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NA LCS 2018 Spring Split Quarterfinals: No gods, no kings, only Clutch

By Tanner Kinney The quarterfinals this year were quite historic, for once. Every single team who previously won an LCS split has now been knocked out, leaving an empty banner for either a new team fresh into the split or a team who has been competing for the banner for a while now. How did this happen? Who destroyed this world we knew for so long? Why did TSM not wonnered? Well, let’s just hop straight into talking about the quarterfinals matches

Clown 9 embarrasses themselves for the whole world

  Cloud 9 had obviously been slumping for the past few weeks. Their strategies were completely destroyed by the meta shift, particularly with Licorice getting exposed and Sven seemingly returning to his TSM at worlds form (aka, not very good). During the week before their quarterfinals, people were expecting that Cloud 9 would return to the drawing board, and Reapered would give them a strategy to help them beat Team Liquid. After all, as C9 Jensen once said: https://twitter.com/Jensen/status/962477114330046469 Boy, that Tweet didn’t age well at all. Cloud 9 got completely swept and destroyed by Team Liquid. It may not look close, but if you watch the matches, the first two games were incredibly close, and any play could have tipped the game either way. Cloud 9 consistently found early game success, and pulled leads ahead of TL. Yet, at some point in the game, Cloud 9 would just make misplay after misplay. The most embarrassing part of Cloud 9’s play this weekend was their play around Baron buff. This crucial objective, especially on this patch, and Cloud 9 would just start it then stop. They had no pressure on the map to try and take the objective, yet still kept going for it. Then they’d have to stop because Impact had Teleport advantage and could split. Licorice would then blow his Teleport to clear a minion wave, which leads to Team Liquid taking the Baron. This happened too many times to be a simple misplay on Cloud 9’s part: this was a full macroplay disaster. The roster of Cloud 9 also just got outperformed by Team Liquid. The only members of Cloud 9 who actually were playing well were Sneaky and Smoothie—and even then Smoothie wasn’t playing amazingly. Cloud 9’s draft was pretty bad too, giving up the incredibly overpowered Swain TWICE to Impact, and Skarner was given up to Xmithe in all three games. Plus, Licorice ended up picking Fiora, which did absolutely nothing and was utilized horribly. Team Liquid, to their credit, also played very well and exploited every opening C9 gave them, which is how they managed to pull a comeback in all three games. So, now one king has been thrown out of playoffs. At the very least, Cloud 9 will still have the best cosplayer on any professional League team, Twitch Chat’s favorite lesbian dad, Sneaky. https://twitter.com/Sneaky/status/973275009866084353 (And if I linked this before, I’m linking it again. It’s beautiful and must be seen everywhere)

