There will be a rematch of the last two NA LCS finals ... in the semifinals this year. Two-time defending champions Counter Logic Gaming will face two-time runners-up Team SoloMid in the semifinals last week after CLG took down Team Liquid in a convincing 3-1 series.
CLG also eliminated Team Liquid from the playoffs last split, albeit in the semifinals and in a full five games. Liquid will now turn its sights to the Gauntlet, where it will compete for North America’s third and final spot at Worlds.
Game 1 was relatively clean for CLG, opening up the game by giving a big lead to Darshan Upadhyaha‘s Gnar. Liquid was able to climb back thanks to a triple kill in the mid game from Jae-hoon “Fenix” Kim’s LeBlanc, but CLG closed it out in 34 minutes, 17-8.
.@clgaming take down four in a fight near dragon and push into the base to take game one! #NALCS https://t.co/bFGGnfiArA— lolesports (@lolesports) August 14, 2016
Game 2 started much better for Team Liquid, who were able to make the first proactive play with a gank top from Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett. But CLG responded, getting picks of their own and better focusing on objectives.
.@clgaming go aggressive in the top lane and pick up two kills! #NALCS https://t.co/OFQPvf2D64— lolesports (@lolesports) August 14, 2016
Team Liquid was able to earn gold via kills, but the team didn’t get its first turret until 26 minutes, by which point CLG already had all three outers.
Samson “Lourlo” Jackson nearly managed to swing the game in Liquid’s favor with an incredible 1 vs. 2 outplay in the bottom lane.
.@LiquidLourlo outplays two in the bot lane! #NALCS https://t.co/GH8gm5mqYm— lolesports (@lolesports) August 14, 2016
But a team fight at 31 minutes netted a triple kill for Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes, an ace for his team and eventually the win eight minutes later.
.@DarshanU flanks @TeamLiquidLoL and @clgaming get the ace! #NALCS https://t.co/PaJklzO9yZ— lolesports (@lolesports) August 14, 2016
CLG took this one 15-13 in 39 minutes, with 100 percent kill participation for Stixxay (5/2/10 on Ashe) and nearly 100 percent for Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black (2/3/12 on Bard).
In Game 3, Team Liquid made a shocking move: subbing out Jovani “fabbbyyy” Guillen at AD Carry for substitute Phil “Jynthe” Vu, making his LCS debut with his team’s back on the line.
Things didn’t start so great for Jynthe, as a botched level two all-in led to him dying for First Blood.
.@TeamLiquidLoL go aggressive in the bot lane, but @Stixxay turns it around for first blood! #NALCS https://t.co/Mzudh9LA5s— lolesports (@lolesports) August 14, 2016
Things turned around quickly for Jynthe, as Dardoch focused bottom lane and picked up some early kills for his AD Carry.
This game featured another classic Lourlo outplay, too:
.@LiquidLourlo outplays @DarshanU for the solo kill! #NALCS https://t.co/BdsDDmKdWe— lolesports (@lolesports) August 14, 2016
But the story this game was Dardoch and Jynthe. Liquid’s star jungler paid extra attention to the new AD Carry, and the new finished the game with excellent scores (6/0/8 for Dardoch, 7/2/6 for Jynthe) in the 22-8, 33-minute game.
Game 4 was decided in the early game, as Jake “Xmithie” Puchero made the aggressive decision to pick Olaf and was rewarded with three kills for his team.
.@clgaming get three early kills in the bot lane! #NALCS https://t.co/fwGrHIK7iE— lolesports (@lolesports) August 14, 2016
That led to a lead for Stixxay’s Sivir, who was able to use that to help his team get advantages. At 23 minutes, he picked up a quadra kill, essentially clinching the game and the series.
A fight starts in the jungle and @Stixxay gets a quadrakill! #NALCS https://t.co/EQURokXMof— lolesports (@lolesports) August 14, 2016
CLG took the game 19-4 in 26 minutes, with a perfect 10/0/4 mark for Stixxay.