NA LCS: Counter Logic Gaming ends FlyQuest's gauntlet run

Darshan "Darshan" Upadhyaha and his Counter Logic Gaming teammates rallied from early miscues to beat FlyQuest in the North American League of Legends Championship Series gauntlet semifinals. Next, the team faces Cloud9 with a Worlds slot on the line. Provided by Riot Games

The second round of the North American League of Legends Championship Series Regional Qualifiers came to a close on Saturday afternoon, and with it, FlyQuest's dreams of running the gauntlet ended, as well.

While the team's unexpectedly improved performance was enough to dispatch Team Dignitas on Friday, it proved far from enough to secure victory against Counter Logic Gaming, who took the series 3-1 and will advance to face Cloud9 on Sunday in Los Angeles.

FlyQuest left plenty for its fans to be proud of despite its defeat, however, and absolutely took it to Counter Logic Gaming in the first game when the latter's elaborate, counterpick-heavy lineup collapsed around it. While the second game eventually did end in Counter Logic Gaming's favor, the favorites had to fight tooth and nail for that result. Jungler Galen "Moon" Holgate and mid laner Hai "Hai" Lam put CLG's mid laner, Jae-hyun "Huhi" Choi, and his trademark Aurelion Sol under so much pressure that it seemed the whole team was about to crumble.

Alas, that wasn't the case, and Counter Logic Gaming rallied at the midgame point with its characteristically strong teamfighting.

It was only downhill from there for FlyQuest, as its ardor seemed spent thereafter. The brilliant pathing by Moon that had earned his team significant leads in the first two games was nowhere to be found in the latter two, and without the pressure, there was little that FlyQuest could do focus out Counter Logic Gaming. In the end, Counter Logic Gaming took the series after Game 4, despite an enormous early lead onto FlyQuest's top laner An "Balls" Le that threatened to snowball out of control. And so ended FlyQuest's Cinderella story before it could truly begin.

The player of the series was Counter Logic Gaming top laner Darshan "Darshan" Upadhyaya, who took the accolade thanks to his outstanding performance across the series' final three games. His Cho'Gath in Games 2 and 4 served as one of the most formidable examples of an unkillable front line to have graced the NA LCS in recent memory, as not even Jason "WildTurtle" Tran's Kog'Maw was enough to shred through his nearly 7,000 health in Game 2.

Darshan also proved himself on more carry-oriented picks, as his Jax in Game 3 was no less excellent than his Cho'Gath, especially considering Balls' Kennen was supposed to be a strong check to Jax's laning phase. Despite that, Darshan not only survived in the lane but thrived. He took the first tower of the game in short measure and earned himself a considerable 20 creep score lead to boot, all thanks to a brilliant Level 1 gambit that robbed Balls of his Flash, his Teleport and any hopes of pressuring Darshan.

Counter Logic Gaming's road to the 2017 World Championship isn't yet fully traveled, however, as its greatest foe lies before it. CLG will face Cloud9 at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, and the finalists will have revenge on their minds for the ignominious defeat early on in the NA LCS playoffs.