League of Legends LCS finals preview: How strong is the Liquid playoff buff?

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /
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CoreJJ of Team Liquid. League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /


I targeted support as one of TSM’s primary weaknesses on their team. Despite Zven’s incredible performance in the regular split, his support Andy “Smoothie” Ta was fairly middling statistically. He not only had one of the higher death counts in the LCS, but he also had the worst gold differential at 15 compared to his opponents, despite the fact that Zven was averaging over a 300 gold advantage at that time.

In the playoffs, Smoothie is giving up fewer deaths per game and is generally ending lane even, but it’s come at the expense of his vision control. In the regular season, Smoothie was one of the leaders in vision control, posting 2.58 vision score per minute. In the playoffs, that number has cratered to 2.08.

By contrast, we have Liquid’s Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in, the unanimous LCS all-pro and potential MVP candidate. He was the leader in the LCS when it comes to vision, with a 2.62 vision score per minute. While his vision control has dipped as well in the playoffs – to 2.38 – he remains the better to Smoothie.

It’s not as though Smoothie has no playoff experience; he did make a couple of LCS finals with Cloud9, falling to TSM. But CoreJJ is a former World Champion. In terms of performance and experience, this match-up isn’t even close.

Advantage – Liquid


This series is going to be a slugfest. TSM has an advantage in three of the five positions – top, mid, and ADC – but I think those are all slight advantages. On the other hand, Liquid’s skill advantages in jungle and support are substantial.

Liquid also has the advantage of momentum and feeling the confidence of the playoff buff after steamrolling FlyQuest last week. On the other hand, TSM has to feel confident after coming back from an 0-2 hole and taking down Cloud9, showing the world that this team is different from last year’s squad that missed both LCS finals.

I think this series goes to five games, and I think the difference in this series will be Jensen in the mid lane. So many times he has come up short in the big spot against Bjergsen and logic dictates that he will have to get over the hump at some point.

Me? I’m a skeptic. And until Jensen proves he can beat Bjergsen, I’m going to say he can’t.

Prediction: TSM wins 3-2

Next. Five champions who will be an X-factor in the LCS finals. dark

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