By Ken Serra, @GGXChaobo
A roaring crowd, bright lights, and over 300,000 online viewers describe the energetic atmosphere of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) Quarterfinals. All eyes were on the quarterfinal match up as Curse took on Counter Logic Gaming in a best of five series. It only took three games for Team Curse to devastate their opponents, sweeping CLG in a blaze of glory and affirming their dominance over play-offs eligible teams in the final stretch of the split.
Despite closing the season with an 8-2 record against play-off teams, Curse came into this match-up as the underdog in the eyes of many. No one knew what CLG would bring to the table after undergoing boot camp with their esteemed coach, Monte Cristo, in Korea. Curse would be entering this quarterfinal series without knowing what or how CLG would play, yet they said they felt very prepared for the encounter.
“We thought it was going to be a really tough match.” said Team Curse mid laner Joedat "Voyboy" Esfahani in an ONGamer interview. “We [did not] really concern ourselves too much with how they were going to play or how strong they were going to be cause’ I don’t think that really serves any purpose—we just worked on our own game.”
Game one was a nail-biter, as both teams were tied in gold at the 40 minute mark. CLG appeared to have the late game with their patented ‘protect the carries’ team composition, utilizing three supports and hardcore damage in their Kog’maw and Twitch picks.
Despite an excellent effort by CLG to stall the game, Diego "Quas" Ruiz came out huge with his constant lane pressure in his Nidalee pick, taking out defensive towers and even inhibitors by himself. Excellent communication allowed Curse to engage in 4v5 scenarios and quick-thinking by Alex “Xpecial” Chu’s Zilean provided a saving grace in sticky situations. Voyboy scored a kill onto Doublelift’s Twitch at the 50-minute mark, sending the plague rat to a 60-second death timer, allowing Curse to push for the nexus.
Game two and three were very different games in favor of Team Curse. Game one was a close nail-biter, worthy of two teams separated by a one seed placement; but in the subsequent games Curse pulled out the big guns, showing their aggressive plays and precise shot-calling.
In Game two, Curse continued to ban out NA all-star marksman Doublelift, restricting CLG’s options to building around Lucian. Despite efforts to shutdown Quas split push before it even happens, Curse comes out on top, ending the game through sheer control of the map and team fights.
Game three would be no different for Curse’s opposition. The picks-and-bans phase spelled disaster for CLG, as the doors were opened to a wide array of comfort picks for Team Curse. Cop’s Corki, which has a 63% win-rate, slipped through and Voyboy was gifted Yasuo to compliment Quas’ Maokai pick. The Zilean that gave CLG headaches in game one fell into Xpecial’s hands yet again.
CLG’s fate was placed into the hands of Doublelift’s Kog’maw. There’s no better person than he to try and carry CLG and salvage a disastrous series, but Curse proved resilient, using their team composition to its maximum potential, ending the game in 34-minutes.
Curse was a dominating force in this series. While there were glimpses of CLG’s ability to coordinate fights well, Team Curse just could not be stopped and there was no hesitation to make plays—an issue that has plagued Curse throughout the season.
The team may have moved on to the semi-finals, but Curse has a lot to prove in their upcoming match-up against NA’s #1 seed, Cloud 9. With the season series tied 2-2, it is anyone’s guess to who could move on in this semifinal matchup.
“I don’t want to play [Team Curse],” said Cloud 9 captain Hai Du Lam. “I don’t think we could have 3-0’d CLG, but they did and they played extremely well.”
Team Curse faces Cloud 9 in a best of five at PAX Prime in Seattle, WA on August 30th. You can show your support for the team by tweeting at @TeamCurseGaming and using the hashtag #LetItBurn.
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