Team Liquid vs Team SoloMid: The clash of titans

Most of us thought this game would be a tight contest. Most of us were wrong. Very, very wrong.

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(Photo Credit: Wojtek Zając)

Team SoloMid entered their Saturday matchup a three time straight NA LCS Split champion, but for many, they also entered an underdog. Team Liquid finished dead last at 10th place in the 2017 Summer Split, the same Split TSM won, but over the offseason, Team Liquid redefined what their team name represented.

The two juggernauts met for the return of the NA LCS for the Spring Split, and results were colossal. Let’s break down this clash of titans.

On the Rift

TSM opted for a more conventional team composition this game, mixing heavy DPS with hard CC.  Bjergsen took on the responsibility of going into the rift with Ryze, a popular champ which has seen a great amount of play this first week of the LCS. The rookie MikeYeung took preseason rising commodity Shyvana into the jungle with Hauntzer taking the knee in the team role as Gnar. TSM’s bot lane consisted of a Kalista/Alistar combo, which really hammered the nail into the head of the whole “team fight” strength of their composition. 

TL on the other hand took a very aggressive and straightforward composition that would prove to be way too overwhelming for their opponents to handle. The top lane held the Asian region-preferred kleptomancy Gangplank who was piloted perfectly by impact. The new signing held onto his ultimates for the perfect times to supplement ganks made by Pobelter (Malzahar) and Xmithie (Gragas) on the top and bot lanes, forcing flashes before hard cc ever came.

Speaking of bot lanes, Ex-TSM AD carry Doublelift and his support Olleh absolutely throttled mithy and Zven with a Tristana/Taric combo: playing safe until Gangplank and Malzahar’s ultimates were up for rotations. With so much single target lock down, TL made it a priority to get their lead early and not let up. 

And boy did that priority pay off.

The first 10 minutes of the match might have looked like a solid start for TSM with MikeYeung getting two early dragons with his Shyvana, but TL made up for the early losses hard with aggressive ganks that didn’t settle for just getting flashes, but would push deep past first tier turrets and risk a lot for kills. One after another, TSM players fell and one after another, TL players grew their massive wave of advantage.

This strategy of sacrificing some late game teamfight potential for early pressure proved to be so effective that it isn’t unrealistic to expect this first NA LCS game to be a meta-game standard for the rest of the weekend (maybe even for a few weeks.)

Team liquid will enjoy coming off of a such a good start against such a difficult opponent, but TSM will need to find some confidence in themselves and either take a more aggressive posture on Sunday, or will need to find a way to survive another onslaught and wait the game out with their new roster

Either way, congratulations to Team Liquid, it will be exciting to see more explosive play from them this season. And as well, a shout out to Reginald for betting, and losing, $15k on the game as a donation to Team Liquid’s charity of choice.

It was a pretty good first day.

Let us know what you think of this legendary clash in the comments below!