Melany M. September 9, 2019
Clutch Gaming is going to the 2019 League of Legends World Championship. The squad completed its miracle gauntlet run with a victory over Team SoloMid.
In previous seasons, Clutch would’ve been the underdog in this series. However, throughout playoffs and the regional qualifiers, the team solidified itself as a true contender in the LCS.
Now, Clutch is going to Worlds as North America’s third seed. They still have to go through the play-in stage, but considering their recent performance it shouldn't be much trouble.
TSM takes the lead
The teams entered game one swinging and ready to fight. Clutch surprised with a Pantheon pick in the top lane for Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon and ran with Tanner "Damonte" Damonte on Neeko. TSM went back to Sona and Tahm Kench.
Clutch played a telegraphed early game with a rotation to get the rift herald. TSM read the play, got in position to contest, and walked away with the herald and three kills.
TSM slowly took over the map with better vision control. Clutch still found the kills to set up a push on the bottom lane inhibitor, but TSM was playing better as a unit and supported each other throughout.
The final team fight sent four Clutch players to the death chamber. TSM pushed for the win and got the advantage in the series.
One fight decides game two for TSM
TSM started game two with four kills in four minutes. The team decided to play through the bottom lane and exploit their advantage. TSM made the rotations as three or four, making sure they would always outnumber Clutch.
Around the 20 minute mark, TSM had absolute control of the game. They secured a baron and sieged Clutch’s base.
Clutch wouldn’t go down without a fight, though. The squad committed to shutting down the side lanes while avoiding unnecessary bloodshed. That play threw TSM off-balance, as they couldn’t get vision and were wary of letting Clutch back into the game.
The hesitation from TSM allowed Clutch to get back in the game. Clutch took one baron buff and pushed through the mid lane. Unfortunately, a critical mistake ended Clutch's rally and cost them the game.
Around the mid lane, Clutch went for two different targets in the team fight. The squad was divided by a wall, which TSM capitalized on with an ace. TSM destroyed the nexus while Clutch watched from the fountain.
Better early game wins for Clutch
Clutch took control of game three early on by getting first blood and leveraging that into a gold advantage. The third game was all about Clutch working as a unit and making fewer mistakes.
TSM still found picks but as the game progressed, the team played more defensively. Clutch picked on Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen and turned his deaths into objectives. That included a baron, which allowed Clutch to take the win.
In the final play of the game, Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg went for a deep flank. Clutch stopped him in his tracks and slaughtered TSM one by one. Clutch destroyed the nexus and started the reverse sweep.
Clutch takes control in game four
Clutch kept the momentum going in game four. TSM seemed a bit shaken from game three and continued to play passively, allowing Clutch to dictate the pace of the game.
While TSM managed to find kills, Clutch once again stayed aggressive and made TSM timid. Slowly, Clutch built up a lead that forced TSM to retreat from any kind of engagement.
TSM was running out of options, which saw them go for a Hail Mary baron play. Clutch picked up Mingyi "Spica" Lu and stole the objective right out from under TSM.
At that point, itwas time for Sun "Cody Sun" Li-Yu to shine. The bottom laner was fearless on Ezreal, jumping forward to take down enemies. With three players down, TSM had to retreat into the fountain and let Clutch take game four.
Clutch wins the series in the draft
TSM’s strategy in game five was questionable. The team drafted Skarner for Spica even though he isn't proven on the champion, while they banned Ezreal despite the fact it didn't impact Cody Sun. Those strange plays cost TSM big time.
As expected, Spica didn’t have the same impact on Skarner that Nam "Lira" Tae-yoo usually does. Cody Sun went for a pocket pick in the form of Kog’Maw and this champion would decide the game.
TSM kept the game even with good rotations despite Spica's visible struggles, but Clutch started to get more comfortable in team fights. This forced TSM to make a play for the baron buff to swing the momentum.
Clutch countered and threw everything they had at them, with only Spica surviving the skirmish. They moved to the baron and Spica tried to catch them with a 50/50 play. The jungler flashed in, but missed his smite by a split second. Clutch completed the ace and marched into the base.
There, TSM stood up to Clutch only to die under the nexus turrets. Clutch destroyed the base and completed the reverse sweep to earn a spot in the 2019 World Championship.