Phoenix1 and FlyQuest both prevailed against veteran organisations at the weekend to advance to the Semi-Finals of the 2017 NALCS Spring Playoffs. For Team Dignitas and Counter Logic Gaming, all they have is thoughts about what might have been.
Phoenix1 3 – 0 Team Dignitas
The return of carry-jungler Rami “Inori” Charagh to the lineup saw Phoenix1 sweep Team Dignitas aside in dominant fashion.
Dignitas started the opening game off strongly, picking up some early kills in the laning phase. However, bad positioning throughout led to Phoenix1 getting easy kills, allowing them back into the game. Eventually, Phoenix1 managed to win a significant team fight near the baron pit to draw first blood.
Phoenix1 took the initiative in the following game, and any nerves they may have had quickly became irrelevant. Good communication between midlaner Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook and toplaner Derek “zig” Shao saw the LeBlanc/Shen synergy at its devastating best. The potent combination set up some devastating team fights that Dignitas simply had no answer to.
In desperation, Dignitas’s own midlaner Jang “Keane” Lae-young tried a trick of his own by pulling out his Azir. However, he was outshone by his counterpart Ryu, who delivered a devastating ultimate with his Orianna to turn the tide in Phoenix1’s favour in what was otherwise a very tense third game.
Victory for the young outfit sees them advance to the semifinals, where they’ll take on second seeds and pre-season favourites Cloud9.
Counter Logic Gaming 2 – 3 FlyQuest
CLG were unable to capitalise on their early domination, as FlyQuest pulled themselves from the brink to shock the two-time winners, and eliminate them from the Spring playoffs.
The first two games saw CLG overwhelm their opponents from the outset. Aurelion Sol from Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun in the first game and Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya’s Dr. Mundo in game two caught FlyQuest unawares and staring defeat in the face.
The third game saw things change, however, as CLG were unable to assert early dominance like they had in the first two maps. With no early snowballing tho worry about, FlyQuest were able to play their natural proactive game, with jungler Galen “Moon” Holgate and midlaner Hai “Hai” Du Lam able to find flanks in the prolonged teamfights, as CLG began to find themselves outmanoeuvred.
Despite being veterans in high-pressure situations, CLG cracked heavily in the final two games. Whereas before they were reliable, Huhi and Darshan were instead making big misplays that handed all initiative to FlyQuest. Unable to recover and clearly tilting, CLG could only look on as FlyQuest cleaned house and surged their way into the semi-finals.
Up next for FlyQuest is Team SoloMid, the top seeds. Unlike CLG, TSM will not afford them the same opportunities to come back into the series. If FlyQuest can’t prevent their slow starts, they make never actually get going at all.
2017 NALCS Spring Playoffs Schedule
Apr 15 21:00 CEST – Cloud9 vs Phoenix1
Apr 16 21:00 CEST – Team SoloMid vs FlyQuest
Read about the 2017 NALCS Spring Playoffs preview here