100 Thieves continues push for bye, tops Echo Fox

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Team Liquid by the Numbers (4:07)

2018 has been a wild year in the NA LCS. The summer split specifically has led way to some crazy numbers, mainly blue side wins. Here's how Team Liquid is profiting. (4:07)

100 Thieves 1, Echo Fox 0

100 Thieves made quick work of Echo Fox to open Week 8 of the 2018 North American League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split on Saturday in Los Angeles.

100 Thieves (10-5) and Echo Fox (9-6) came into this game dead-even at second place in the standings as both fight for a bye in the upcoming playoffs. Despite their matched records, though, 100 Thieves played at a much higher level and completely shut Echo Fox down in this match.

During the early game, neither team took an advantage in terms of kills. 100 Thieves came out the gate with the first couple kills before Echo Fox shook it off and won a 3-for-2 teamfight in the top lane. Even with those deaths evening things up, though, 100 Thieves was dominating the objective game by picking up the first four turrets to take a 5,000-gold lead by the 23-minute mark.

With an advantage already in hand, 100 Thieves wasted no time trying to set up for the win shortly after the Baron spawned. With full vision over the entire map, 100 Thieves secured the Baron uncontested and easily tore through Echo Fox in a quick 3-for-0 engagement as Echo Fox was desperately trying to gain its footing in the game.

The Baron and those three kills were all that 100 Thieves needed to move into the Echo Fox base where it won another engagement before knocking down the Nexus to take the win and tie Team Liquid (10-4) in the win column.

100 Thieves will continue its pursuit for a playoff bye when it takes on Team SoloMid at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, while Echo Fox looks to prevent an 0-2 week against OpTic Gaming at 3 p.m. ET that day.

-- Wyatt Donigan

Cloud9 1, Golden Guardians 0

Cloud9 picked up its fifth straight win as it beat down the Golden Guardians.

Cloud9's confidence in rookie jungler Robert "Blaber" Huang wasn't misplaced as he took the first-pick Kindred and delivered a solid 5/2/10 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) in the victory. The team composition continued to build around Blaber as it put top laner Eric "Licorice" Ritchie on the tank Ornn and mid laner Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen on the support-oriented champion Zilean, creating tantalizing gank options for Blaber in the solo lanes.

While the early game was a bit pedestrian for Blaber, a renewed focus in the mid-game allowed the jungler to finish the contest with 94 percent kill participation.

Blaber's teamfighting success in the mid-game gave Cloud9 (8-7) enough of a lead to easily coast throughout the remainder of the contest. The Golden Guardians (5-10) just couldn't find a way to stop the Kindred-Zilean combo that made Blaber extremely difficult to kill and allowed him to engage fights with little punishment.

When the Golden Guardians did manage to actually take down Blaber, the feat used up too many of its teamfighting abilities, which allowed AD carry Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi's Kai'Sa to dance around the rest of the fight, dish out the damage and pick up kills.

Golden Guardians attempted to make a final stand near its base, but it was easily brushed aside as Cloud9 picked up a 4-for-0 teamfight victory before knocking down the Nexus. The win was huge for Cloud9 as it climbs into fourth place in the standings with just one week left to play.

Golden Guardians will look to bounce back against another team at the bottom of the standings in Clutch Gaming at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, while Cloud9 have a chance to knock down the first-place Team Liquid at 6 p.m. ET later that day.

-- Ben Wong

Team SoloMid 1, Counter Logic Gaming 0

Team SoloMid needs only one more win to secure a spot in the playoffs after handing Counter Logic Gaming its seventh loss in a row.

The first half of the game was close with both teams content to follow different strategies. Counter Logic Gaming was committed to split-pushing turrets in the early game, which gave it two turrets by the 16-minute mark. However, the tunnel vision by CLG (5-9) gave Team SoloMid (6-8) plenty of time to stack Drake buffs that would sustain its late-game siege.

By the mid-game, TSM reached enough of a power spike to begin picking apart CLG's split-push. TSM engaged teamfights when it knew it had the numbers advantage and secured kills to give it enough room to set up an effective counter-turret push. The teamfight wins kept piling up for Team SoloMid, eventually opening up an opportunity to take an uncontested Baron kill around the 26-minute mark.

