OpTic Gaming, who have definitely proven to be the most entertaining underdogs of the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split so far, beat 100 Thieves today in a miraculous comeback. Aside from the fact that this was a combined phenomenal comeback for OpTic and a terrible throw by 100T, this game meant something very, very significant.
With this win, OpTic tied TSM. This means that if TSM win their game against Liquid, TSM qualify for the playoffs. If they lose, they’ll have to play against OpTic for a tiebreaker to decide the final slot of the playoffs. Thanks to Echo Fox’s recent flops, there’s a chance that OpTic could leap over them instead of TSM, but the stakes are still high. That’s right, TSM might not make playoffs for the first time in their career as a team, and it all comes down to their performance today.
There are two things that will determine the outcome of TSM’s weekend. They have momentum on their side, which can’t be understated at such a critical time in the season. About three-quarters of their season so far has been completely awful. The entire Spring Split and most of the Summer Split were very troubling for TSM’s fans, but the last couple of weeks have proven fruitful. For once, the old TSM appeared to make a return.
Lately, they’re playing aggressively, forcing proactive rotations early in the game to methodically choke out the enemy team until the late game, where their scaling team comp could truly shine together. Like this, they truly look like the dominating TSM of years past rather than the dumpster fire we’ve seen for most of the year. The bad news, however, is that they don’t handle pressure well, and there’s certainly a lot of pressure on them now.
TSM’s Achilles’ Heel is their lacking mental fortitude. When Worlds rolls around, or when they seem to be very aware of the fact that fans expect them to steamroll the regular season, they crumble. This toxic mentality is the result of years of impossibly-high expectations. When they don’t meet those expectations, they’re met with outright hatred from their own fans, and it appears to have taken its toll.
Today, the pressure is the highest it’s been for them all year. If they can beat Liquid tonight at 6pm CT, they can at least make it into the playoffs. If they don’t, there’s a chance their season is over.