Melany M. September 8, 2019
Clutch Gaming is one series closer to the 2019 League of Legends World Championship.
The team got its revenge on Counter Logic Gaming in round two of the LCS regional qualifiers. Clutch and CLG’s rivalry started in the 2019 LCS Summer playoffs when, in the third-place match, CLG reverse swept Clutch and sent them to the bottom of the regional qualifiers.
Playing the first round versus FlyQuest was exactly what Clutch needed to gain momentum. With this victory, Clutch moves up in the qualifiers and is facing Team SoloMid in the finals on Sunday.
CLG takes a risk, throws the game
CLG brought back Tahm Kench and Sona for game one, but with a twist. Trevor "Stixxay" Hayes took Tahm Kench while Vincent "Biofrost" Wang locked in Sona. The unorthodox approach was to put Biofrost on a champion that worked better for him at the cost of Stixxay’s comfort.
CLG failed to get its bottom duo off the ground. "Cody Sun" Li-Yu and Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme took over the lane, and Clutch took over the map from there. CLG had a good rotation to get the first dragon of the game, but that was the extent of their playmaking.
Clutch took everything on the map, and then some. CLG had no other option than to give up control and retreat into the base. With Stixxay and Biofrost out of the equation, Cody Sun and Tanner "Damonte" Damonte ran wild.
Clutch took the baron uncontested and taking the nexus after wasn't much harder.
Huni versus the world
CLG made draft adaptations in game two with Stixxay on Xayah. The early game saw aggressive aggressive play from Clutch, but CLG was more than capable of punching back.
After a frantic start, CLG decided to group and go for the kills. The game was even until the teams met around the dragon. CLG had control over the area and most of Clutch within its field of vision, but it didn’t account for Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon and that oversight would turn the game around.
Huni caught four CLG members with his ult and just like that, Clutch was the winner of the fight. The top laner snowballed out of control and soon, no one on CLG’s side could respond to the split push.
CLG was determined to kill Huni and in the process neglected the base. While Huni fought against the world, the rest of Clutch pushed for the inhibitors. CLG got their man, but ended up sacrificing their base and the game for it.
CLG won’t go down without a fight
CLG hit back in game three and gave Clutch flashbacks to their series in Detroit. The game was decided by the draft, as Clutch didn’t have a true front liner while CLG jungler Raymond "Wiggily" Griffin on Nocturne had access to every target.
CLG grouped early and roamed around the map to great effect. CLG got priority in every lane in addition to the pressure from Wiggily. Clutch couldn’t do anything versus his Nocturne, with every attempt to skirmish being turned around.
The game would end with baron number two, with Clutch crumbling under their siege. CLG destroyed the nexus and hinted at a possible reverse sweep.
Clutch stops the reverse sweep
Clutch couldn’t allow CLG to take the series to game five, so it was time to bring out Qiyana.
The early game was slow and steady. Clutch didn't want to play overly aggressive, while CLG wanted time to scale.
Once again, Huni got ahead of the enemy team and became the biggest threat on the map. The top laner overestimated his advantage and CLG punished him for it. This kicked off a back-and-forth mid-game that included multiple team fights and barons.
CLG secured the second baron of the game and pushed for the win. Clutch waited patiently and decided to go for a flank.
CLG ran out of the base and Clutch was ready to chase them. Biofrost sacrificed himself to get the team out, but Clutch smelled blood in the water and kept going.
Under the top lane outer turret, Clutch caught up with CLG. The crowd control from Vulcan and Damonte allowed Clutch to get four kills in a single play. Clutch ran to the wave in bottom lane to take the win and continue on the road to Worlds.
On Sunday, Clutch will face Team SoloMid for a spot in the event.