League of Legions eSports
Team Liquid went from 100 to 0 in near record speed as they slammed the brakes on the 100 Thieves’ train. They secured every single neutral objective over the course of their 3-0 sweep. In doing so and in true Liquid fashion, they become the 4th organization to win an NA LCS Championship.
Going into the weekend, all eyes were on the former bot lane partners — could NA LCS MVP Aphromoo put a stop to Doublelift’s monstrous playoff run? Well, in short, no. Liquid flooded the Summoner’s Rift with an unrelenting level of pressure that looked nothing like that the callous play we saw in the 100 vs. CG Semifinals. In a matchup of speed and aggression against steadiness and resiliency, it was speed that came out on top. Way on top.
According to Doublelift, what makes this roster unique is their individual willingness to make plays — nobody is just sitting around waiting for something to happen. “This roster has a really great balance of players,” he says. “Our team can play so many different styles — play late game or be aggressive and creative with early jungle pathing. Anyone can make a big play at any time. Baron engages or flank TPs or Pob can go 1v5. Everyone on this team has an eye to make a play.”
Game 1 was the most contested matchup, but the pivotal moment came when Xmithie stole a Baron away from the 100 Thieves at around 25 minutes. From there, the game (and series) just snowballed out of control. Liquid took the small crack and ballooned it into a massive rift. If you blinked or looked away for even a moment, then you may have missed the Nexus being destroyed.
From there, things never improved for the 100 Thieves. Games 2 and 3 were one-sided affairs that both ended in under 30 minutes. Everything 100 tried fell flat against the wall. They adjusted their draft. They adjusted their lane priorities. Even a huge advantage from a hard camp top that made the early game disastrous for Impact (he died three times in lane) was quickly erased. Nothing seemed to work.
Pobelter in particular proved to be a huge difference maker for TL as he dominated the mid game fights with his Azir engages. He’s long been criticized for shrinking in the light or simply just being “okay” — the type of player that would be well enough to win, but not actually carry. But no longer. His growth over the split and the last few weeks in particular have been high points for his career. And for the performance, he was awarded the Finals MVP. In a league full of mid lane imports, it is NA native Pobelter who stands above them all.
But this was a team effort across the board. Every single member of TL showed up in a big way. 100 just appeared to be outclassed when it came time to contest anything outside of their lanes. They were often slow or hesitant when it came to fights, whereas Team Liquid seemed to always be on the same page. That, to me, is the difference between a team playing to win and a team that’s playing to not lose.
For Liquid owner Steve Arhancet, this victory was vindication for not just a split of ups and downs, but years of failing to stake a claim as an elite organization. He’s endured heartbreak and memes and is one of the most tenured personalities in the scene to never win. Even this split, he says, “We were getting so much mockery from the community and from other owners. Saying, ‘Even though we spent so much money,’ [we still struggled]. The only way to shut them up was to win.”
Now Team Liquid will prepare for a trip to Europe where they’ll represent the NA LCS at the Mid-Season Invitational. After the dominant showing here, expectations for the team will be… 4th at least, but probably higher — as it always is for an NA team. It will be TL’s first international appearance in the LCS era. Can they continue their dream season?