The first week of the NA LCS Spring Split saw many surprises come about, especially when it came to the standings of the tournament. As of now, four teams are tied for the first-place position. These four teams are Echo Fox, Team Liquid, 100 Thieves, and Cloud9.
Quite a surprising bunch, if you ask me. For the past two years, Echo Fox has been considered an extremely weak team. 100 Thieves started from the ground up as a rookie team, and Team Liquid almost saw themselves being demoted into the Challenger Series last year.
I’m pretty sure we can all agree that the only team we’re not surprised with having a first-place standing after the first week is Cloud9, largely thanks to their rich history of performing well throughout every stage of the season.
However, today we’ll be looking at Team Liquid and why you should bet on them. Crazy, right? For the past two years, they’ve struggled to make a presence during both the Spring and Summer Split, yet for the first time in two years, they’ve become a dominant force to be reckoned with.
They Beat Team SoloMid Like They Were a Rookie Team
Team Liquid looked to have a challenging start to their Spring Split, as they were expected to face Team SoloMid first, the six-time NA LCS Champions. Adding onto TSM’s notoriety of being one of the toughest teams in North America, they had to worry about the team bringing in former World Championship semifinalist duo Zven and Mithy, the deadliest bot lane in Europe.
However, even with the odds stacked against them and a larger percentage of fans thinking that Team Liquid would lose to the powerhouse of North America, the tables were turned within the first ten minutes of the game.
But put themselves back into the game they could not. As soon as Team Liquid made a crucial roam in the thirteenth minute which led to the death of three members of TSM, it was evident that Team SoloMid would need a miracle to win this game.
TL’s top laner, Impact, destroyed Hauntzer in the laning phase. Team Liquid’s Xmithie was present for 82% of the kills, while TSM’s new “rookie” jungler MikeYeung had no presence whatsoever. It was also evident that the bot lane of Team Liquid clearly outmatched that of Zven and Mithy.
Very few expected Team Liquid to take down Team SoloMid with such crushing ferocity, let alone take down Team SoloMid at all. They didn’t even just upset the number-one contender for the first-place standing of the regular season. Team Liquid took them out like they were a rookie team.
OpTic Gaming Was No Threat
Yet another contender for their first-place spot was OpTic Gaming, a rookie team full of talented individuals like PowerOfEvil, Arrow, and LemonNation, all of whom were veterans on the international level.
They took 100 Thieves to a sixty-minute game, and by the looks of the first ten minutes, OpTic Gaming was going to make it a fight. With PowerOfEvil on his signature Orianna and Arrow on his famous Kog’maw, there was no denying that OpTic Gaming was looking to destroy Team Liquid by any means necessary.
While OpTic Gaming did put up a fight during the early game, it was Team Liquid’s coordinated fights and fast-paced decision making that ultimately won them the game. OpTic Gaming’s talented roster could not keep up with the intense gameplay Team Liquid was throwing at them, and because of this, it left them vulnerable for risky plays that Team Liquid would take advantage of.
With Team Liquid taking out two of the best teams in the first week of the NA LCS Spring Split, it’s possible that this could be a repeat of the 2015 season, but much better. Now that we’ve looked at their two matches they’ve played, let’s dive into what makes Team Liquid such a powerhouse for the Spring Season.
They Have One of the Most Stacked Rosters…Ever
When it comes to being stacked, no team surpasses Team Liquid. They went from struggling to having one decent player to becoming the best team on the Split, largely thanks to their ability to acquire some of the top players from every team.
They have a roster consisting of Impact, Xmithie, Pobelter, Doublelift, and Olleh. Not only are they a team that has the communication needed to succeed at the highest caliber, but every single player on this roster has been to the World Championship.
Xmithie, Pobelter, and Doublelift went together in the 2015 World Championship, and in 2017, Pobelter and Olleh made their debut together before Immortals was disbanded.
Three of their players — Doublelift, Impact, and Olleh — are in the top-ten standings for best KDA (kills/deaths/assists). Doublelift is currently first with a 23.00 KDA and a 95.8% kill participation. That’s 17.2% higher than the second-place kill participation, which is Smoothie’s 78.6%.
They’re all mechanically skilled. Doublelift is considered to be the top AD carry in America and one of the best AD carries internationally. Impact has experience at the international level. He’s played for South Korea Telecom and has destroyed many of the top Korean teams still present today.
Xmithie’s steady jungling capabilities have made him a consistent performer and allow him to top some of the best junglers in North America, and Pobelter and Olleh are both threats in their lanes, which cannot be ignored.
Because of this, there’s no denying that Team Liquid is a team full of mechanical skill. They’re all individually talented, and in North America, it’s rare to ever have a World Champion on your team. Judging by mechanical skill alone, they could win it all, and we haven’t even gotten to team communication.
They All Know Each Other
We’ve gone over the fact that Team Liquid has a very talented arsenal. Every single player on their roster has been to Worlds and are considered top tier in their respective role. However, the one thing that truly unifies them is the fact that they’ve all had some time together as a team.
