Clutch Gaming out-prepped and outplayed TSM from start to finish in their 3-1 quarterfinal victory. With this convincing win, Clutch storm into semifinals as a legitimate threat while TSM head home to prepare for the gauntlet.
This entire series was Clutch's to lose, even with their game three loss. They executed clear early game strategies that led them to getting multiple Rift Heralds and a majority of the Dragons throughout the series. On top of playing better as a unit, their laners had consistent priority and never bled out too much.
Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon, Tanner "Damonte" Damonte, and Cody "Cody Sun" Sun had pop-off moments in every single game. Crucially, they rarely squandered their leads by randomly getting caught or over-committing. Clutch's carries secured powerful comfort picks across the board in nearly every draft and knew exactly how they needed to play to capitalize on the strength of their champions.
Rookie jungler or not, TSM's gameplay was riddled with mistakes even when they were ahead. Their game three win was off the back of a TSM-favored teamfight around a Baron that they handed over to Clutch for free. In game four, TSM fell after winning a do-or-die teamfight with both of their marksmen carries fed by literally running it down mid straight into a Clutch engage.
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Clutch were able to answer every strategy that TSM had ready for them, from draft phase to their in-game decision-making. And even when mistakes were made, they successfully held their ground without completely crumbling.
"I think so much credit will go to Thinkcard and Artemis, and also bringing on Cody Sun," Damonte said. "These three people have been such an amazing addition to our team, and so much love is going around our team right now. It's been amazing."
Clutch will now head into semifinals next week to face either Team Liquid or Cloud9. The road ahead will be difficult regardless, but continuing their playoff win-streak over TSM also secures Clutch a spot in the Regional Qualifiers should they bow out in semis.
Quarterfinals will wrap up with CLG versus OpTic Gaming on August 11 at 1 p.m. PDT.