League of Legends MSI finals preview: G2 vs. Team Liquid

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /
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2018 NA LCS Spring Split Grand Finals in Miami, Florida, USA on 8 April 2018.
2018 NA LCS Spring Split Grand Finals in Miami, Florida, USA on 8 April 2018. /

Team Liquid

It’s been an up-and-down tournament, nay season, for TL. They came out of the gates in flying in the LCS, looking nearly unbeatable before faltering towards the end of the season. In fact, they were only one loss away from not even making it to MSI, needing to win three straight against a TSM team they had yet to beat in the Spring Split to earn a trip to Vietnam.

After a convincing 3-0 thrashing of Phong Vũ Buffalo to earn a spot in the group stage. But facing against stiffer international competition, Liquid struggled. Although they went 1-1 against their future finals opponents, G2, they went a combined 0-4 against T1 and Invictus.

Over the course of the tournament, Liquid has excelled at playing towards a late-game team fighting style. This has come at the cost of their early game, and indeed they played from behind in just about every one of their games against Invictus Gaming. Against a similarly aggressive early-game team in G2, the question is whether Liquid can play conservatively enough and force the same mistakes they were able to in taking down IG.

One to Watch: Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng

While there have been some questions about Liquid’s solo laners, Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong and Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, in either the regular LCS season or during the MSI tournament, there has never been any such concerns about their other player in the carry position. Doublelift has been a stalwart for Team Liquid throughout their LCS and MSI run.

During the group play stage, only IG’s JackeyLove had a higher percentage of his team’s gold funneled onto them than Doublelift. His high kill participation (67.9%) and low death share (15.8%) were both good enough to put him in the top 10 among all MSI players in those stats. His KDA and DPM are a bit lower than you would like to see from your ADC, but still respectable.

Most striking, though, is how well Doublelift played under pressure against Invictus Gaming in the semi-finals. He only died more than three times in Game 3, their sole loss of the series, as Rookie was popping off on Leblanc and constantly assassinating him. Otherwise, though, Doublelift put up monster numbers including going 9/2/10 on Sivir in Game 1 and 10/0/8 in the final Game 4.

Tomorrow, though, he should be the main focus for Team Liquid as he and support Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in will be facing G2’s weakest point on the map. There is no reason that Double/JJ shouldn’t be able to dominate over Luka “Perkz” Perković and Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle tomorrow, even though G2 will put immense focus on snowballing an early lead. If the pair can get aggressive and force G2 on the back foot where they don’t want to be, Liquid can derail G2 before the train gets going.