Martin “Deficio” Lynge summed up the North American League of Legends Championship Series perfectly in a tweet in a tweet Sunday, mentioning his preference for high skill cap champions, notably Lee Sin.
Although Lee isn’t the undisputed best jungler in the current metagame, he is quite powerful (and also my personal favorite champ of all time). He is a hugely popular champion in the community, so popular that when Riot Games released tentative changes to him in 2014, it later recanted after community outcry.
Lee “Rush” Yoon-jae and Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett, two of the best junglers in North America, happen to also be two of the best Lee Sin players in the world. Their plays have beenall over the Internet, and we finally got to see two Lee Sin masters showcase their skills against the top players in the region. As the first great Lee Sin, Danil “Diamondprox” Reshetnikov, once said: You can’t call yourself a jungler if you haven’t mastered Lee Sin.
So, who did it better? Dardoch or Rush?
Tale of the tape: Dardoch
Team Liquid def. Team SoloMid
Team Kills difference: 24-4
Team Gold difference: 61.5K-47.1K
Dardoch K/D/A: 5/1/11, 11.6K gold
The TSM game was pretty much a stomp by Team Liquid. TL’s Duo lane dominated TSM’s, and Dardoch took advantage of it. He made early invades on the top side of the map to compliment his duo lane’s dominance. Five minutes in, Dardoch’s duo lane gets a kill on Bora “Yellowstar” Kim and Dardoch instantly responds by going to dive what was left of the duo lane, Yiliang Peter “Doublelift” Peng.
The game-changing play was 9:40 in, when TL prevented a dive on solo laner Samson “Lourlo” Jackson. Great mechanical plays were made by Lourlo and Dardoch, not hesitating to flash over to chase down TSM, ending with a great Kick+Flash combo by Dardoch.
Another great play by Dardoch was later on at 15:40, when TSM got mechanically outplayed by all of TL’s members when trying to initiate a fight on Matthew “Matt” Elento. Dardoch had great awareness in the fight to stick on TSM’s AD Carry, securing another kill with the Kick+Flash combo on Doublelift.
Eventually TL would siege an inhibitor with an easy team fight, with Dardoch executing the infamous InSec move to kill Bjergsen. (Q+Q+ward hop+kick combo made famous by legendary jungler Choi “InSec“ In-seok in this play)
Tale of the tape: Rush
Cloud9 loss vs. Counter Logic Gaming
Team Kills difference: 23-22
Team Gold difference: 75.6K – 80.4K
Rush K/D/A: 6/4/7, 13.8K
While Rush didn’t enjoy a successful win against CLG, his amazing play on Lee Sin almost single-handedly kept C9 in the game.
The game was pretty slow in the early parts, but around 11:30 things started to get crazy. CLG attempted a tower dive onto An “Balls” Van Le but Rush was there to help, instantly killing Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black with a Q+Kick+Q combo.
The fight continued with reinforcements coming from Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen. After Jenson traded his life, Rush was left in a 1-v-1 duel with Choi “HuHi” Jae-hyun. Huhi had slightly more HP left alongside his Barrier Summoner Spell. The only way Rush was going to win was to make a total out play. Which he did, he flashed the would-be lethal Corki missile to get the kill.
CLG then attempted an invade on C9’s blue buff, but Rush was there to answer with an Insec combo on to Aphromoo.
After CLG caught out Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi, Rush was able to gain a kill for his team while making way to regain control of the mid lane by kicking Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaha into C9.
Later in the game, a team fight breaks out in mid. Rush lands an amazing Q onto Huhi and uses that to land another Insec combo on to Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes.
In the end, Rush wins by a hair. Dardoch played amazing, and you can’t really play much better than that. But the thing is, C9’s game would have not even been close if it wasn’t for Rush. Balls was getting manhandled by Darshan, and Rush made insane plays to either make up for a teammate getting caught or punish an over-extension by the enemy.
That game was pretty much a two man show, with Jenson and Rush trying to push forward. The TL/TSM game was more of a team effort with amazing Lee plays sprinkled in.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/Slingshot illustration