The first half of game one was characterized by Top Esports’ control over neutral objectives and botched engages on the side of Suning. With clever use of enemy recall timers, TES Karsa easily secured two drakes and the first herald for the side of Top Esports without opposition. As opposed to their quarterfinal series versus JD Gaming, Suning’s bottom lane fell behind early. By fifteen minutes TES JackeyLove was up three kills along with first turret advantage. The only shining light for the LPL third seed was the top half of the map with SN Bin and SN Sofm, keeping TES 369 from leaving his turret.
The tide turned in Suning’s favor after a team fight in the dragon pit, where the marginal advantages SN Bin had been accruing finally paid off.
Despite a lackluster baron and scattered picks from Top Esports, SN Bin and SN Sofm lead their team to the enemy nexus to claim game one.
Game one in summary: the patience from Suning’s top half made up for the mistakes they made in the early game.
Compared to game one, the second match of the series had a much more even and uneventful early game, at least by LPL standards. The teams were consistently close in gold and engaging in unfruitful skirmishes. First blood came to SN Angel at 13:30. Suning gained an early advantage by trading deaths for objectives.
Top Esports finally started edging out team fight wins when they gained the ocean soul. TES Yuyanjia acted as a brave bullet sponge, allowing TES Karsa to turn an even kill trade into a crucial drake and baron.
Cracking open the base, TES’s fed solo laners played an important role in carrying late game team fights.
Game two in summary: Suning played a safe game, but a series of bold plays by Top Esports (of varying degrees of success) allowed them to even the series.
The game with some of the most interesting picks, like the jungle Shen from SN Sofm, also started off the bloodiest. Suning picked up kills around top and bot lane, spreading early advantages across the map. SN Bin’s Jax had the perfect set up in terms of lane dominance. He also had the complete support of his team. SN Sofm’s Shen ultimate was basically in SN Bin’s back pocket, allowing him to survive a four man dive, turning it into a net gain for Suning.
However, the game was not doomed from the start for Top Esports. TES Knight and TES Karsa found vital picks onto the less fed members of Suning. However, SN Bin’s mere presence in neutral objectives acted as a team fight deterrent. TES’s hope was for the LPL Summer MVP to carry them through game three. Knight’s Ekko was certainly the most remarkable part of their team, but the effort was ultimately not enough.
Game three in summary: Suning operated entirely around SN Bin, who had the perfect start to a Jax game. This allowed them to take the series to match point.
Game four began with similar success in the bot lane. SN Huanfeng, playing Ezreal, found two early kills from a gank off of SN Sofm and a failed teleport play from TES Karsa. Knowing their position in this elimination game, TES mitigated the bot lane snowball by forcing fights when the Suning duo were without their solo laners. However, post fifteen minutes, Suning became relentless in seeking out team fights, acing Top Esports on their dragon soul point.
JackeyLove’s overaggression seemed to be one of TES’s greatest hindrances, allowing Suning to capitalize and closer and closer to their nexus. With a play only comparable to ROX Pray’s legendary 2016 Ashe arrow, SN Huanfeng almost claimed the win at thirty minutes with a three man, cross-map recall cancel. TES put up a valiant base defense however, protecting their inhibitors with the tenacity that can only come from an LPL first seed.
Despite being a promising team, the overextension from TES proved to be their demise. Although finally killing SN Angel, who otherwise had an immaculate Akali performance, it was a poor consolation prize. Once again, SN Bin brought havoc, claiming a triple kill and a spot in the finals of Worlds 2020.
Game four summary: Top Esports fought from behind almost all game, but the JackeyLove’s over-aggression that had plagued them the whole series finally proved fatal.
Reflection and Finals Preview
This series with rife with personal vendettas and player storylines. TES Knight sought out to prove that Suning made a mistake when they replaced him to now SN Angel. Both former Invictus Gaming ADCs TES JackeyLove and SN Huanfeng battled to prove who had advanced the most. Perhaps most poignantly, SN SwordArt and TES Karsa, who played well over 200 games together, met to decide who would represent the Flash Wolves legacy in the World Finals. Ultimately, Suning came out on top.
My player of the game for this series is undoubtedly SN Bin, one of the best performing rookies of Worlds. Even in their loss SN Bin proved to be Suning’s best carry. Now facing the favorites Damwon Gaming, SN Bin’s performance will be critical when playing against DWG Nuguri. Disputably, Suning has had one of the hardest paths to the World finals in recent memory and their game against Damwon would perhaps make them the biggest underdogs to ever win it all.
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