, CLG effectively pulled off a double teleport play to make up for their failed attempt in the previous game.

CLG took Baron right after this and grew their gold lead to 5K. Things were going so well for them that Darshan purchased Mejai’s Soulstealer and actually got it fully stacked.

The end for Liquid in game two began at 28 minutes when CLG took down two inhibitors. It only took a few more moments for CLG to get an ace and win the game.

Game three:

It was very similar drafts yet again, but this time Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun surprised us by picking Anivia.

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It’s surprising that Liquid was comfortable with Darshan getting Ekko again, and it’s also surprising the Dardoch picked Kindred for the third straight game.

Matt “Matt” Elento was trying to be a good support and lay down some vision at the start of the game, but CLG threw some cheese his way to get an early advantage.

Similar to game two, CLG had a 3K gold lead at 20 minutes from controlling the map better and getting a couple of picks.

Things get interesting around the 24-minute mark. CLG bait Baron only to pull off of it and get a couple of kills. Right after that, the team actually does Baron. However, not only do they get Baron, but they got three more kills, two towers and an inhibitor to give them a 10K gold lead.

It only took a couple of minutes after that for CLG to make their final push and win the game.

Game four:

It took four games, but we finally got some different looking teams.

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The biggest question mark that came from the drafts was from Tristana. Liquid had banned her every other game, and CLG jumped on the pick the one time Liquid failed to ban it. We would later find out that the secret was rushing Guinsoo’s Rageblade and Runaan’s Hurrican, thus creating a Kog’Maw that can jump around. While it didn’t work out in this game, the concept of it is very interesting.

Action started at four minutes when Jake “Xmithie” Puchero tried to gank, but Dardoch was right there for a better countergank that led to Piglet getting first blood.

The following moments resulted in a few skirmishes that allowed Liquid to gain a 3K gold lead.

At 14 minutes, two fights break out at the same time, and Liquid win both of the fights.

Two minutes after that is when Liquid really separated themselves. CLG were pushing down the middle lane, and then and insane wombo-combo happened from Liquid.

Liquid ace CLG while only losing one of their own, and then they took a couple of towers to create a massive gold lead.

Liquid won another fight at 22 minutes that allowed them to take the first inhibitor of the game. Two minutes later, they destroyed CLG to the tune of four more kills, and then they ended the game.

Game five:

There were no tricks or surprises going into the deciding game of the series.

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First blood came at just under the 10-minute mark, and it came from a (surprising) roam to the top lane from Kim “Fenix” JaeHoon.

At around 15 minutes, Liquid pull off a great dive in the bottom lane that should have worked out well for them, but CLG respond amazingly to come out slightly ahead from the fight.

The fight tied the game up in gold, but CLG would soon take their first lead of the game after taking away Rift Scuttler from Liquid.

Once the mid-game hit, it turned into a really long dance between both teams around Baron. Liquid would continually try to bait a fight at Baron, but it never worked out their way. Tiny fights broke out a couple of times, but they often resulted in wasted time.

The game finally took a turn at the 39-minute mark when CLG had great use from one of their teleports to force a fight. The resulting fight gave CLG five kills and the Baron to take a whopping 5K gold lead.

A fight breaks out in Liquid’s base moments later, and it ultimately ends in CLG confusing Piglet with a double teleport to win the game.

Stay up-to-date with the remainder of the playoffs by visiting our NA LCS section