Melany M. August 11, 2019
Clutch Gaming is going to Detroit!
History repeated itself in the 2019 LCS Summer Split playoffs as Clutch Gaming took down Team SoloMid in the quarterfinals.
The exciting series finished after four games, with Clutch showing how much progress they have made both as individuals and as a team. The victory caps an amazing turnaround for Clutch, who have gone from last place to being a legitimate contender to earn a spot in the 2019 LoL World Championship.
Clutch Gaming strikes first
Tanner “Damonte” Damonte and Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon switched lanes in game one in an effort to give Huni a better chance of scaling on Gangplank. In the top lane, Sergen "Broken Blade" Çelik was relentless on Kled.
Damonte was under intense pressure, prompting Clutch to make an early rotation and give up the bottom lane in order to support him. Both of the teams found kills around the map but Clutch controlled more territory.
The teams came together in the mid lane for a five-on-five clash, which saw Sun “Cody Sun” Li-Yu secure multiple kills and the first baron of the game as Sivir. Clutch used that advantage to break the base through the bottom lane.
Rookie jungler Mingyi "Spica" Lu stole the second baron in an attempt to stall things out for TSM. That wasn't enough to make Clutch flinch, as they ignored the baron buff and pushed for the win.
Damonte, the Qiyana god
Game two was all about Damonte on Qiyana. Clutch Gaming continued with its plan to focus on the objectives and double down on any advantages they found. They once again gave up control in the bottom lane, but used that to knock over a tower and take control of TSM's jungle.
20 minutes into the match, a team fight started around the baron buff. Damonte jumped in and annihilated four TSM players with Qiyana's ult. That saw the momentum swing firmly into Clutch's favor, and they never gave it back.
Damonte made play after play against TSM, and is quickly establishing himself as one of the world's best Qiyana players. That performance, alongside Cody Sun's ability to avoid taking even a single death, saw Clutch Gaming advance to match point in 28 minutes.
Down 2-0 in the series, TSM put Broken Blade on Aatrox, one of his best champions of the season. Clutch Gaming attempted to initiate fights rather than pressing for objectives, but the strategy backfired as the skirmishes broke in TSM’s favor.
TSM grew a significant gold advantage, which turned the attention of both teams towards the baron buff. Clutch wanted to get the first baron but TSM was poised to snatch it away. Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen led TSM into battle and walked out with a pentakill.
From there, TSM took full advantage of the baron buff. The squad was patient and went after turrets instead of attempting to brute force their way to victory. At 31 minutes, TSM aced Clutch Gaming for a second time and pushed for the win. The final score had TSM with 17 kills, one of the highest tallies for them this season.
Cody Sun takes Clutch Gaming to semifinals
In game four, Clutch Gaming had to stop the bleeding and regain control. The squad played a slower early game and didn’t over-commit to any pushes or rotations. Damonte roamed around the map and raked in gold in order to ensure a strong mid game.
TSM took advantage of the passive approach and forced team fights. Just moments before the first baron spawn, Clutch Gaming flipped the switch and looked for a fight. This resulted in a delayed ace, which allowed Clutch Gaming to take over control.
It was a scary situation but Broken Blade kept TSM alive with his signature Vladimir. Clutch Gaming had to respect Broken Blade and took a step back, but it wasn't long before they went back on offense.
Clutch Gaming snuck up and took the second baron. They pushed in lanes and were ready to win. Broken Blade gathered his teammates and caught two enemies, which halted Clutch's attack and allowed TSM to go on a counter-offensive in the mid lane.
The teams prepared for the elder drake and Damonte stole Vladimir’s ult as Sylas. TSM grouped and Clutch went all in. Damonte and Huni diverted most of TSM's attention, which allowed Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme, Nam "Lira" Tae-yoo, and Cody Sun to dogpile onto single targets.
Zven, Broken Blade and Andy “Smoothie” Ta limped away from the fight but Cody Sun's Kai’Sa chased them down and wiped them off the map. Only Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg survived the skirmish and he eventually fell trying to defend the nexus.
That gave Clutch Gaming the third win and the ticket to Detroit.
This is a tough blow, but the season is not over for TSM. They still have a chance to make it to the 2019 World Championship in the Regional Finals.