Golden Guardians made a big splash as the LCS playoffs began - while some fans hoped for an upset, few expected a clean sweep against TSM. GG played with confidence, beat them in teamfights and sent them to the loser’s bracket in a quick 3:0 series. GG!
The opening series of the LCS playoffs, now extended to 8 teams, put #4 Team SoloMid against #5 Golden Guardians. With TSM just one win away from a top 2 spot, they were seen as the clear favorites, but GG had other plans.
The series started well for the favorites, who took control over the first game after a fight near the dragon 12 minutes in and slowly expanded their lead. However, Golden Guardians would eventually get third drakes, forcing TSM to contest them or concede an ocean soul. Still, it looked good for the veterans - until it didn’t.
TSM got a great flank 29 minutes in, but Tanner "Damonte" Damonte did a lot of damage before falling. In a great display of teamfighting, GG actually got an ace for two and secured the Baron. A TSM attempt to find a pick backfired and with three kills, Golden Guardians easily ended the game before the respawns could come.
The second game saw GG get the early advantage they were well known for securing during the season. After a series of clashes they had a 4K gold lead just 13 minutes into the game. TSM chipped away at the lead for much of the early game and in the mid-game the two squads were virtually even apart from the dragons, which were once more in GG’s favor. The game slowed down as the Guardians were careful not to give their opponents a way back into the lead until a teamfight some 34 minutes into the game gave them the lead to secure the baron.
They nearly ended the game after a concerted push, but a heroic effort by Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg on Azir pushed them back.TSM’s base was in shambles, however, and several minutes later a triple teleport saw GG backdoor the Nexus.
Now 0:2, TSM were on the ropes and they had to make a change, electing to put Bjergsen on a brawler Sett for more early game presence. The teams were mostly even for the first 15 minutes. However, a TSM engage in the mid lane ended with them losing three and the turret, giving GG 3.5K gold lead and three drakes early in the mid-game. Bjergsen and co tried to fight back and around the 22 minute in secured two kills just before the fourth dragon respawned. However, GG elected to fight 3v5 and while they were aced, they secured the soul and three kills of their own. This cut TSM’s comeback short and after a kill on Bjergsen in the top lane the Guardians pressed on to win the fight in the enemy base and end the game.
It was an impressive series for Golden Guardians who not only took the win but looked like the better team for much of the series, especially in teamfights. It was a particularly good performance by Ian Victor "FBI" Huang, who neutralized Yiliang "Peter" "Doublelift" Peng in the bot lane, and Kevin "Hauntzer" Yarnell in the top lane. Bjergsen fought hard in the first two games, but it was not enough - and in game 3, TSM appeared to be cracking under pressure. Now the once-favorites will be facing off against Dignitas in the loser’s bracket for a second chance at redemption.
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