All it took was superior situational awareness, clear-headedness in high-stress, late game situations, a superb team synergy and well put-together strategy for Counter Logic Gaming, the reigning champions of the North American LoL scene, to mount a successful defense of their title, defeating Team SoloMid in a drawn-out, 5-match series, in Las Vegas yesterday. Of course, one should also toss some heroics and an outstanding performance on the part of Trevor "Stixxay" Hayes (who by the way walked away with the MVP honors once everything had been said and done) into the mix to give a more accurate picture of what really happened.
The scene of the action was the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas and the warring parties were two of the very best teams the North American continent can currently muster. Although the reigning champs emerged with the win, SoloMid were equally impressive. CLG started off on the right foot, winning the first match of the series and then losing the second one, but winning the third one again. Interestingly, CLG's efficiency and the way they invested their resources was quite breath-taking: their two wins came at a mere +2 kill differential, while over their losses (they ended up dropping the 4th match as well as SoloMid tied the series again), yielded a -20 in this respect. Of the five 20-minute gold leads, SoloMid owned three, so they had the advantage there too, yet they still could not convert.
Under these circumstances, the decisive bout was the 5th one, which saw Hayes step into the limelight just when his skills were most needed...and boy, did he deliver! He sparked off a teamfight at the 45-minute mark, in which he scored no fewer than three kills with his Guinsoo build Tristana. This moment was in fact what the whole LCS had boiled down to, and Hayes was there in the right place at the right time to reclaim the title for his side. Although his numbers through the 5 games weren't particularly dazzling, this moment alone made him well worthy of MVP-dom.
The player who was the most impressive numbers-wise through this series was Soren "Bjergsen" Bjerg, who posted an 8.33 KDA (22/6/28).
At the end of the day though, CLG impressed as a team: they worked like a selfless, well-oiled machine, and if they manage to keep this level of performance up, they may turn out to be one of the contenders come the world tournament this summer...
Pete Wassenberg is responsible with eSports VOD's at Gosugamers. He's been involved with the operation since 2004.