One of the greatest joys of reporting on LCS Academy is highlighting compelling stories that would usually pass by with little to no mainstream fanfare. Yesterday’s first game, Dignitas vs Golden Guardians, was one of those compelling moments, one that even the most casual LCS fan will appreciate. The official start for LCS Academy’s season and the Proving Grounds qualifier Spring Split was Wednesday, January 20th. We’ll recount Week 2, which took place January 27th and 28th! You can find Week 1’s coverage here.
Week 2 Day 1 Week 2 Day 2
DIG vs GGS C9 vs DIG
TL vs TSM EG vs TL
100T vs C9 GGS vs FLY
EG vs IMT TSM vs 100T
FLY vs CLG IMT vc CLG
Week 2 Standings
Dignitas vs Golden Guardians
The best-of-one series for Week 2, Dignitas versus Golden Guardians, began with Golden Guardians securing a hard-earned win. Golden Guardians were unrecognizable in light of their bleak Week 1 double loss, where the most demoralizing of their two games included an alarming 17k gold lead in Team Liquid’s favor. This week’s Golden Guardians felt different: adaptable, agile, and patient.
In Week 2, Golden Guardians patiently created conditions that allowed their ADC Prismal (Vayne) to snowball into a glass cannon, ending the game with an unbelievable KDA of 14/0/2. Dignitas maintained a slim gold lead -- ranging from 500 gold to 2000 gold -- at any given time for nearly 30 minutes, while GGS collected unattended Ocean Drakes and carefully avoided unfavorable team fights. This passive early game play preserved late game opportunities for GG, putting them in a position to take control of the game during an ideally positioned team fight at Ocean Drake: Golden Guardians controlling the pit and Dignitas hopelessly zoned. Golden Guardians walked away from the skirmish with an Ocean Soul and a triple kill for ADC Prismal on Vayne. An uncontested Baron helped Golden Guardians move swiftly to take Dignitas’ nexus.
Team Liquid vs TSM
In the fourth best-of-one game of Week 2, Day 1, what felt like an eternal struggle between two titans took place. The nail-biting push-and-pull ended when Team Liquid took a demanding lead, swooping up their third win of the tournament. The game itself was a skillful display of both of these teams’ ability to swiftly act and punish for map control and superior resources. For every dragon, there was an equal reaction. Ultimately, much of Team Liquid’s ability to pull ahead was their strong late game draft: Kennen, Olaf, Azir, Senna, and Alisatar for Team Liquid and Renekton, Pantheon, Zoe, Aphelios, and Thresh for TSM.
Cloud9 vs Dignitas
For Day 2, Cloud9 reinforced why expectations are so high for their Academy team year after year. The initial draft felt superior in the hands of C9: Darshan on Camille, Shernfire on Nocturne, Copy on Syndra, K1ng on Kai’Sa, and Isles on Leona vs DIG’s Lourlo on Gragas, Akaadian on Nidalee, Yusui on Yone, Spawn on Aphelios, and JayJ on Thresh. C9’s aggressive dive composition was punishing, especially for DIG’s unsuspecting mid laner Yusui. Contending with C9 Shernfire’s highly mobile Nocturne proved to be too much for DIG’s Yusui, and Dignitas passed the Rift Herald to Cloud9 at 8 minutes -- impressive.
C9 maintained their steady and increasing lead over Dignitas largely thanks to C9’s jungler Shernfire pressuring and punishing at every opportunity, becoming a nightmarish carry that became an insurmountable obstacle for an increasingly paranoid Dignitas.
C9 vs 100 Thieves
C9’s Game 1 of Week 2 was a good indicator of how Week 2, Game 2 vs Dignitas would go. Facing off against 100 Thieves, Cloud9 finished with 10 kills and 60.6k gold, while 100 Thieves finished with 4 kills and 52.6k gold. The real star of C9’s first game was undoubtedly K1ng and Isles on Seraphine and Lulu. Isles emerged as the clear MVP, strategically erasing every threat in every team fight until there was nothing left of 100 Thieves’ nexus.
Immortals vs Counter Logic Gaming
The fifth and final game of Week 2, Day 2 went to Immortals in a show of stunning support strength from IMT’s Joey on Alistar -- an aggressive, roaming threat to anyone who so much as looked at an un-warded bush. CLG’s Brandini went with comfort pick Rumble, which was painfully punishable by IMT’s Topoon on Gragas, leaving Brandini with little hope of recovery in the top lane. IMT’s Keith on Jhin spent much of the game being bullied out of CS by CLG’s TeamLuke on Kai’Sa. Part of the bot CS deficit can be attributed to IMT Joey’s aggressive roaming support strategy, however, this bot lane CS sacrifice was the correct move. IMT's Joey disrupted so many of CLG’s plays that it became clear that in the mind of CLG, IMT Joey was seemingly everywhere, in every bush, at every objective. The game was not clearly won on either side until very late game when CLG made a fatal error, sacrificing their nexus to successfully contest Infernal Soul.