One loss opened the eyes of Liquid and turned their luck around.
The LCS Championship has officially begun, pitting eight of the best teams in the LCS against one another for a shot at the finals in Chicago, as well as a chance at Worlds qualification. To advance to that point, Team Liquid and FlyQuest had to overcome one another in the first matchup of the playoffs.
In four games, Liquid emerged from this first best-of-five series with a 3-1 victory and sent FlyQuest to the lower bracket. Though they had conceded a game to FlyQuest early on, Liquid reemerged with the dominance that afforded them a third-seed entrance into the playoffs, only allowing FlyQuest ten kills and five turrets in Liquids winning games.
A new patch meant new champions making their way into the draft phase. While usual suspects like Yuumi, Kalista, and Gwen were quickly banned, champions like Aphelios and Leona reemerged after some time on the bench. It was this Leona pick from CoreJJ in game one, complete with an adequate amount of roaming, that served to give Liquid an ample early lead.
Yet massive over-extensions from Liquid quickly handed over multiple drakes to FlyQuest, providing them an uncontested Cloud Soul. Though Liquid appeared to have the upper-hand in a late bot lane fight, multiple Stopwatches gave FlyQuest the time to respond, take the Elder Dragon and another Baron, then end the first game with a victory.
Liquids response in game two was to draft through the bot lane, knowing they couldnt afford another game of Johnsun scaling freely. This proved effective as soon as level one, where Hans samas Draven successfully secured first blood followed by CoreJJ nullifying a Liquid gank with a kill of his own.
Thanks to Dravens passive, the Liquid ADC exponentially increased the gold lead for his team while offering a completely different look from how Liquid played the game prior. Within 15 minutes, there were very few options remaining for FlyQuest to come back, bringing Liquid back into the series. Hans sama ended Liquid’s victory with a 10/1/4 scoreline.
Unsurprisingly, Draven was completely removed from game three almost immediately. Instead, Liquid focused on a heavy engage teamfight composition that had the entire team running around the map as soon as the laning phase ended.
Between Hans samas Seraphine, Santorins Trundle, and CoreJJs Nautilus, FlyQuest constantly found themselves at the mercy of heavy crowd control. Accompanied by immense burst damage from Bjergsens Swain, this allotted Liquid similar pressure that they had instituted the game before and propelled them to match point.
Once more in game four, the sheer aggression from Liquid had the team roaming, ganking, and diving their enemies whenever they could to cement their early lead. Bjergsen and Hans sama again led the damage in teamfights while remaining safe from their enemies with the help of the many tanks on Liquids side. One turret and two kills were all Liquid was willing to give FlyQuest as they closed out the series 3-1.
This series looked very similar to those which Liquid played in the Spring Playoffs that brought them to the losers finals. While they may have lost some of the early games in the best-of-fives, they quickly adapted and seemingly morphed into a completely different team in the span of a few minutes during breaks.
They now move on to face 100T next weekend, the team that threw them into the lower bracket in the Spring Playoffs and one they were unable to defeat in the Summer Split. FlyQuest move to the lower bracket where they face the possibility of elimination from their LCS Championship run.