The 2021 LCS Lock In wrapped up its second week, with most teams eliminated while others continue through the bracket stage. 100 Thieves knocked out Immortals 2-0, and Cloud9 defeated TSM 2-1. Meanwhile, Evil Geniuses beat Golden Guardians 2-0, and Team Liquid bested FlyQuest 2-0. While the Group Stage showed several contested matches, the Knockout Stage has demonstrated a clear dividing line between the top and bottom half of the league. Team Liquid is one of those teams battling for first place, and here are three takeaways from the weekend.
Spring 2021 is Looking a Lot Better than Spring 2020
After the dominant 2-0 over FlyQuest, LCS viewers could almost physically feel the Team Liquid fanbase’s sigh of relief. They know Spring 2021 will not be a repeat of Spring 2020, even if it is just the Lock In. The whole Danish-jungler-having-visa-issues-coming-into-a-spring-competition-that-doesn’t-matter situation that resulted in the rough start last year did not repeat itself. Instead, Santorin came in and TL took care of business.
Some takeaways from Week 1 still held true: Alphari is still S-tier, and the bottom lane is still the focus. Jensen still warming up, though? That did not remain the case. Liquid’s mid laner put up the highest KDA of any player during quarterfinals, mainly because he only accounted for 3.4 percent of Liquid’s deaths (by far the lowest of all players). Jensen’s damage and kill participation were lower than most mids, but can that really be held against him when Tactical and Alphari are both top three in damage and kills from the weekend?
Team Liquid is the Strongest in the LCS Right Now
TL already looked strong after Week 1, but the loss to 100 Thieves tarnished the idea of Liquid being the undisputed best. EG also came away undefeated, so the argument wasn’t there. However, Team Liquid outclassed TSM on Friday, followed by their absolute destruction of FlyQuest on Sunday. Cloud9 and TSM have been too inconsistent to be considered number one. 100T and EG are the only contenders outside of TL, but EG lost pretty handily to FLY, and GG held both teams down for the first 20 minutes of their matches.
In Quarterfinals, TL came away with the lowest average game time, the second highest K:D, the highest gold difference at 15 minutes, 100 percent Baron control, and 92 percent dragon control. 100T put up similar numbers in most categories, but Immortals played their Academy roster and didn’t look that great. EG did not dominate like TL or 100T, yet they were facing GG. Therefore, TL feels like the team to beat for the rest of the Lock In.
Keep Limit Testing
When has the term limit testing ever been associated with Team Liquid? Maybe back in the Piglet days? Fans lit up the TL subreddit following the FlyQuest series, expressing appreciation for the team’s decisiveness, aggression and risk-taking. From the Pobelter-Xmithie-Doublelift line-up to the Jensen-Broxah-Tactical lineup, Liquid has almost always exhibited a measured, calculated, scaling approach to the game.
This playstyle usually worked in North America, as indicated by TL’s four consecutive titles. However, Cloud9 and TSM took the titles in 2020. Damwon Gaming and Suning played in the World Finals last year, and they didn’t get there from high endurance. TL started to show glimpses of their more aggressive potential at Worlds 2020, in the Play In stage and in the Main Event once they had nothing to lose. They took games off of G2 Esports, a semifinalist, and Suning, a finalist. Hopefully, this side of Team Liquid sticks around to compete with not just the 100 Thieves, EGs and Cloud9s, but also the G2s, the Top Esports, the DWG KIAs and the rest.
“From Our Haus to Yours”