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Archive:Leaguepedia Articles/PAX Match Preview - TSM vs CLG (NA LCS Playoffs)

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PAX Match Preview - TSM vs CLG (NA LCS Playoffs)
Matchup Infograph

After qualifying for the playoffs almost all of the regular season stats are off the books, pitting teams against each other for survival in LCS and a possible trip to the Season 3 World Championship. With this extra week of down time after Super Week, we can expect to see prepared teams coming into PAX, and I am going to look at their previous performance in the Summer Split and highlight important factors needed for these important matches. The first is the storied Team SoloMid vs Counter Logic Gaming matchup. While this is a historic rivalry, there is more than just a history that makes this matchup interesting.

Match History

These teams have been the two most popular teams consistently for the last few years, and have ended up being matched against each other quite a lot, having a total match record of 22-17 CLG-TSM (according to Leaguepedia). CLG were the veterans, taking most of the prizes in season 1. However, in the middle of Season 2, TSM started to take shape after the addition of Dyrus and a summer of defeats were sent in the way of CLG atIPL4 and MLG Anaheim 2012. Since then, a rivalry has broken out, in interviews CLG members have said they prepare extra hard against TSM.

In recent history though, CLG has been dominant. Ever since their addition of Nien and re-addition of bigfatlp into the jungle, they have seemed to have it out for TSM, defeating TSM all 4 times in the Summer Split. On top of this, TSM has been having team troubles, citing communication as an issue throughout the Split and added drama this last week regarding doubts about Reginald’s leadership. Despite TSM’s rabid fanbase and their favored seed, they are the clear underdogs going into this match. It will be interesting to see if TSM can overcome this troubled matchup, or if CLG will coast again to victory.

Things to Watch For

After studying these teams and their previous head to head matches, a few things stuck out as important deciding factors. This is where TSM and CLG’s play styles clash and these underlying strategies will decide the matches. These elements will be vital in determining the outcome of the match, and the additional context can make the viewing experience more interesting.


Pacing is the biggest focal point of this game. TSM has the second fastest games out of any team, averaging 35 minute games. On the other hand, CLG has the slowest games in the NA LCS, averaging 43 minute games. This is going to be a huge point of conflict around who can dictate the pace of the game, with TSM favoring a quick push and objective focused gameplay and CLG wanting to draw it out with a farm-focused approach.

This can be seen even further when analyzing wins/losses of these teams; in winning games, TSM averages a game time of a fast 32 minute games, but in losing games, they average slower 38.5 minute games. CLG of course is on the other side, in that when they win they have longer than average games at 46 minutes, and when they lose, they are quicker than their average at 40 minutes. Pacing is going to be a key factor in this matchup, and if TSM can play a forceful early game and keep CLG playing a quicker game, they could pull an upset.

Objective vs. Non-Objective Gameplay

The second thing that sticks out between these teams are their stance on objectives. While CLG has always been known to put little investment in dragons and towers, TSM has not always been known as one of the most objective focused teams. They focus dragon very heavily (as seen when looking at my previous article about “Objective Score”). However, we can also see this interaction in their first dragon stats. TSM gets first dragon in 75% of games--the highest of any team--while CLG gets dragon in only 25% of games, the lowest of any team. Also, despite losing all 4 of the past head to head matches between these teams, TSM still has taken the first dragon in every single one of them. Also in regards to total dragons for these matches, CLG has only secured 10 dragons compared to TSM’s 8, a very minor advantage despite a 4-0 win loss ratio.

It is going to be important to watch how these teams will adapt to these playstyles: will TSM still go for an objective-focused style despite it previously failing them? Will CLG still look to ignore objectives and make proper trades?


Both these teams are veteran teams with longstanding histories as previously noted, but with new rosters out of CLG and new tension from TSM, stakes are at an all time high, and so, pressure will be an extreme factor in this game. With the roster changes at the start of the split CLG said they had one goal, to improve enough to get to Worlds, and after finally qualifying and only TSM standing in their way, they are on edge. On the other side, the stress has been getting to TSM. First, they tried to buckle down and practice extra hard saying it was the most important month of their life, and then there was the Dyrus-Reginald drama that exploded last week. Either way this match is looking to be one of the most tense of the weekend, and it will be interesting to see if anyone will crack under the pressure.

Written by Spellsy - @SpellsyLoL
Graphics provided by Eric “Vesca Violette” Womack - @VescaViolette
Edited by Alex “amagzz” Magdaleno - @amagzz

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