Melany M. August 18, 2019
Cloud9 punched its ticket to the 2019 LCS Summer finals with a convincing victory over Counter Logic Gaming.
Cloud9 is not repeating the same mistakes from the spring semifinal. This time around, the team managed to close the series in game four and prevented a possible reverse sweep.
Cloud9 gets a sweet advantage
Cloud9 started the series with two dominating wins. Game one and two played out in very similar fashion with jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and mid laner Yasin "Nisqy" Dinçer taking over the map.
Svenskeren made sure to shut down Raymond “Wiggily” Griffin as soon as the game started with multiples invades. He forced Wiggily out of his own jungle and took his camps without opposition.
The jungler turned his own advantage into pressure in the mid lane with help from Nisqy. This shut down Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage in the first two games of the series and left him struggling to make his presence felt. Neutralizing the two strongest players in CLG proved to be an effective strategy for Cloud9.
Both wins were methodical. The squad matched the aggression from CLG and turned every play around. They kept the tempo at a pace that worked for them and didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger if they found a small window of opportunity.
CLG finds a win
The series truly started in game three when CLG changed its plans.
In the previous set, CLG drafted scaling compositions in anticipation of a late game that never came. CLG changed its focus in game three, prioritizing early game power and strong initiation.
CLG came out aggressive and forced Cloud9 to try and match their pace. The squad stumbled in the early stages of the game but soon found themselves ahead of CLG. Every time CLG found a pick or a kill, Cloud9 managed to land a counter shot.
During the mid game, Cloud9 took over. They took the first baron buff and destroyed every CLG structure on the way. CLG responded with a couple of flanks that ultimately didn’t add up to anything.
Cloud9 turned its focus to the nexus. They took one turret but could not bring down the second. Support Vincent “Biofrost” Wang jumped in as Rakan for a miraculous engage, allowing CLG to slay Cloud9 and keep the nexus alive.
The fight inside the base gave CLG the confidence they needed to force the next team fight. CLG took two barons and closed the game with a clutch play from PowerOfEvil inside the baron pit.
PowerOfEvil did his best Tanner "Damonte" Damonte impression and used Qiyana's ult to destroy Cloud9. The ace was enough to get the win and stay in the series.
Nisqy saves the day
CLG kept the momentum going in game four. They locked in Caitlyn and Morgana in the bottom lane, the same duo that gave them the victory over OpTic Gaming in the quarterfinals.
CLG controlled the bottom lane and the mid lane. In the top lane, Eric “Licorice” Ritchie and Kim "Ruin" Hyeong-min traded solo kills in preparation for future team fights.
CLG snowballed their early advantage, took control of the map, and had victory within reach. Unfortunately for them, Nisqy saved Cloud9 from losing on multiple occasions. The mid laner on Sylas used his TP to find deep flanks and cut down CLG’s escape route. Nisqy successfully did the same play four times.
Cloud9 put the final nail in the coffin around the second elder dragon of the game. CLG wanted to prevent a Nisqy flank with a flank of their own, but they didn’t have time to execute the play. Licorice on Kled was too strong, which saw the top laner slaughter CLG for an ace and the win.
The season is not over for CLG, which now looks to take third place. If CLG succeeds, they will earn enough points to make it to the regional finals.