The 2019 MSI Invitational has been a roller coaster for a lot of teams. Each matchup seems to build more and more anticipation, as the competition continually rises. However, the teams have thinned out and only four remain to battle. Each matchup will be hotly contested, but there is one in particular that should catch a lot of attention.
Team Liquid, the stunning representative from North America, will be facing Invictus Gaming, the former world champions, in the first match of the knockout stage. Invictus have bested TL two times already in the tournament, so it’s fair to expect Team Liquid to give everything they have.
The Ups and Downs of Team Liquid
After winning their third consecutive LCS championship, Team Liquid were expected to dominate at MSI this year. They started off hot with a series sweep over Phong Vũ Buffalo, followed by two wins to start the group stage. Unfortunately, this was halted by a string of four losses that put TL on the brink of elimination. Luckily, they bounced back by finishing the group stage with a record of 4-6, where they snuck into the final four.
Though they managed to battle their way back, TL still dropped two games to iG earlier in the tournament. This isn’t something to panic about, but it certainly can’t be overlooked
Sloppy Play Turns Costly in the End
Team Liquid have lacked aggression and composure in a lot of their match-ups at MSI this year. Specifically, they seem to fall even further against top opponents, like Invictus Gaming. In their two previous losses to iG, Team Liquid completely threw the early game and let their opponents build up massive leads. This was not only incredibly hard to battle back from, but it was detrimental to TL’s game plan. Invictus knows that Yiliang ‘Doublelift‘ Peng is a priority target, so they focused him down as early as they can. This allowed their bot lane duo to play more aggressive without much risk.
In addition to their bottom lane struggles, Jake ‘Xmithie‘ Puchero hasn’t found a rhythm in the jungle either. Xmithie is typically the one that puts his teammates in a position to take over, however opponents have been figuring him out as the tournament progresses. Rather than making an aggressive gank in the top or bottom lanes, Xmithie has been caught out multiple times. This often leads to a massive gap in experience and gold between junglers, nullifying Xmithie’s efforts.
It doesn’t feel like Team Liquid have been prepared enough in any of their recent matches. Instead of adapting their play style to their opponents, they’re simply letting their opponents dictate each match. Of course, they have a few impressive wins under their belts, however they need to make some changes right now.
One Last Shot at Greatness
A lot needs to go right for Team Liquid to come out on top, but Doublelift might be their best chance at winning. Though his K/D/A has dropped from the 2019 Spring Split, Doublelift reigns over his teammates with a 3.8 K/D/A. Each member of TL has seen a similar drop in statistical value, however it will be important to use and protect any positive force that they have.
In recent matches against iG, Doublelift has been focused down in the early stages. If Xmithie can prioritize the bottom side of the map a little more, they can swing the momentum in their favor. This will be a tough feat considering the amount of skill on Invictus Gaming’s roster, but TL’s hopes are thinning.
Doublelift is one of the few players in the world that have the experience, moxy and skill to turn the tides of a game single-handedly. His teammates will need to prioritize his match-up, because it will simply put them in a better position to win. If not, TL will have a sad and long flight home.
Featured Image Courtesy of Riot Games.
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