This weekend ushers in one of the most interesting LCS Semifinals in recent history. Team Liquid, Cloud9, and CLG all look like true contenders for the finals, and after Clutch Gaming took TSM to school last weekend, we still don't have a read on their true strength.
Liquid and C9 will put their prep into practice after taking the bye week to analyze their opponents. We saw out of Clutch cohesive teamwork and ungodly consistency in the bot lane. In CLG's victory, they showcased their individual strengths and willingness to adapt in draft.
Against the top two teams in the league, however, those improvements may not be enough. They'll have to continue leveling up with each game they play if they wish to overtake the clear favorites to make finals.
Last week's predictions were a little off the mark, so these semifinals predictions will be responsible and only slightly controversial.
Team Liquid is the best team in NA. After proving twice this year that they can compete internationally, their eyes are set on Worlds and probably not much else.
Match notifications, latest esports news, and more. Get the Upcomer app now.
Their players, coaching staff, and probably even their in-house chefs are all better than Clutch's. They'll win for sure, and Clutch will put up a fight, but there's no way that Team Liquid are capable of making the same mistakes that TSM made against Clutch with twice the amount of time to prepare.
Now this is the match people actually want to see. Against OpTic Gaming, CLG played some of their most fluid League of Legends (aside from their game one fiesta)yet , beating them out for the unofficial "best underdog story of the split" award. The match could go either way and will definitely be close, but CLG may have the LCS script writers on their side.
Cloud9 are celebrated for their consistency and ability to step up, but they're not immune to failure. Remember when TSM reverse swept them in Spring? They were in the exact same position with a playoff bye, and even looked as though they were going to run away with the series.
CLG is looking more and more like the real deal each time we see them play. There's no reason why they wouldn't at least be able to bring the series to a full five games. The one thing they'll need to defend against, however, is C9's ability to effortlessly incorporate their seven-man roster into the fray mid-series. In fact, this will almost definitely happen, so if CLG fail to adapt when put to the test, they'll run into trouble quickly.
Cloud9 play CLG on Saturday August 17 at 2 p.m. PDT, and Team Liquid take on Clutch on Sunday August 18 at 12 p.m. PDT.