No, that headline isn’t a typo. Against all odds, Team Liquid destroyed Invictus Gaming 3-1 in their semi finals match up at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational, earning themselves a spot in the finals.
Liquid began the match with momentum carried over from the win against G2 Esports on the last day of the group stage. They came out ahead of each draft phase with a favorable composition for their style. TL found success in prioritizing ganking and skirmishing junglers for Jake “Xmithie” Puchero so they could help get their laners ahead and make proactive plays in the side lanes.
To wrap the series up perfectly, the fourth and final game was probably the most North-America-like game of them all. Nicolaj Jensen pulled out the same Lux counter pick into Song “Rookie” Eui-jin’s Zoe that he lost to in game two of the 2019 LCS Spring Finals against Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. Xmithie unleashed his signature Skarner that terrorize the LCS with, and left IG looking clueless while picking off opponents one by one.
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Invictus were supposed to be the best team in the world. They were supposed to be untouchable. And IG didn’t choke, they lost because TL was making better plays and out-performed them in almost every teamfight. Invictus failed to deliver on multiple split-push win conditions, and TL were often one step ahead. Notably, IG’s star carries, Rookie and Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok, were relatively unable to pop off as they were expected to do, aside from their single win in game three.
To call this victory an upset feels like a massive understatement. Team Liquid have been the underdogs since the beginning of MSI, and barely scraped out of the group. IG were not only clear favorites to win entire the tournament, but on paper, they also outclassed TL in terms of individual skill.
This win will surely go down in League of Legends esports history as one of the biggest upsets of all time, but the real question is this: is NA the best region in the world now that we’ve defeated China? The answer has to be yes, right?
The MSI finals take place on May 19. Team Liquid’s opponent will be decided after the game between G2 and SK Telecom T1 on May 18 at 12:00 a.m. PDT.