What 100 Thieves need to do to steal a series from Liquid

Team Liquid have had 100 Thieves’ number all year. Will anything change on Sunday?

Photo via Riot Games

You would think that 100 Thieves would have momentum heading into the NA LCS semifinals this week. After all, they dismantled FlyQuest 3-0 in the NA LCS quarterfinals last weekend.

The problem is, they’re going against Team Liquid, the best unit in the region—and the one squad that 100 Thieves have been unable to beat all year. They stole a game in the second week of the Spring Split, but since then, Liquid have gone on a 7-0 tear against 100 Thieves.

That streak included a 3-0 win in the Spring Split finals. Is there anything 100 Thieves can do to rewrite the script this time?

Figure out the bot lane

100 Thieves’ duo lane of bot laner Cody Sun and support Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black has not performed as expected. Aphromoo’s primary role this split has been to save his teammates and make up for their positioning errors. It’s good that he has a sense for rescuing people, but not great that they need saving in the first place.

Meanwhile, as bot laners have been forced onto ADCs, Cody Sun has seen his lane phase fall to pieces. He has some of the worst laning numbers as an ADC in the region this split, which has translated to little teamfight impact. He’s one of those people that Aphromoo has had to continually save.

It makes sense then that this team would struggle against Liquid. Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, Liquid’s bot laner,  resisted making crazy changes to his champion pool this split and has been rewarded as ADCs have come back into the meta. He’s the best at his position in the region and a legitimate MVP candidate.

100 Thieves have to avoid falling hopelessly behind in the bot lane, even with Doublelift. One thing that may not work as easily is the Tristana pick they debuted against FlyQuest last week. Tristana is a fine champion, but she worked so well because FlyQuest refused to contest bot lane priority.

Don’t expect the same out of Liquid. If Liquid ban Xayah and take advantage of Tristana, Cody Sun needs an answer. Could we see something like Jhin for early game pressure, or even Kog’Maw against Kai’Sa for Cody Sun to scale into a late game beast?

If it is a scaling pick, 100 Thieves will need to pick up some pressure in the top lane.

Ssumday for MVP

Photo via Riot Games

Normally either solo lane could be a source of pressure, but mid laner Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook has not been reliable this year. If the bot lane needs help, it’s up to top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho to put on his caddy pants.

Ssumday was known as a tank initiator on KT Rolster in the LCK. But this year, he’s shown that he can carry on picks like Jax and Darius. Even if he plays something more tanky like Cho’Gath or Dr. Mundo, he needs to create pressure in his lane.

In the spring final, the game where 100 Thieves had the most success was when Ssumday played a split pusher in Gnar. They can’t wait until they lose two games to do that. Liquid top laner Jeong “Impact” Eon-young has made a career out of absorbing pressure in the top lane, but Ssumday has to prove that he’s the better top laner.

Sunday’s series, which starts at 2pm CT, will feature two MVP candidates in Ssumday and Doublelift duking it out. Whichever player is better will likely win and send his team through to the finals.