OpTic Gaming tops Echo Fox, closes in on playoff spot

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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)

OpTic Gaming 1, Echo Fox 0

OpTic Gaming moved one step closer to securing a playoff berth on Sunday, taking down Echo Fox on Day 2 of Week 8 in the North American League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split in Los Angeles.

The matchup was a scrapfest through and through, with map control swinging back and forth wildly. Echo Fox (9-7) came out the gate faster thanks to the play from mid laner Tanner "Damonte" Damonte on Zoe and jungler Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett on Aatrox. The huge early damage coming from these two champions allowed Echo Fox to take an early kill lead, win skirmishes and find picks around the mid lane.

This gold translated into objective control, and a push down the bottom lane with Rift Herald allowed Echo Fox to take a hefty turret lead early on.

For OpTic Gaming (8-8), it fell on mid laner Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage to turn the tides as Fizz. Not known for backing down, Echo Fox made a move to extend its bottom lane push into OpTic's base at just 17 minutes, and PowerOfEvil responded by initiating a 3-for-1 exchange to push Echo Fox right back out.

From there, OpTic's top laner Niship "Dhokla" Doshi got the chance to shine on Fiora. He put out tons of pressure in the side lanes while support Terry "BIG" Chuong on Zilean kept the rest of the team safe with impeccable Chronoshifts.

The late stages of the game played out bafflingly, as OpTic found a Baron, but it was Echo Fox that was able to take inhibitors. Similarly, while Echo Fox had drafted the teamfight composition into the split-push of OpTic, OpTic seemed to consistently find success in 5-on-5 situations. At 35 minutes, this success granted OpTic an Elder Drake and a 4-for-1 fight, which allowed it to push for the win.

This win brings OpTic Gaming to an even 8-8, meaning its playoff berth will be all but secured if it can take down Team SoloMid on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET. Echo Fox, meanwhile, will look to climb back toward a first-round bye against Team Liquid at 5 p.m. ET the same day.

-- Brendan Hickey

Clutch Gaming 1, Golden Guardians 0

Clutch Gaming eliminated Golden Guardians from playoff contention and kept its own postseason hopes alive with a win on Sunday.

Golden Guardians (5-11) seemed to be gifted everything it should have needed to take this game. In what might very well have been the longest, messiest Level 1 fight of the season, Clutch Gaming (6-10) invaded onto the enemy red buff just after minions spawned and poked back and forth with Golden Guardians for a full minute-and-a-half before the Golden Guardians eventually took a 3-for-1 trade.

However, Golden Guardians utterly failed to make use of its early lead. Jungler Juan "Contractz" Garcia's Nocturne put together decent kill participation, but he also spent plenty of time in the death chamber throughout the early game, while Golden Guardians mid laner Sun "Mickey" Yong-min's Taliyah couldn't leverage the early gold lead into the counter-pick of Clutch Gaming mid laner Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten's Orianna.

The two Level 1 kills onto Golden Guardians AD carry Matthew "Deftly" Chen's Xayah, even paired with the advantageous matchup of Xayah/Rakan into Ezreal/Braum, failed to make a difference, as Clutch Gaming's bottom lane pushed up and kept even in farm while pressuring Golden Guardians' turret.

Surprisingly unpressured, Clutch Gaming quickly found its way back into the match and beyond, as it caught up in the kill score, monopolized drakes and began taking turrets thanks to the play of jungler Nam "LirA" Tae-yoo on Trundle paired with Febiven's roaming. Golden Guardians did its best to fight back and used Contractz to initiate fights, but it had fallen too far behind in the macro game. Clutch top laner Colin "Solo" Earnest took the opportunity to split-push on Camille and take inhibitors, and his team's 31-minute Baron sealed the Guardians' fate.

Clutch Gaming will need to take down Counter Logic Gaming at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday to keep its postseason dream going. Golden Guardians, on the other hand, can only look to play spoiler against FlyQuest at 8 p.m. ET just afterward.

-- Hickey

Team SoloMid 1, 100 Thieves 0

Team SoloMid took home a win over 100 Thieves to keep its playoff hopes alive.

While Team SoloMid (8-8) continues to rise through the standings with a 2-0 record coming out of Week 8, Sunday's win was by no means easy. TSM secured an early lead through objective control but couldn't push it further against a stalwart 100 Thieves (10-6). After holding a 2,500-gold lead at the 30-minute mark, TSM started to struggle when it secured the first Baron buff of the game but lost four members of its team in the process and ceded control over to the Thieves.

While TSM should've been outscaled by 100 Thieves' team composition, TSM persisted, bolstered in the late game by mid laner Soren "Bjergsen" Bjerg's Zilean, who used the Chronokeeper's combination of utility and damage to lead his team with a 1/2/9 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) for 83 percent kill participation. Late into the game, after several more lead changes, all it took for TSM to win was one won fight around Baron to secure the 53-minute win and keep its playoff hopes alive.

