Team Impulse pushed their way past Gravity into the semi-finals of the North American LCS. Each game they won highlighted their ability to play quick and aggressive; next, they face Team SoloMid.
Gravity and Team Impulse started relatively slow, highlighted by a kill onto Adrian’s Nautilus by Cop’s Kalista for first blood; Impulse turned around a kill attempt on Impact’s Hecarim with a timely intervention by Rush’s Lee Sin soon after, evening out the kill score.
Each team looked to take the advantage through early skirmishes, hoping that victories would lead to more map control. By not donating Keane a blue buff, Saintvicious used XiaoWeiXiao's aggression on his mid to take the first dragon for Gravity.
Despite that advantage, Impulse were superior in their roaming, taking multiple fights just by outnumbering Gravity. Rush’s Lee Sin had a good game as he abused early-to-mid game power spikes, either saving members of his team or finishing off kills. By 16 minutes Impulse lead four turrets to one, nine kills to one and almost 7k gold.
When both teams did fight 5v5, the gold advantage Impulse had accumulated gave them such an advantage that Gravity could not compete. They lost three in a fight around dragon by 17 minutes, but ended up killing the dragon in the process; despite large teamfight ultimates landing, Impulse were just stronger.
Impulse compounded their advantage by laying deep wards in order to limit Gravity’s gold options. Even in fights where Impulse got caught out, their ability to isolate carries like Cop’s Kallista gave their team time to catch up. By the end of the game their buffer was so large that Impulse rolled into the base to take their first victory at just under 26 minutes.
Game 2 started routinely with Gravity invading Impulse and forcing a Flash from Adrian's Leona. Gravity claimed first blood on XiaoWeiXiao's Vladimir after burning both of his summoner spells on a previous 1v1 attempt. Impulse mirrored the gank minutes later, getting a kill on Keane's Fizz.
Unlike last game, Impulse took the first dragon as Rush's Vi got rolling; he skipped a jungle item upgrade in favor of an early Brutalizer, giving him extra killing power. Rush would die in a top jungle pickle, but took Saintvicious with him.
These trades were integral in helping Gravity rebound from their last loss; Keane's Fizz held all three of his team's kills at 12 minutes as Gravity led by just over 1k gold. Minutes later, just before 15 minutes, Gravity took a four-for-one fight around their second dragon.
From here, the game slowed down considerably as Impulse evened up the gold count while sitting a turret up, 4-3, at 25 minutes. Despite Apollo's Sivir split-pushing bottom and taking towers, Impulse took some unnecessary deaths which Gravity used to take Baron and dragon soon after.
Impulse were not out completely, however, as they took some kills of their own, trading XiaoWeiXiao's life for Keane's and taking a kill. After minutes minutes of positioning Impulse took dragon as Gravity splitpushed; Rush's aggression led to his and two of his teammates' deaths after face-checking a push in an effort to chase. Gravity took Baron soon after.
Lead by Baron-buffed minions supplemented by a Banner of Command, GV took a top inhibitor. They followed this with sending two to kill another turret bottom, and Impulse took the opening to kill Bunny FuFuu's Janna.
Minutes later the lack of Impulse's itemization was apparent as Gravity took a fight around middle inhibitor tower; Gravity's advantage was just too much, and despite good wave clear Impulse could not keep up in team fights. Gravity evened up the series 1-1.
Hauntzer starting this game with an unorthodox Shyvana build that was previously seen in LPL; he ran Smite in order to provide more utility, along with other jungle items. This worked out, as Impulse gave up three buffs to start the game as Rush conceded ground.
Minutes later, Hauntzer got first blood after diving the bottom lane then got a slick escape courtesy of Thresh's lantern. Gravity compounded this advantage by taking their first dragon around six minutes as Saintvicious' Nunu made short work of the monster.
Impulse had a hard time equalizing, as Rush, already at a disadvantage, could not convert on ganks. By starving Impulse's jungler of buffs and return kills, Gravity kept him restless and wandering. He bought a little more tank than usual by picking up a Cinderhulk enchantment.
With only a single kill on the board at 17:30, Impulse and Gravity raced a bit to take towers; the former took a kill on their way out. Impulse led the game five turrets to three.
The game slowed down as both teams postured for objectives and vision. Eventually the pressure boiled over as a batied Baron turned into a five-for-one fight and a Baron buff claimed and a dragon after.
TiP finally got the advantage they needed off of that fight, giving extra towers and engage to continue momentum. However, they ran into a bit of a wall trying to dive too hard instead of taking an inhibitor. Their next trip back was a bit more successful, however, as Impulse brute forced the Nexus down.
The game opened with a bang as both teams clashed in the river; Rush's Vi gave Impulse the opening they needed in order to get XiaoWeiXiao first blood. He then compounded this lead with six more kills, aiding his team to a 10-3 kill lead by 14 minutes.
Impulse's lead grew over the next few minutes, leaving the with a 7k gold advantage and a four tower lead (to Gravity's zero) by 16 minutes. They continued playing relatively standard without taking unnecessary risks, claiming dragons while baiting Gravity's attention elsewhere.
Gravity looked to try to take turrets in response, but three members of Impulse pushing a lane was a hard distraction to ignore.
Eventually, XiaoWeiXiao split pushing and Impulse's Baron control gave them free objectives while keeping up pressure. At 9/0/0, the former made short work of Gravity carries who were sent to stop him.
Gravity clawed back a teamfight in an effort to stop Impulse's momentum, but Rush's insane tankability prolonged the engagement and distracted Gravity until his teammates could respawn.
The game ended off of a Baron kill by Impulse around 25 minutes as they killed Bunny who was scouting the objective. Soon after the pushed into the base, took three kills on their way to the Nexus and punched their ticket to the next round of the LCS playoffs.
Matt Demers is a Supervising Editor for theScore eSports. You can follow him on Twitter.