North America League Championship Series Spring Playoffs Recap

The spring portion of the North America League Championship Series ended this past weekend, with 6 teams vying for the coveted top spot.  Of the 6 teams, TSM and Curse, as the 1-2 seeds respectively, received a bye for the first round and were automatically qualified in the semifinals.  The full bracket is shown below.

Spring PlayoffsQuarterfinals (Best of 3)

Dignitas (3rd seed) vs. Good Game University (6th seed)

  • Game 1 – ZionSpartan’s Riven helped GGU start the series off strong.  ZionSpartan dominated his lane and ended up going 5-0-4, slicing anyone who got in his way.  Compound that with Daydreamin’s signature Blitzcrank, and GGU pulled off the Game 1 win.

Winner – GGU

  • Game 2 – Not to be outdone, Dignitas showed why they were the higher seed by putting together an impressive Game 2 victory.  Dignitas used Karthus and Ezreal, champions that would almost always be selected in Season 2, to demonstarte that they were not going to so easily rolled over.

Winner – Dignitas

  • Game 3 – The final game in the series proved to be the most exciting, as well as the longest match of the 3 game set.  Although Dignitas took the early game lead, GGU’s mid laner Jintae consistently hit perfect Orianna ultimates during the late game to set up team fights in GGU’s favor.  Once Dignitas was stunned and displaced from Orianna, Twitch was able to easily clean up with his full 6 item offensive build.  The 6th seed upset the 3rd seed, and GGU moved on to play Curse in the semifinals.

Winner – GGU

Counter Logic Gaming (4th seed) vs. Vulcun (5th seed)

  • Game 1 – Vulcun had an early game plan, and executed it perfectly.  They wanted to severely shut down what most consider CLG’s biggest threat in Doublelift, and hoped that this early game pressure would render him useless for the late game.  Vulcun’s jungler continually ganked Doublelift’s lane, and that allowed Zuna from Vulcun to snowball an early game advantage to a 9-0-6 finish.  Vulcun took Game 1 in a dominating fashion.

Winner – Vulcun

  • Game 2 – CLG responded by taking Game 2 in a similarly dominating fashion.  Oriana and Malphite were too much for Vulcun to handle, and CLG had 16 kills to Vulcun’s meager 4 kills.

Winner – CLG

  • Game 3 – The final game in the series proved to be no different than the others.  Despite a relatively quiet early game, Vulcun ramped a large lead by the late game, and the game was never even close.  With an 8-1-5 Diana and a 7-1-4 Tristana, Vulcun clinched the series in style.  With Vulcun beating CLG, both quarterfinal series had the lower seed moving on to the semifinals.

Winner – Vulcun

Semifinals (Best of 3)

TSM Snapdragon (1st seed) vs. Vulcun (5th seed)

  • Game 1 – Vulcun came in hot into the semifinals, looking to complete another upset.  But TSM quickly showed why they were the top overall seed in the standings, and engaged in superior team fights over the course of the game.  TSM eventually took a free Baron and steamrolled their way to the win.

Winner – TSM

  • Game 2 – Vulcun started the game by making some peculiar choices in champion select.  They sent Diana to the top lane and Jayce to the mid lane, and this odd positioning turned out to be in their favor.  Diana and Jayce both played amazingly well, and Vulcun beat TSM in a 39 minute match.

Winner – Vulcun

  • Game 3 – TSM took the reins early in this match, and their aggressive play style led to turrets and dragons quickly going in their favor.  TSM used their experience and veteran know-how to take Game 3 and the series.

Winner – TSM

Curse (2nd seed) vs. Good Game University (6th seed)

  • Game 1 – The series started off with a surprise, as GGU grabbed top lane Tryndamere, a rarely used champion after nerfs lowered his AP capabilities.  But Tryndamere is still an extremely powerful AD champion, and ZionSpartan used him to great effect.  Once fed, AD Tryn is almost impossible to stop, and by late game, ZionSpartan was nearly 3 shotting champions from full health.  He wound up going 5-0-2, and GGU took the series opener.

