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Team Liquid defeated Dignitas 3-1 in the first League Championship Series Lock In semifinal match on Friday, advancing to the finals this Sunday against the victor of Evil Geniuses and Cloud9.

Liquid lost the first game against Dignitas after some very clean macro decisions put Dignitas in command of the late game. Liquid had fair control over the early game, especially thanks to an incredibly strong performance from Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau, but they failed to initiate and play teamfights cleanly enough to close it out.

“Game 1 was definitely a throw, no doubt about that, that game was in our hands,” Bwipo said, laughing in a post-game interview. “We just discussed, ‘What do we do here to make sure that doesn’t happen again?’ and everyone took responsibility in their own way as much as possible.”

After starting the series down 0-1 and a rough early game in Game 2, Liquid bounced back. They came back in their second game to tie the series and then won the next two games to take it.

The last couple of games were fairly even through the early game, but Liquid drafted teams with better teamfighting power and initiative to make for easier late-game rotations and objective fights.

Throughout the series, Liquid continued to level up their play, with the final game being their most cleanly won. They took all four drakes to get a fairly early Infernal Soul, and used that advantage to rotate effectively. Using this strategy, they won without taking too many risks.

Due to greencard delays from Liquid’s main support Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in, Liquid has been forced to use one of their Academy players per game, because they otherwise have three imports in  their starting lineup with Bwipo, CoreJJ and Steven “Hans sama” Liv all being considered imports.

Throughout the rest of Lock In, Liquid has been switching out each of those imports with their Academy counterpart to test different team combinations and share stage experience before the official start of the season next weekend. However, in this series, TL played exclusively with Bill “Eyla” Nguyen in the support role.

Team Liquid are the defending Lock In Champions and will play the victor of Evil Geniuses and Cloud9, who play their semifinal match tomorrow. The finals take place Sunday to determine the 2022 Lock In Champions. Watch live at lolesports.com.

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