Picks and Bans – CLG first pick Nidalee then Graves/Lucian, which is a ton of early game pressure. We know what they’ll want to do. NRG combat it with Trundle (afraid he'll scale too late and not be useful against Graves), then Kalista/Shen, which is the first Shen I’ve seen in a long time! They finish with Ahri/Kindred and flex Shen to the support spot, but I’m still concerned they don’t have enough early game firepower. CLG have a very squishy comp with TF/Bard, but the early firepower is there and if they don’t opt into any crazy teamfights, this should be a clean win.
Early Game – A disaster for NRG. CLG go with their standard 4-man invade for deep vision and catch Moon. Then Impact tries to soak some experience at the top turret, gets his escape interrupted by the Bard binding, and it’s the easiest kill under turret you’ll ever see. It’s very early in the game but you can’t give CLG’s comp this type of lead. Meanwhile the gold advantage for Stixxay turns into a couple longswords and a cull against Altec’s Doran’s, allowing him to build a substantial CS lead and take the turret.
28:00 – GBM goes big on Huhi with Moon waiting in the wings, and a nicely placed tempered fate keeps the CLG midlaner alive. All of a sudden 4 members are there for CLG and they get a 2 for nothing. Meanwhile Stixxay is alone in the bot lane and the game already looks lost for NRG. CLG own the map, they have more mobility, and even losing Huhi a few minutes later transitions into more kills and the NRG mid lane outer. Kalista doesn’t have a second damage item, Moon can’t get any stacks because he’s lost the jungle, and CLG can fully split push without fear of retribution.
There's not much more to say about this. CLG are just better than NRG at critical positions and have the tools to mask their weaknesses. Unfortunately, they are just in a different league from NRG at this point. For NRG, they need to clean up the early game and continue to get growth from Moon. He's a different style jungler from most in NA, eschewing the hard-farming, super-aggro style in favor of showing in lane and setting vision. He reminds me a lot of Crumbz actually. And while that may be more comfortable for Impact and GBM to play around, NRG definitely need to have a plan for dealing with the aggressive early games from CLG, C9, and IMT if they want to fancy themselves playoff contenders.