Though Counter Logic Gaming and Immortals were unable to make it to the finals of the NALCS, they still have a lot to play for in the third place match. With a win, CLG can guarantee a place at Worlds if TSM is victorious in the finals, or the first spot in the gauntlet if TSM loses. Though Immortals cannot make it to Worlds off a win alone, they can leapfrog Cloud9 in the gauntlet standings if both they and TSM are victorious.
The stage was set for this match after last weekend’s semifinal games, in which CLG lost a decisive 3-0 series to the first place TSM and Immortals were taken out by Cloud9 in a much closer five game set. Immortals are looking to replicate their third place finish from last split, while CLG are trying to improve their chances at Worlds.
On paper, Immortals have performed much better this split and seem to have a better chance at the win. Their jungler, Yeu-jin “Reignover” Kim, was not only the sole non-TSM member of the first All-Pro team, but also was named MVP in the prior split. His prior playoff series against Cloud9 was lackluster, as he was unable to win a game on Rek’Sai, one of the strongest junglers in the meta, in the three times that he tried. In those games he accumulated a 2.0 KDA ratio, compared to his 9.0 ratio on Elise in the two games that Immortals won.
Immortals’ top laner, Seung-hoon “Huni” Heo, is less of a sure thing than Reignover. He has had many moments of brilliance in the past, but they have been interspersed with games like the third against Cloud9, where he recorded a 1-8-5 scoreline on Kennen and failed to make any sort of impact on the game.
The bot lane will probably be the focal point of much of the action, with Immortals’ ADC Jason “WildTurtle” Tran and support Adrian “Adrian” Ma going up against CLG’s Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black in support and ADC Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes. WildTurte and Adrian have improved over the season to lay their claim to being one of the top bottom lane pairs in North America, while aphromoo and Stixxay have had more problems in fully establishing themselves. They have, however, had stretches of great play such as at MSI where Stixxay was able to carry his team to the finals.
To stay in the game, CLG must stop Reignover from applying pressure to the lanes and getting them ahead. The most important person for this job is their jungler, Jake “Xmithie” Puchero. In their first series against Team Liquid he was able to control the pace of the games, both within the jungle and out of it, and ended the series with only seven deaths in four games. However, against TSM he was out-pressured and fell behind in each of the games.
If Immortals are able to play like they did before their match against Cloud9, they will be able to defeat CLG as they twice did in the regular season. However, if CLG is able to reclaim their spring split poise and Sitxxay is able to carry, they could take the victory.
The game will take place on August 27 at 12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern.