This weekend, two long-time rivals will be facing off in the LCS semifinals. Second place Cloud9 will be taking on third place Team SoloMid in a five-match series. Cloud9 got the best of TSM during the regular season by sweeping them 2-0, so TSM should be hungrier than ever in this match-up. Both sides are stacked with outrageous amounts of talent and it’s expected to be one of the most exciting series’ of the spring playoffs.
Storming the Rift
Cloud9 has always been a force in the LCS, but this 2019 squad has been playing like one of their best. New acquisitions like Eric “Licorice” Ritchie, Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer gave Cloud9 the raw talent they needed to stay at the top. Their synergy was fluctuating in the early stages of the season, but soon after they hit their stride and kept at Team Liquid’s tails. Each member seemed to be getting stronger and more confident as the split went on and now they look nearly unstoppable.
Nisqy has been reflective of these qualities and his K/D/A of 8.47 shows it. He’s become more comfortable as the season progresses, and as a result his play is more aggressive and intelligent. Nisqy is now able to hold his own against top tier mid-laners and utilize his skill set properly. This allows him to help teammates by roaming if he’s ahead or simply keeping their minds off of his lane.
Cloudy Play Limits Sunshine
As a unit, Cloud9 has gelled together nicely, but wandering from their game plan has been their downfall this season. Typically, C9 depends on Svenskeren to make plays in the jungle and get his teammates ahead. However, if their opponents are prepared enough and play around Svenskeren’s movements, he often tries to make riskier plays. These types of plays include invading the enemy jungle, diving enemies under turret, taking dragon with the enemy jungler alive and nearby, etc.
In a spur-of-the moment decision, some of these ideas can be effective, but not so much against professional players. Cloud9 may misjudge a potential fight and over-commit, leading to loss of objectives and lane control. If prepared enough, TSM can monitor and shut down Svenskeren to leave C9’s laners hung out to dry. This would help them establish an early gold lead, where they can dictate the mid-game.
A Well-Oiled Machine
Practice, play-making and patience seem to be some of TSM’s most important qualities as they’ve gotten themselves to the spring semifinals. Practice is important for every team with a changing lineup and TSM took their time working out the kinks. This is where their patience came into play, because it took three weeks for them to solidify their chemistry. At 2-4, TSM was tied for last place with little hope of progressing. However, they started to click and notched an impressive 11-1 run to close out the spring split. The whopping amounts of experience and talent on their roster makes them quite the force to be reckoned with.
Play-makers are everywhere on this 2019 TSM squad. Everyone knows Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg to be a world-class mid-laner, but he hasn’t been the only one performing at a high level. Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik has performed exceptionally well on his new team and he’s made it difficult for his opponents in lane. His K/D/A of 3.64 is fairly average for NA top-laners, but that statistic isn’t entirely reflective of his play.
TSM’s top-heavy focus allows Broken Blade to stack early advantages that keep him as a threat for most of the match. His champion pool revolves around scaling, so early leads tend to make him scale even faster. Proper roaming from his teammates eventually leads to objective control, resulting in winning lanes for TSM.
Old-Fashioned and Predictable
Team SoloMid has a solid game plan that they usually stick to in most matches, however this makes them easier to prepare against. Their top-oriented style of play allows their solo-laners to pick more mobile champions with higher amounts of damage. Unfortunately, these types of champions struggle if they aren’t rewarded with kills or objectives. Opposing teams simply need to ward both sides of the river and TSM’s roam-heavy composition begins to fall apart.
Cloud9 is a team that likes to dominate vision across the map, which will make it difficult for TSM to set up fights. If TSM wants to have any shot at beating Cloud9, they’ll have to beat them at their own game. Control ward placement will be a big factor in either side’s success, considering the play-making junglers on both teams. As long as TSM plays safe and smart, they should be able to play their normal game, but Cloud9 will surely give them a run for their money.
Featured Image Courtesy of Khaotix Gaming.
Follow Brayden on Twitter and Instagram: @staybrayzy
From Our Haus to Yours.