The organization captured its fourth consecutive title with a win over Cloud9. Both of these teams already qualified for the 2019 League of Legends World Championship, but the event featured no shortage of drama.
Team Liquid opened the series with a decisive victory. In the picks and bans, Cloud9 let the strongest picks in the meta slide. Team Liquid got its hand on Azir, Aatrox, Sejuani, Xayah, and Rakan, with all five standing among Liquid’s most successful champions.
Cloud9 responded with Veigar for Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer, a pick that proved to be successful versus Team Liquid in the regular season.
The mission for jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen was to assist Nisqy in his matchup versus Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and help him chase Jake “Xmithie” Puchero. The prioritization of the solo lanes allowed Team Liquid to roam first, and stay on the attack.
Team Liquid read Cloud9 like a book. The squad took control of the early game and predicted the moves of Svenskeren. Keeping track of the jungler gave them control over the neutral objectives.
Cloud9 found their fight in the mid game. The team effectively separated Xmithie and Jung “Impact” Eon-yeon from the damage dealers for two easy kills. Around the 20-minute mark the ults from Nisqy started to hurt, but Liquid didn’t allow Nisqy to scale. The team took the baron buff and got ready to siege.
Once inside the enemy base, Team Liquid never left. They played the three lanes with patience and discipline. The Cloud9 players watched as their structures collapsed around them. They jumped in for a final fight but there was nothing they could do against Team Liquid.
Cloud9 was ready to fight in game two. The squad started with aggressive ganks in the bottom lane. All five members of Cloud9 joined the fight and took control of the southern side of the map.
In the solo lanes, the situation wasn’t better for Team Liquid. Nisqy completely destroyed Jensen, while Eric “Licorice” Ritchie dominated Impact. Team Liquid fell behind and couldn’t find their way back into the game. Out of sorts, Team Liquid took a defensive stance.
Cloud9 kept the pressure on through the mid game. They took the first baron buff and went for a one-three-one push. Around the mid lane, Cloud9 wanted to brute force their way into the base. The extended team fight favored Team Liquid, as Cloud9 limped away.
Team Liquid got out of the base to get a dragon but Cloud9 caught them mid-transition. Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng saved Team Liquid one more time with a quadra kill.
Tired of the pointless fights, Cloud9 took the second baron of the game. Team Liquid ran in to contest, but sacrificed multiple kills in vain. This allowed Cloud9 to take game two and tie the series 1-1.
Jensen got his revenge with a solo kill in the mid lane. The first blood gave him a slight advantage, but the mid laner couldn’t snowball off that early gold lead. Team Liquid started roaming and looked for plays in the jungle, but Cloud9 turned it around every time.
Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam on Alistar was a force to be reckoned with. The support set up plays and constantly caught out Team Liquid players. Between Zeyzal’s clean initiation and Nisqy’s craftiness, Team Liquid lost control of the game.
Cloud9 hid inside a bush in the jungle and took Team Liquid by surprise. Three kills turned into a baron buff. The final siege was slow as Cloud9 played it safe, not wanting to give Liquid a chance to rebound. The team pushed through the bottom lane and kept going until they took the lead.
Cloud9 drafted comfort picks in game four, hoping to close the series. Meanwhile, Team Liquid pinned its hopes on Jensen’s Leblanc.
Licorice started the game with a solo kill versus Impact. The top laner took control of the lane, forcing his opponent to play more defensively. Nisqy roamed to the top lane to bring extra support for Licorice, and that decision would cost them the game.
Alone in the lane, Jensen grew a significant CS and gold advantage. Team Liquid slowed down the pace of the game and denied Cloud9 the opportunity to fight, which prevented Cloud9 from converting their top lane advantage into anything more.
Jensen was the difference-maker for Liquid, using his strong burst damage to keep Cloud9 flustered. Cloud9 managed to hang around by capitalizing on some mistakes by Liquid, but when Liquid took a baron buff they had no way to stop the series from going to a deciding game five.
Team Liquid made some necessary adjustments in game five. The team drafted Xin Zhao in the jungle and Shen in the top lane. These picks gave the team more engaging options and also more safety in team fights.
Team Liquid took control of the map early and never gave it up. For Team Liquid, the game was about objectives rather than kills. The team was not trying to skirmish and avoided fights unless they could lead to an objective. Svenskeren on Jarvan IV could not pressure the lanes, which saw the jungler go from being a playmaker to a bodyguard for his teammates.
Cloud9 counted on Licorice to get them back in the game but his power spike never came. The team struggled to deal with Liquid’s aggressive play with Shen and were forced to avoid him rather than punish him. The gold advantage allowed Team Liquid to dance around the baron while Impact was on split push duty.
At 27 minutes, Team Liquid aced Cloud9 around the baron pit. Instead of rushing to the enemy base, Team Liquid opted to reset and go for the standard siege. With two inhibitors down, Jensen jumped straight into the enemies for a triple kill that would seal the deal.
30 minutes into game five, Team Liquid aced Cloud9 again and claimed its fourth consecutive LCS title.
It’s a major achievement for an organization that was long stuck in mediocrity, and one they hope will set them up for success in Worlds.