This Saturday’s slate of power games continues and this one is very even. Cloud 9 have perhaps the most balanced lineup outside of Immortals, but Team Liquid have the tools to help Piglet carry. And Dardoch vs Rush is going to be a ton of fun. I expected C9 to win based on their strength across all positions, but if Dardoch can beat Rush, all bets are off. I feel like TL need to win the early game to have a chance.
Picks and Bans – I love TL picking Quinn for Lourlo. As Kobe mentioned, TL have tried tank after tank on Lourlo to keep him safe and the game easy for him and it’s been mostly disastrous. Let him try to be aggressive and actually have an impact on the global game, especially in the lane phase where C9 so often dominate. He'll have to stay safe and set vision to really split push, but he hasn't really stayed safe on tanks either.
TL do a good job in the early phase rotating and getting a CS lead for all three lanes. Both teams get a couple picks, but TL have the lead at 15 minutes, which is huge. Dardoch is playing really well on Rek’Sai, not letting Rush take over his jungle. TL need to be patient and set up the push for Lourlo - he's not big enough to survive by himself yet but is getting there.
28:15 – TL take a Dragon and C9 rotate mid. Lourlo had just been spotted heading top to take a large wave coming his direction so C9 dive the turret. TL try to defend with 4 and get knockups from Matt and Dardoch, but Piglet has walked to melee range trying to kill Sneaky and is punished. Lourlo walked all the way down from top lane instead of matching Balls' TP and C9 get a 3 for 1 and two turrets. C9 did a better job protecting their carries and prioritizing targets - just better mechanically.
32:30 – A better initiation for TL and then chaos for a few minutes, almost like a solo queue game. The teams split into skirmishes all over the map as multiple members are caught and then turn the catches around. C9 end with the advantage however as Rush is a beast, Jensen is a monster, and Dardoch’s Rek’Sai is built for larger teamfights.
35:15 - This feels like desperation for TL. Just as Kobe correctly notes that TL need to focus back on the split push game, they go for a fight they cannot win. C9 take Baron and roll through the rest of the game. IMT were unable to keep Piglet safe and C9’s superior rotations allowed them to survive a bad early game.