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Team Liquid At Worlds 2021 Group Stage

Photo via Riot Games/Getty Images

Written by 

André González Rodríguez

Posted 

19th Oct 2021 17:11

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The 2021 League of Legends World Championship is here, and North America sent out three teams to represent the region. Cloud9 went in as the third seed and unexpectedly qualified past the group stage, a first for the region in two years, 100 Thieves the first seed and finished 3-3, showcasing a strong performance at the end and Team Liquid went in as the second seed after losing in the Summer Finals, narrowly missing a quarterfinals visit after losing their tiebreaker versus Gen.G

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Team Liquid didn’t necessarily have to right any wrongs from the 2020 season, but still had to endure their own battles. Although they won the first LCS Lock In tournament, they weren’t quite up to par once the spring split regular season began. This led to them meandering in the middle of the pack until the playoffs rolled around. Once playoffs rolled around they got back in shape but were quickly knocked down a peg by Cloud9. This called for a rematch in the finals in which Cloud9 took the victory over a hobbled Team Liquid who had to play with a substitute jungler - this would be the beginning of their problems.

Photo via Riot Games/Getty Images
Photo via Riot Games/Getty Images

Their problems continued in the Summer Split as they benched their top laner and their jungler once again had to step down, this was rounded out by their head coach resigning. Nonetheless, Team Liquid were able to keep themselves afloat all the way through the end of the split. Once in the summer playoffs, like the spring, they returned to form - it was an even better Team Liquid. This version of Team Liquid got themselves to the finals, in which they faced off against the team they sent into the losers’ bracket, 100 Thieves. This matchup ended in a swift, almost record time series victory by the Thieves. 

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Team Liquid At Worlds Group Stage

Somewhat opposite of what 100 Thieves and Cloud9 had to endure, Team Liquid had a more manageable League of Legends group. Although the second seed, the team had a good chance of making it out of the group. This would have been the first time they did so in the organisation’s history. 

Their group consisted of heavy hitters from all across the four major regions. First was Europe’s first seed and one of the favourites to make it out of the group, MAD Lions. The second was a solid team from Korea, known for their stable but not too flashy play in Gen.G. And the third was China’s LNG Esports, a team that qualified through the play-in stage and were looking impressive doing so.

Unlike 100 Thieves who had pressure to perform as the North American first seed, Team Liquid had another type of pressure. Although the team has been a mainstay internationally for the region - going to Worlds and reaching the 2019 MSI finals since they began their dynasty - the team has never been able to make it out of groups at Worlds. This was the year to change that. 

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During the first round-robin, the team showed some promise after they took down MAD Lions, but couldn’t quite live up to the expectations in the following two games. This left a lot of distaste in North American fans’ mouths, worrying that a repeat of their past years was on the horizon.

Photo via Riot Games/Getty Images
Photo via Riot Games/Getty Images

With that in mind, the North American two seed went into the second round-robin reinvigorated, taking down LNG Esports to start the day. This win put them in a great position to qualify into the quarterfinals, all they needed was a second win against MAD Lions. Unfortunately for them, that wouldn’t come to fruition, making things even harder for them as in order for them to stay alive in the tournament and keep the chances of a tiebreaker alive, they had to take down Gen.G who surprised everyone in the group.

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The unexpected happened, Team Liquid took down Gen.G in style and the tiebreaker dream became a reality. Add some luck and apart from everyone else in the group and a four-way tiebreaker appeared. All Team Liquid had to do was once again take down Gen.G, this would qualify them into the knockout stage. 

The game was going fairly well for Team Liquid to start but some flashy plays from Gen.G’s mid-laner put a halt to it. They could never recover. 

This is now the third year in a row where the team fails to make it past the group stage. They’ve gone from being forever stuck at fourth place in the LCS to being forever stuck in the group stage at Worlds. From one curse to another. 

 

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Cloud9 Never Settles: A Paragon In The LCS

Oshin Tudayan/Riot Games via ESPAT

Written by 

André González Rodríguez

Posted 

27th Nov 2021 13:39

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