Winner – GGU

  • Game 2 – This game became an exhausting game for both teams mainly due to the fact that the game lasted for 60 minutes.  60 minutes!  With Game 2 lasting exactly an hour, both teams managed to buy full 6 item builds, and the game really came down to superior team fighting.  Curse’s AD carry Cop went an astounding 14-1-10 and Curse won this grueling match.

Winner – Curse

  • Game 3 – Early on, it looked like Curse was going to take the series, as they had a massive advantage in kills.  But GGU kept it relatively close in terms of gold amount with the amount of turrets they were able to destroy.  Curse’s oddball picks of Kennen and Zac were effective early on, but a fatal mistake did Curse in.  Late in the game Voyboy’s Kennen got caught out in a stray bush, and GGU pushed that advantage into a victory.  GGU illustrated their tenacious attitude they’ve had all season and pulled off the stunning upset over Curse to move onto grand finals to play TSM.

Winner – GGU

Battle for Third Place (Best of 3)

Curse (2nd seed) vs. Vulcun (5th seed)

  • Game 1 – Vulcun started the game off a twist.  They actually had some of their players switch roles, and some of the players chose champions that they would not usually be associated with.  Unfortunately for Vulcun, this curveball was ineffective and Curse took Game 1.

Winner – Curse

  • Game 2 – Vulcun went back to their normal roles, and the outcome was much more favorable for them.  In a 50 minute slugfest in which the kill count was 29-25, Vulcun claimed victory in Game 2.

Winner – Vulcun

  • Game 3 – In a tournament of upsets, it was no shocker Vulcun managed to play so well.  Behind mandatorycloud’s superb Ahri, Vulcun toppled Curse to take sole possession of 3rd place.

Winner – Vulcun

Grand Finals (Best of 5)

TSM Snapdragon (1st seed) vs. Good Game University (6th seed)

  • Game 1 – Although Twisted Fate is almost universally banned, the champion managed to slip into TSM’s hand, and they made the most of it.  Behind TF’s global presence, TSM took a 1-0 lead.

Winner – TSM (TSM 1 – GGU 0)

  • Game 2 – GGU showed that they were not going to be an easy out with Game 2, as they stomped TSM into submission in a 27 minute match.  TSM couldn’t even get a single kill, and GGU took the game 12 kills to 0.

Winner – GGU (TSM 1 – GGU 1)

  • Game 3 – Game 3 wound up being a standard game by all accounts.  Many of the players picked their comfort champions, and TSM gained the edge with a couple of early kills and secured the victory.

Winner – TSM (TSM 2 – GGU 1)

  • Game 4 – GGU gutted it out in Game 4 in a match that was neck and neck the entire time.  In the final team fight, TSM actually had the initial upper hand with an amazing initiate by TSM, but ZionSpartan’s Kha’Zix cleaned up house through the use of his resets.  With a win here, grand finals ended up going the full 5 games.

Winner – GGU (TSM 2 – GGU 2)

  • Game 5 – The final game of the Spring season was symbolic of how TSM managed to become one of the best teams in North America.  With steady team play and great communication, TSM slowly built up a lead and finally pushed through to end GGU’s Cinderella story and become the North American Spring champions.

Winner – TSM (TSM 3 – GGU 2)

TSM took their late game season surge and pushed it into 1st place of the Spring playoffs.  They looked sluggish at the beginning of Season 3, but with the addition of WildTurtle, they picked up the pace as the season went on and showed the world that they are still the strongest team in North America.

GGU must also be commended for their spectacular play.  They started off extremely slow, and were considered to be one of the lower teams throughout the season.  But after installing in Daydreamin as support, they began to jell at exactly the right time.  They used their late season momentum to push all the way to the finals of the Spring playoffs, and were only one game away from taking it all.

The action continues next week with amateur teams competing for a spot in the Summer portion of Season 3.