Team SoloMid, Team Liquid move on in the NA LCS playoffs

Taylor Cocke

(Photo: Lolesports/Riot Games)

The first round of the North American LCS has finished up, and it didn’t go quite as expected. Well, half of it anyway. Here’s how the quarterfinals have shaken out thus far:

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The Arrival: Cloud9 drops to Team SoloMid

Coming into the playoffs, most expected Cloud9 to do well and Team SoloMid to do poorly. Hai “Hai” Lam and company were looking very solid, with the captain’s shotcalling looking sharp, even if his mechanical support play left something to be desired.

Meanwhile, TSM was floundering. Playing more like a collection of solo queue stars than the super team that they seemed to be on paper, they struggled to come together as a cohesive force during the regular season.

But in the playoffs, it happened. Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim found a way to reign in the wild horses that surround him, giving TSM a solid 3-1 win over Cloud9. TSM looked clean, deliberate, and decisive (that is, after the Game 1 loss). Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, after a split in which he looked merely above average rather than godly, proved that he’s still capable of solo carrying his team, while Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng bullied Cloud9’s duo lane as the series went on.

Unfortunately, TSM’s reward is Immortals in the semifinals, a tall order even when compared to the formerly hot Cloud9.

(Photo: Lolesports/Riot Games)

The Rookie: Team Liquid crushes NRG

We’ve always known Team Liquid’s rookie Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett is a monster in the jungle, but the quarterfinals really marked his arrival.

In Game 2, he simply took over, building full damage on Lee Sin and straight up killing anyone that came into his field of view. Some questioned how the young star would respond to the pressures of a playoff situation. His answer? “I got this.”

That’s not to discount the rest of Liquid, however. Solo laners Samson “Lourlo” Jackson and Kim “FeniX” Jae-hun easily held down their competition, while rookie Matthew “Matt” Elento established himself as a support more than worthy of laning with veteran Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin. For a team with three rookies, Liquid played their series against NRG’s veterans with poise and confidence. They’re going to have to keep that up in order to bring down Counter Logic Gaming in the semifinals.

Taylor Cocke sure would hate to run into Immortals in the semifinals. Or any time, for that matter. Follow him on Twitter @taylorcocke.

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