Snake shocks LPL with win over LGD Gaming

Snake Esports pulled off an upset Saturday to open Week 6, Day 3 of the League of Legends Pro League in Shanghai. Provided by Riot Games

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While Snake Esports was arguably the worst team in the League of Legends Pro League entering Saturday's matchup with LGD Gaming, the underdogs pulled off a shocker with a scrappy 2-1 series victory during Week 6, Day 3.

Snake mid laner Liu "Zzitai" Zhi-Hao used Game 1 as a chance to demonstrate how good he is on the often-banned LeBlanc. From early on, Zzitai showed mastery of the Deceiver as he consistently won trades and exerted pressure across the map.

His highlight play came at the 30-minute mark, when Zzitai used fancy footwork to turn a 3-vs-1 into an even trade in the top lane. The skirmish wasted precious time for LGD and allowed Snake to take objectives around the map. With its solo lanes ahead, Snake (2-7, 6-17 match score) dominated the objective game, securing the only Baron of Game 1 at 32 minutes. From there, Snake flooded into LGD's base where it won a decisive teamfight to add on to Zzitai's 5/1/2 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) before taking down LGD's Nexus in 35 minutes.

LGD Gaming (5-4, 13-12) had seen enough of LeBlanc and Jarvan IV, banning both champions in Game 2. With those champions off the table, LGD drafted for the straightforward win condition of early kill pressure through tower dives leading to mid-game map control.

Both jungler Xie "Eimy" Dan on Elise and support Chen "Pyl" Bo on Bard built LGD's early lead through strong roaming, going lane-to-lane and diving turrets to pick up kills. LGD's economic lead meant that Snake was unable to contest any neutral objectives in the mid-game and was ill-equipped to stop LGD from slowly working down the lanes and into the Snake base. The final nail in the coffin for Snake was AD carry Oh "Ohq" Gyu-min on Kog'Maw getting caught out shortly after LGD took a late Baron kill. Without Kog'Maw's waveclear, and with no means of winning a desperation fight, Snake could do little more than watch as LGD took Game 2.

LGD again prioritized drafting Elise in Game 2, which payed off early on as Eimy helped LGD secure first blood. Unlike in Game 2, though, LGD couldn't snowball its lead further. As the game progressed, LGD was quicker to pull the trigger on engagements, but Snake seemed ready to fight, out-rotating LGD to come out ahead in early skirmishes.

Snake's high-damage draft came online later in the game as it dominated teamfights and tore through Baron Nashor's health bar. By the time the second Baron spawned, things looked dire for LGD as it failed to steal the Baron kill and lost four members in the aftermath. Outnumbered and outgunned, the task of defending the base was too much handle as Snake secured its second series win of the split.

Snake has a chance to win consecutive games for the first time this split when it faces Royal Never Give Up at 8 a.m. ET on Friday. LGD, meanwhile, will try to get its playoff push back on track at 5 a.m. ET Thursday against Invictus Gaming.