For Team Liquid, the spring split in the LCS is one to forget. The reigning League of Legends champion of North America also loses both games in the final week of play and is unable to defend his title.
In the night to Monday, Team Liquid lost to championship leader Cloud9, while the night before Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng and his teammates had already been defeated by FlyQuest.
This makes reality what Liquid fans have been fearing for a while now: The team that last won the LCS trophy four times in a row finished the Spring Split as penultimate. It is the first time that a defending champion has failed to make it to the knockout round in North America.
First staff worries, then lack of planning
A bad start into the new season was initially attributed to a personnel problem: Jungle newcomer Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen, whom Team Liquid had signed with Fnatic, was not allowed to play for the defending champion at the beginning of the split due to problems obtaining a visa.
Even after Broxah joined the team in week four, however, Team Liquid’s problems changed little. Established top players like AD-Carry-Star Doublelift and the experienced top lancer Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong had big problems in the meantime and made unusual mistakes for them.
Also Broxah has not really joined Team Liquid so far. On paper, they have five of the best individual players in the league, but in practice the overall construction did not work in the Spring Split. Seven meager wins out of 18 matches are not enough for Team Liquid to qualify for a playoff.
Cloud9 on the way to its first title since 2014?
Instead, Cloud9 is the team of the hour. The lineup around the Dane Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen only had to contend with one defeat in 2020 so far and otherwise dominated LCS. The Sky Blues last won the league six years ago, in the spring of 2014.
No other team could even come close to the number of victories that Cloud9 achieved in the league phase. If the team can confirm its form in the playoffs, nothing should stand in the way of the LCS title. Either way, C9 is the top favourite to win.
This Monday evening from 9 p.m. there will be four more tiebreakers of the LCS, which will be about the last slot for the playoffs or the seeding for them. The knockout round itself will then start on April 4 and end with the grand final on April 19. Due to the coronavirus, the playoffs will be played completely online.