Golden Guardians earns its first unbeaten week

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Rift Rivals: What's Wrong with NA? (3:24)

While Rift Rivals is intended to be a less-serious event, there are still some very serious bragging rights on the line between regions. This year, NA fell to EU. What happened? (3:24)

Golden Guardians 1 - 100 Thieves 0

Golden Guardians secured its first 2-0 weekend in the North American League of Legends Championship Series with a win over 100 Thieves on Sunday in Los Angeles.

From champion select onward, Golden Guardians (4-4) put its eggs in the basket of mid laner Son "Mickey" Young-min. After throwing out three support bans to shut out this meta's popular mid lane funnel strategy, Golden Guardians spent its first pick on Zoe, which gave Mickey plenty of carry and outplay potential. He got rolling right from the get-go as Golden Guardians invaded the 100 Thieves jungle for a Level 1 kill onto 100 Thieves jungler Andy "AnDa" Hoang, which Mickey secured with his Ignite.

With Mickey already ahead, Golden Guardians jungler Juan "Contractz" Garcia on Xin Zhao quickly pushed him over the edge with a mid lane gank before rotating to the bot lane along with Mickey to grab two kills and the first turret of the game. Less than 10 minutes into the game, 100 Thieves (5-3) was already 3,000 gold behind, and Mickey was sitting pretty at 3/0/2 a KDA (kills/deaths/assists). Once Mickey grabbed a triple kill just a couple minutes later, the game was all but over, and Golden Guardians continued to dominate fights on its way to a 25-minute win.

For 100 Thieves, this performance was particularly troubling, as it was AnDa's lackluster Trundle play that hurt 100 Thieves the most. When the team traded away veteran jungler William "Meteos" Hartman to FlyQuest for AnDa, the latter was had high expectations placed on him immediately. But the result is a roster that seems to have taken a direct downgrade in the jungle role with nothing to show for it elsewhere. If AnDa can't step up in the coming weeks, it'll be a worrying omen for 100 Thieves.

Golden Guardians can take pride in the first 2-0 weekend in the organization's history as it moves on to face Counter Logic Gaming at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. For 100 Thieves, the schedule doesn't get easier, as it faces off with Echo Fox to kick off Saturday's games at 5 p.m. ET.

-- Brendan Hickey

FlyQuest 1 - Team Liquid 0

In a nearly perfect game, FlyQuest upset first-place Team Liquid.

From start to finish, this game was all FlyQuest (4-4). As early as the three-minute mark, FlyQuest was making moves, with jungler Lucas "Santorin" Tao Kilmer Larsen's Gragas ganking top lane to grab his team first blood. Less than a minute later, FlyQuest's bot lane found a kill onto Liquid support Kim "Olleh" Joo-sung's Alistar in the 2-on-2.

Both sides of the map quickly snowballed off their early kills, with FlyQuest taking a subsequent fight in the top side river and its bot lane continuing to find kills without any assistance whatsoever.

By the 11-minute mark, things were well and truly out of control for Team Liquid (5-3). AD carry Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng was having another weak performance on Vladimir, though this time around Olleh certainly wasn't helping. As a result, FlyQuest AD carry Jason "WildTurtle" Tran on Varus and support Juan "JayJ" Guibert on Braum had dominated the bottom side of the map with four kills and first turret.

After taking Baron at 21 minutes, FlyQuest was already up over 10,000 gold, and it ended the game with the buff just shy of 24 minutes. Team Liquid had managed to secure just a single kill, which was all that kept FlyQuest from a perfect game, as the latter maintained monopolies on turrets and neutral objectives.

This is Team Liquid's second major upset loss of the split so far, a worrying trend for the defending NA LCS champion, which will look to bounce back against Cloud9 on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET. Later on, FlyQuest will close out the day against Clutch Gaming at 9 p.m. ET.

-- Hickey

Echo Fox 1 - Team SoloMid 0

Echo Fox handed Team SoloMid its second loss of Week 4 to move itself into a tie for second place in the NA LCS.

Both team returned to standard team compositions, but Echo Fox (5-3) drafted plenty of comfort picks, which included Graves for jungler Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett and Gangplank for top laner Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon. The picks paid off with an early lead as Dardoch's timely ganks earned him first blood, allowing him to control the neutral objectives and farm up a huge lead.

