Despite putting up a good show against LCS leaders Cloud9, Team Liquid finished week 9 0-2 and are therefore out of playoffs contention.
Defeating the 16-1 Cloud9 was a tall order for the four-time LCS champions and after Liquid lost to FlyQuest on Saturday, their chances of making playoffs looked slim to none. To even stay in contention, Liquid had to beat Cloud9 while hoping that two other matches also end in their favor, hope for a tiebreaker scenario, and then win that too to get the final sixth seed.
By the time Liquid were to face Cloud9, all of these boxes somehow got ticked off. By losing to Evil Geniuses, Immortals gave Liquid some more room to breathe and returned some semblance of control to their hands, and when the champions spawned on the Rift to meet C9, they were almost unrecognizable.
Despite giving away first bood, Mads “Broxah” Pedersen remained composed and got back two kills for his team, helping Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong to get ahead on his Aatrox. Nevertheless, Cloud9’s strong early game secured them a quick gold lead, as well as the first two dragons, building towards an Ocean Soul that would’ve been the end of Liquid: with Olaf and Renekton charging in, there would be no space where Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng’s Ashe could kite and deal damage.
Instead, Team Liquid kept finding pick after pick, focusing on Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme’s Tahm Kench and for a few minutes, Liquid fans could almost see the impossible happening. Great Equalizers from Yasin “Nisqy” Dincer’s Rumble was the one thing keeping C9 in the game, but one mistake from the mid laner could mean a second loss for LCS’ first seed.
That mistake never came and a 5v5 team fight in front of the Baron pit ended Team Liquid’s playoffs chances. The push broke down two inhibitors and when Team Liquid went out of their base to contest Elder Drake, Cloud9’s bot lane backdoored the nexus and ended Liquid’s Spring Split run.
With their elimination, Liquid are the first LCS champion to not make playoffs the following season. And while the Spring Split means nothing in terms of Worlds qualification, that’s still a black record for org.
With their split over, Liquid now have time to get back, regroup for Summer, and try to solve the multitude of issues that plagued them during Spring. Results of the Summer Split will solely decide the three LCS representatives at the World Championship and Liquid can afford no more excuses or slip ups.