Team Liquid narrowly escaped Clutch Gaming's grasp in their 3-2 semifinals victory. Despite a series of creative plays and champion picks from Clutch, Liquid showed exactly why they're considered to be the best team in NA.
The best-of-five was more exciting than many anticipated, but at the end of the day, the pedigree of Liquid's players remains unmatched in the LCS. There's a reason why four out of the five of them were voted onto the 1st All-Pro LCS Team.
The series was back and forth the entire time. Team Liquid took over game one off the back of Nicolaj Jensen's Akali, and game two was defined by Tanner Damonte's signature Qiyana pick.
Things truly began heating up after Liquid clinched out game three of the series. They were on track to brush off the game two loss and finish out the fourth game strong. To their dismay, Clutch didn't let them get away with being complacent.
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Crucially, Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon's premier champion, Rumble, was left on the table for Clutch to secure for themselves, and they gladly took the opportunity. With a strong pushing top side, Clutch was able to drive the pace of the game by grabbing an early Rift Herald and using Nam "Lira" Tae-yoo's Skarner to grab picks. Liquid were outplayed and out-scaled in this game, and Clutch happily closed out to take the series from seemingly unprecedented game five.
Team Liquid turned things around for themselves in the final match of the series beginning from the draft phase. They banned out Clutch's abusive solo lane threats, and grabbed Sona and Taric for their bot lane. Despite Clutch playing a fairly even game and grabbed early towers with Huni's Tristana, Liquid played calm and collected and focused on matching their rotations.
Eventually the game broke open for Liquid after turning around a teamfight in the mid lane, and they used their momentum to secure Baron and end before Clutch could answer.
"The series was pretty crazy. I didn't expect it to be any where near as close as it was," Jensen said in a post-game interview. "I think they definitely caught us by surprise."
Nobody expected the game to be as close as it was, but with Liquid emerging victorious, they're now officially locked in for the 2019 World Championship along with Cloud9. On Sunday, August 25 at 1 p.m. PDT, both Liquid and Cloud9 will face off in the Finals in Detroit.