However, Dardoch's early gank success went to his head in the mid game as he made some poor choices to invade. The invades led to Dardoch being caught out and giving Team SoloMid (4-4) a chance to keep itself in the game.

Echo Fox's mistakes in the mid game were quickly erased when it began to group up and smash the teamfights in the late game. Huni's Gangplank was a huge factor in those fights as his Cannon Barrages and Powder Keg chains blasted TSM to smithereens. The impressive display of power led to Huni being the top damage dealer in the game as well as a 2/0/8 KDA.

With Team SoloMid reeling from teamfight losses, Echo Fox kept it off-balance by quickly taking Baron around the 30-minute mark and pushing its way into the base. The steamrolling Echo Fox crushed TSM's defensive stand to score an ace before knocking down the Nexus.

Echo Fox looks to climb higher in the standings as it faces off with 100 Thieves on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET while Team SoloMid tries to bounce back against OpTic Gaming later that day at 7 p.m. ET.

-- Ben Wong

Counter Logic Gaming 1 - Cloud9 0

Counter Logic Gaming entered into a tie for first place as it took down Cloud9 on Sunday.

With AD carry Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi and mid laner Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen back on the roster, Cloud9's superb individual play was on full display this game. However, it couldn't compete with the trademark teamwork of Counter Logic Gaming (5-3). Cloud9 (2-6) managed to win both of its solo lanes by drafting Gnar and Syndra for top laner Eric "Licorice" Ritchie and Jensen respectively, but CLG was able to eke out a lead regardless by monopolizing kills early on thanks to fantastic roams out of support Vincent "Biofrost" Wang on Rakan.

Cloud9 managed to keep the gold close through early towers and superior farming, but it was only a matter of time before CLG turned its string of picks into something bigger. Near the 26-minute mark, CLG nabbed its first Baron of the game and quickly turned the buff against C9's turrets to take the lead in earnest and leave the Cloud9 base in shambles.

Despite the deficit, Cloud9 did its best to rally, with Licorice fighting CLG out of its base and the team finding a kill onto the CLG jungler, granting it a Baron of its own. Unfortunately, this was the extent of Cloud9's success. CLG chased Cloud9 out of the former's base long before an inhibitor was threatened, and while Cloud9 managed to get two kills in the subsequent teamfight, it gave up Elder Drake to a CLG with four Elementals. With no chance of winning a fight against the true-damage buff, Cloud9 was forced to cede the final Baron, which CLG used to end the game in 48 minutes.

Cloud9 now desperately needs to win against Team Liquid on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET if it hopes to stay in the race for playoffs. CLG, meanwhile, sits atop the standings with Liquid and Echo Fox and will look to break away from the pack against Golden Guardians at 8 p.m. ET the same day.

-- Hickey

Clutch Gaming 1 - OpTic Gaming 0

After surviving more than 40 minutes of being pulled apart by a split-push, Clutch Gaming finally found the teamfight it had been looking for and smashed OpTic Gaming before completing the massive comeback victory.

It was a battle of playstyles in the final game of Week 4 as Clutch Gaming (4-4) drafted to dominate teamfights while OpTic Gaming (2-6) was looking to split push its way to victory. OpTic Gaming top laner Niship "Dhokla" Doshi's Gnar having the favorable side of the matchup as well as being the split-pushing threat meant he was going to draw a lot of attention early. Dhokla handled the early pressure well, and after OpTic jungler Matthew "Akaadian" Higginbotham's Nocturne helped him take control of the top side, he was able to become a split-pushing nuisance the rest of the game.

Almost all of Akaadian's use of Paranoia resulted in another kill for OpTic Gaming, as it slowly built its gold lead in the mid game. However, Clutch Gaming's defense started to find its footing in the second half, delaying OpTic's advance as much as possible while scaling into its team composition's full late-game potential. Finally, around the 48-minute mark, Clutch Gaming found the teamfight it was looking for, smashing OpTic Gaming with a 5-vs-4 numbers advantage that spelled the end for OpTic Gaming's split-push shenanigans. The 3-for-0 teamfight victory allowed Clutch Gaming to send two people back to corral Dhokla while the rest pushed to victory.

OpTic Gaming's next appearance on the Rift is against Team SoloMid on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, while Clutch Gaming looks to take down FlyQuest later that day at 9 p.m. ET.

-- Wong