Curse Gaming vs TSM.Evo
The opening matches of the North American Regionals saw underdog TSM.Evo face Curse gaming's recently energized side, with Crs Westrice looking to prove his mettle against the former teammates who kicked him from the team in favor of WingsOfDeathx. With Crs coming off a string of nail-biting upsets and underdog victories in recent tournaments, game one unexpectedly saw Evo take an early lead, with neither side fully committing to frequent skirmishes. Not until the first true teamfight did the power of Crs's world-class coordination take effect, their move to live together as a team in their Curse house strengthening their already impressive team skills. With Crs Cop's Corki picking up early kills to complement his impressive farm, Evo was unable to recover from the early teamfight loss, quickly falling as Crs mechanically pushed their advantage.
Realigning their strategy to stay cautious and prevent the mistakes of game one, Evo utilized their knowledge of Westrice's toplane play style to rack up multiple kills and take an early lead. But in a near mirror-match to game one, Evo simply could not transition their small, early gold advantage into a mid-game lead. Unable to contain Crs Cop's Corki, a dramatic teamfight over Baron saw Crs come away with both an ace, immediately converting their fight into game-winning momentum.
Evo's defeat in the opening round not only sees them eliminated from the Regionals, but fall short of qualifying for the Season Two World Playoffs and a spot in the upcoming Champion Series. While next year always promises another chance, early reports hint that Evo will permanently disband in the coming weeks. If true, today's games end with a sour note for the Evo players and fans alike. For the winners, despite impressive performances in their opening matches, must still battle their way past the top seeds of the NA bracket in what promises to be world-class gaming.
Team SoloMid vs Monomaniac eSports Ferus
NA favorites Team SoloMid (TSM) opened their North American Regional competition against mMe Ferus with an unexpected first blood on TSM's support, Xpecial. To the audience's surprise, TSM responded immediately not with their trademark aggression, but with a conservative and deliberate playstyle that saw the early game pass with few deaths on either side. With most lanes close in farm and both teams neck and neck in gold, it was TSM Chaox's famously consistent Corki that gradually resulted in a small gold lead. Transitioning into mid game, the familiar sight of Chaox picking up kills in teamfights resulted in his four kills eventually growing to seven, with a full 50 CS over his rival. Leaving the safe playstyle to the early game, TSM's 5v5 teamfighting style once again delighted fans, driving over mMe's valiant defense to win the game in classic TSM style.
Dyrus's surprise Jayce pick in game two heralded an unusual start, with mMe's top tower falling along with mMe Balls' Kayle only 3:45 into the match. mMe, faced with elimination from both the North American Regionals and the Season Two Championships, rallied back to even the gold count and force the game to an even teamfighting stage.
mMe's lack of initiation in their character lineup gradually became apparent. With TSM's combination of Karthus slow wall and Jayce's speed buff, perfectly executed teamfights resulted in a familiar TSM ace, Baron and push to the enemy nexus. Despite many fantastic performances by mMe, especially mMe's Aphromoo on Sivir, TSM will advance to the semi-finals to play Curse Gaming, all for a chance to advance to the Finals.