The only exception to this is Impact. However, his experience with South Korea Telecom, Cloud9, and NRG eSports makes him a great candidate, as he is always willing to do whatever it takes to help his team succeed while holding a dominant laning phase.
Xmithie, Pobelter, and Doublelift played together on Counter Logic Gaming during their 2015 Summer Split Gauntlet run, where they beat Team SoloMid. In 2016, Xmithie and Doublelift would also go on to win the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational.
Pobelter and Olleh have had time together on Immortals, and largely thanks to Olleh’s excellent foresight in how the game will turn, they’ve been able to be a deadly duo in terms of shot-calling and building the game.
This past relationship is good in two ways. They’ve already played with each other, so they don’t need to work on their synergy. It’s already there. Secondly, this helps them focus on other parts of the game they aren’t proficient in.
For Team SoloMid, with the team losing three of their members, we could see that during their match against Team Liquid, there was no communication whatsoever. The team was extremely clumped, and nothing seemed to be in order.
With Team Liquid already being a synergized powerhouse, there’s no wonder as to why they’ve become the strongest team in the league. They have five World Championship qualifiers, a team that interacts without any problem, and enough resources to financially address any problems in the future.
Predictions for Week Two
Team Liquid is set to play two more extremely strong teams in the second week of the Spring Split Regular Season. First, they’ll be facing against 100 Thieves to see if they can hold their first-place spot, and then, on the second day, they’ll be battling it out against Clutch Gaming to keep them from rising up the ranks.
Team Liquid vs. 100 Thieves
- Prediction: Win
Team Liquid and 100 Thieves are both tied for first place as of now. However, in the end, only one can stay. There’s a slim chance for 100 Thieves to make a first-place run like Immortals did in 2016. However, if they want to do so, they’ll have to pull off a miracle by beating Team Liquid, which won’t be easy.
Though both teams are extremely versatile and extremely powerful in their own aspects of the game, I think it will be Team Liquid that will eventually come out the victor. They’ve only shown strong performances against their opponents.
Both Team Liquid and 100 Thieves faced OpTic Gaming. While 100 Thieves finally took their opponents down after a sixty-four-minute-long match, it only took Team Liquid about half that time, with Team Liquid taking them down in a handy thirty-six minutes.
However, 100 Thieves did proceed to defeat Counter Logic Gaming within thirty minutes. Counter Logic Gaming has one of the most stacked rosters as well, with a team holding Darshan, Reignover, Huhi, Stixxay, and Biofrost.
The match between Team Liquid and 100 Thieves will certainly be a tight one. Both teams have some of the best players from around the NA LCS. Team Liquid has superstar top laner Impact, and the old CLG (short for Counter Logic Gaming) roster, while 100 Thieves has superstar jungler Meteos, and Korean powerhouses Ssumday and Ryu.
However, despite both teams giving each other a run for the money, in the end, I think it will be Team Liquid that comes out victorious. They’ve already shown an extremely strong performance, and by the looks of it, 100 Thieves may put up a fight, but Team Liquid will just push past.
Team Liquid vs. Clutch Gaming
- Prediction: Win
- Difficulty: 6.5
After their match against 100 Thieves, Team Liquid will face Clutch Gaming, a team that has recently shown to be a solid combination of players from all across the world. They currently have Solo, LirA, Febiven, Apollo, and Hakuho as their main roster.
With talent ranging from Korea, Europe, and North America, there’s no doubting that they have a highly diverse playstyle. They may have suffered a loss to Echo Fox, a team which is tied for first place as of now, but they showed no hesitation in their victory over Golden Guardians.
They’re currently tied with FlyQuest for fifth place. If they want to advance up the ladder, they’ll need to take down Team Liquid. However, by the looks of it, even with Clutch Gaming looking like a solid team — especially thanks to the commitment of Febiven — I think that Team Liquid will be the victor of this matchup.
There’s no doubting that Clutch Gaming has strong players. They possess European superstar and international threat Febiven, while also holding Korean jungler LirA and NA LCS veteran Apollo. However, when everything’s matched up, it’s Team Liquid that’s the strongest out of them all.
Clutch Gaming has proven themselves to be a formidable team, but in the end, when the statistics and facts are out, it’s evident that Team Liquid is just the better team on all ends. The only way I could see Clutch Gaming winning by any standards was if Febiven and LirA just dominated the entire game, which is a very small possibility.
They’ve already taken down two potential threats, and now, as the stakes get higher, it looks like Team Liquid is only getting started.
Team Liquid is a must to bet on right now. They’re dominating the competition with ease. Their team is the most synergized out of the ten teams competing in the NA LCS. They have unmatched playstyle, and most importantly are making a comeback.
Their 2016 and 2017 performances were so bad that if someone went all-in on Team Liquid during a 2017 regular season match and somehow got lucky, they would make more than twice what they expected.
These odds haven’t changed…yet. People are still skeptical of whether or not Team Liquid is going to be another bust. However, I’m here to tell you that they’re here to stay. The odds are still high, and with Team Liquid’s newfound success, you’re going to want to get in on this quick!