In the closest playoff series thus far in the North American League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split, 100 Thieves walked a tightrope and came away with a 3-2 victory against Clutch Gaming on Sunday in Los Angeles to punch its ticket to the Spring Finals.
It's fitting that the final semifinal series of the weekend would come down to a tense 74-minute Game 5 that wasn't decided until the final seconds. The surprising part was that it was a series between the No. 1 seed and the No. 6 seed.
With fans and analysts alike giving Clutch Gaming little chance against a vaunted 100 Thieves, Clutch defied the odds with an incredible showing that bodes well for the team's future. On the other side of the equation, 100 Thieves showed that, despite having only played together for three months, it has enough teamwork and resilience to survive a grueling playoff series in the NA LCS.
While much attention has gone to the mid lane and the high-powered Swain pick in the Spring playoffs in North America and Europe, this series was far and away the bottom lane show. In all but one game of the series, the first pick of the draft went to an AD carry. This led to 100 Thieves ADC Cody "Cody Sun" Sun and Clutch ADC Apollo "Apollo" Price jockeying for position throughout the entirety of this series.
While Apollo stuck with champions like Ashe and Ezreal, it was Cody Sun's reliance on the damage-heavy Caitlyn that ended up being the difference in the razor-thin victory. Not only did he put up a 17/7/19 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) in the decisive 74-minute game, but he doled out a ridiculous 122,000 damage to boot. His overwhelming presence ended up being enough for 100 Thieves to simply bleed Clutch dry in the end.
With every game coming down to one pivotal play from either side, it was clear that the veteran presence of the 100 Thieves players ended up being one of the biggest determining factors of the game. The teams traded victories back-and-forth in the first four games until 100 Thieves finally came out on top of the intense chess match that was Game 5.
Despite picking up the win, 100 Thieves play in this series begs the question of whether it can continue using a slow style such as Sunday's, one that force games to come down to a single play from either team. This may have worked out against Clutch, but Team Liquid will surely put up much more of a fight next weekend.
With the semifinals in the books, 100 Thieves will now look ahead to the Spring Finals against Team Liquid at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday in Miami. Meanwhile, Clutch Gaming will prepare for its third-place match against Echo Fox at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.