Say HakuYES to the Thresh

Remember when I said nearly every week that Clutch Gaming was a team to watch? Remember when I said to never count Clutch Gaming out? Remember when I said Clutch Gaming was a better team than Team Solomid earlier in the split? Remember when I said that Clutch Gaming would be going to MSI and representing NA? No? Just the first one? Alright, fair enough. It’s true, I did bet against my boys on Clutch Gaming. Despite being a fan of the team, loving their playstyle and games, and having faith that they could perform in playoffs, I gave TSM a 100% chance of victory during my previous predictions. Could you blame me? Clutch looked like the worst team in playoffs, and TSM was riding high on enough victories to secure their 3rd place seed. On top of that, in the history of LCS playoffs, a 6th seed has never beaten a 3rd seed. There was seemingly no timeline where Clutch would win over TSM. And here we are and I couldn’t be happier. My boys are making their run to finals, and then are gonna disappoint on the international stage like a true North American team. https://twitter.com/CG_Hakuho/status/978055949637177344 TSM won the first game, and pretty handily too. Clutch may have had some good plays, but TSM managed to beat them down relatively quickly. I figure a lot of people called the series there. “GG to TSM, no way Clutch comes back from that crushing loss.” Yet, Clutch kept their mental fortitude, and through an incredibly smart draft in game two, where they not only got a Swain and Lira’s best champion in Skarner, but also picked up Thresh for Hakuho. Hakuho has been incredibly good at hitting skillshots all split. His Morgana has been banned because it seems like he’s scripting those bindings. Thresh is a lot like Morgana in that, once he lands a skillshot, that person he hits doesn’t get to play League of Legends for a while. All he needs to do is land a single hook. He didn’t just land a single hook. Every. Hook. Lands. As someone who still can’t hit Blitzcrank hooks, I was screaming at how many Hakuho was landing on TSM Zven, who ate them like they were delicious candy. After Clutch not only won that game, but pulled it away from an early game lead by TSM, you could visibly see on TSM’s faces that they were mentally falling apart. The TSM atmosphere has been high-stress, as talked about by Bjergsen in an interview, and that seemed to be taking its toll. I made a prediction to my friend that “if TSM loses one game, they will mentally collapse and fall apart.” And that’s what happened. I do not know if it was pride, stupidity, or overconfidence, but TSM did not ban Thresh in game 3 or 4. And guess what? Hakuho picked up Thresh in both games. Hakuho landed every single hook in those games. TSM lost on the back of being outdrafted by Clutch. It was very simple TSM. You ban Thresh. You can’t counter it, obviously, because Zven eats hooks like I eat bags of Ruffles. So you ban it. But you don’t. And you look like boosted bonobos because of it.
Tweet from Hauntzer’s Twitter
    And so ends the long standing dynasty of TSM, by the hands of a simple weeb name Hakuho. What a guy he is. We’ll see if he can perform against Aphromoo, but I’m sure he can.

Semifinals Predictions

Team Liquid v. Echo Fox at 5 pm on Saturday This match, at the start of the season, should’ve been an easy decision for Echo Fox to take the victory. Yet, after the past few weeks, we are in a situation where this match is much closer, possibly even in Team Liquid’s favor. Team Liquid has been tearing it up recently, despite their late season struggles. But Cloud 9, despite getting 3-0’d, still gave Team Liquid a tough time, and Echo Fox is probably a better team than Cloud 9. It’s a tough call, but I’d actually give it to Team Liquid. Echo Fox is using Huni as a crutch, and the rest of the team (aside from Dardoch) has struggled to make a name for themselves. It’s an even easier call if Echo Fox plays Damonte or PapaChau, who didn’t look bad but are definitely worse than their lane opponent on Team Liquid. Clutch Gaming v. 100 Thieves at 3 pm on Sunday Let it be known that Clutch Gaming has ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE of winning this game. Clutch upset TSM, that doesn’t mean they are a good enough team to beat 100 Thieves. 100 Thieves have still been on their high, and have been winning and winning and winning. That’s how they got their first place seed. Sure, the bot lane matchup is pretty close, and mid lane might even be favored towards Clutch, but 100 Thieves have amazing macro play. I want to give it to Clutch, but honestly, I doubt 100 Thieves will make the same draft mistakes that TSM did. Yep, Clutch has no chance. At all. Ever. This is not an elaborate ruse to doubt them so they end up winning.  No sir, it is not. Now, onto unrelated patch discussion. MSI will probably be played on patch 8.6 or 8.7. Swain will still be strong, but Zoe is now actually balanced. The new genius strat is buying Guinsoo’s Rageblade on Jhin in the late game, because Jhin can potentially reach up to 2000 attack damage under the right situation. In fact, other champions might be able to use reworked Rageblade as well. There’s a new AP Varus build that uses this Rageblade and can actually nuke people. Veigar, if he can stack up autos before a fight, might also be able to pull it out as a late game item. Conqueror is still pretty strong. I tried it out on Garen and dealt 3000 bonus true damage in an 18 minute game. Imagine it on a champion that is better than Garen, it has to be terrifying. Tank supports are still the best, and the jungle has not changed at all. I have seen a few more Lee Sin’s though. Please, stop playing Lee Sin. So, until next time, practice your Thresh play, stop banning Teemo because I need to troll my duo queue partner when we queue up for normal draft games, and always play the Spider-Man 2 Pizza Theme when you play Fiddlesticks. It increases your damage tenfold. That’s a real fact and not fake.
Sources: YouTube, Twitter Images: Twitter, YouTube, Rift Herald