The 2019 LCS Summer Split has been highly competitive and fun to watch. So far, teams like OpTic Gaming and Cloud9 have jumped out to a strong start, whereas others have tripped out of the gate. Team Liquid is a team who sits in between those two categories, but they had an opportunity to break out of the ‘clump’ earlier today.
Coming into this important game, Team Liquid knew which match-ups to take advantage of. Their bans of Yuumi, Aatrox, Sylas, Sivir and Neeko focused on the Bottom and Mid Lanes: two of OpTic’s strengths. They also locked in the Lover’s Duo of Xayah and Rakan for the fourth time in six matches. This ultimately gives TL’s Bottom Lane duo an advantage because of their comfort on those champions, but OpTic had a very similar idea in champion select.
OpTic were well aware of TL’s strong Bottom Lane, so they banned Sona and Lux. These two champions play major parts in certain combinations, so OPT immediately took them off the board. On top of that, their bans of Ryze, Leblanc and Akali emphasize their focus on the Mid Lane. Each of these three champions are favorites of Nicolaj ‘Jensen’ Jensen for TL, but OpTic made sure to limit his opportunities.
Both sides seemed to have similar game plans entering champion select, but Team Liquid had the comfort advantage. Eon-yeong ‘Impact’ Jung and Jensen were able to pick Gangplank and Orianna: two of their most played champions. In addition, Jake ‘Xmithie’ Puchero played one of his favorite champions in Trundle. Team Liquid were feeling good heading into such a big match.
Optics Set on Victory
OpTic Gaming have set the LCS on fire to start the Summer Split, but this weekend fared much harder for them. Their 4-0 record through the first two weeks was halted yesterday by Cloud9 and Team Liquid were ready to do the same.
The match opened with cautious play that quickly turned aggressive. To start, Xmithie picked up first blood for Team Liquid in the Bottom Lane. This transitioned to some quality pressure in the Jungle for TL, where they were able to secure multiple Dragons.
As the game progressed to its middle stages, the action intensified. Despite OpTic’s efforts at catching their enemies off-guard, Team Liquid still held minor advantages that kept them ahead. Whether it was a small CS lead in the Top Lane or a well placed ward, little things played larger roles in this match. In fact, a smart ward in the Baron Pit led to a huge Baron steal for Team Liquid that eventually turned the tides in their favor.
Ultimately, the better team in this match-up walked away with the victory. Team Liquid played better as a team, made bigger plays and looked more polished. They’ve been very hungry since their slow start to the split and picking up their first 2-0 weekend will surely satisfy them for now.
For Team Liquid, their biggest and best performer today was Peter ‘Doublelift’ Peng. His play on Xayah in the Bottom Lane was unfathomable, totaling a scoreline of 9/1/6 with 336 CS. With Yong-in ‘CoreJJ’ Jo at his side, Doublelift went legendary on OpTic and helped secure an emphatic win for his team. Now, Team Liquid move to 4-2 after a poor start to the summer.
As for OpTic Gaming, they also move to a 4-2 record, however they dropped both of their matches this weekend. To their defense, Cloud9 and Team Liquid are two of the best teams in North America, so they shouldn’t be too upset with their performance. However, this does give them a better understanding of where they are among the rest of the competition.
Featured Image Courtesy of the ESL Pro League.
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