It has been a long road for TSM in this play-off, but they have finally done it. After six series and 25 games they have finally lifted the LCS cup once more. With 3-2 wins against both Team Liquid and FlyQuest, they have proved they are the best team in NA for the season.
Settling the Score
The first series of the weekend saw TSM face off against an old rival in Team Liquid. For TSM, once a team that was virtually guaranteed to make finals, this playoff was a hard and at times painful slog. They lost their first series 0-3 only to fight their way through the lower bracket and defeated old rivals Cloud9 to secure a Worlds seed and a chance to make it to the grand final.
Team Liquid, on the other hand, recovered from their spring slump and even ended the regular season in first place, but eventually lost to FlyQuest. If they wanted to return to the LCS throne they had occupied for several years, they needed to defeat TSM. Defeating former mid-laner Yiliang "Peter" "Doublelift" Peng was an added bonus.
Doublelift himself had other plans, however, and he took the first blood in the series. The opening game proved to be close, but TSM slowly inched ahead until securing the ocean soul and winning a 4-0 fight near the Elder drake. With the Elder and the Baron buffs, they easily finished the game. Team Liquid soon replied, however, winning the next two games with a clean lead from start to finish.
Things looked dire for TSM as they lost the first two kills of the fourth game, but they quickly recovered and led for most of the game. Even a Baron was not enough for Team Liquid to take over the game. TSM secured the ocean soul, stole the next baron from under TL’s noses, and ground the enemy base down, ending the game in exactly 50 minutes. In the final game, Liquid maintained a small lead for most of the game and got to three drakes first.
Eventually, TL started the Baron, only for TSM to flank them and get the clutch teamfight, taking two kills and the big objective. Team SoloMid won every big fight after that and while it took them 41 minutes, they won the game and with it, a spot at the final. They had beaten Cloud 9. They had beaten Team Liquid. Only one team remained: FlyQuest.
FlyQuest Nearly Manage the Reverse Sweep
The final series brought TSM against FlyQuest, this year’s breakout team and spring finalist. Long a time that languished around the middle of the table, this year the green team showed a new face with the introduction of Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage. For TSM, it was a matter of taking back the mantle of the best team in NA. For FlyQuest and PowerOfEvil it was about finally winning a LCS title.
Team SoloMid started strong, showing their skill in playing the map in the opening game. They secured three quick drakes and after a won teamfight in the dragon pit secured an early infernal soul and a Baron to take over the game, shut FlyQuest down and ended the game with the second Baron. They dominated the second game as well, having an over 11K gold lead before the thirty-minute mark and easily ending the game despite FlyQuest managing to take the infernal soul for themselves.
The green team did not give up, however, and despite being slightly behind in much of the third game managed to keep it close as it once more headed towards the late game. A single kill on Doublelift 39 minutes in saw FlyQuest get the cloud soul and the Baron and with them, they pushed in for their first win. They once more overcame an early deficit to come back and take game four and then it was time for Silver Scrapes.
In the decisive final game, FlyQuest got two early kills and a bot-lane advantage, but TSM absolutely smashed the top lane. Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg had an incredible game on Twisted Fate, getting all lanes ahead and dominating the mid-game skirmishes. Time after time, they pushed FlyQuest back until one final fight 32 minutes in resulted in a 4:2 and the win for TSM.
It was time to celebrate as one of North America’s most storied organizations not only returned to the Worlds stage for the first time since 2017, but did it as the LCS champion. For FlyQuest, it was a difficult loss, doubly so because of how close they were to winning, but in the end, TSM, led by the veteran Bjergsen who had stellar performances in all five games, were the better team.
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