After a close spring split, the first-ever Mid-Season Showdown has begun with two best-of-five series in the upper bracket. Both series teased what’s to come in the next few weeks, but also gave a clear hint as to which teams are the strongest out of the six in the playoffs.
With the first two series done, two North American giants in Cloud9 and Team Liquid can look forward to a best-of-five for a spot in the final. Next week, the lower bracket will kick off with the other four teams making a sprint to the final.
Team Liquid and TSM were the first teams to face off in the Mid-Season Showdown. It was the first best-of-five between the two rivals in 2021 and it definitely delivered.
Team Liquid took the victory over four games, but it was closer than the score indicates. The first game of the series was especially close, in what ended up as a 43-minute nail-biter. For most of the game, it was TSM who dictated the tempo and looked to come out with a victory. TSM had a solid gold lead and all the early dragons, but Team Liquid stayed composed and turned things around late.
Throwing away the win during the first game gave TSM some clear confidence problems moving into game two. With Team Liquid’s jungler Lucas “Santorin” Larsen on Nidalee, the Dane got to completely steamroll the map together with mid-laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen on Ahri. In just 33 minutes, Team Liquid extended the lead to 2-0 and forced TSM to pull off a reverse sweep.
TSM as an organization had previously proven to be strong under pressure, but the 2021 lineup hasn’t lived up to that billing. In an attempt to emulate the finish to the 2020 LCS Summer Split, TSM planted the seed for a reverse sweep with a quick win in just 28 minutes. The game was dominated through a strong draft from TSM and renewed teamwork.
Fans were hopeful for the fourth game, but Team Liquid was done playing. With a strong spit-punish composition, Jensen and top laner Barney “Alphari” Morris took over the map on Twisted Fate and Gnar, respectively. While TSM tried to hold onto the base for several minutes, Team Liquid was simply too strong. In 36 minutes, Team Liquid took the last nexus and sent TSM to the lower bracket.
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) March 21, 2021
In the match between Cloud9 and 100 Thieves, there was never any doubt who the strongest team was. Cloud9 entered the Mid-Season Showdown as the first seed from the regular split and that clearly showed. As the fourth seed, 100 Thieves didn’t get a chance to make the upset and will therefore fight in the lower bracket from next week.
During the first two games, Cloud9 showed its clear strength in almost every aspect. Even though 100 Thieves got some promising drafts, the individual power from Cloud9 was too hard to deal with. The new mid-laner Luka “Perkz” Perković showed up big in both games, most notably with a great performance on Orianna in game two. The former G2 Esports player has been a bit shaky throughout the regular split but is already showing up when it matters the most.
With only a single win to go, Cloud9 was looking to end the series in a clean sweep. Like in game 2, 100 Thieves got off to a decent start in the early game but didn’t manage to start a snowball. With Cloud9 crawling back into the game once again, it was only a matter of time before Perkz and co. took control of the map. After 20 minutes, Cloud9 had a sizable gold lead and control in every single fight.
At the 28-minute mark, Cloud9 chased down 100 Thieves to win another fight which resulted in Baron Buff. From this point forward, Cloud9 cruised its way to the third and final Nexus of the series.
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) March 21, 2021
Team Liquid and Cloud9 will now meet in the upper-bracket final. TSM and 100 Thieves will have to continue fighting in the lower bracket, where a loss will result in elimination.
The Mid-Season Showdown will conclude on April 11 with the grand final. For the first time in a year, the final will be played live from a venue, but without a crowd. The winner of the final won’t only be champions of the 2021 LCS Spring season but will also secure a spot as the North American representatives at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational.