Over the weekend, Team Liquid defeated a competitive Clutch Gaming squad in the LCS Summer Semifinals. A win was obviously important, but it seemed to mean more to TL’s Mid Laner Nicolaj ‘Jensen‘ Jensen. Even though he was crowned an LCS Champion for the first time in the spring, Jensen still has a lot to prove. This time around, he wants to solidify his legacy with another championship and help Team Liquid get through World’s this fall.
A Performance for the Ages
Despite Clutch Gaming’s resilience, Team Liquid managed to control a hotly contested series and close out in five matches. The story of the series was told in the Mid Lane by Jensen. In each of the first three matches, he emphatically picked Akali and outperformed the lobby. His scoreline of 21/4/13 on the champion included a 10/0/8 performance in Game 1 and a 4/0/3 performance in Game 3. His impact on the game was map-wide and detrimental to anything CG had hoped to execute. Whether it was solo killing Tanner ‘Damonte‘ Damonte in the Mid Lane or roaming to lock down someone else, Jensen was there and ready to out work whomever he faced.
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Jensen has always been one to talk big, especially when the stakes are high. The narrative was no different entering the semifinals, as he claimed Damonte would be an easy victim. Rather than waiting to back himself up, Jensen attacked from the start and immediately left his mark on the series. In fact, he had each of Team Liquid’s first four kills to open Game 1. Ultimately, he made sure to stay involved and take part in almost every fighting opportunity, considering his kill participation percentage of 71.6% in the series. Jensen was the ‘X’ factor for Team Liquid, allowing them to compete for their fourth straight LCS Championship.
Taking the Back Seat for the Long Haul
Even though Jensen was the clear star of Team Liquid throughout the first three matches of semis, Clutch figured out a way to nullify him by banning Akali. With her off the table, Jensen was forced onto other, less-slippery champions like Sylas and Corki. This was just one of the many reasons to dial back the intensity, as it was clear that CG wanted to shut him down.
Along with champion limitations, Jensen was forced into the back seat by Clutch Gaming’s Jungle pressure. Since he had played so well in the first three matches, there were often other members of CG fixed on the Mid Lane. Part of this plan was to get Damonte back into the matchup, but the main goal was to contain Jensen as much as possible. This really took a toll on Team Liquid’s plans, considering how important their Mid Laner had been in the series. However, Jensen understood his new role in the team and carefully tried to work his way into the cracks.
Aside from a few mental errors, Jensen still had a big impact in both Games 4 and 5. Instead of being the same aggressor from earlier in the series, he took his time and oriented himself around his team. This is usually where Team Liquid thrives, as they are one of the best in the league when grouped up. In the end, Jensen was the true leader of the pack.
Featured Image Courtesy of LoL Esports.
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