This Saturday will be the battle for first place in the LCS, as Team Liquid takes on Cloud9. C9 is coming off of a massive victory over TSM last week, adding to their eight-game winning streak. They also lost to Team Liquid in the first match of the split, so revenge will be on their minds. On the other side, TL has been nearly perfect this split. A win against Cloud9 would solidify their position at the top as they currently hold the first seed heading into the spring playoffs.
Team Liquid has proven their worth so far this split with a record of 11-1. They’ve maintained their top position since week one with no signs of looking back. A slip up against TSM in week four brought their winning streak to a halt, but since then they’ve bounced back. Now on four-game winning streak, Team Liquid looks to ride this momentum into the playoffs.
There are many factors involved in TL’s success, such as their team play and the power of their carries. Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng has been the driving force for Team Liquid in the bot lane, with a K/D/A of 11.5. That statistic is the highest in the LCS, putting Doublelift in the top-tier company where he belongs. He also averages the third highest farming score in the LCS at 359 CS per game.
In addition to his great personal stats, Doublelift does a great job of playing around his teammates. It’s evident that his synergy with Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in has generated multiple wins for them in the bot lane. CoreJJ has a great feel for Doublelift’s positioning and ability cooldowns, so more often than not they are successful in whatever they do. They are also great with ward coverage in the bot-side of the map, making it much easier to secure objectives and gank their lane. This allows Jake “Xmithie” Puchero to focus more energy into the top-side of the map if they were losing in that regard, but more often than not he’ll try to build up an even bigger lead for his bot lane.
Up in the Clouds
Few teams have had the same success as Cloud9 this season. Their record of 10-2 is one game behind that of Team Liquid as the two teams clash this weekend. Cloud9 will be looking to improve upon their current eight-game winning streak and make a case for first place. A win against TL would tie both teams, leaving the final five games of the split to decide who gets the top spot.
Cloud9 has a very strict and effective way of closing out games for the most part. Each member purchases multiple control wards throughout the game to ensure their overall map coverage. This ultimately removes enemy wards from the map, forcing opponents to play around C9’s advantages. Because of this, Cloud9 rarely falls victim to ganks or an enemy roaming. It’s also much easier when everybody is playing to their full potential in their respective roles.
Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer has played exceptionally well in the mid lane this split, totaling a K/D/A of 8.43. Nisqy excels on bruiser champions like Sylas and Galio that help substantially in team fights. His ability to shut out opponents in lane make his power much more effective when roaming and clearing objectives as well. Going against Nikolaj “Jensen” Jensen this weekend will surely bring out Nisqy’s fire and overall skill. Jensen is one of the few mid laners that have better statistics than Nisqy, so both players will have to be on their A game to have a chance at winning.
Battle of the Beasts
Both Team Liquid and Cloud9 have similar qualities and overall mechanics, keeping them very close together in skill. Each team’s champion pool is fairly similar to the other, so the pick and ban phase will surely be interesting.
Cloud9 prefers to send tankier champions to the top lane, while picking mobile champions in the jungle. This allows Jung “Impact” Eon-Yeong to sustain into the late game on champions like Yorick and Sion. Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen likes to play higher DPS champions, like Nocturne and Camille, that have gap-closers to make engaging easier. Their bot lane success revolves around Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi, so expect to see plenty of pressure on the bottom side of the map.
Sneaky and Doublelift both play a lot of the same champions, Sivir and Ezreal being their most comfortable. It’s expected that both stay true to those champions, but Sneaky could pull out the Cassiopeia to change things up. Either way, the battle in the bottom lane will impact each team’s success throughout the game.
Team Liquid will look to build advantages in the side lanes to establish control around the baron and dragon pits, but Cloud9 will make it much harder due to their ward coverage. Objective control will be a large factor in how each team decides to play as a result. Expect to see a lot of precautionary play around objectives, as neither team wants to be behind. Both teams have shown their ability to come from behind, as well as dominate from the start, making this one of the best match-ups of 2019 so far.
Featured Image Courtesy of LoL Esports.
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