The opening match of week 4 of the NA LCS had a lot riding on it, as we move on from week 3 . Both Counter Logic Gaming and Immortals had quite a bit to prove, as they had much to disprove as well from their past seasons. With both going into the match at five and one, the match would significantly boost the morale of the winning side, and would surely be a grand show. So, how did CLG vs Immortals (IMT) end up as such a lopsided match?
To start understanding how this became such a one-sided series, you must understand where the teams are coming from. This match can be seen more as a battle between two different styles of gameplay: Proactive and Reactive. IMT tends to play a steady, planned out game. Although they do not have the most flashy or sought-after players, with primarily extended set ups, calm decisions, and swift late-game macro calls, they slowly lead the enemy to slaughter, not giving them a chance to stand in front and take the reins of the flow. CLG play pretty much the opposite style. Relying heavily on their star-studded roster and individual skill, CLG generally focuses on gaining advantages from spur-of-the-moment instances, or reacting and punishing a team’s attempt at a play on the Rift.
Replay clips are credit to Riot Esports and Twitch, click on them to play.
CLG vs Immortals: Game 1
Game 1 saw a somewhat interesting draft from both teams. During the first ban phase, we got to see a bit of how CLG focused more on the individual players as they target-banned Xmithie by eliminating three junglers in the first rotation. This left up the power/flex pick of Galio to IMT, giving CLG very little information as to where it would be going to. Not only that, CLG opted to go for the Caitlyn/Tahm Kench picks in their first rotation, allowing Xmithie to still pick up a decent jungler in Gragas. This seems like a problematic start already, since, if CLG planned to target Xmithie , they would usually not only ban out certain champions in the first ban phase, but also pick up another open jungle champion, thus effectively “banning” a fourth champion away from Xmithie. Since they did not, IMT get to round out their composition in a very straight-forward fashion geared towards the teamfights. CLG, instead, opted towards a more dueling composition, with no real focus on a certain style. This again highlights each teams’ playstyle and win conditions, with IMT looking towards the late game, and CLG aiming to force the early game in their favor.
Right from the start, IMT showed why they deserve the top spot. After an impulsive gank from Dardoch only burned Olleh’s flash, IMT already had plans in motion. At 4:00 minutes in, with Pobelter having teleported to shove in Huhi and Xmithie finishing up his camps in the bot side jungle, IMT utilized the natural pushing of Caitlyn against her, collapsing on the CLG bot lane and converting summoners into first blood.
With Immortals summoners down, it turned into a very quiet rest of the early game. IMT played fairly passive, not allowing CLG any window to pull a quick kill or tower rush. This hurt CLG in multiple ways. Not only were they not allowed to accumulate a quick gold advantage to swing around, they also lost out in the tower rotation game, allowing for IMT to gain both first tower blood on bot lane and a mountain drake in contrast to only a tower and rift herald. Although many would assume that gaining Rift herald would be of more importance and priority, CLG did not have a proper window to use it in. Instead, IMT stalled out until Dardoch was forced to use the eye of Herald in the mid lane with no prep, which gave IMT a window to collapse, once again, on an overextended Stixxay and Aphromoo, netting them two kills for virtually nothing.
From there, it was a slow pinch shut-out. IMT continued to extend their pressure into the field of CLG, out-rotating them and taking objectives one after another, and only finding small skirmishes. CLG attempted one last engage onto Immortals that reeked of desperation at 31:00 minutes, but by then it was too late, and IMT wiped the floor with them, opening up the CLG base and, soon after, closing out the game.
IMT played an immaculate, well-thought out game. Since CLG relies heavily on countering and rushed games, IMT gave nothing of the sort, biding their time and their resources, effectively shutting CLG down.
CLG vs Immortals: Game 2
Game 2 saw a very different CLG and IMT draft. This time, CLG gained a bit more to work with, drafting almost all winning lanes for their individual players, as well as good engage with the Ashe for Stixxay. IMT retaliated by picking up Taliyah, as well as an unconventional Kalista for Cody Sun to throw in Olleh.
The opening of this game could not have gone better for CLG. After an early first blood from CLG onto Flame, with a bit of proactive prep, IMT attempted to retaliate with an invade onto the Rek’sai. CLG were able to show off their quick reactivity, however, with Dardoch flashing back into the Taliyah and Elise for a quick knock up, allowing Huhi to go back and snap up a one for one trade, as well as blue buff for himself.
From there, though, CLG’s attempts at gaining small skirmish fights cost them macro-pressure. After giving up their top tower for first tower blood money, CLG looked to reap a few back for themselves, attempting a collapse onto IMT in CLG’s own top side jungle. They were immensely disappointed, as their pull of all five members up to the top side of the map only net them one kill, and a second tower lost.
CLG’s constant focus on kills started to completely undermine their early game work. With such a heavy emphasis on rift herald and finding skirmishes, CLG continued to look lost and scared on the rift, attempting to find any sort of opportunity to gain an objective, with none being available to them. Their false sense of kills security then led them to take a poor fight within the bottom side of the river, as an over-extended fight cost them another death on top of CLG’s already dead bot lane.
Within minutes of the previous fight, IMT proactively moved to find more targets, collectively gathering and catching a sleeping frog and sand monster together in the river, giving baron to the IMT squad.
Simple clean up from IMT saw complete decimation of CLG’s base, as the baron-empowered minions ripped inhibitors and towers alike, and gave IMT the clean 2-0.