Game 1 of a best of 3, CLG I feel still have a slight edge to me. They lost the first game because of dragon stacks and they still got a relatively uncontested Baron. My worry with TL is that CLG may have them figured out – prevent them from swapping lanes and pick a good teamfight comp, and I think Counter Logic out-executed their counterparts. On the other hand, TL’s Game 1 win was a beauty and they are super hot. This is a tossup.
Picks and bans – this one got CRAZY! CLG first-pick Ekko with Nidalee still on the table, a sign of their evolved thought process snice Game 1. TL respond with Ryze/Kindred, taking a champion away from Huhi. CLG then go Elise/Caitlin (Xmithie was good on Elise and Caitlin is a pretty strong ADC that picks at Piglet) and TL follow with Karma/Poppy. Seeing the TL solo lanes, CLG finish Anivia/Soraka – whoa! They have gone ALL IN on the teamfight comp! That works when you know Ryze has to scale for almost just as long, and when Anivia does scale, it’s going to be very hard to dive either the team or a 4-1 with Darshan split. Liquid finish with Karma/Poppy and a last-pick Sivir, who will be useful, but as I was watching this, I couldn’t help but think that CLG had won this phase with the Anivia pick. TL have early pressure with Karma and Kindred but Ryze and Sivir both take a while to scale and if CLG can just stay even long enough, they will have tremendous zoning and teamfight control.
Early Game – As perfectly as the last game started for Liquid, this game starts for CLG. Liquid, instead of invading as 4 for vision, send Matt and Piglet to the top side. When they come through to harass CLG’s jungle clear, they instead find Stixxay and aphromoo hiding in a bush (11:00). A failed flash and it’s a dead Karma and worse, a kill to Anivia, whose weakness is a long time to scale. The rest of the early game doesn’t go much better. Darshan trades strongly with Lourlo, and Dardoch is a step behind Xmithie to every spot, ceding another kill to an easy gank on a vision-less Lourlo (14:15). CLG had a ton of vision in the duo lane allowing Xmithie to spend his time elsewhere.
21:00 – Look how quickly Huhi and Darshan have support Xmithie on even a small roam into the TL jungle. Darshan keeps walking and dives Matt, picking up a kill on a nice ult that yanks the Timewinder with him. This is a little unlucky for Liquid, having Matt low right when Darshan TP’ed for other reasons, but it’s still a fantastic play for CLG. They are playing it smart – Darshan, after building a big CS lead, basically leaves Lourlo alone and forces action in the other two lanes.
Mid Game – CLG have so much waveclear with both Caitlin and Anivia, it’s basically impossible for TL to take a turret unless they get there first, with minions. CLG take a 3-0 turret lead at 21 minutes and aren't stopping. It almost feels like desperation time for TL – like they need an objective fight where they can flank and chase, because turret after turret is going to go down in the standard course of things. I agree with Zirene – I’m tilted just watching this game. And this is what CLG are going to need to beat the best teams – the ability (like TSM have found) to play different styles. Great adjustment from Game 1.
TL find some chaos at 32:50 with Lourlo and Darshan TP’nig in but it’s more to support Dardoch’s overaggressive play on Xmithie in the CLG jungle and they are very nearly caught in a bad choke, burning the Lamb’s Respite for good cause. CLG can just run up the mid lane… or they could go for Baron! Lourlo can’t quite protect Piglet but Stixxay finishes it with the headshot. CLG kill Fenix (brought low before the Baron even started) but TL stop the Baron attempt. Now Stixxay is huge on Caitlin and a kill on Piglet a couple minutes later is Baron for CLG (Dardoch tried to steal but didn’t wait for vision and was stuck on the back of the pit where the spikes just destroy). Stixxay is dominating the game. CLG dominate the game and take the nexus.
This was a comprehensive snowball win for CLG. Sure, they got the early kill on Matt, but even without it, they through a major breaking ball that Liquid whiffed on – HARD. The Soraka-empowered Caitlin/Anivia siege was not something Liquid were prepared to deal with, First Blood or not. Their only hope was Dardoch showing early and often to snowball Piglet and when that didn’t happen, the game was over. And as good as Dardoch has been as a carry, including Game 1, I’m not sure he’s synergizing with Piglet and Fenix that well. These are the guys that have to make plays – you can’t rely on the jungler hard carry in a 5 game series. I still think he’s a fantastic jungler, but he’s got to find a way to temper the aggression a bit (and maybe get off Kindred, which CLG seemed to have figured out).