The ensuing power play swung the turret and gold lead in Team SoloMid's favor for the rest of the game.

TSM's lack of proactive plays wasn't a problem in this match as its counter split-push pressure steadily chipped away at CLG's base. Thanks to TSM's stack of three Ocean Drakes regenerating its health and mana, CLG couldn't poke down and break the sieges that marched toward its base.

With all of the pressure surging into CLG's base, TSM easily secured a second Baron kill of the game creating a power play that it would ride to victory. CLG conceded most of its base before trying to defend its final two turrets and Nexus, but it was too little, too late as TSM won the teamfight before it pushed to victory.

TSM can secure a playoff berth if it manages to take down 100 Thieves at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, while CLG will try to climb out of the bottom of the standings against FlyQuest at 7 p.m. ET later that day.

-- Wong

Team Liquid 1, OpTic Gaming 0

Team Liquid moved one step closer to locking in a playoff bye after crushing OpTic Gaming.

While OpTic Gaming's team composition was built around the strategy of split pushing, Team Liquid (11-4) drafted for teamfighting and executed its composition to near perfection. OpTic Gaming mid laner Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage's Akali managed to pick up first blood, but that was all Team Liquid would give up in terms of kills before grouping up to dominate the teamfights.

The crowd control combos from Team Liquid absolutely devastated OpTic Gaming (7-8). Team Liquid top laner Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong's Malphite could engage fights whenever Unstoppable Force was available, giving mid laner Eugene "Pobelter" Park's Galio an opening to keep OpTic popped up with a Hero's Entrance. The duo was huge for Team Liquid as they earned nearly identical KDAs, with Impact earning a 3/0/7 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) to go along with Pobelter's 3/0/8 KDA and 100 percent kill participation.

OpTic Gaming still attempted to contest each teamfight despite near-helplessness, but predictably the gold deficit grew with each subsequent skirmish. After OpTic failed to stop a Baron take, Team Liquid had all it need to siege its way into its opposition's base and easily blitzed through the enemy Nexus to claim a win.

OpTic Gaming has another uphill battle against another difficult opponent, Echo Fox, at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, while Team Liquid will try to put an end to Cloud9's five-game win streak at 6 p.m. ET later that day.

-- Wong

FlyQuest 1, Clutch Gaming 0

FlyQuest closed out Saturday's NA LCS slate with a convincing victory over Clutch Gaming.

Clutch (5-10) might have gotten fans excited by locking in the newly-reworked Akali for mid laner Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten, but it soon became clear that anyone expecting a show would be sorely disappointed. Outside of an early first blood for Clutch just a couple minutes in, the team looked lost and got pushed around the Rift relentlessly.

FlyQuest (8-7) seemed wholly unbothered by giving up the first blood and picked up a couple kills of its own during the early game before blowing things wide open with a single fight. That became all the more obvious near the 14-minute mark when FlyQuest outclassed Clutch in a full 5-on-5 engagement near the Rift Herald; FlyQuest walking away with four kills while only giving up one in return.

That one fight was more than enough to hand FlyQuest all the momentum, which it kept a hold of from then on.

With a stranglehold on the entire map, FlyQuest easily parlayed its control into an uncontested Baron that was followed up by a quick 2-for-1 teamfight win. The Baron bolstered FlyQuest's already growing lead and allowed it to break into the Clutch Gaming base to set up for the win.

Clutch managed to hold off its doom when FlyQuest overcommitted, but it wasn't long before FlyQuest walked away with the 42-minute win. Both mid laner Jang "Keane" Lae-young's LeBlanc and AD carry Jason "WILDTURTLE" Tran's Kai'Sa were living right in every teamfight of this game. They finished finishing with a combined 10/3/19 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) during the win.

FlyQuest looks to go 2-0 on the week when it takes on Counter Logic Gaming at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, while Clutch Gaming will face Golden Guardians at 4 p.m. ET.

-- Donigan