It’s finally time for the LCS to return and it will start off with a banger between Liquid and TSM. Both teams fought among the top teams during the spring split but were ultimately defeated at the Mid-Season Showdown. For TSM, it was Liquid who knocked them out in a 3-1 match in the lower bracket. Shortly after, Liquid lost to Cloud9 in the final and missed out on a spot at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational.
For TSM, the team will start off where they left by facing Liquid. The two teams have a lot of history, with wins going both ways. With Liquid coming out on top last, TSM will look to get revenge in the best-of-one format where it usually performs well against Liquid. In fact, TSM won both best-of-one matches against Liquid in the spring regular split.
It will require coordinated and focused play from TSM to win again, as Liquid still has a lot of skill on its roster. The fairly new TSM squad has had a long break to practice together, which might set them up for a better split compared to spring. In spring, the inconsistency for TSM was the biggest weakness after adding several new players for 2021.
For Liquid, the squad remains full of veterans and highly skilled individuals. Liquid’s strength last split was in the top lane, where Barney “Alphari” Morris proved why he was imported to the LCS. He will also be the key for Liquid to beat TSM, as Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon has a tendency to struggle against strong laners.
This will put focus towards the top side of the map, with assistance from the two junglers. For TSM, it will be necessary for Mingyi “Spica” Lu to have a great game so Liquid doesn’t take control of the map. In the bottom lane, TSM could try to make some plays happen but it’s unlikely that any advantage will be granted against the solid bot lane of Liquid.
Instead, TSM should try to get one step ahead of Liquid in the early game. By doing this, TSM can avoid falling into the hands of Liquid’s controlled playstyle. TSM showed the last split that it can play aggressively if given the right champions. This also means that a lot can already be decided in champion selection.
With a completely new pick like Gwen being open, it will be interesting to see if TSM will take any chances with new picks to surprise Liquid and take an unexpected win.
Team Liquid roster:
The first games of a split will always be hard to predict since the teams haven’t played for many weeks. This will provide extra excitement when the players hit Summoner’s Rift, but also extra risk when trying to bet on a winner.
In the case of Liquid against TSM, it’s fair to assume that Liquid will be the expected winner. This is purely based on results from the last split and the fact that Liquid is a team with more experience. This experience might allow Liquid to find its form faster than most other teams, and therefore, getting an advantage in the first weeks.
Historically, the teams are very close so there is also the possibility for an upset. In this case, the smart move would be to go with Liquid.
By being the favorite, a win for Team Liquid will give an odds of 1.65 while it’s possible to score an odds of 2.10 by believing in TSM. The odds are fairly close, but with a fair advantage to Team Liquid.