Many weeks of competition have all come down to the two best LCS teams in Team Liquid and Team SoloMid facing off at the LCS 2019 Spring Finals.
Each team’s respective journey here have been quite the polar opposites. Whereas Team Liquid pretty much cruised their way to where they are, even sweeping FlyQuest in the semifinals, Team SoloMid have had to claw their way. Even though they were the third-place team at the end of the LCS 2019 Spring Split, there were a lot of questions regarding how well Team SoloMid would play when the stakes were the highest. However, it’s safe to say that they have proved their doubters wrong. They easily dispatched of Echo Fox in the quarterfinals, and although the series score, 3-2, does not look that good, their reverse sweep over Cloud9 showed just how much this team can improve, not just from series to series but from game to game.
Now, they’re facing off against Team Liquid, who, by the way, they hold a winning record against.
While Team Liquid have been the undisputed best team in the LCS for the past season (or the seasons before it, for that matter), Team SoloMid have had their number this season. The first time Team SoloMid beat Team Liquid, many people understandably thought it was a one-off. But, as it happened against during the second round robin, Team SoloMid have proven themselves one of the few LCS teams that you could reasonably favour over the defending champions.
With that said, we go over below the many factors that we think that will come into play in TSM’s victory over Liquid in the LCS 2019 Spring Finals.
How Has Team SoloMid Been Beating Team Liquid?
It appears that stylistically, Team SoloMid matches up well against Team Liquid. The reason for this is that Liquid’s style of play is centered around their bottom lane. This means that most of their gold, roam timings, and summoner spells like teleports will be focused on their AD Carry, Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng. Naturally, Doublelift is able to accrue leads on his own, but even then his solo laners will come to assist him and get him further ahead. Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong usually cedes control of his lane to be able to get a numbers advantage in the bottom lane — he averages a -4.6 CS Differential, -175 Gold Differential, and -127 Experience Differential at 15 minutes. But, to do that, he needs a stable tank or an initiating pick in the top lane that can survive the laning phase without much help.
This here lies the problem.
Because Impact usually leaves his lane to help Doublelift, this opens up the game for Sergen “Broken Blade” Celik to farm freely. No other players can help him as well. Jensen is usually nullified by Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg when they match up and CoreJJ can’t exactly leave his lane to help unless he risks ceding an advantage as Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen also matches up quite well with Doublelift in the lane.
Because Team SoloMid can prevent Team Liquid from building an advantage during the laning stage, they force the defending champions to play out of their comfort zone. Add in their aggression, as well as early-game execution, and you can see why Team SoloMid are favoured against Team Liquid.
Does Team Liquid Stand No Chance in the LCS 2019 Spring Finals?
Team SoloMid’s path to a win at the LCS 2019 Spring Finals isn’t quite that easy just yet, however.
Even though Team Liquid played well in the regular season, they’ve shown significant improvement in the playoffs. Or, at least, in their series against FlyQuest.
Their 3-0 sweep over FlyQuest wasn’t just because they were simply the more skilled and talented team. They played that match really well and showed an expanded championship pool that could surprise Team SoloMid. Also, Team Liquid have a history of reversing their fortunes against favoured opponents. Lest we forget, they were also 0-2 against Cloud9 during the NA LCS 2018 Summer Split, but they swept them off in the finals come playoffs.
The onus is now on Team SoloMid to make sure that they don’t end up suffering the same fate.
Team SoloMid will have to find ways to dissect Team Liquid’s improvement and prepare for how much more they may have already improved since their last showing against FlyQuest. In addition to this, they need to make sure that their playstyle, which previously worked against Team Liquid, had not been figured out just yet.
Anyone who’s been following the NA LCS (now just LCS) for years know that Team SoloMid is a name associated with greatness. They used to have a stranglehold on the region. But, for the past two splits, their shine has worn off and they’ve been a shell of their former selves.
We predict that Team SoloMid’s aggression and willingness to pick something unorthodox, as well as other overall skill and synergy as a team, are enough to beat Team Liquid in the LCS 2019 Spring Finals and get them back to the top.
How do you think the LCS 2019 Spring Finals will turn out? Will Team SoloMid finally get back to the top? Or will Team Liquid find a way to mask their early-game weakness and impose their own gameplan? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.