After an incredibly hard fought series, Team Liquid emerges over Clutch Gaming to secure their place in the LCS Finals. This will be their fourth consecutive trip, where they’ll be looking to be the first team in LCS history to complete the four-peat. Their journey wasn’t easy, but it’s all about the end result: a battle for the ages in Detroit.
Keep the Horses in the Back
The Summer Semifinals were staged to be exciting, but no one expected Clutch to hold their own against TL. Instead, they took the series to its final game in epic fashion. Despite an absolutely dominant performance from TL’s Nicolaj ‘Jensen‘ Jensen, CG held on and capitalized on every advantage they could. Whether it was punishing someone for a mistake or manifesting a large scale team fight, Clutch ultimately stretched Team Liquid very thin. This resulted in scattered play across the board, however TL made sure to keep the ponies parked.
With the series on the line, Team Liquid pulled out the Sona + Taric combo in the Bottom Lane and ran away with it. This pair of champions has had a love and hate relationship with Peter ‘Doublelift‘ Peng and Yong-in ‘CoreJJ‘ Jo, but the love was in the air this time. Doublelift and CoreJJ held it down in the Bottom Lane, making it much easier for Jensen to snowball and carry Team Liquid to victory. Though there was a drop off in his statistics towards the end of the series, Jensen was the clear force that allowed Team Liquid to finish with a win.
The Middle Lane Difference
Entering the Semifinals, there was a looming sense of tension between both sides. Over the course of the season, Jensen has been one of the standout performers in the league, establishing himself as a top tier Mid Laner. However, Tanner ‘Damonte‘ Damonte was fresh off of a series win over Søren ‘Bjergsen‘ Bjerg and TSM, so he was feeling confident. A win over two of the best Mid Laners in the world would surely have Clutch riding high.
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With so much riding on this one series, Jensen embraced the pressure, rather than getting caught up in the spotlight. Team Liquid’s recent championship appearance in the spring certainly helped gauge Jensen’s emotions, as he seemed to feel more comfortable this time around. His average K/D/A of 4.36 was monumental in TL’s efforts of closing out the series, especially his 21/4/13 performance on Akali during the first three matches.
Even though Jensen was the spectacle of the series, Damonte didn’t just hand over the win. He made Jensen fight for it. Game two was where spectators began to question the true power of Team Liquid, as Damonte crushed their hopes of a sweep with a 9/1/10 scoreline on Qiyana. This champion has been a favorite of his all split, but Team Liquid let her slide through the pick and ban phase. As a result of Damonte’s carrying, TL decided to ban Qiyana in every match afterwards. However, this only goes to show how much power each of the Mid Laners had.
Team Liquid Will Play Cloud9 in the Finals
Despite an incredibly tough fight from Clutch Gaming, Team Liquid will move onto the finals and play second-seeded Cloud9. The two teams will meet for the third time this split, where TL will have a chance to even the scores. Both squads have already secured their places at World’s this fall, but the domestic dispute isn’t quite over.
In this matchup, it will be a battle of each squad’s prominent duo. For Team Liquid, most of their play revolves around Doublelift and CoreJJ in the Bottom lane. However, Dennis ‘Svenskeren‘ Johnsen and Yasin ‘Nisqy‘ Dinçer have the likely best synergy in North America. These two will put a lot of pressure on TL’s Top side, as they’ll be looking to counter the opposing pressure on the Bot side. Nonetheless, it will be a very exciting series between two of the best teams in NA.
Featured Image Courtesy of LoL Esports Flickr.
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