Clutch Gaming have confirmed their spot at the League of Legends World Championships in October, occupying the third and final North American slot at one of the most prestigious events in esports.
Clutch, featuring Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, Nam “Lira” Tae-yoo, Tanner “Damonte” Damonte, Sun “Cody” “Cody Sun” Li-Yu and Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme, had to run the gauntlet this weekend, facing Flyquest, Counter Logic Gaming and Team SoloMid on consecutive days.
Their matches against Flyquest and CLG were fairly convincing; both 3-1 wins, not blowouts but they looked comfortable. It wasn’t until the final match against TSM, North America’s most well-known, most popular team, that Clutch finally came up against a team that was going to cause them some real issues.
TSM took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series and, despite the fact that they weren’t hugely convincing wins, it still put Clutch on the back foot with no margin for error. It simply came down to a necessity to not let TSM continue getting their huge early game leads, or risk losing it all.
Last year was the first time TSM hadn’t competed at Worlds after a very rough season, but they can add Worlds 2019 to that list now as Clutch showed unreal levels of composure to not only win Map 3 with ease, but to continue their form into the next two matches and put the team that was once NA’s only hope in the dirt.
As well as being Clutch Gaming’s first trip to Worlds, it is also Damonte, Lira and Vulcan’s, who begin their tournament on October 2 at the play-ins stage.
Other North American teams that have qualified are Team Liquid and Cloud9, who were favourites for their spots heading into the 2019 season anyway. The Clutch spot is one that people expected to be contested, but not many would have seen Clutch actually taking it.
Did you expect to see Clutch qualify for Worlds? LoL esports is always full of surprises, and this just adds to the spectacle.