Santorin, Team Liquid send Cloud9 to LCS Championship losers’ bracket with decisive first-round victory

Last split's finalists met in a one-sided first round matchup today—with a very different result.

Photo by Tina Jo via ESPAT/Riot Games

Team Liquid and Cloud9 battled in a five-game series for the LCS Spring Split title just three months ago. Today, the two teams met in a first-round playoff matchup, with Team Liquid not only reversing the result from the spring, but doing so emphatically with a convincing 3-0 sweep over Cloud9 to kick off their playoff run.

The last time these two teams faced off in a best-of-five series, Cloud9 mounted their advantages through the top side of the map. Today, the tables were turned completely, with Liquid’s topside duo keeping their feet on the gas from the jump.

The duo of Alphari and Santorin—who did everything in their power to cripple the Cloud9 topside across all four games of the relatively one-sided series—didn’t play together as a unit during the Spring Finals. In fact, Santorin’s health issues kept the veteran jungle sidelined throughout the majority of the last few months. Dating back to the Spring Split playoffs, Santorin only participated in 15 of Team Liquid’s last 38 games before today. 

“It feels good to be back working with Santorin,” Liquid mid laner Jensen said on the LCS broadcast after the match. “We’ve talked about how we want to play mid/jungle, and during the regular season, it was a bit tough for me to have to adjust to a new jungler. Having him back makes it a lot more comfortable for me to play how I want to and be on the same page together with him.” 

Today, though, Santorin made a monstrous difference across the four-game set, enabling his laners to find success throughout every stage of the series. Liquid eventually won the series when Santorin stole a decisive Baron to close out the contest. Santorin finished the day with a total scoreline of 10/6/35, good enough for a Kill Participation mark of 87 percent. 

After dealing with a longtime rival in Cloud9 today, the road ahead doesn’t get much easier for Liquid. The team will face off against another historic foe in TSM next Sunday in a decisive second-round matchup. Just three more series stand in between Team Liquid and the 2021 LCS title. 

As for Cloud9, a lower bracket best-of-five series with eight-seed Golden Guardians awaits the team on the horizon. One more loss for Cloud9 in the postseason will mark the end of the team’s playoff run.

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