As many predicted, Team Liquid have made their fourth consecutive LCS final, though their semifinal hurdle was more difficult than expected.
Liquid were pushed to their limits by Clutch Gaming in their semifinal bout, with Clutch smashing expectations and taking the series to game five.
“We expected 3-0 as well,” Liquid AD carry Peter “Doublelift” Peng said in the post-game interview. “I think we had some pretty bad plays around mid. Honestly I wasn’t really a part of them which was probably the problem, thanks a lot boys.”
While pointing out his and Liquid’s mistakes, Doublelift made sure to give credit to Clutch, who “played really well.”
Despite their opponents’ title as back-to-back LCS champions, Clutch stayed true to their playstyle, picking comfort champions like Rumble for Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, and Qiyana for mid laner Tanner “Damonte” Damonte.
These comfort picks played critical roles in Clutch’s two game wins this series, with Liquid banning both Rumble and Qiyana in game five.
“I think [I was] trolling [in the] second game and fourth game,” Liquid top laner Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong said, who fell victim to Huni’s Rumble in game four. Come game five, Impact had returned to his normal “non-trolling” mode, proving that his “next game, I’m fine” mentality was more than just for show.
With today’s win, Liquid qualify not only for next week’s LCS finals but for the upcoming World Championship, where they will be reunited with the teams they faced at MSI earlier this year—teams that sparked a fire in Doublelift and his teammates.
“I think we were really driven from losing so badly at MSI against G2,” Doublelift said. “Seeing teams that are super good, and they can do just whatever they want. They can just pick whatever they want, and then role-swap or whatever, they are just so good at the game. It’s really motivating.”
But Liquid won’t be going to worlds alone. Due to the LCS’ championship points system, Cloud9 have also qualified for Worlds.
With both Liquid and Cloud9 headed to worlds, the two teams have one final business: determining who will be stepping on the international stage as the region’s first seed.
Liquid will go toe-to-toe with Cloud9 in a rematch of last summer’s finals to settle the score on Aug. 25 at 3pm CT.