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29
January

Echo Fox top TSM in intense Week 2 showdown

Echo Fox 1 - Team SoloMid 0

Sunday's action in the North American League of Legends Championship Series kicked off with Echo Fox fighting back from the brink of its first loss to take down Team SoloMid in Los Angeles.

The first 38 minutes of the game were dominated by Team SoloMid (1-3) as it executed its gameplan almost to perfection in the early stages of the game. TSM attacked all of Echo Fox's early weaknesses as it ran out to a lead in kills, turrets, and gold. While everything seemed to be going in TSM's favor early, any advantage it held on to started to slip away late when it struggled to push through the enemy inhibitors. TSM managed to knock down a few inhibitors, but each one came at the price of a very bloody teamfight as Echo Fox (4-0) started to claw its way back.

Echo Fox made up for its lack of turrets in base with great teamfighting in the late game. Jungler Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett's Zac came alive late as he connected with all his crowd control and set up the dominoes for the rest of Echo Fox to knock down. After stringing together teamfight victories and taking its second Baron buff of the game, Echo Fox was in position to set up sieges of its own. In an instant, TSM was suddenly the team playing on its back foot, which gave Echo Fox the window of opportunity needed to pick up one last teamfight to take the game and keep its undefeated record.

Cloud9 1 - 100 Thieves 0

Cloud9 ended 100 Thieves' undefeated streak and picked up its third win of the season.

Cloud9 pushed the envelope with a mid-game-centric team composition and game plan, and its defiance of the meta paid off. It started by drafting winning lanes across the board, selecting Kalista for AD carry Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi and countering 100 Thieves' picks of Malzahar and Gnar with Taliyah and Camille, respectively. This gave Cloud9 the power to dictate the map, as it was always first to the punch on the game's numerous early skirmishes.

The star of the show was mid laner Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen, who used Taliyah's passive to roam the map continuously, starting with an early top lane gank for first blood and an additional kill. C9 continued to focus top, but to its credit, 100 Thieves pushed back, with support Zaqueri "aphromoo" Black using Shen's Stand United to turn around the next skirmish. However, with 100 Thieves' support missing in action, C9's bottom lane had no trouble taking the first turret shortly after. This quickly emerged as a theme for the game, as Cloud9's bottom lane rotated away from the action to take turrets as the rest of the team made plays elsewhere.

By the time mid game rolled around, 100 Thieves had run completely out of steam. Jungler William "Meteos" Hartman attempted to find engagements as Zac, but only managed to throw away his team's remaining chances, as he was consistently picked off to give easy neutral objectives over to C9. The game ended in just over 40 minutes without 100 Thieves finding a single turret, or winning a single major fight.

OpTic Gaming 1 - FlyQuest 0

OpTic Gaming found its first win of the split Sunday, taking down FlyQuest in Week 2, Day 2 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series in Los Angeles.

The match started off slow, and it started off even. The first 14 minutes of the game were devoid of action until finally OpTic (1-3) found first blood and a turret with a gank in the top lane. Even then, FlyQuest (2-2) found first turret gold in the meantime, leaving the money almost dead even. Thankfully for fans of action, the first three dragons of the game were Infernal Drakes, forcing the teams into confrontation.

The scrappy nature of the dragon fights in this game heavily favored OpTic, as they'd drafted a composition with an excess of mid-game power. Mid laner Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage on Syndra and jungler Matthew "Akaadian" Higginbotham on Kha'Zix thrived, both picking up numerous kills around the Infernal Drakes and allowing their team to take two of the three Infernals. However, OpTic's play in the mid game was far from flawless. Both teams were playing sloppily, giving up multiple picks, and FlyQuest managed to win a couple of engagements of its own, even maintaining a kill lead for a portion of the game.

It was one of several unprompted deaths that finally swung the matchup, as FlyQuest jungler Andy "AnDa" Hoang's Jarvan IV was caught out by Akaadian and friends at 26 minutes, granting OpTic a Baron buff as well as the first meaningful advantage of the game. With a substantial lead, OpTic finally managed to play cleanly, closing out the remainder of the 38-minute match without much trouble.

Counter Logic Gaming 1 - Golden Guardians 0

Counter Logic Gaming finally put a win on the board on Sunday with a scrappy win over the Golden Guardians.

Realistically, this was a match that CLG (1-3) could not afford to lose considering its disastrous start to the season. Even when top laner Darshan "Darshan" Upadhyaya picked up first blood as Gangplank pre-10 minutes, things threatened to spiral out of control for CLG. Golden Guardians (0-4) managed to wrestle control of the early game from CLG, posting as much as a 3,000-gold lead before CLG got back on track. When it finally did, though, CLG came back with aplomb, locking down an ace and a Baron buff around 23 minutes.

It seemed straightforward for CLG to run through the Guardians' base, but CLG was repelled more than once, putting its first victory in doubt. As the game threatened to hit the ultra-late-game when the 40-minute mark approached, it was unclear whether it was Golden Guardians figuring out a way to stay alive after falling behind or CLG's lack of late-game decisiveness to blame for the lengthy battle. Either way, CLG managed to capitalize on the Guardians' inability to execute the teamfighting composition it drafted, giving CLG an easy route to its 42-minute win to leave Golden Guardians as the lone winless team in the NA LCS.

Team Liquid 1 - Clutch Gaming 0

Team Liquid continued its rampage through the NA LCS with a dominant win over Clutch Gaming to close out Sunday's action.

Team Liquid (3-1) got to work quickly in this match, picking Clutch Gaming (2-2) apart with a pair of kills before 10 minutes. Liquid's strategy of targeting who is seen as one of Clutch's biggest strengths, jungler Nam "LirA" Tae-yoo, paid off as LirA's Sejuani was routinely stuffed in the early game, holding half of his team's six deaths by the 20-minute mark. Liquid worked well as a team, displaying great rotations as it used early teamfight wins to oppressively lock down the map.

This match was as cut-and-dry as it comes, with Liquid steamrolling through Clutch Gaming with ease. AD carry Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng put up impressive numbers as Tristana, posting a 3/0/6 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) alongside a game-high 324 creep score despite the game only lasting 27 minutes. In a meta of marathon games, Liquid sprinted its way to a victory, reasserting itself as one of the top dogs in North America.

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