This split’s playoffs have delivered everything a league fan could ask for: incredible storylines, thrilling five game series, and it now culminates in a titanic throw down between the top teams.
On the one hand, we have Team Liquid, the defending champions looking to lift the league championship yet again to cement their dynasty in the history books. On the other side, we have the incredible redemption story of Cloud9, who just a few months ago looked dead in the water. They were in last place. Now, they find themselves in the finals with everything on the line.
Previously, TL dispatched 100 Thieves in a controlled 3-1 victory in the semifinals. However, it all came down to the wire in C9’s 3-2 semifinal victory against Team SoloMid.
After a week to size each other up and to concoct game winning strategies, it is now time to crown a champion. So what is on the line exactly? For TL, winning the championship would guarantee them qualification as North America’s #1 seed for the world championship later this year, however even if they lose this series to C9, they will still qualify for the world championship as North America’s #2 seed and advance based solely on championship points accrued throughout 2018.
For C9, a win will give them their first NA LCS championship since spring of 2014 and would guarantee them North America’s number one seed at the world championship. If they lose, then they would drop down into the regional gauntlet and would have to fight for a chance to qualify for the world championship as North America’s #3 seed.
All in all, more is on the line for C9 because if they lose today, then their journey still is not over and there is a chance that they may not qualify for worlds.
In today’s matchup, both teams are fairly evenly matched across the board. TL likely has slight advantages in the ADC and jungle matchups. C9’s advantages are also small and are found in the top, mid, and support matchups.
This series is the most difficult to predict just because both teams are so incredibly good and the only advantages either team has are very, very slight at best.
TL’s win conditions are to get Xmithie on an aggressive jungle champion, to invade into C9’s jungle, and bully Blaber/Sven off of their camps. TL also must get Doublelift snowballed on a hard scaling ADC champion. Doublelift has been their most consistent and strongest player and if he gets going, he will be near impossible to stop.
For C9, their success has been in strong late game team fighting compositions. If they can stop the mid game bleeding and survive to late game, then their incredible teamwork and macro play should carry them to victory.
Prediction: Team Liquid 2 – 3 Cloud9
The finals will be streamed live today at https://www.twitch.tv/riotgames. The match will take place at 2pm PDT/5pm EDT.