The two teams have been rivals for years, with several players having played for both organizations. The most notable is Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, who has had success on both teams. However, Doublelift failed to win Team Liquid a fifth LCS trophy due to a lack of motivation in the Spring Split. Now, DL is back on TSM.
On paper, the two teams are equally capable of taking the last spot. Liquid has been playing its best throughout the split, but just like TSM, they have had struggles during the year. In the regular summer split, Liquid ended in first place after beating TSM twice, making this head-to-head in favor of Liquid.
TSM has been struggling to find consistency this split, but they have shown improvements in recent matches. The current TSM lineup can play at a high level under the right circumstances, but fans have seen it go the other way. To beat Liquid, they will have to play their best game.
In the playoffs, Liquid started out by beating Golden Guardians convincingly. Unfortunately for TL, that was followed up by a tough loss to FlyQuest. Even though Liquid has won many games this split, it’s still unknown how well they will fare against TSM.
TSM has had a much longer journey through the playoffs, starting out by losing in the first round to Golden Guardians. This put TSM in the lower bracket, where they couldn’t afford losing another series. TSM has been thriving under pressure, beating Dignitas, Golden Guardians, and Cloud9 since its early playoffs loss.
The key matchups between Liquid and TSM will be in the mid and bot lanes.Both teams have strong players in these lanes, so playing at the top of their game could be the difference between a victory or loss.
In the mid lane, Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen will have a hard time dealing with Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, who has been a menace throughout the split. Jensen is also considered a consistently good player, but Bjergsen has been on a whole other level recently.
In the bot lane, Liquid might find its win condition. Edward “Tactical” Ra and Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in have been playing better throughout each game, with the young rookie Tactical proving that he can carry games when needed. Meanwhile, Doublelift has been a bit shakier and Liquid might be able to capitalize on that.
Liquid is still the favorite to win the series and qualify for the final after beating TSM twice this split. A Liquid win currently gives odds 1.52, while a TSM win gives odds of 2.35.
The odds difference might seem high since the two teams are known to play very evenly in best-of-five series. Last time the two teams met in a playoff match it went all the way to five games. This could indicate that TSM is a bit underestimated, considering the team’s recent winning streak.