Run It Down - 2018 NA LCS Spring Playoffs - SEMIFINALS FOX v. TL [SPOILERS]
(2) Echo Fox v. (4) Team Liquid | (1 - 3)
Team Liquid swept Cloud 9 last week, and Echo Fox had a weak end to their regular season. Who will win? Well, apparently Team Liquid in an overwhelming fashion. Although the series went to four games, as opposed to Liquid's sweep of C9 the week before, I wouldn't consider it a closer matchup.
Team Liquid's first game started poorly despite an early first blood for TL Impact. A deep dive past turret from FOX resulted in a kill each for FOX Huni and FOX Dardoch, but TL Pobelter was able to clean up a low Dardoch. From here on out until 20 minutes, the scales tip in FOX's favor thanks to Rift Herald. After a secured Infernal Drake, however, FOX lose the resulting fight two for zero, and Liquid are able to pick up Baron. The remaining 10 minutes of game time are entirely one-sided, as FOX only manage one more kill before their nexus explodes. It was the first stomp of the day.
Maybe, after seeing TL Doublelift do so well on the pick, FOX thought to themselves "Yeah, Caitlyn will win us this series." FOX's draft phase focused heavily on TL's bot-lane for the entire series; they never changed their first three bans of Xayah, Jhin, and Morgana, and their last two bans always included at least one support ban against TL Olleh. Liquid—on the other hand—adjusted their bans frequently, although they mostly focused on the top side of the map, targeting Dardoch and Huni. In Game 2, FOX limited Liquid to 0 dragons, 0 Barons, 2 towers, and still almost lost. While stuck in base, Team Liquid defended against Echo Fox's base push three times in a row—one of which included a Doublelift Quadra—and nearly won a fourth before FOX Altec's late-game Caitlyn proved to be too much. FOX was up over 8k gold at multiple points in this game, and yet several of their attempts to end the game were thwarted, almost too easily. It was clear that Liquid's teamfighting was simply better and more coordinated. This fact would be proven true in both subsequent Liquid victories.
With FOX tunneling on bot-lane, their draft left much to be desired. Liquid could count on FOX picking Caitlyn in their first rotation, so Liquid could pick up other power picks, like Trundle for TL Xmithie and Cassiopeia for Pobelter. Echo Fox clearly had no answer for either of these picks, as displayed in Game 1, but they needed to keep Altec / Adrian afloat against Doublelift / Olleh. Yet despite picking Caitlyn, the premiere bot-lane bully, FOX's bot duo couldn't handle Doublelift's Ashe counterpick. In all three Caitlyn-Ashe games, Liquid came out on top in the bottom lane. FOX's weakness was revealed in the later weeks of the regular season, but it was exploited on Saturday. In Game 3, Liquid went back to its roots during the split and began speedrunning the game, ending it before 30 minutes.
And, of course, Liquid finished off the series with a 23:10 game timer in Game 4. Again, FOX picked Caitlyn in first rotation, and again, Liquid played Trundle, Cassiopeia, and Ashe. It should also be noted that FOX FeniX played Ryze in every game of this series, and it was reminiscent of FLY Fly's Ryze in Week 8. Okay, it wasn't that bad, but to say FeniX dropped the ball would be an understatement. Dardoch and Huni tried their hardest to carry their team, but even their performances left some to be desired. All in all, even though Team Liquid entered playoffs as the 4th seed, they've clearly had the best performances out of all six teams so far. Doublelift still hasn't died in TL victories. He's currently running a KDA of 44/2/34 across seven games. All of Team Liquid has been performing exceptionally well, but Doublelift is putting up legendary numbers.
With this victory, Team Liquid has denied itself the ability to place 4th this split. The team does, however, have the opportunity to be the fourth team to win the NA LCS. No matter who wins between 100 Thieves and Clutch Gaming, the prophecy must be fulfilled; Team Liquid will win 3 - 1 in Miami (because there has to be four games, right?) Not only that, but if Liquid wins, Doublelift will have won the NA LCS on three different teams. Not bad for the main character of the NA LCS.