Through eight North American LCS splits, one thing has remained constant: come playoff time, Team SoloMid is making the finals. In the spring, TSM did it as the No. 6 seed, overcoming a poor start to the split to finish runners-up to Counter Logic Gaming. Sunday, TSM showed exactly why it earned the No. 1 seed, dominating CLG in a 3-0 sweep in the semifinal round of the NA LCS playoffs.
With the win, TSM becomes the first North American team to qualify for Worlds. TSM will face Cloud9 in the final next week in Toronto, while CLG will face Immortals in the third-place game. If TSM defeats Cloud9 in the final, CLG will also automatically qualify for Worlds.
TSM improves to 26-16 all-time against CLG in the LCS era. CLG had won the last two playoff matchups, both of them in the finals, while TSM swept CLG in both regular season matchups this split.
It was another great series for TSM mid laner and MVP favorite Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. He went 5/0/2 on Cassiopeia in Game 1, 5/2/6 on Lissandra in Game 2 and 7/1/3 on Lissandra in Game 3, leading each game in kills (or tied for the lead).
Game 1 saw a remake due to an Aurelion Sol bug, causing the champion, a favorite of CLG mid laner Huhi, to be disabled for the rest of the series. The teams chose the exact same team compositions for the remade game with the exception of Huhi now playing Taliyah, another roaming champion generally considered better in the current professional meta. All good, right?
Not exactly! Aurelion Sol gets the ability to quickly surprise gank a side lane within the first three levels, while Taliyah is not able to do so very effectively until level 6. In the first attempt at Game 1, Huhi ganked the bottom lane in the first few minutes, helping pick up an early kill for his team. He was unable to do the same in the Game 1 that counted, and Bjergsen’s Cassiopeia ended up dominating the matchup.
TSM won the game 11-4 in 33 minutes.
In Game 2, CLG pulled out Stixxay’s signature Caitlyn, and he rewarded the pick with First Blood.
.@Stixxay secures first blood in game 2! #NALCS https://t.co/UEkGp3nJxZ— lolesports (@lolesports) August 21, 2016
But TSM was once again slowly able to build a lead, capitalizing on it with explosive team fights like this one.
A huge fight at Baron results in 4 kills for TSM! #NALCS https://t.co/QyfDUraL8E— lolesports (@lolesports) August 21, 2016
After the next fight netted Doublelift a triple kill, TSM won the game 13-7 in 44 minutes.
Game 3 had a slower start than the rest, but TSM still built up a 2k gold lead by 13 minutes just from farming. Bjergsen opened up a lead with Lissandra against Huhi’s Kassadin, and translated that into his team’s first four kills of the game.
.@Bjergsen's Lissandra with the Double Kill! #NALCS https://t.co/x68YM4TGUk— lolesports (@lolesports) August 21, 2016
A three for one fight in CLGs base clinched it, 13-5 in 43 minutes.
TSM has not won the NA LCS since Spring 2015, finishing as runners-up to CLG in each of the past two splits. TSM, CLG and Cloud9 are all tied atop the all-time leaderboard with two titles apiece.