NaJin Sword continued to dominate the second day of the MLG Fall Championship League of Legends tournament, locking up a trip to the finals with a resounding winner’s bracket victory over Azubu Blaze. However, NaJin Sword, like several other teams at the MLG tournament this weekend, also demonstrated how they’ve changed and improved since the Season 2 playoffs.
While there were signs of growth from the European and American teams at the MLG event, Korean domination continued unabated. Azubu Blaze, aided by substitute top-laner Park “Shy” Sang-myeon (on loan from championship runner-up Azubu Frost), swept Dignitas into the loser’s bracket with a 2-0 match victory that belies the incredible fight Dignitas put up. While Dignitas didn’t win a game, they proved themselves more than capable of holding their own against Blaze and came within just a few hits on the nexus of defeating the Korean team.
Azubu Blaze were, in turn, soundly defeated by a dominant NaJin Sword, fresh off a resounding pair of victories over Team SoloMid. While Blaze were able to keep the games close at the start through expert laning, Sword simply outfought Blaze at every turn, and eventually the kills took their toll, giving MaKNooN’s team control of the games and turning the match into a rout.
NaJin sword are safely ensconced in the final, awaiting the result of the loser’s bracket final between CLG Europe and Azubu Blaze. CLG Europe have had an absolutely triumphant tournament since their defeat at the hands of Dignitas in the first round. They knocked Team Dynamic out of the tournament despite forfeiting a game, and then sent Team SoloMid home after they arrived in the loser’s bracket courtesy of NaJin Sword. SoloMid put up a strong performance in Game 1, picking off CLG members right and left, but even as they tried to gank their way to victory, CLG were pulling ahead on gold and towers. In keeping with their new post-Season 2 aggression, they turned an unremarkable kill on SoloMid’s Chaox at 24 minutes into a baron, a tower, and a successful push up the middle to take out TSM’s inhibitor. Where just a few weeks ago CLG were freezing matches and going for late-game victories every time, today they were seizing every opportunity to go for an early victory.
Their defeat of TSM was even more decisive in Game 2, and they moved on to a match against their American counterpart CLG Prime, who had just defeated Dignitas 2-1 in a hard-fought match, and after easily brushing past Curse earlier in the day. The battle of the CLGs was easily the best series of the day, culminating in an excruciatingly tense and even game 3 that went for over an hour. Prime had Europe on the ropes, down two inhibitors at one point, but their inability to come to grips with Europe’s teamfighting abilities spelled disaster. Every time the American team threatened to win, their European comrades would hand them another defeat and send them retreating to await a more favorable moment.
It never arrived, as CLG Europe proved once again that they remain masters of the late-game surge. They turtled until their inhibitors respawned, then set up a gank in the bottom lane that opened an opportunity to get Baron and push the middle lane. Then, with both teams at full strength, they feinted and danced around Prime’s bottom inhibitor for a long minute before both teams committed to the fight. Prime were beaten badly, giving Europe an open road to the nexus and the match victory.
CLG Europe go on to face Azubu Frost Sunday in the loser’s bracket final, which begins at 6 PM GMT / 1 PM Eastern. You can watch here.