The first day of the NA LCS Finals during the Spring Split certainly has been a fun one. People were wondering how Immortals were going to play after their crushing defeat against Team Solomid in the Semifinals. While Immortal’s placement was a bit of a surprise, Liquid’s loss to CLG was pretty expected. Still the winner of this match was up in the air. Lourlo vs Huni was a matchup I personally was looking forward to. Reignover was clearly having trouble going against TSM and IMT just clearly refused to play inside the meta. According to IMT Adrian, “We misread the meta.” And the third place games proved that IMT can play incredibly well and win games in a stylish fashion, with no gimmicks.
I would argue that this was Liquid’s strongest game. They started off strong against IMT with early kills and a merciless camping of top lane. Huni finally got to play some in the meta tank top laners vs Lourlo. However, Dardoch had his number and would easily take advantage of Reignover’s position on the map and take down Huni when he was over extended in lane. It was a repetitively low scoring game. That being said, big plays happened consistently throughout the game. Liquid’s lack of warding really showed in game 1 when a huge team fight happened in IMT’s jungle around nine minutes when WildTurtle picked up a few kills on Kalista.
I would like to mention a play at 27 minutes. Reignover cocooned Piglet, initiating a fight in Liquid’s jungle. The synergy between Huni and Pobelter’s ultimates was some of the best gameplay I have seen this split. Pobelter chased some low health Liquid members into the alcove of blue buff. He got locked down by a bard stun, but as soon as he got out of it he threw out his ult. As they got pushed back, Huni threw the Gragas ult, sending the Liquid members back into the Azir wall solidifying some solid kills for IMT. As far as TL goes, Matt was fantastic on Bard this match with some great stuns, however, as IMT was taking baron at 31 minutes, he missed a crucial ult while IMT was taking Baron, somehow managing to hit none of the members of IMT nor the Baron itself. IMT closed the game out at 32 minutes for their first win.
We saw a throwback to IMT’s initial loss against TSM with a tank jungler, but that’s the only front line they had. Huni played Graves top vs a Maokai and the matchup and the choice was questionable. Liquid was really trying to win this one in champ select with Matt on Braum and Dardoch on Gragas: both champs that scale very well with HP and offer enough CC to keep someone locked down for days. This game Pobelter brought out a Cassiopia pick: a champ who hasn’t seen that much play. He missed quite a few ults throughout the matches, and even more were dodged with flashes.
Seeing someone play such an immobile mage against a team with so much CC was pretty crazy. Pobelter didn’t do much this game to be honest. He could never quite get in the right position to hit people with his various other skills. WildTurtle began to shine in this game with his Kalista plays, and that trend continued to game 3 when he would change things up and choose Lucian. Adrian and Turtle excelled in initiating team fights and cleaning up low health Liquid team members. His consistent high-risk high-reward plays were hardly punished, naturally leading to a decently short game that ended just a little past the 30 minute mark.
WildTurtle was the MVP of this game. He controlled his lane and team fights, easily capping off the night with a 3-0 sweep for IMT. His team played champions that were in meta and they all really shined. IMT wasted no time in taking objectives and punishing Liquid where it counted. With that being said, the real fun of this game was watching Lucian steam roll Liquid’s tanks. One notable play, was Turtle flexing his power after a small team fight in mid lane. He chased Matt’s Magical Journey into the dragon pit with no vision, got locked down, and as soon as he realized that the rest of Liquid was waiting for him he attempted to dash over the dragon back wall. Drake got aggroed. Drake’s first attack was a displacement aoe attack and it interrupted the Lucian dash. It was a rookie mistake, but fortunately that kill evened the team fight and it didn’t make IMT fall too far behind. The game ended as quickly as it began with a win at 30:05 and it was a fitting end to a great set of third place matches.
While IMT should have been in the finals, it was nice to see them win strongly against a rather good team after a devastating loss.
We’ll be back tomorrow with the NA LCS finals coverage of Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) vs. TSM! Who are you rooting for?
(Note: there is an interview with Adrian and it will be live soon)