Team Liquid survives craziest match of the League of Legends season

Perhaps no team faced more pressure entering this weekend’s League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) than Team Liquid

Perhaps no team faced more pressure entering this weekend’s League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) than Team Liquid.

This week the team benched former world champion Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin in favor of LCS rookie Yuri “KEITHMCBRIEF” Jew due to poor results and a negative impact on their team dynamic.

In its first match after Jew—who won two games in week 1 with Liquid while Chae was out due to visa issues—returned to the lineup, Team Liquid opened strong against Winterfox, controlling the game early. But one missed team fight doomed them, letting Winterfox recover to close the game. Jew, who was behind nearly 100 CS at the 20-minute mark compared to lane opponent Johnny “Altec” Ru, faced criticism for his play. Was he really LCS material?

Today, Team Liquid faced the top team in the North American LCS, Team SoloMid. It looked like Liquid’s attempt to turn its season around was going to smash into a brick wall. But in the craziest games of the season, featuring seven Dragons in a row, four Barons, and a pentakill and quadra kill for the losing team, Team Liquid prevailed.

They picked a hard engage composition, one that team captain Christian “IWillDominate” Rivera said fit their play style better than the more complex siege style they tried against Winterfox on Saturday. While working Jew into the lineup, it’s easier to play a composition where the only call you need in a team fight is “go in.”

Team SoloMid chose a late-game oriented team with hyper carries Cassiopeia and Jinx, with Janna and Rumble to protect them. But Team Liquid was simply too good at punishing Team SoloMid in the early game. Rivera’s Rek’sai was a terror, scoring first blood while teamed with Diego “Quas” Ruiz’s Irelia.

Team Liquid eventually built a huge advantage, scoring every single Dragon in the game and even stealing a Baron, thanks to an amazing play by Rivera, preventing Team SoloMid from scoring even a small advantage.

That’s when things got weird. Despite multiple Barons and multiple fifth Dragons, despite killing every single tower and inhibitor and super minions charging into the Team SoloMid base through every lane, they held on. Jason “ WildTurtle” Tran scored a ridiculous pentakill while defending the base, and then added a quadra for good measure.

Eventually, with Team SoloMid creeping out of their base to contest another Team Liquid Baron, Liquid was able to backdoor the nexus. But their failure to close out the match in short order led to the longest game of the season.

“Really we just wanted to make sure WildTurtle had a good fantasy line,” Rivera joked in his post-game interview. “He’s on my fantasy team, so.”

Tran finished the game with a 16/4/2 KDA line, but that wasn’t enough to stand up to Team Liquid.

The Liquid team got great performances from jungler Rivera and top laner Ruiz, who outplayed Marcus “Dyrus” Hill throughout the game. While SoloMid’s superstar Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg managed to avoid any deaths in the early game, Team Liquid’s hard engage and constant Lissandra and Annie stuns prevented him from making a major impact.

As for the rookie Jew, his fourth game in the LCS was a good one. While he fell off late due to Corki’s poor scaling, he made an impact through his safe team fighting and decent laning, finishing the game with a 10/3/10 KDA.

It was a major win for Team Liquid, one that should silence some of the questions surrounding its coaching staff, shot calling, and players after a disappointing start to the season. Team Liquid has the tools to be the best team in the LCS, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a struggle to get there.

For Chae, who said he was a bit relieved to sit on the bench as he’s still adjusting to life in America, there’s certainly no bad blood between him and his team:

For fans of Team Liquid, that has to be a succinct way to put how they feel after this match—a sweet release of relief after a stressful season so far. “YEEEEEEEEEEEE,” indeed.

Screengrab via lolesports

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