Clutch Gaming kicked off Week 8 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series with a statement victory over the league leader, Echo Fox, on Saturday in Los Angeles.
Clutch Gaming (10-5) needed a win against a top-tier team to be considered a playoff contender and it did just that against the first-place Echo Fox. It didn't look that way from the start, however, as Clutch fell behind in creep score in nearly every lane early on. Clutch seemed content to give up ground in the early game, though, since the mid game is where it continues to shine.
Any move from Echo Fox (11-4) in the mid game was met head-on by Clutch, as the emerging squad didn't want to let Echo Fox to take any objective for free. Throughout the course of the mid-game skirmishes, slowly but surely the tide of battle had shifted in Clutch's favor.
With teamfights now going its way, Clutch began to even out objectives across the map, which culminated in mid laner Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten's pulling off a sneaky Realm Warp into the Baron pit with his Ryze to help his team secure the buff. The Baron power play allowed Clutch to make up most of its gold deficit and wrestle away control of the game from Echo Fox.
While most of the teamfights were very back and forth, a pivotal fight over the second Baron was quickly won by Clutch, which proved to be one of the final pieces Clutch needed to start setting up for a win. Echo Fox tried to make a last stand over its Nexus turrets, but Clutch wouldn't be denied as it scored an ace before closing out the upset victory.
Echo Fox look to stop its slump when it takes on Counter Logic Gaming at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, while Clutch Gaming continue its hunt for a playoff bye against Team Liquid 3 p.m. ET.