The second NA LCS Semifinal pitted Team Liquid (“TL”) and 100 Thieves (“100T”) in a series many throught to be very one sided. Both teams met in the Finals last split, but now only one will make it. TL has remained at the top all split while 100T have had definite ups and downs.
TL seeks to defend their trophy in Oakland and be the undisputed best team in North America. 100T looks for redemption and to prove that, though they are a newer organization, they can stand up with the giants of the region. 100T shook up their roster by switching out Cody Sun, who has played the entire split, and putting in Academy player Rikara to help them achieve their goal.
100T broke the loss streak versus TL in their very first game of this important series. Though many thought TL was the obvious favorite, 100T made a statement that they’re serious. It all started off of a failed invade by Xmithie, essentially donating First Blood to Ssumday. 100T kept the momentum going in the early game, getting the First Tower bonus and a Rift Herald. TL were no slouches here either, as they utilized their multiple Teleports to secure kills and objectives all over the map.
At 20 minutes, the game was still pretty close. This was until Ryu found a great engage onto Doublelift, where his team followed up to kill him and another TL member. This prompted 100T to go to Baron Nashor, where they narrowly secured it and a kill onto Xmithie. They weren’t able to get much off of the buff other than a bottom lane tower and Infernal Dragon.
Both teams took some towers and danced around each other for about ten minutes after that. Finally, at 36 minutes, 100T found their opening. TL engaged a team fight onto them, and initially it was one-for-one trade kills. That was until Aphromoo found a beautiful flash Headbutt-Pulverize combo onto three TL members, which Ssumday followed up with a triple Powder Keg combo. They found two more kills and a second Baron buff. TL found a pick onto Aphromoo a couple of minutes later, and decided to go for the Elder Dragon. 100T contested, and AnDa found the secure onto it. 100T also won the ensuing fight three-for-zero. With this momentum, the remaining members of TL were powerless to stop 100T from taking their Nexus at 39 minutes.
TL demonstrated their smart macro game to get a win in the second game. The first ten minutes were very quiet, with Doublelift and Olleh dominating the bottom lane, which translated to an Infernal Dragon. At around 12 minutes, both teams traded big objectives, with 100T getting First Tower and Rift Herald, while TL got a bottom tower and second Infernal. First Blood came out quite late – at 16 minutes – when TL dove Ryu in the top lane. 100T were able to get two kills off of a counter play though, so the teams remained even.
A 19-minute team fight showed the team fighting potential of TL that would be seen later on. Here, they took an Ocean Dragon and when 100T engaged, TL smashed them two-for-zero. The match stalled for over ten minutes at this point. Both teams took a couple of towers each, and 100T found a kill onto Olleh, but there weren’t any major fights or objectives taken.
Finally, A team fight exploded in the middle lane. Aphromoo was killed very quickly, and with the man advantage, TL went for Baron. They secured it and managed to disengage from 100T. There was another team fight when TL went to siege the middle lane. TL found two more kills, which let them destroy two towers, an Inhibitor and Nexus Tower. They then rotated to the bottom lane to take more structures. TL now pulled the trigger. They engaged onto 100T, who were obliterated. TL took a clean Ace and ended the game at 40 minutes.
TL absolutely dominated 100T in game three. TL was proactive throughout the entire game, making better plays and outplaying their competition at every step of the way. Xmithie secured First Blood for Doublelift with a gank bottom, and Doublelift grabbed another kill with a catch onto AnDa soon after. AnDa did find a productive gank onto Pobelter, which got Ryu ahead, but it would not prove enough. TL found a multitude of objectives, inlcuding Dragons, Rift Herald, the First Tower bonus and more towers before 20 minutes.
At 19 minutes, TL capitalized on the lead they were building. Both teams met at the Mountain Dragon and a team fight began. TL blasted 100T, winning the skirmish four-for-zero and getting the objective. This also let them secure the Baron buff a minute later with this advantage. TL did overextend when they regrouped to push the middle Inhibitor. A team fight broke out here, and while TL took the Inhibitor, they gave over two kills to 100T and delayed their push.
TL tried to push the top lane and take the Infernal Dragon at the same time. This resulted in them getting the Dragon, but losing Pobelter and delaying their siege a bit more. In the next few minutes, TL would take a a tower while 100T’s Inhibitor re-spawned. It didn’t stay up for long though. This was because TL found a great engage onto 100T, forcing them to team fight again. TL massacred four members while losing only one of their own. With this, they quickly dismantled 100T’s base to end the game at 30 minutes, bringing the series to match point.
As they did in game three, TL took a dominant win in game four to secure not only their spot in the NA LCS Finals, but also a spot in the World Championship. The early game was fairly even, with AnDa getting First Blood for Ssumday and his team getting a kill on Olleh bottom. TL definitely weren’t slouches though. They found their own kill on the enemy top laner and all of the outer towers by 20 minutes. There were some kills, but many were traded by the other team for kills and/or objectives.
Team Liquid controlled the neutral objectives, securing the Rift Herald and a Cloud Dragon. There was hope for 100T when they managed to get an Infernal Dragon, but it wouldn’t last long. Though 100T had a ward near the Baron pit, TL managed to skirt around it to sneak the buff without 100T contesting it.
TL used this buff to great effect. They grouped mid, and while there a team fight broke out. TL slayed two 100T members, which allowed them to take two middle towers. With their split pushers, TL was also able to get all the towers outside of 100T’s base in the side lanes. The buff expired, and the teams grouped around mid again. This is where Olleh found a fantastic hook onto Rikara, which kicked off the final fight. TL, as expected, won this fight hard. They Ace’d 100T, and rushed the base. With no resistance, TL destroyed 100T’s final Nexus at 28 minutes.
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