Photo by: Riot Games
Almost 290,000 peak viewers watched as Team SoloMid reverse-swept Cloud9 in the NA LCS semifinals. It was the latest chapter in the longest NA LCS rivalry and victory meant a lot for both teams.
Both TSM and C9 have been in the shadow of a new NA LCS king, ever since Team Liquid rose to prominence in 2018 with the assembling of their super star roster. It was a particularly difficult period for TSM fans as well, as for the first time ever, their team didn’t make the NA LCS finals, breaking a 10-split-long streak. But in 2019 Spring, TSM and C9 met again to decide who will make the NA LCS finals to play Team Liquid again and try and wrestle the trophy away from them. Cloud9 failed to do so in 2018 Summer and TSM have never even challenged them.
TSM’s reverse sweep
In the first NA LCS semifinal, TSM were on elimination point after two games. Cloud9 had played a better, more structured League of Legends and for a third split in a row it seemed like TSM would not make the finals. In a dire time of need, SoloMid looked to their captain and anchor, Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, and Bjergsen answered.
The elimination threat awakened Bjergsen and his Akali became a thing of nightmares for Cloud9. In what many would describe a 1v9 series from that point on, Bjergsen dashed and slashed to become the highlight of his team’s reverse sweep over their old rivals.
But it wasn’t a 1v9, of course, as Bjergsen had a lot of help from jungler Matthew “Akkadian” Higginbotham and support Andy “Smoothie” Ta. Smoothie locked powerful teamfighting supports for the reverse sweep, including Galio, Braum and Alistar and was the set-up piece that helped Bjergsen’s tour de force in games 3-5.
Team Liquid trample FlyQuest
Not even rookie of the split Omran “V1per” Shour could save FlyQuest from total annihilation at the hands of Team Liquid. The heavy favorites to win NA LCS for the third time in a row, Liquid proved they’re classes above FLY.
FlyQuest found themselves completely and thoroughly outmatched, both mechanically and strategically. V1per’s quadra kill on Irelia on Game 1 was among the few highlights FLY had that series and fighting off Team Liquid became progressively harder as the series went deep.
Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong was a critical piece to Team Liquid’s success on Sunday, as he played Jayce twice and then Viktor in the final game. Impact showed that in long series, years of experience still trump youth and ambition and won his lane convincingly in games 2 and 3, at one point up 50cs on Jayce over V1per’s Akali. The mid lane match was also mechanically won hard by Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen over Eugene “Pobelter” Park so FLY had little carry presence on the map.
The race to six
The TSM vs. Team Liquid final means that there will be exactly one NA LCS player who will be the first to six domestic titles. It’s Bjergsen vs. Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng time.
Bjergsen and Doublelift have been in competition for the NA LCS GOAT for almost half a decade now. Bjergsen was the first to establish a strong legacy, winning two in a row for TSM in 2014, but Doublelift retaliated with his own NA LCS title as CLG took the 2015 Summer Split. In 2016, the two players actually came under the common roof of TSM and won two titles for themselves before their paths divided: Bjergsen stayed in TSM, while Doublelift joined Team Liquid.
Ahead of the 2019 Spring Split finals, each player has five domestic titles each. On Saturday, one will get six. One will make a very, very strong case for NA LCS’ GOAT.