Team Liquid robbed the thunderous St. Louis crowd of their “TSM! TSM! TSM!” chants. Down 0-2 and one more map loss away from elimination, the defending champions reverse-swept Team SoloMid to take their third domestic title in a row.
The series started with a spirited TSM taking charged. Riding the wave of their own reverse-sweep against Cloud9 in the semifinals, TSM played two dominant opening games to get on match point. Behind captain Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, the MVP-esque performances by Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik (11/1/6 Vladimir in Game 1) and Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham (6/3/4 Hecarim in Game 2) made TSM fans believe that redemption is finally here for their team.
With their backs against the wall, instead of crumbling, Team Liquid rallied and they owed it much to their bot lane duo. In Game 3, Liquid entered a healthy late game for the first time in series and looked — this time reliably — at Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng to do what he does best. Despite quadra QSS from TSM, even Jake “Smithie” Puchero’s Skarner was not useless and made key ultimates to engage fights.
In Games 4 and 5, TSM turned to Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen’s best champion in Ezreal but Team Liquid knew that was coming and were prepared. Knowing their best shot at a reverse sweep is keep Doublelift alive, they put Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in and Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen on full on protect duty on Tahm Kench and Zilean and TSM found no response. The series was tied.
Game 5 was a slug fest that lasted more than 45 minutes and TSM were the first to get an edge, acing Team Liquid in the dragon pit to fire up the crowd.
From that point on, however, CoreJJ’s Braum became the hero of the match. With timely walls, CoreJJ squashed the potency of TSM’s poke composition. Having a stronger late game themselves, Team Liquid gradually ground Bjergsen and co. to submission and performed the reverse sweep to the shock of all TSM jerseys in the arena.
This is not only Liquid’s third LCS title in a row, but Doublelift’s six, as he takes the lead in domestic championships ahead of Bjergsen’s five. Team Liquid also become only the second NA team to get three in a row after TSM and will once again represent North America at MSI.
Despite the defeat, TSM fans have much to look forward to in the current roster. With an average age of 21, the current SoloMid’s iteration is as young as it is brewing with potential, as it proved in these playoffs.