One weekend of the LCS spring playoffs has passed and only four teams remain. The top two teams from the regular season, Team Liquid and Cloud9, have been enjoying their first-round byes, while Team SoloMid and FlyQuest have been working hard to advance. Since Team Liquid is 0-2 against TSM this season, they chose to play against FlyQuest this coming weekend, leaving TSM to face their rivals in Cloud9. This weekend should prove to be an exciting one as the LCS gets its own version of the final four.
Team Liquid (14-4)
Holding the #1 overall seed during these playoffs is Team Liquid. They started off hot during the regular season, notching a seven-game winning streak. Jungle play has been a huge factor in their success so far, as well as the strength of their carries. Each member of TL seems to be very polished in their respective roles and usually win their match-ups. Even if they start the match behind, Team Liquid plays to their advantages well enough to get themselves back into the game.
However, no team is perfect in this league. Though they were able to start off 7-0, Team Liquid dropped four matches in the second half of the Spring Split. This kept the first place spot within reach for Cloud9, but ultimately the tiebreaker between the two teams tilted in the direction of Team Liquid. By securing the #1 spot, Team Liquid was able to choose who they play in spring semifinals after their bye week. With an 0-2 record against TSM, it’s not surprising that TL chose FlyQuest to play against, but it does show some sort of weakness from the “top” team. Team Liquid must be afraid of TSM’s vast amount of composition styles, so they chose the lesser of two evils in an attempt to make their first series a little easier.
Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen
Jensen has put together an interesting resume during his tenure in the LCS, but his performance this split was one of his best. With a 14.17 K/D/A ratio, Jensen reigns over every other professional player in North America in that regard. Champions like Syndra and Orianna compliment his aggressive mentality in lane and he typically establishes a decent lead because of it. His talent and intelligent play style make him a perfect fit for this dominant TL squad.
At the #2 spot is Cloud9. C9 has performed exceptionally well this split and have TL tied for the best record. What separates this team from the rest of the pack is their dominating vision control and well-organized team fights. These two factors can turn the tides of almost any situation in League of Legends, no matter the circumstance and C9 knows it. As a result, they usually hold objective advantages, like dragons and turrets, whilst maintaining gold leads in lane.
Unfortunately for C9, they tend to make riskier plays and can find themselves in a hole because of it. This was the reasoning behind their two losses to Team Liquid, as they over-committed in a lot of situations. Misjudging opportunities to fight would often lead to poor positioning and loss of objectives, and TL did a great job of cleaning up C9’s mess. This can become a much bigger problem for Cloud9 as they’ll be facing a very talented TSM squad this weekend.
Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer
Dinçer, also known as Nisqy, has been one of the biggest factors in Cloud9’s success this season. With Jensen gone, C9 was lacking the presence of a strong mid-laner and Nisqy has filled that void perfectly. His K/D/A of 8.47 is one of the best in the LCS and his play on both Zoe and Sylas has been phenomenal. With Nisqy in the starting roster, this Cloud9 team is solidified and lethal.
Team SoloMid (13-5)
The Spring Split didn’t start off well for TSM, but they managed to bounce back and secure the third overall spot. At 2-4 through six weeks, TSM was tied for last place with little hope in their future. Some of their bigger issues seemed to be strictly synergy-based and after a few weeks, they were back to surging like the old TSM. Their upset win over 7-0 Team Liquid certainly lit a fire beneath them and they haven’t looked back since.
The top-lane focus has been working for them so far and they should have a lot of success with it against Cloud9. By securing an advantage in the top-side of the map, TSM often controls rift herald and get an early gold lead because of it. Their communication and synergy seemed to be among the best in the LCS despite having some slip-ups earlier on.
There aren’t many flaws in TSM’s play this season, but their 0-2 record against Cloud9 sticks out like a sore thumb. Little miscues and positioning errors made it easier for C9 to catch members of TSM off-guard. If they want to have any shot at advancing, TSM will need to be more polished than ever. Cloud9 will take advantage of anything that TSM gives them, so it’ll be very important for TSM to stick to their game plan and make smarter plays.
Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg
Better known as Bjergsen, Bjerg has performed incredibly well for TSM this split much as he has for the past six years. His play-making ability separates him from most of his peers and he’s even considered one of the best League players in the world. This is proven when he’s playing Zilean or Zoe, because of his exemplary knowledge of both champions. Bjergsen has been one of the biggest forces for TSM over the years and he’ll continue to do so in their upcoming series against Cloud9.
Rounding out the top four teams is FlyQuest. The road to this point hasn’t been the easiest for FLY, but they’ve prevailed over tough opponents many times this season. Their overall talent on paper is enough to turn heads, but their team play is what makes them a top team. Group fighting is FlyQuest’s specialty and they’re typically able to control most fights because of their positioning and ward coverage. Jason “WildTurtle” Tran does a great job of staying behind the front line, while Omran “V1per” Shoura absorbs incoming damage and takes out the enemy back-line. More often than not, FlyQuest dominates the fighting aspect of most matches and this can easily shift the outcome in their favor.
Though they flourish as a group, FlyQuest struggles against top opponents. They have an impressive win over Team Liquid but also have an 0-2 record against Cloud9. Some of the blame is on their composition choices, while the rest of it lies on the members themselves. Skill can sometimes get to one’s head and that can take away from the reality of a match. For instance, some members of FlyQuest will over-extend themselves in a lane and not respect the damage of their opponents. This usually results in easy kills for the opposing team and frustration for FlyQuest. Limiting careless deaths will surely keep FlyQuest moving in the right direction, but they’ll have a big obstacle in Team Liquid standing in their way.
Eugene “Pobelter” Park
Much like the three other mid-laners named, Pobelter is highly skilled and versatile. His champion pool is vast and he seems to be comfortable on everyone he plays. Zoe has proven to be one of his best, as he holds a league-best 25 K/D/A ratio on the champion. Her mobility, range and high DPS go well with Pobelter’s aggressive mentality, making the two a perfect fit. If given the opportunity, Pobelter will wreak havoc on the opposition while playing Zoe.
Featured Image Courtesy of Riot Games.
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