After a weak split following their outstanding second place MSI performance, CLG is looking to make it back into the semifinals and lock up a spot at Worlds. In their way is perennial contender Team Liquid, who want to break their curse of fourth place and finally reach the finals of the NALCS.
Leading CLG is second team all-Pro support Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black, a veteran who is no stranger to NALCS success, having won the league with CLG for the past two splits. Known for a diverse champion pool and excellent shot calling, aphromoo could carry the series with his macro play alone.
Another of CLG’s key players is top laner Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya, who has shown his lane dominance with 3.3 CS differential at ten minutes. Though his KDA is a pedestrian 2.3, he has been been able to accomplish it with a relatively small share of his team’s gold at 20.7%.
Team Liquid brings into the match a strong group of players, highlighted by jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett, who was voted into the third all-Pro team and carries an excellent 75% kill participation rate while still being ahead of his jungling counterpart by almost one creep at ten minutes.
ADC Jovani “fabbbyyy” Guillen, after replacing Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin in the early part of the season has played excellently with a 4.7 KDA, in comparison to Piglet’s 2.3 in the few games he played. Fabbbyyy also holds a solid 35% first blood rate, good for 12th in the league.
Though CLG are the defending champions of the NALCS, they have not played up to their potential shown during MSI and will have to regain some confidence in order to dispatch Liquid. A lead in the bottom lane from aphromoo and ADC Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes will be key in order to defeat Liquid and make it to the semifinals in Toronto. Liquid must play through Dardoch to gain pressure on the lanes and carry a lead through. The winner of the game will face Immortals if Team Envy defeats Cloud9 and TSM if Cloud9 prevails.
Prediction: 3-2 CLG
The game will take place on Sunday, August 14th at 12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern.