Battle Report: TL Secures Spot in the Play-offs

April 02 2015

Coming off a rather disappointing 1-1 score in week 8 of the LCS, Team Liquid entered week 9 in must-win situations. Any loss jeopardizes their spot in the top 6. Two wins was the name of game. Unfortunately, Team Liquid would fall to Winterfox on day 1, putting them in the 7th seed, just one spot off the play-offs.

“We were in a situation where if we had won versus Winterfox, our play-offs spot was guaranteed,” Alex ‘Xpecial’ Chu told Riot Games. “If we can’t even beat all these teams, we don’t even deserve to be in the play-offs anyways.”

The last thing a team wants is to put their fate in the hands of luck, especially when they were in control of their own destiny. However, losses by both Team Gravity and Team 8 in day 1, with the two fighting each other on day 2 in a natural tiebreaker, put Team Liquid in a unique spot. A win versus Team Dignitas slips us into a contested 6th place seed where we fight loser of GV vs T8. However, a loss in either game would have sent us packing.

Team Liquid vs Winterfox

Team Liquid needed a win against Winterfox to give them the best chance at the play-offs. However, at WFX straight out-rotated us and TL as a unit did not play to their own standards, resulting in a fairly crushing 22 to 8 defeat at the 35-minute mark.

Simply put, Team Liquid played a team that did not scale as well as WFX’s two ADC, two tank composition. With that said, we failed to secure the early game with early deaths by Quas and Dominate in the top lane, making the game a pure uphill battle. But that’s not to say we didn’t fight back.

In real 5 versus 5 engagements, TL struck back with some decent fights of their own. Piglet showed he could position against a frontline heavy team and Quas, even on a tank that does not scale as well as Sion, could be the bruiser TL needed. As the game progressed, Team Liquid failed to engage without any follow-up and Xpecial repeatedly got caught on Annie. Left and right, fights slowly swung into Winterfox’s favor and it was only a matter of time before TL bled out.

Team Liquid vs Team Dignitas

Pressure was on. Day 2 would pit Team Liquid against Dignitas. A loss eliminates any chance at a spot in the play-offs. One thing I learned watching sports is that experience starts to take over in high-pressure situations. Every player on TL stepped up their game, resulting in a dominating 21 to 6 victory at the 31 minute mark.

This game had some brilliant plays, and some brilliant picks, that swung the game in our favor. An early TL bait at the bottom tower gives Quas’ Hecarim first blood, securing his lead. Dominate performed exceptionally well on Sejuani, acting as an initiate—one of four initiates I might add—for Piglet’s Kalista. “Having Sejuani made it easy in team fights,” Xpecial told Riot Games in the post-game interview. ”Dom initiates or I initiate, you can kind of get a wombo-combo going and do great things.”

While we still have yet to see the scrim god spoken of in Liquid Legends (pun intended), FeniX played a fairly safe game and out-farmed his opponent. When it came time to fight, the pure amounts of damage he could dish out was too overwhelming for Dignitas to handle.

Really, this game versus Dig was a great bridge into the tie breaker. Coming off a win like this was not only good for TL’s morale, but can also put nerves on a team coming off a loss. Teams don’t want to fight TL at their best, the team fights are fairly convincing.

Team Liquid vs Team 8

As the players were setting up at their respective stations, my heart was pounding. This was it. A loss here ends the split for Team Liquid. While this season had many ups and downs, many downs quite frankly, not even making play-offs is just… I can’t even.

Team Liquid vs Team 8 was a match that literally stayed tied till the very last fight. The gold on both teams were basically dead even; no relevant leads to be had. Fights were back-and-forth and as the minutes passed by, any team could cause a game ending slip-up. You could tell both teams wanted this, but TL just wanted it more. Everyone on the team played quite well resulting in a win.

This game was close all the way: If you haven’t seen it or heck, you want to watch it again. It’s right below. In-terms of how we won, it was just our ability to maneuver around team fights effectively with an ever-so slight gold disadvantage, and eventually put the gear into overdrive once we got an ever-so slight gold lead. Those who win team fights win games.

Play-Offs Secured

With the tie-breaker behind us, Team Liquid secures the 6th seed, making them the last team to make the play-offs. It’s a shame we never really got to test our true skill during the season itself with our rather upsetting 10-9 W/L record despite having all the tools needed to succeed—a world champion, an all-star, and a scrim god.

On Saturday, we get a chance to play Counter Logic Gaming in a Play-offs best of 3. “I want to play versus CLG,” said Chae ‘Piglet’ Gwang-jin to Riot Games. “I want to fight Doublelift but I respect Aphromoo a lot, I expect him to play Madlife level.”
It should be an exciting series. CLG is a top team, but Team Liquid looks to be improving with Piglet each week. We are however 2-0 against CLG in the season, giving us a slight edge in that department. Still, in a play-offs series, anything can happen.

Writer // Ken Serra
Graphics // Zack Kiesewetter
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