RheingoldRiver brings reports from the MLG floor in Anaheim
With excellent overviews of each match and interviews with the expert summoners involved, RheingoldRiver brings fantastic insight into the NA Spring Playoffs that enthralled millions as part of the League of Legends Championship Series event this past weekend.
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The first game of the first day, TSM-Dignitas, saw Scarra on AP Master Yi midlane, along with a Nocturne-Janna-Ashe composition reminiscent of season 2. Though TheOddOne did a great job of predicting ganks, Scarra just got too big and carried his team to victory. The next game was Velocity-Curse, which seemed very one-sided in Curse's favor. However, a Baron steal over to Velocity allowed it to come back and win the game, as its strategy of letting inhibitors fall rather than forcing bad fights proved successful. CLG-Vulcun saw Doublelift getting ahead early on Tristana, and once he was a bit ahead he got very ahead. The CLG victory was surprisingly short considering the two teams playing, ending before 44 minutes. Finally, Team Coast fought the current leaders of the LCS standings, Cloud 9. As per usual, Cloud 9 pushed hard early and closed out the game by 30 minutes, after two 5-1 fights and a free baron.
Day 2 contained not only four more LCS tournaments but also the semi-finals of the MLG challenger tournament, two best-of-three matches. The first, between Aware Gaming (formerly The Salad Bar), ended after two games. In the first one, EHomda, midlaner for Aware Gaming, went for the unconventional Zilean pick. Unfortunately, this pick proved less successful than Scarra's Yi pick of the day before and, despite the fact that the game was pulled almost all the way to 50 minutes by Aware, it got taken out by Complexity. The second game was a much more convincing win from Complexity, as Lautemortis applied great early pressure and allowed his team to snowball the game.
Two LCS games followed. The first, between Vulcun and Dignitas, featured Scarra returning to AP Master Yi---however, this game, Vulcun was prepared for the pick, and they had Xmithie apply huge pressure early on in midlane, shutting down the champion that had carried the previous game.
Though Vulcun was consistently ahead after the early game, the point of no return came at almost 30 minutes in an ace-for-Zuna teamfight; soon after, Vulcun pushed for the victory. After that moment of rejoicing for solo queue players not wanting to see AP Yi every game, Cloud 9 beat CLG in a 35-minute game featuring constant, albeit slow, pressure from the Cloud 9 team. Unlike its last matchup, this time early Dragon control went the way of Cloud 9, and it was what was needed to take the game.
Next came the second set of semi-final games in the challenger tournament, this time between FXOpen and Curse Academy. Early on in the game, heavenTime sacrificed his own farm in order to save his team's top turret, and the sacrifice of kills and farm to push turrets would be the theme of FXOpen's play style for the rest of the series.
It was successful in the first game, but in the second game they got too far behind in dragons and kills, as Pobelter's Ahri dominated Arthelon's Lux in the midlane. FXOpen was able to hold on until 46 minutes, but ultimately Curse Academy had superior control of the game. With the series even, FXOpen opted for the surprising Rengar pick for Westrice in the toplane---and it was completely justified. With his Ferocity and a Ravenous Hydra, Westrice was effectively able to one-shot Altec's Twitch, and FXOpen won the game at 54 minutes.
Finally, the day rounded out with a return to LCS matches. In the TSM-Curse game, TSM started out completely dominating Curse in large part thanks to fantastic Thresh play out of Xpecial. A questionable dive by TSM, however, led to a quadra kill for Cop on Draven, and though TSM was able to push the middle inhibitor at 20 minutes, soon after Voyboy was able to draw four members of TSM to botlane while the rest of his team took Baron.
After this point, Curse just started winning fights, and it had gotten enough farm from the inhibitor being down without further pressure for long enough that eventually TSM couldn't fight it at all, and Curse won the game with an incredible comeback. The last game was much more one-sided though still drawn-out, with Coast being Velocity at 43 minutes. The early game went to Coast after several kills onto Evaniskus, and decent objective and map control allowed Coast to close out the game without any overly-risky play.
Day 3 opened with the finals of the challenger event: FXOpen vs Complexity. In the first game of the series, Complexity showed completely dominant in the early game, catching out not only RobertXLee at level 1 but also Westrice several times after. FXOpen held on for a very long time, even picking up a baron at 32 minutes, but Complexity ultimately was victorious after a pick-off on heavenTime.
Despite its successful standard play in Game 1, Complexity switched things up in Game 2 with M eye A playing a roaming Leona support. While innovative, the strategy wasn't effective, and FXOpen with Westrice on Akali showed superior tower control both before and after an early base-race trading Top and Mid inhibitor turrets, and the series was tied 1-1. In Game 3, NydusHerMain finally got to bring out his favored Zyra pick, and Westrice again played Rengar to counter the Twitch of FrostedCupcakes. The game was closer than Game 2, but ultimately FXOpen was again victorious, securing its spot in the next LCS promotion tournament after two 2-1 series.
After the conclusion of the challenger tournament came the conclusion of LCS week 3, which started with the somewhat-surprising upset of Vulcun over Cloud 9, snowballed off a strong level-1 play by Zuna and BloodWater. Vulcun was up 9 kills by 25 minutes, and though there were some slight hiccups before the end, it ended up winning the game thanks in large part to great play from mancloud's Lissandra stunning Hai's Twisted Fate before he could Zhonyas. After that excitement came a somewhat-calmer game between Curse and Team Coast.
The game started out somewhat slowly, but Curse was ahead early on, and around 20 minutes it started to snowball its advantage, suddenly closing out the game by 25.
Then came the next installment in the old TSM-CLG rivalry. With Doublelift on Urgot taking first blood in botlane, CLG got off to an early lead, but the game was relatively close with fights going in both directions throughout. The most memorable play of the game came at 50 minutes when Nientonsoh backdoored all three inhibitors over the course of about 2 minutes while TSM took Baron. Though TSM won the next fight, Dyrus was unable to defend its nexus against the super minions flooding in while the rest of his team tried to backdoor, and CLG's minions really were a 6th champion, winning the game for them at 61 minutes.
Finally, Dignitas squared off against Velocity, in a game that contained a surprising Nunu pick---surprising because he made it through the ban phase. Though Nk Inc didn't get behind in the jungle at level 1, by level 4 he was already quite far behind Crumbz; and with Scarra snowballing out of control on Zed, there wasn't anything that Velocity could do to stop Dignitas from winning the game at 34 minutes, concluding MLG Anaheim 2013.