Some may say Team Liquid got away with a robbery in their win over TSM, but the match seemed more TSM choking and giving away massive leads rather than Liquid being lucky. But have Liquid showed enough on Saturday for us to believe they can claim a revenge win on Sunday or are we in for another dominant victory from C9?
Team Liquid vs Cloud9
Sunday, April 11 at 13:00 PST
Greek Theater, Los Angeles, California
What Happened in TSM vs Team Liquid
We predicted TSM to keep the series close and edge out a win in the Mid-Season Invitational semi-finals match with Team Liquid, which did not go as planned. Jonathan “Armao” Armao, who we viewed as a downgrade for Liquid had an amazing series, so perhaps we should have believed the revenge narrative.
What TSM showed yesterday was one of the most frustrating performances of the year, throwing away two MASSIVE leads, essentially handing Liquid a free pass into the finals. To put it into a perspective how far ahead TSM were, they held a 7.6k gold lead in game two and had four drakes, yet still managed to lose. Awhile they looked solid in game three, it seemed like they ran out of steam in game four to lose the series 1-3.
The problem with this match is that Liquid haven’t shown anything spectacular for me to praise them for their performance. Although Barney “Alphari” Morris and Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in performed admirably well, it’s hard to praise the team as a whole too much for beating a squad that played the way TSM did.
Team Liquid’s ceiling
What makes Team Liquid a scary team to face is their incredible ceiling. As noted before Liquid players are not performing at their peak level at the moment, however, if by some miracle all Liquid players reach their peak level for this series, they’re undeniably stronger than C9.
The one player who seems to be the closest to playing at 100% is Barney “Alphari” Morris, who is arguably the best Western top laner. He had a great series against TSM, but did not show up against Cloud9 the semis and was shockingly outperformed by Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami, granted Fudge has received a lot of help from his team.
Cloud9’s Commanding Win Against Liquid
Cloud9 tore apart Team Liquid last time out, but I am still very hesitant about trusting that result. Cloud9 were the better team that day, but that doesn’t mean they are objectively a stronger team. As already mentioned Liquid played that series uncharacteristically poorly and didn’t really gave C9 a proper test, but should have figured out where C9’s weaknesses are.
The problem when trying to counter C9 is their flexibility, which allows them to approach their games in many different ways. Their draft flexibility also allows them to play via any of the three lanes, which seems like something Luka “Perkz” Perković has brought with him over to North America.
Even that style, however, can be countered with heavy engage compositions, which would allow Liquid to catch C9’s players in the sideline and put themselves in a position to secure neutral objectives. Adding to that, Liquid should put a lot of emphasis on stacking early drakes which will force C9 to be a bit more cautious in the mid-late game with their split pushing as to not give away drake control.
The jungle question
Cloud9’s success this season has heavily relied on the performances of ther jungler Robert “Blaber” Huang, his early-game pressure and overall impact on the map. Shutting down Blaber will be essential for Team Liquid’s success tonight, however, that’s definitely not an easy task.
It is still unclear whether Lucas “Santorin”Tao Kilmer Larsen will be able to play for Liquid tonight, but considering how solid Armao was against TSM, I am not too concerned with Liquid missing their main jungler. While I firmly believe Santorin is a much better jungler, Team Liquid don’t seem too impacted by who they field in their jungle, largely because they have such strong laners.
If all three lanes can have prior consistently, the jungler doesn’t need to do much besides farming, scaling and making the enemy’s jungler life a bit tougher. That said, the Armao vs Blaber matchup can really go only one way, and it’s not looking good for Team Liquid.
Betting Tips for Cloud9 vs Team Liquid
Team Liquid are priced as massive 3.230 underdogs for this match, which is extremely high considering how stacked this team is. Since there are no news about Santorin’s return to the team, it’s fair to assume Armao will be playing for Liquid again, which should reault in a jungle advantage for C9. That said, the odds on Liquid are just ridiculous.
Team Liqud have the tools to win and while C9 seem slightly stronger, you just don’t bet on them at this price. There is no way this is a fair price on Liquid, which is why I’m gladly taking a shot with them. The real dreamers might also want to place a small bet on Liquid to win 3-0 just to make the grand finals a bit more exciting.
Prediction: Team Liquid to win – 3.230
Prediction: Team Liquid +1.5 maps – 2.01
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