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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Esports

Clutch Gaming builds momentum with two-win weekend


Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten earned a spot on the NA LCS team of the week for his 12 KDA performances on Azir. Febiven is 4-0 this season on Azir and 21-8 overall. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games

Clutch Gaming continued their winning streak in the NA LCS with a pair of wins over FlyQuest and OpTic Gaming, improving their record to 9-5 after starting the season 2-4.

Clutch entered the week three wins behind league leaders Echo Fox and two wins behind second place Cloud9, but both teams lost on Saturday, giving Clutch a chance to make up ground.

Eye on the prize

Clutch started their weekend with a 27-minute win against the eighth place OpTic Gaming, who have struggled all season to find their identity.

Clutch ran a pair of long range carries with mid laner Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten playing Azir and AD carry Apollo “Apollo” Price playing Caitlyn.

Febiven made the first big move of the match by engaging Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage, who was playing the strong but relatively immobile Syndra.

Febiven landed an Emperor’s Divide onto PowerOfEvil and knocked him into the waiting arms of jungler Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo on Skarner, who followed up with a stun and impale to secure the kill.

After that, Clutch earned a steady stream of gold by killing turrets and dragons, ballooning an 800 gold lead at 10 minutes to a nearly insurmountable 7,000 gold lead by 20 minutes.

Together with LirA, Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent on Thresh provided many of the team’s engages, participating in 70 percent of the squad’s kills.

Slow and steady

Clutch showed off their methodical side against FlyQuest on Sunday, winning a 43-minute match.

Clutch picked the core of Azir and Caitlyn once again, and it looked like they would have their hands full against FlyQuest’s heavy engage composition.

FlyQuest ran a pair of the strongest engagers in the game with jungler Andy “AnDa” Hoang on Zac and top laner Lee “Flame” Ho-jong on Sion but did not take much initiative during the game.

It took until minute 17 of the game for the first kill to occur, when LirA on Sejuani ended up separated from his teammates.

FlyQuest mid laner Song “Fly” Yong-jun on Vel’Koz and AD carry Jason “WildTurtle” Tran on Ezreal picked him off for the kill, and FlyQuest backed off to secure a dragon.

The game was at a standstill until a lapse in FlyQuest’s warding let Clutch take a baron unopposed.

With the baron buff power play, Clutch took two outer turrets and an ocean dragon to grow their lead from a 600 gold to more than 3,000.

Once the baron re-spawned, Febiven was able to take it alongside rookie top laner Colin “Solo” Earnest on Cho’Gath while the rest of Clutch distracted FlyQuest.

Clutch took three inner turrets and a dragon with the buff before picking up a pair of kills that allowed them to finally crack open FlyQuest’s base in minute 33.

Afterwards, both teams danced around each other trying to find a fight until Flame got caught, which let Clutch take a third baron.

FlyQuest became desperate and tried to take the Elder Drake in response, but LirA was able to cross the map to steal it away.

With both elder and baron buff, Clutch shattered FlyQuest’s base and, with one final team fight, took the victory.

Looking ahead

After the pair of wins, Clutch is sitting in third place just two wins behind first in the standings.

Clutch has secured a playoff spot but will have a chance to take share of first place and an important playoff bye when they face Echo Fox and fourth place Team Liquid next week.

Solo will be a player to watch as he faces two of the best top laners in the league, Fox’s Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon and Liquid’s Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong.

Last time Clutch played Fox, Huni killed Solo for first blood and used that lead to snowball the lane, giving Echo Fox a clear win condition.

Against Liquid, Solo held his own against Impact, but the team as a whole fell behind early and could not recover.

Clutch’s next game against Echo Fox can be watched on Saturday at 4 p.m. on the NA LCS YouTube or Twitch.TV channel.

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