The League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational has ended, and the “summer splits” across the world have begun. North America celebrated the return of Team Liquid, who placed second at the international event and looks continue their dominance in regional play.
The summer split kicked off with Cloud9 versus their former sister team, FlyQuest, in a representation of a third place match from the playoffs in the spring split. It went back-and-forth for a while, with FlyQuest’s reigning rookie of the split, V1per, taking early advantages over Cloud9’s Licorice. After a couple close fights in FlyQuest’s favor, Licorice showed his supremacy in teamfights to help carry the rest of Cloud9 to a victory on opening day.
Game two was the spring finals rematch of Team SoloMid versus Team Liquid. The series went a full five games, which made for an exciting match that would ideally live up to the hype. It did not. In 30 minutes there were only 13 kills in total, with Liquid not even losing a turret. Team Liquid’s Doublelift finished with a 5-0-1 score line on his Xayah, as Team SoloMid could not put together an answer for him.
Counter Logic Gaming and 100 Thieves followed in a game between two teams that missed playoffs last split. 100 Thieves was coming off a fresh roster change by picking up former Team SoloMid jungler Amazing to help repair the disaster of a spring they had. However, their woes continued as Counter Logic Gaming took a 30 minute victory, out-killing 100 Thieves 11-2. Counter Logic Gaming’s support, Biofrost, got to show off the first appearance of the new champion, Yuumi, in North America with a 0-0-8 score line. Amazing was anything but in his return to North America, going 1-4-0 on Sejuani.
Optic Gaming and Clutch Gaming were the fourth match, making up the other two teams that didn’t make playoffs. Clutch were representing their fresh pickup from the off season, playing former 100 Thieves ADC Cody Sun. It was a grueling 40 minute slugfest, with both teams pulling ahead at various points. In the end, Optic had the easier team composition to navigate in the late game and managed to win a fight at the Dragon Pit and transition into taking the base.
The final match of the day took place between the two quarterfinalists Golden Guardians and Echo Fox. Through the jungle-mid duo of Contractz’s Skarner and Froggen’s Irelia, Golden Guardians bid GG to their opponents in a sub-30-minute victory. Contractz rendered Echo Fox’s Rush almost entirely useless, essentially being a man up in any given fight. The lack of lane priority in Echo Fox’s team composition meant they simply could not force themselves into the game.
The second day of opening week was largely predictable. Cloud9 advanced to 2-0 in a 24-5 slaughter over Clutch off the back of Licorice’s 8-0-13 performance on Camille. Golden Guardians’ Froggen released his signature Anivia pick and had 100 percent kill participation en route to a 30 minute victory over FlyQuest, advancing to 2-0.
The big surprise of the week was Echo Fox’s win over Liquid. FOX’s Solo went 6-1-3 on Gangplank, including three kills in the final teamfight to solidify the upset. Liquid’s Xmithie could not carry the team, despite a 6-3-2 performance on Rek’Sai. Counter Logic Gaming has not beaten Team Solo-Mid in years, which did not change that day. Biofrost’s Zyra was a flop, as Team Solo-Mid brute forced a victory through an impressive Jayce performance by Broken Blade. 100 Thieves fell to 0-2 once more, while Optic became the third 2-0 team of the week in the final game. Both Crown and Arrow did not die for Optic, whereas 100 Thieves will have many issues to address if they want to pull this team out of the gutter.