Battle Report: Week 7 NA LCS (2-0)

July 14 2015

The season is slowly coming to a close. Week 7 would pit Team Liquid (10-4) against the lowest-end and the highest-end of the spectrum: Team Dragon Knights (1-12) and Team SoloMid (9-5). With excellent performances from all members of TL, the team would go 2W-0L for the weekend, securing the uncontested second place spot.

Day 1: Team Liquid vs Team Dragon Knight

TDK started the season without their primary roster. Now that they’ve finally acquired Ninja and Emperor, it might be too late. They hold only one win throughout the season and while they have chosen glimpses of elite play, they always fall short. In contrast, Team Liquid went into the Summer Split with the same roster and that collective experience would crush the new LCS team.

Team Liquid: Gnar, Gragas, Azir, Sivir, Janna
Team Dragon Knights: Maokai, Rek’Sai, Alistar, Ezreal, Vayne

TDK made some great micro plays, securing a few kills and even playing team fights quite well, but Emperor would over-extend more than he should have and when TL is together as five, you can’t do that.

Throughout the game, Team Liquid would just be ahead. That’s all there was to it. All the dragons, lanes winning in CS, more kills, more pressure, more gold… There was little in the way of relief for TDK. It would take a catastrophic throw—that we almost managed to pull off mind you—to lose this game.

Baron, a decisive team fight, and inhibitors down would net TL the win at the 38-minute mark.

While this win was excellent and near flawless, there were some minor hiccups that need to be avoided else you risk losing to a top-end team. TL extended the team more than we would have liked, but the gold lead was just too immense that it didn’t matter. However, TDK did WIN that fight on a late game composition. If TDK played their composition better, a mistake like that could have been fatal.

Day 2: Team Liquid vs Team SoloMid

Team SoloMid and Team Liquid have this sort of rivalry I can’t quite explain. It’s not a franchise debacle like CLG vs TSM, but more of a battle between owners and management. We do a lot of things with TSM, and they always seem to be the team we can match but never actually beat. This weekend changed that forever.

For a while, our record against TSM usually involved no wins against them, but we took a game here today as revenge for our first encounter. We should have won that game, but we didn’t. Now we’re even.

Team Liquid: Nautilus, Rek’Sai, Azir, Corki, Annie
Team SoloMid: Maokai, Gragas, Orianna, Jinx, Shen

In-terms of composition, TSM played a team with a much higher skill cap. Sure, they have a wall of tanks, but all the damage would be pumped out of an Orianna and Jinx all while avoiding a team designed specifically to destroy them. With TL’s catch potential in Nautilus, Annie, and Rek’Sai paired with backline damage from Azir and Corki, executing a hyper carry composition isn’t easy.

Much like our first encounter with TSM, we’d hold a slight early game lead; one that would grow into a significant midgame lead. Still, TSM would not back down and still challenged TL to some pretty ballsy team fights. For a while, most of the fights were close, but Fenix on Azir is just too much backline damage.

Now, this situation is a bit different: we’re fighting a top team so closing the game is going to be hard. But when we have decent gold leads and make odd calls to pressure Baron, it really makes me bite my nails. TSM would mow us down for a misplayed Baron attempt. Fortunately, a Baron call gone wrong was saved by Piglet’s solo steal on Corki—from the fog of war mind you. This was mostly luck and the game would’ve been over if this hadn’t happened.

This game sort of showed why we don’t close out games well: our calls aren’t decisive. Just watching the team, it feels like the players aren’t on the same page. There were instances where the team tower dove but Piglet stayed to attack tower, or Dom dives but no one else does.

Perhaps communication issues are still something that plagues us, but we’re running out of time. Four games left before play-offs; TL needs to up their communication game soon!

Still, our team fight is amazing (yes, I’m going to re-iterate that on every Battle Report), and we were able to demolish TSM in a few of the skirmishes. TSM has excellent 5v5 communication, but there were some micro mistakes that resulted in their downfall—Like Gragas knocking Rek’Sai into the late game Jinx for instance.

That very mistake--a mistake that often won’t be seen from a pro player--lead to a swift 4 for 1 plus a Baron in favor of TL. The resulting effect allowed TL to just shove TSM out of their way in a second team fight that resulted in a four for nothing, ending the game at the 41-minute mark.

This week was fairly exciting—we got to beat TSM which is always fun. The wins themselves weren’t perfect, but a lot of the good things that make up the team remained consistent. Strong 5v5 and great push rotations. With FeniX stepping up in the midlane, Quas can play a more support style role, leviating a lot of pressure to carry.

There are only four games left in the season. Team Liquid currently holds the uncontested second place seed at 10W-4L, but that can change in the coming weeks. Here’s to hoping the communication improves because when it does, Team Liquid simply won’t be stopped.

Writer // Ken Serra
Art Credit // Riot
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