2019 Spring Split LCS Semifinal Recap
Saying that these two LCS semifinal matches delivered would be an understatement. The first Best of 5 was so exceptional that no one really complained because of the 3-0 shellacking just a day afterward. Seeing Team SoloMid reverse sweep Cloud9 in such spectacular fashion satisfied everyone in attendance, and what transpired between Team Liquid and FlyQuest a day later made for the perfect cherry on top. We already got our money’s worth. But before we delve deeper into our finals preview, let’s do a quick LCS semifinal recap in order to go over both Best of 5 clashes!
Team SoloMid vs. Cloud9 (3-2)
These two titans fought each other more times than any other team in LCS history. But maybe that doesn’t come as such a big surprise seeing how both teams hovered near the very top of the region for so long. They’re the best North America has to offer, and whenever they step foot on the Summoner’s Rift, they leave no one indifferent. Especially when they clash against each other — it’s like an early Christmas every time they fight each other in a Best of 5 format.
Fortunately for everyone watching, this series was no different. In fact, one could argue that this clash was one of the better ones, and that’s saying something.
Thing started off in the only way they could — with absolute insanity. Once we saw Cloud9 lock in a Sona and Taric bottom lane, we knew we were in for one heck of a ride. Fresh out of solo queue, the goal of this ludicrous concoction is to survive the early laning phase in an attempt to reach the late game. Once that comes around, the sheer amount of sustain, crowd control and utility that these two champions provide are second to none.
Team SoloMid responded with a couple of power picks of their own — namely Akali, Jayce and Vayne. They were able to start off on the right foot by getting first blood in the bottom lane, but it wasn’t enough. Not against an unleashed Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen.
Not only was he able to outclass Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham from the get-go, but the impact he had on the game was downright staggering. He was all over the Summoner’s Rift, enabling his laners and getting his team ahead. This was vintage Svenskeren — he’s not always in form, but when he comes to play he’s one of the best junglers in the world. Playing against Team SoloMid gets him especially amped up and you can see it in his play as well. This was nothing short of an absolute masterclass in mechanical prowess and early game impact.
No matter how much damage Team SoloMid put out, Cloud9 was able to heal back up in a jiffy. Two healers and an Ocean Drake offer a staggering amount of sustain, especially in the late game once everyone completes their builds.
Both teams went back-and-forth throughout the early game, but once the game transitioned over to the mid and late game, Team SoloMid was unable to snowball their lead to find any concrete avenue towards victory. Cloud9 simply had the better draft and, by proxy, more tools to work with.
Akaadian was heavily out jungled and constantly on the back foot throughout the game. He was too eager to engage and his team simply wasn’t able to follow up. After a couple of deaths, he was basically on full tilt.
Game two was more of the same. Svenskeren was once again hard carrying like a madman — making the right plays at the right times. Cloud9 was able to attain a monumental early game lead and was unrelenting.
Perhaps most surprisingly, Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer managed to not only go blow-for-blow with Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg but even outperform him in multiple key elements of play. You couldn’t say that he was Bjergsen’s inferior — not in lane nor in the team fight department. He was pushing his team towards the finish line and was integral in his Cloud9’s success.
It took Cloud9 only twenty-seven minutes to close out the second game get a 2-0 lead in the series. It seemed as though we were in for a clean three zero. After all, Team SoloMid showed little to no proactivity throughout the game and was always getting outclassed by the boys in black and blue.
But then came game three.
It was slow and steady — almost surprisingly subdued. We saw a far more resilient Team SoloMid and even though they didn’t look particularly aggressive they were still in control. The pressure was mounting — there was no more room for error. Make one mistake and Cloud9 would have won.
Fortunately for Team SoloMid, they have Bjergsen in the mid lane.
When everything is on the line, when it’s do or die, he has consistently been able to step up and clutch things out. This was one of those games. Coincidentally, it was his 100th playoff game — a seismic achievement in its own right. He obviously didn’t want to end on a loss, and he played accordingly.
Perhaps that’s even an understatement — he was a man on a mission.
They had to fight tooth and nail, but after a couple of exceptional team fights, Team SoloMid was able to get a win on the board. It wasn’t easy, but they at least showed signs of life.
Game four gave Cloud9 yet another chance at securing a spot in the final, and yet they squandered it in a split second. They decided to put Nisqy on Zed — a decision that was highly welcomed by fans in attendance but was also horrendously foolish. What was the game plan coming in? What was the expectation? Did anyone actually expect Nisqy to style on one of the best and most consistent Western mid laners that has ever graced the stage?
That’s overly optimistic, to say the least.
As expected, not only was Nisqy unable to create a lead against Bjergsen, but he was eventually set behind. An assassin without any gold or item lead isn’t exactly capable of pulling off those highlight reel moments.
With Akaadian stepping up as well, Team SoloMid was able to completely turn the tides. They had a better draft and executed their win condition to a tee. Not only were they able to beat Cloud9 and tie the series, but they looked exceptional in the process as well. It took them just twenty-five minutes in order to close things out — it was the shortest win of the series.
A statement win, in fact.
Coming into game five, Team SoloMid had all the momentum. The sheer fact that they were able to bounce back and escape from the jaws of defeat was downright staggering.
Both teams tried to draft as best they could, but it was Team SoloMid that prevailed in the end. The fifth, and final game was as close as everyone expected with both teams looking to get that fifth (and most important) win. The boys in black and white had more tools within their team comp and were able to execute their win condition flawlessly.
But amidst all the immense chaos, one man stood out.
The fact that he didn’t die in all three of Team SoloMid’s wins is just further evidence of his extraordinary talent. As if anyone had any doubts. A legend still in his prime.
Team Liquid vs. FlyQuest (3-0)
After such a spectacular five-game series, it was hard for Team Liquid and FlyQuest to play up to expectations. So hard, in fact, that it felt like they didn’t even try. And it’s hard to blame them — the bar had been set and there was no way they could have reached it.
Regardless, the three quick games on Sunday weren’t lacking in entertainment. They did, however, lack competitiveness. The first game of the series started off with a bang, and it seemed like both teams were playing on a somewhat level playing field. The gold lead went back-and-forth between both teams and it felt like a close shave all-around. Liquid eventually emerged victorious thanks to their superior team fighting, but it could have gone either way.
The biggest problem was that FlyQuest wasn’t proactive — and they showed no willingness to make the first move. As a result, Liquid didn’t need to do much in order to get control of the game. They just had to push FlyQuest into a corner, and they would make a mechanical error — be it a sloppy engage or a mistake in positioning.
Once they realized FlyQuest’s pattern of behaviour, the series was virtually over. Game one was close, but it gave Liquid a chance to size their opponents up. Game two, on the other hand, was a completely different story — FlyQuest were blown out of the water in just twenty-four minutes. Game three wasn’t much different either.
Liquid needed only a single game before finding FlyQuest’s biggest weaknesses and capitalizing accordingly. It was a strange sight mainly because everyone expected a closer fight, but we got what we wanted — the clean and dominant Liquid of old. While their immense strength made this semifinal less exciting, it set up a final that could go down in the annals of LCS history.
That’s it for our LCS semifinal recap! There’s just a single Best of 5 left before we close out the 2019 Spring Split, and you do not want to miss it. This is — by far — the best and most exciting conclusion that we could have gotten. Finally, if you want to know how we got to this point, you can check our quarterfinal recap by clicking here.