NA superteams TSM and Cloud9 met in the third round of the LCS Summer Playoff lower bracket last weekend, with TSM emerging victorious with a 3-1 score thanks to some heroics from captain, Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg.
Game one showcased TSM’s domination in map objectives. While kills were equal between the two teams, TSM opted to control the map through tower breakdowns and a quick Baron rush.
Cloud9 tried to ambush the preoccupied team with Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen’s Ezreal scouting out the river, but Vincent “Biofrost” Wang’s Rakan locked him down with a Grand Entrance. The rest of TSM turned away from the Baron and committed to the clash, taking down three members of C9 to steer them away from Baron.
To counter the Baron buffs, Cloud9 got their hands on the Mountain Soul to toughen up their champions. With TSM already eyeing the Nexus turrets, Yasin “Nisqy” Dincer’s Galio tried to flank his opponents, but TSM immediately caught him in the retreat. Now taking in the 4v5 advantage, TSM and its minion waves crowded around the remaining defenders and the Nexus to win the first game.
To stop TSM’s momentum, Cloud9 opted for riskier outplays in the early game. By the 11-minute mark, Robert “Blaber” Huang’s Graves secured the Ocean Drake in the midst of a heated clash.
Though things were looking to be a kill-less engage, Nisqy’s Akali dove straight into Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng’s Ashe and Biofrost’s Rakan for a double-kill. Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme’s Tahm Kench did a flashy teleport in the jungle to close the gap while Blaber’s Graves and Zven’s Senna completed the ace.
TSM tried to even out the gold difference by racking up their dragon count. Doublelift’s Ashe was able to steal the Infernal drake in exchange for Mingyi “Spica” Lu’s life, but the trade put TSM in bad positioning.
With Nisqy’s Akali teleporting in for the flank, Blaber’s Lillia immediately jumped on the remaining members to round them up as the rest of C9 claimed the game-winning ace.
Now that the scoreboard was equal on both sides, TSM took their chance in game three with more strategic plays to slow down C9’s pace.
With TSM on soul-point, Cloud9 did their best to claim the next drake but inevitably fell to a short-sighted clash in the bot-lane. Vulcan’s Tempered Fate only caught Biofrost’s Rakan, barely initiating anything for Eric “Licorice” Ritchie’s Sett. Nisqy’s Sylas gave Spica’s Evelynn a taste of her own medicine with Last Caress, but TSM’s untouched back-line kited their way into three more kills and safe acquisition of the Ocean soul.
By the 34-minute mark, Sergen “Broken Blade” Celik’s Lucian dealt some near-lethal damage on Blaber’s Rek’Sai with The Culling, but C9 immediately retreated into their jungle for safety.
With Bjergsen’s Twisted Fate giving vision to the rest of C9, Biofrost’s Rakan and Doublelift’s Senna locked onto C9 with a solid wombo-combo, taking the lives of Zven’s Ezreal and Licorice’s Sett.
After the successful skirmish, TSM grouped up into the mid-lane with an incoming minion wave and stormed for the game three win.
The final game was a definite blow-out by TSM. With the safety of a one-game lead on the board, Bjergsen and the boys charged in for big team plays to disrupt C9’s positioning and flow.
After spotting Vulcan’s’ Tahm Kench and Zven’s Ashe trying to retreat, Biofrost’s Rakan halted their escape with a Grand Entrance. Though Broken Blade’s Jayce was cornered in a triple-attack in the river, Doublelift’s Senna easily picked up a double-kill with the rest of C9 crowding around misplaced opponents.
TSM continued to dominate the rest of the game with scrappy kills and clearing out the lane turrets. Sporting a near 10K gold lead with a Baron buff, Bjergsen led his crew to a final clash inside C9’s base.
Though Blaber’s Evelynn and Licorice’s Wukong came around for the flank, Doublelift’s Senna instantly deleted Zven’s Ashe under the Nexus turrets, giving time for the squad to counter the flank. After a few trades that gave TSM the 2v4 advantage, the remaining members ushered the minions to the last Nexus turret and claimed their third and final Nexus kill.
With the series win, TSM will now face Team Liquid in the lower bracket finals on September 6. As for Cloud9, their early elimination also means that the team has failed to qualify for Worlds for the first time in franchise history.