Team Liquid faced Cloud9 in the upper bracket of the LCS Championship. It was the opening game for both, and ended with Liquid in some of their best form all year.

We were set for a great match in the LCS Championship upper bracket finals. At the beginning of the year, many fans predicted Cloud9 and Team Liquid as the top two – now, they met at the end of the year in a fight between 4th and 5th. The winner faces TSM next week, while the loser drops to the lower bracket to play Golden Guardians. How did things work out?

Game 1: Team Liquid make the early game work

A Tahm Kench top was the pick for C9’s Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami, while Liquid drafted around flex picks. Eventually, Lee Sin would go mid, Renekton top, Sejuani jungle, and Ziggs bot.

While Cloud9 built some early leads, much of the early game was focused around the mid lane. After two Liquid ganks, one successful and one unsuccessful, a solokill by Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen’s Lee Sin cemented TL’s early lead.

Some mostly unsuccessful mid-game skirmishing kept the game close,, and then it became about cross-map trading. Liquid built up to a 4k gold lead, while C9 gathered two drakes. Eventually, though, a fight did break out, with Liquid going 3-for-1.

From there on, Liquid grew an insurmountable gold lead. It was over 6k when the teams next fought, and predictably Liquid emerged victorious. From then on, C9 were on the back foot as Liquid pressured them harder and harder. In the end, TL closed it out in under 30 minutes.

Game 2: TL looking the best they have all year?

Fighting broke out very early in game two. A 3v3 in the top lane at 3 minutes left Liquid with first blood. Quickly, TPs went to the bot lane, where Edward “Tactical” Ra’s Jhin and Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme’s Alistar went one-for-one. Like game one, Liquid slowly built up a lead throughout the early game. It was 2.5k at 12 minutes.

Another fight broke out in the bot lane, with Liquid bursting several C9 members. The trajectory was looking exactly like it had in game one – TL were well on their way to snowballing to a win. C9 again took some drakes, but it was hardly worth it against a 6k gold lead.

At 23 minutes, Liquid secured several kills and the Baron. At 26 minutes, they broke the base. And at 28:52, they ended the game. It was another early snowball into a clean lategame for Liquid, and they were looking somewhat unstoppable.

Game 3: Cloud9 still have hope

Team Liquid picked up a Jinx in the bot lane as their hypercarry for game 3, while C9 went for a more well-rounded composition. Again, though, Liquid would grab first blood on Luka “Perkz” Perković in mid, thanks to a gank from Lucas “Santorin” Larsen. Throughout the next few minutes, action would continue, but C9 finally found some answers. They took a gold lead for the first time since game one.

Each team would make picks, as the game was kept close. Perkz in particular recovered from his early death to grab several kills and a bounty. Then, for the first time all series, C9 really started to turn things on. A 5v5 in top side river ended with them taking two kills. We finally had a good match on our hands.

Cloud9 would continue to build a lead with more fighting.

After things were stalled out for some time, though, Tactical’s Jinx came online. At 30 minutes, Liquid nabbed a teamfight win and the Baron. This game wasn’t over yet.

Despite the late comeback attempt, C9 still had a 7.5k gold lead. It would take 41 minutes, but they’d eventually close it out.

Game 4: A big Baron steal closes it for Liquid

Game 4 began with a Taliyah pick – with C9 taking it in the jungle. Multiple skirmishes would break out over the early minutes, but without casualties until the teams went one-for-one in mid lane. More fighting would again, though, give Liquid a solid early advantage.

While Liquid kept up a slight lead, C9 kept making action happen, and it wasn’t getting out of hand as early as the other matches had. As the game dragged on, they’d find some picks and get themselves back in the game. At 25 minutes, they nabbed 3 top side and would have got Baron, if it wasn’t for a Santorin steal.

That steal would put Team Liquid firmly back in control, and they’d close the game out even earlier than they others they won. At 27 minutes, it was over.

The next step for each team

Team Liqud’s LoL squad.

Liquid will advance to play the regular season’s #1, TSM. It will be a very tough match – but if TL show the same form they did here, they’ll be looking alright. For C9, they face the always-dangerous Golden Guardians in the lower bracket. They’re now just a single series away from their Worlds dreams being over, and have to seriously rebound if they want to put up a better performance against the top teams.

Stay tuned to Esports.gg for the latest League of Legends news and updates.

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Shawn

Shawn "Germanicus" Heerema

Writer of the Month: August | Twitter: @GermanicusCVIII

A writer from Niagara, Canada, Shawn covers VALORANT and League of Legends. Previously of THESPIKE.GG, he's a fervent follower and supporter of the Asian VAL scene. And somehow, he remains convinced that PUBG is the most fun esport to watch as a spectator.