100 Thieves displayed impressive resilience in holding off TSM's early lead and eventually took over the game around 36 minutes in but had trouble finishing TSM off. Top laner Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho's Dr. Mundo was nearly unkillable late in the game with his ultimate running and a Gargoyle's Stoneplate active keeping him alive in skirmishes. During several mid game teamfights, Ssumday turned the tide by sprinting into TSM's backline and kill whatever he pleased.

Unfortunately, while Ssumday shined, the rest of 100 Thieves struggled. The Thieves played for picks around AD carry Cody "Cody Sun" Sun's Ashe well, but late game teamfighting left much to be desired, allowing TSM's to come back into the game and steal the win from 100 Thieves' grasp.

100 Thieves looks to turn things around when it takes on Cloud9 at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, followed by TSM battling OpTic Gaming in a match with big postseason implications at 9 p.m. ET later that day.

-- Noah Waltzer

Cloud9 1, Team Liquid 0

Cloud9 took a surprisingly clean upset victory over first-place Team Liquid.

Cloud9 (9-7) raised many an eyebrow when it announced that it would be swapping out two of its starting members for Sunday's game. However, mid laner Greyson "Goldenglue" Gilmer and jungler Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen, subbing in for Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen and Robert "Blaber" Huang, respectively, silenced their detractors almost immediately. Picking the aggressive pairing of Syndra and the recently buffed Lee Sin, the pressure was on the duo to make things happen in the early game, and they delivered.

The pair's primary victim was Liquid mid laner Eugene "Pobelter" Park's Orianna. The first gank came in at the six-minute mark, when Svenskeren dove two turrets deep to pick up first blood. Cloud9 repeated the play shortly after, this time claiming first turret in the mid lane on top of everything else. All told, Svenskeren picked up his team's first four kills, including three onto Pobelter, and got his team out to a hefty lead, making a case not only for his daring champion pick but for his spot on the roster.

While the other lanes were going well enough for Team Liquid (11-5), Cloud9's advantage around the mid lane was too monumental to overcome, and it quickly spread around the map as Team Liquid's turrets began to crumble. Paired with the Enchanted Crystal Arrow from AD carry Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi on Ashe, Goldenglue and Svenskeren had free rein to start fights and delete members of Liquid, which granted the team a 24-minute Baron.

Team Liquid's plethora of wave clear kept the game going awhile but did nothing to find the team a foothold. Cloud9 ended the game at 36 minutes after a second Baron.

With nine wins under its belt, Cloud9 is almost guaranteed a playoff spot, and will look to fully secure one next week, starting when it takes on 100 Thieves on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET. Just beforehand at 5 p.m. ET, Team Liquid will look to solidify its hold on first place against Echo Fox.

-- Hickey

FlyQuest 1, Counter Logic Gaming 0

FlyQuest wrapped up Week 8 with a dominant win over Counter Logic Gaming .

With several teams in the hunt for a playoff spot, FlyQuest (9-7) kept itself in the running by dominating CLG. From early on, FlyQuest took control of the game through constant pressure from rotational play, taking down turrets to put Counter Logic Gaming on the back foot.

As things progressed into the mid game, FlyQuest top laner Lee "Flame" Ho-jong's Rumble and AD carry Jason "WILDTURTLE" Tran's Ashe linked up to find several picks, ballooning FlyQuest's gold lead to a 11,000-gold advantage by the 25-minute mark. Eventually, FlyQuest simply melted CLG with Flame's Rumble landing massive Equalizers while WILDTURTLE shredded through CLG's frontline. At the end of the day, all of FlyQuest played extremely well as the team closed out the game and a 2-0 week heading into the final leg of the regular season.

With the loss, Counter Logic Gaming (5-11) will end the Summer Split in disappointing fashion, approaching the final week of its Season 8 campaign tied for last place in the NA LCS. All of the problems CLG has had this split -- indecisiveness, passive play, a lack of adaptability -- showed up in this one. Top laner Darshan "Darshan" Upadhyaya's Cho'Gath got bullied early on by Flame and continued to get abused by the rotational play of FlyQuest, ending with a paltry 3,000 damage dealt. Meanwhile, the rest of CLG struggled to find any positives without FlyQuest throwing its members at it.

Getting crushed by FlyQuest is the least of CLG's problems, but finishing the season on a whimper like this is surely disappointing for the CLG faithful, who will watch the postseason without a CLG for the second split in a row.

CLG next takes on Clutch Gaming at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, immediately followed by FlyQuest battling the Golden Guardians at 8 p.m. ET.

-- Waltzer