Once again, Team SoloMid stands alone at the top of North American League of Legends. For the fourth time in four years, TSM have conquered the region, winning the 2016 Summer Finals in front of a terrific Toronto crowd Sunday by a score of three games to one.
In its storied history, TSM has never missed an LCS final and never missed Worlds. TSM had already qualified for Worlds entering the final -- with the win, CLG secured the region’s second spot at the international competition coming up in about a month. TSM had lost the last two NA LCS finals, both to CLG.
In the first three games, the winning team had one thing in common: Rek’Sai and Cassiopeia on the team. Cloud9 secured that combination in the first game, and TSM picked it up in the following two. In Game 4, facing elimination, Cloud9 banned Cassiopeia and first-picked Rek’Sai.
Game 1 was the only one that went Cloud9’s way after a fantastic performance from Canadian support Andy “Smoothie” Ta in front of his home crowd. Smoothie repeatedly landed perfect Trundle pillars, catching TSM out of position, forcing flashes or even saving his own teammates.
This pillar by Smoothie just stopped Jensen when he was flying towards TSM after being ulted by Sven. Holy shit. pic.twitter.com/L0aVFYy3SW— Cobos! (@leagueofcobos) August 28, 2016
These two were just as impressive. Pixel-perfect pillar to force an awful path for Sven, and then a flash one on 3 pic.twitter.com/S7mNsAuGOX— Cobos! (@leagueofcobos) August 28, 2016
Cloud9 won the game 19-5 in 39 minutes, with Jensen 6/2/11 on Cassiopeia and Meteos 2/0/12 on Rek’Sai.
In Game 2, it was the Danish duo of Bjergsen and Svenskeren who landed the Cassiopeia and Rek’Sai. Jensen pulled out Vel’Koz for the counter pick, and while it did a bunch of damage it was unable to make a major impact on the game.
It was Hauntzer who starred in this game, dominating his matchup against Impact and doing an absurd amount of damage on a mostly tank Ekko. TSM won the game 17-3 in 37 minutes, as Hauntzer finished 3/1/7 (and Doublelift went 8/0/6 in an improved Jhin game).
In Game 3, Cloud9 pulled out an unexpected pick to counter TSM’s immobile damage dealers of Cassiopeia and Jhin: Zac, an old Meteos favorite and a champion we haven’t seen in a major region since June, when Gamsu played it in the top lane for Fnatic in Europe.
While Meteos was able to pull off two good early ganks to net kills, Svenskeren’s Rek’Sai destroyed him in the jungle, going up three levels by 25 minutes.
An attempted gank at nine minutes went horribly wrong for Meteos and Cloud9, turning the game firmly in TSM’s favor.
.@c9_Meteos returns to the mid lane, but @TeamSoloMid turn the gank around for two kills! #NALCS #LockIn https://t.co/v98MEQEdCx— lolesports (@lolesports) August 28, 2016
Impact nearly saved the game with some excellent Gnar play, solo-killing Hauntzer twice and forcing a lot of attention from TSM. But a fight at 26 minutes in Cloud9’s jungle went disastrously, going 4-1 in TSM’s favor and leading to a 15-6, 29-minute win.
In Game 4, Cloud9 made sure TSM couldn’t secure Cassiopeia and Rek’Sai again, banning the former and first-picking the latter. But the game still started horribly for them -- Jensen went for the common Taliyah strategy of stealing the enemy raptors at level 2, but Svenskeren and Bjergsen predicted it, collapsing on him and earning First Blood.
Once again, it was Impact who kept Cloud9 in the game. His Gnar was exquisite, winning lane against Shen and pressuring TSM around the map with kills and timely ultimates. Even with his team losing in gold, Impact consistently held an individual gold lead over every other player in the game.
With TSM holding a slight lead at 33 minutes, a critical team fight went 4-2 in C9’s favor thanks to a gigantic ultimate from Impact.
.@Cloud9 ace @TeamSoloMid in the top lane! #NALCS #LockIn https://t.co/6dQt0Mu8Kv— lolesports (@lolesports) August 28, 2016
C9 took Baron a minute later and assumed control of the game. At 40 minutes, C9 appeared to have started the perfect team fight, with Taliyah’s Weaver’s Wall cutting off TSM’s team, but Doublelift and TSM turned it around for the 5-1 ace.
A massive back and forth fight in the mid lane leads to an ace for @TeamSoloMid! #NALCS #LockIn https://t.co/zvzg86a7Om— lolesports (@lolesports) August 28, 2016
The next team fight at 43 minutes started with Bjergsen killing Impact, giving C9 no hope of holding on. TSM won the fight 4-0, marching into the base and winning 21-13 in 43 minutes, clinching the NA LCS title.