The 2016 season has arrived.Â With one of the most tumultuous offseasons we’ve seen so far behind us, it’s only fitting that we kick off the Spring Split with the most storied rivalry in the region: Team SoloMid vs. Counter Logic Gaming. While CLG holds the edge in more recent history, a matchup between these two teams almost never disappoints. Let’s see how the first day of competition played out for the reshaped North America.
In the first and most anticipated game of the day, CLG showcased the power of coordination with superior objective control and map play, especially in the early game. With a failed lane swap from TSM to start the match, CLG managed to jump ahead and stayed in the drivers seat, secured by a baron around the 23 minute mark which would set the pace for the rest of the game. In staggered moves around the Dragon and Baron, CLG would eventually close the game out Â after 44 minutes, five Dragons, and an impressive debut from CLG’s newest addition Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes. Participating in 19 of CLG’s 22 kills, the recently recruited AD Carry came into this game with some big shoes to fill, replacing his lane counter andÂ longtime CLG AD CarryÂ Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng. CLG looks to a much easier gameÂ 2Â against the 0-1 Team Dignitas, and Team SoloMid hopes to recover for an even week in a vital game against Team Liquid.
Living up to the preseason hype, Immortals delivered a clean performance against Cloud 9, withÂ JunglerÂ Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin putting the team ahead from the beginning and never letting go. Though the first outer tower would fall rather late at 16 minutes and 50 seconds into the game, once it was down, Immortals continued pressing into C9 and methodically closed the game out at the 27 minute mark. With a creative Cho’Gath pick from the teams coaching staff and Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, the top laner was able to shut down the Cloud 9 carries and deliver kill after kill onto AD Carry Jason “WildTurtle” Tran. WildTurtle put up 11 Â kills and 4 assists in his season opener, closing the game with a quadra kill and silencing the critics that he was past his prime or less than ideal for the newly minted Immortals team. While Immortals look to be a contender for a top spot in the league,Â Cloud9 once again looked to be in disarray without shotcallerÂ Hai â€œHaiâ€ Du Lam, who is looking to transition out of the starting position for the team as support playerÂ Michael “Bunny FuFuu” Kurylo steps into the role.
In the third matchup of the day, we saw a handicapped NRG using substitutes Cristian “Cris” Rosales and Lee “Shrimp” dispatch of Team Dignitas after falling behind to aÂ mid lane pushÂ after an early gank Â onto Lee “GBM” Chang-seok. Marked by an impressive opening performance culimating in two baron steals by the former Jin Air mid laner, a back and forth battle between the two teams would eventually find NRG coming out with a 40 minute win. Despite a strong performance from mid laner Danny “Shiphtur” Le with an 8 kill Anivia, Team Dignitas was lacking in synergy and never quite managed to executeÂ despite an early lead. Performing solidly, NRG is in decent shape heading into their match against the Renegades. Dignitas on the other hand has a lot of work to do if they expect to put up a fight against the very-in-sync CLG.
Patch 6.1 may be regarded for having faster games, but that didn’t stop the Renegades from taking a full hour before closing this one out in an important victory over Team Liquid. Qualifying into the Spring Split by winning the Challenger Series last season, the Renegades showcasedÂ the advantages of team synergy starting the game off with advantages coming from both the top and bottom lanes.Â AleÅ¡ â€œFreezeâ€ KnÄ›Å¾Ãnek and Maria “Remi” Creveling proved to be a force in the bot lane, with a huge 11-2-7 score and 100% kill participation from Freeze. Playing around the initiation of Remilia’s Alistar and Freeze’s Kalista, Renegades made good use of strong teamfighting assisted by the tankiness of Mundo and Alistar and shielding power of Alex Ich’s Orianna. In the final fight of the game, Team Captain Alberto “Crumbzz” Rengifo managed to steal the Baron and finally close out the game. Team Liquid will utilize it’s 10 man roster with substitutions in the support and jungle positions in their match against TSM. Renegades should look to continue playing around their bottom lane and using their superior team play to gain advantages in their gameÂ against NRG.
Before this match started, there was an air of caution around the recently formed Echo Fox squad as it has several unproven and otherwise unheard of players. With star player Henrik “Froggen” Hansen at the center of the team and AD Carry Yuri “KEITH” Jew finally getting his chance at a starting role, it was up to Froggen’s veteran leadership to bring this squad of mixed experience together. With a 37 minute victory over Team Impulse and a stellar 7-0-5 performance from Keith, Echo Fox looked promising in their LCS debut. Team Impulse however is a team playing with substitutes and Support Austin “Gate” Yu in the mid lane for the first time in months, so I wouldn’t put too much stock into this match. The first litmus test for Echo Fox will be against Cloud 9, who will be out for blood after a one sided loss to Immortals. Speaking of the Immortals, they should have no problem handling Team Impulse when they meet in their second game.
photo(s) credit: lolesports
Caymus is a journalist and content creator for SoloMid. You can find him getting caught out in the depths of solo queue, or on twitterÂ talking about Esports.