The LCS is entering its last couple of weeks of competition. The teams continue to separate in the standings, with Cloud9 pulling two games ahead of second-place while CLG and Golden Guardians fall two games behind eighth place. Team Liquid had a 2-1 record over the weekend, gaining wins over Immortals and FlyQuest while losing to TSM. Their 7-5 record is good enough for a three-way tie for fourth. Here are three takeaways for Team Liquid from Spring Split Week 4.
Team Liquid Adapted for their Rematches
Week 4 held Team Liquid’s first rematches of Spring Split, as they had played Immortals and FlyQuest in Week 1, and TSM in Week 2. Immortals and TSM were actually the first teams to beat TL outside of Lock In. This time around, Team Liquid had much better drafts and in-game execution.
In Week 1, Immortals beat Team Liquid off the back of top and support counterpicks. Revenge drafted Irelia into Alphari’s Kennen, which secured at least one solo kill in the early game. Destiny drafted Blitzcrank in response to Tactical and CoreJJ’s Senna-Tahm Kench. Not only can Blitzcrank hook the Tahm Kench when he has someone devoured, but he can also break Tahm’s Grey Health shield with his ultimate.
In Week 4, Team Liquid turned the table with Immortals drafting Senna-Tahm Kench and CoreJJ taking the Blitzcrank. Alphari also got the Gnar counterpick into Gragas. TL’s bottom lane secured the First Blood by killing Destiny, and Alphari set Revenge back about 30 CS by 15 minutes. In their last match, Team Liquid kept making big mistakes that IMT repeatedly punished. This time around, IMT got squirrelly under pressure, which allowed Team Liquid to snowball pretty comfortably.
While TSM won their rematch with Team Liquid, at least it didn’t happen as much in draft. In Week 2, TSM first picked Azir, which TL responded with low-priority Graves-Jhin. They pigeonholed themselves into a weird composition, whereas for Spring Split Week 4 Liquid built their composition around Tactical’s Tristana. TSM’s dive composition was more straightforward and won out on the day, but TL held firm control of the game until the base race at 28 minutes. If they make a better decision at that moment, TL could have easily secured Mountain Soul and closed out the game.
These adjustments are just what Team Liquid fans want to see in the rematches versus Evil Geniuses and 100 Thieves in Week 6. The earlier losses versus those teams were from draft and decision-making issues. Wins over those opponents will be crucial to the standings going into the Mid Season Showdown.
Mid Season Winner’s Bracket is Not Guaranteed
Speaking of the Mid Season Showdown, Team Liquid only have six more games to solidify their place in the standings. The “playoffs” in Spring Split 2021 involve the top six teams from the regular season. The top four start in a winner’s bracket, while fifth and sixth slot into the loser’s bracket. Since it will be double elimination, first through fourth have to lose two series to get knocked out. The way the standings are shaping up, Team Liquid are not guaranteed top four. Performance-wise, they certainly deserve top four in power rankings, but the Mid Season Showdown is seeded from their win-loss record.
TL still has to rematch Cloud9, 100 Thieves and Evil Geniuses. Each of these games will dictate where TL finishes. If they lose two or three, then they probably finish fifth/sixth. If they lose one, then they probably finish fourth. And if they win all three, then they might even finish third. First and second place seem unlikely, as Cloud9 is three wins ahead, and TSM has the 2-0 head-to-head. Most viewers expect Liquid to show up in best-of series, but they really want to make top four to have that extra cushion in the bracket.
Tactical Needs to Get It Together
Remember reviewing all of Tacticore’s 2-v-2 kills from the Lock In tournament? Remember Team Liquid’s performances at Worlds 2020, when Tactical was popping off? That Tactical would not solo die multiple times in one game to a Syndra Q-E-R combo, yet that’s what happened in Week 4’s match versus TSM. The Analyst Desk even talked about how Team Liquid’s composition required Jensen’s Seraphine and Tactical’s Tristana to survive in extended fights in order to win. However, the marksman found himself out on his own and out of position several times, which contributed to the loss.
Tactical’s accounts for 23.9 percent of Team Liquid’s deaths, which is actually lower than his share during Lock In (26.1 percent). However, his gold and XP differences at 10 minutes have gone down a bit, and his kill share and damage share are slightly lower. Careless deaths go less noticed in winning matches with more dominant laning phases, and when a player gets their maximum damage off. For Team Liquid to take this split (and the rest of the year) all the way, they really need Tactical to play with a bit more respect in those lull states.
Listen to The Liquid Lowdown Episode 4: https://www.spreaker.com/user/10719087/liquidlowdown4
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