The first game of the NA LCS Summer Split saw Cloud9 avenge their Spring Split Grand Finals loss against the defending champions, Team SoloMid.
Cloud9 entered the game with new mid laner Incarnati0n, who replaced Hai after the veteran C9 member stepped down following the Spring Split. TSM's team remained unchanged, but their confidence was shaken at MSI, where they failed to make the playoffs.
In the game's opening minutes, the players were already butting heads in five-man jungle ganks that didn't result in any kills. The 10-minute mark passed with the laning phase progressing without many risks, except a few aggressive pokes onto Incarnati0n by Bjergsen in the mid lane. A definite CS advantage (95-52 by the 10 minute in the midlane) gave TSM an edge in the early game, but Cloud9 answered with the first downed turret of the match.
With Meteos having to constantly head to the mid lane, Cloud9 looked to be falling behind early. Though Dyrus was killed for First Blood before the turn of the 14 minute mark, TSM traded it for the first uncontested dragon.
The timer ticked towards the midgame relatively slowly, though TSM destroyed a third turret (versus Cloud9's two) to get ahead to a 2k gold lead.
Cloud9 couldn't contest TSM's second dragon, which the team took at the 20-minute mark. Cloud9 made a conscious effort to be more belligerent at this point, poking opponents who were trying to recall and getting the mid Tier 1 and top Tier 2 turrets after grouping up.
In response, TSM quickly melted the second midlane turret, then looped around to push down the toplane. But no team fights ensued, with both groups dancing away at the right time while Cloud9 waited for Incarnati0n to bulk up.
The 25-minute mark passed with only one kill on the board and four turrets down for each team. A minute later, the players met in the midlane for a fight that gave TSM a free two kills after they collapsed onto Incarnati0n.
Unable to contest the enemy's third dragon, Cloud9 still met TSM in front of the pit to initiate a fight that ended after a one for one trade. The next few minutes saw the teams raid the jungles and dance in and out of fights. At the turn of the 33 minute mark, TSM managed to get their fourth dragon but then faced their opponents in a great fight that got Cloud9 three kills.
This was the breakthrough moment for Cloud9, allowing them to move up the river to get the Baron with the kill score at 5-3. The teams met again after the 35-minute mark, when Cloud9 came knocking at the enemy door. TSM angrily pushed away their opponents, then initiated a fight that backfired and gave up three kills (including a double kill to Incarnati0n).
Melting the mid inhibitor, Cloud9 looped into the top lane but gave up a kill to leave the kill score (in their favor) at 8-4. But TSM wasn't about to roll over, fighting their opponents in the river to trade three-for-one and secure their fifth dragon at the turn of the 40 minute.
With TSM's inhibitor having respawned but their aspect of a dragon having faded, they met Cloud9 in the jungle for what turned out to be the game winning fight. Cloud9 netted four kills in the skirmish, rushed up the mid lane to get the inhibitor, and finished the game after 45 minutes.
Farnia Fekri is a staff writer for theScore eSports. She missed NA LCS so, so, so much. You can follow her on Twitter.