In a recent upward surge, FlyQuest have been making their way through the upper bracket of the 2020 LCS Summer Split playoffs. With an upset over Cloud9 last week, FlyQuest qualified for the 2020 League of Legends World Championship and now face Team Liquid to fight for consecutive playoff finals appearances.
Examining their opponents, Liquid have also found a renewed strength since the start of the Summer Split. After a disappointing Spring Split, Liquid dropped Doublelift and added rookie ADC Tactical to the starting lineup, on top of making changes to the coaching staff. Liquid picked up Jatt as their head coach and he turned the team around to finish first in the regular season, earning Coach of the Split for his efforts. Tactical was also named the 2020 LCS Rookie of the Year.
While both teams have reveled in similar levels of recent success, FlyQuest are still the underdogs going into this match. Liquid have been solid in all aspects of their play throughout the playoffs, shoring up any weaknesses that appeared during the regular split. In their win last week against Golden Guardians, Liquid won 3-0. FlyQuest are arguably facing one of their toughest opponents yet.
FlyQuest have a slight recent edge over Liquid, winning in the regular season match when they added WildTurtle to the bottom lane. But Liquid have been on a tear since then, winning every game since that last confrontation. Both teams are similar stylistically, too. They prefer slower and controlled games. But for FlyQuest, the underdogs in the matchup, conventions must be broken to find success.
Here’s what you can expect from the playoff match between FlyQuest and Liquid.
PowerOfEvil’s case for MVP, FlyQuest‘s key to victory, and the battle over Shen
FlyQuest’s mid laner and MVP candidate, PowerOfEvil, was instrumental to the team’s success over C9 last week. While the votes for regular split MVP have already been counted, PowerOfEvil needs to continue his standout performance to succeed against another MVP candidate, Liquid’s mid laner Jensen. PowerOfEvil had an incredible performance against C9 last week on carry champions like LeBlanc and Azir, as well as a decent showing on Malzahar.
In an inverse of what they did last week to claim victory over C9, FlyQuest need to be aggressive as opposed to playing a slow and reactive game. While being able to outpace C9 and shutting out their key players to halt their snowball potential was monumental in that win, Liquid are stylistically the opposite of that. A lot of Liquid’s victories in the playoffs and regular split have been slow and methodical shutouts through objective control and teamfighting. This led to them having a longer average game time than other teams.
Related: Santorin on qualifying for Worlds
To support this initial aggression, IgNar, Santorin, and PowerOfEvil must work together to get vision control and early tempo around the map. All three players have been vital to accruing early-game leads for the team across all parts of the map.
In the playoffs, Shen has had an increased presence in both pick and ban rates. While Liquid have foregone Shen during playoffs (Impact picked Mordekaiser and Ornn in their three victories), FlyQuest have been willing to put their top laner, Solo, on the pick. Even though they have yet to pick Shen in the playoffs, Liquid have shown a willingness to also play the champion. Impact has played Shen throughout the split and won every single game on him so far.
In champion select, FlyQuest will need to decide the risk and reward of overprioritizing Shen and understand the potential downfall of letting Liquid pick up the champion.
The Impact factor and other win conditions for Liquid
Most of Liquid’s standout victories this split were led by their support and jungle combination, CoreJJ and Broxah, with the former being an MVP contender. But top laner Impact has been a silent and steadfast performer bringing them consistent fortune.
While Impact has gone for more tanky champion picks in the past, like Ornn and Shen, Impact also shows proficiency and willingness to go on carry and high-tempo champions like Mordekaiser, Renekton, and Kennen. Whichever route Liquid have their top laner go, Impact will need to take care and be a reliable rock in the top lane. In the games where Liquid and FlyQuest faced off in the regular split, Impact played Kennen both times. The more recent of the two games saw Impact sealed out with a 0-3-0 scoreline when the game ended in a Liquid loss.
Outside of Impact, CoreJJ is a standout support player, earning himself a chance at winning another MVP award this split. While his opponent, IgNar, has had an incredible end-of-split performance, CoreJJ has been able to perform on an array of picks ranging from defensive champs like Tahm Kench, Morgana, and Braum to proactive initiators like Bard, Nautilus, Thresh, and even Blitzcrank. As long as CoreJJ can continue his solid play and vision control, it’ll be tough for FlyQuest to find an opportunity and a lead against Liquid.
Broxah has also been a steady performer throughout the 2020 split. With a consistently high kill participation stat—the highest for the team during the playoffs at 76 percent, according to Oracle’s Elixir—Broxah has been able to regularly set up his team for success. This has been done through high-tempo picks like Lee Sin, Graves, and Volibear. If any of these champs are picked or banned away, Broxah will need to show off his potency on other hard carry picks like Lillia, Sett, or Olaf.
Prediction: Liquid 3-0
Liquid have shown dominance in the 2020 LCS Summer Split playoffs, even against other teams with upward trends like Golden Guardians. While FlyQuest can compete in the vision game, when it comes down to objective control and strong laning, Liquid are more secure in not showing any weaknesses to their opponents. With both Broxah and CoreJJ being able to make proactive plays or neutralizing any forward attempts from their opposition, it’ll be tough for FlyQuest to open up any weaknesses against a strong Liquid squad.
While this prediction is heavily Liquid-favored, if there’s any team that can pull off an upset and disrupt expectations, FlyQuest have proven that they have what it takes to perform when it counts. But any wins FlyQuest can attempt to muster will have to be predicated on their own merits since a small amount of their victory last week over C9 hinged on weaker drafting and play from their opponent.
You can watch this playoff match between Liquid and FlyQuest on Sunday, Aug. 30 at 3pm CT.
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