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Clutch marks monumental feat in '18 NA Spring QFs, eliminates heavy-favorites TSM early

THE UNTHINKABLE. Clutch Gaming members are celebrating to their unexpected stomping over Team SoloMid in their Quarterfinal matchup in the 2018 NA LCS Spring Quarterfinals. YouTube

By Ozzy Alaba

MANILA -- And the mere underdogs just made history.

Clutch Gaming (CG) etched their name into the history books as they scored the biggest upset in NA LCS history, erasing heavy-favorites Team SoloMid (TSM) out of title contention, 3-1 in their best-of-5 Quarterfinal date to punch the last 2018 NA LCS Spring Semifinal ticket at the NA LCS Battle Arena in Los Angeles, California on Monday morning (Philippine time).

Even with their backs definitely against the wall, CG still pulled off the unthinkable as the LCS newcomers surprisingly flashed their most dominant form in the entire split, demolishing TSM’s lanes in the entire series, thus making themselves the only team to ruin the six- time North American LCS champions’ perfect Playoff Finals attendance and the only team to deny TSM a Semifinal and possibly, a Finals berth.

Despite being heavily criticized by analysts for his inconsistency since the start of his career, CG’s resident support Nickolas Surgent (Hakuho) proved his doubters wrong as he was hailed as the Player of the Series through his incredible plays on Braum and Thresh, letting him bag an individual 7.8 Kill-Death-Assist (KDA) Ratio (4/5/35 KDA) in the four-game series.

Aside from Surgent, CG’s veteran carries also didn’t fail in providing quality minutes as their European mid lane import Fabian Diepstraten (Febiven) and seasoned AD Carry Apollo Price (Apollo) amassed a combined game-high 29/3/41 KDA (23.33 KDA Ratio), accentuating Diepstraten’s individual 38 KDA Ratio (13/1/25 KDA) and Price’s amazing performance on Kog’Maw in Game 2.

CG’s fellow veterans Colin Earnest (Solo) and Korean reinforcement Nam Tae-yoo (LirA) also supported their carries in their backs as they lead the assists department through their merged 53 assists in the entire series run.

TSM, meanwhile, could have entirely won the series as they gained enough momentum through their utmost domination in the curtain-raiser, but the youngsters just sunk them in the waves through Price’s superior kiting and Surgent’s efficiency in his tanky support picks, which cost them their semifinal, and possibly Finals ticket.

Reigning NA LCS MVP and TSM skipper Søren Bjerg (Bjergsen), as usual, spearheaded his revamped squad, garnering a team-high 8/3/12 KDA (6.67 KDA Ratio), alongside with European veteran support Alfonso Rodriguez (Mithy), who concluded the series with a decent 1.33 KDA Ratio (1/12/15 KDA).

With their historic victory, CG will be assured of acquiring at least 30 to 90 Championship Points, which are vital for the squad's qualification to the 2018 World Championships and will face the first-place Regular Season team and fellow newcomers 100 Thieves in the semifinals on Sunday, thus forcing fourth-placers Team Liquid (TL) to face second-place Regular Season squad Echo Fox (FOX) in the same day. 

The updated bracketing of the 2018 NA LCS Spring Playoffs.

Follow him on Twitter: @History4Lyf