Team Liquid took its first win of the 2020 League of Legends World Championship in its first match of the play-in against MAD Lions. Since the 2020 Mid-Season Invitational was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this was the first time in 2020 that a North American team faced off against a European team. When the dust settled, it was the League of Legends Championship Series #3 seed who took the victory.
Comfort over composition
Team Liquid took a strange approach into the draft phase, choosing to ban Lilia, arguably the best jungler in the meta currently, on blue side, and then first picked Lee Sin for Mads "Broxah" Brock-Pedersen. Lee Sin is a signature pick for both Broxah and MAD jungler Zhiqiang "Shad0w" Zhao, the latter of whom answered with Evelynn.
MAD Lions headed onto Summoner's Rift with an objectively better composition than TL, but the LCS side's signature champions ended up being a larger factor. Broxah is 8-2 on Lee Sin in the LCS this summer, and has drawn 8 bans on the pick as well. Jeong "Impact" Eon-young has favored Mordekaiser all season long and started off the game with two solo kills; first against opposing top laner Andrei "Orome" Popa and then Shad0w later on in the game.
Impact ran away with the Mordekaiser-Camille matchup and the game as a whole, finishing 9/1/5 and securing many a victorious teamfight for his squad with intelligent flanks and verstaile usage of The Master of Metal's ultimate ability Realm of Death.
Impact was certainly TL's top performer against MAD, but AD carry Edward "Tactical" Ra had an impressive international debut on Twitch to the tune of a 5/2/14 KDA. Crucially, Tactical secured two teamfights by flashing forward to finish off targets wounded by Twitch's Spray and Pray ultimate, showing no fear or hesitation to play aggressively with the support of LCS Summer Split MVP Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in.
True stealth, and not the good kind
Shad0w drew criticism for his performance on Evelynn. The all-pro LEC Summer Split jungler was unable to provide any kind of impact outside of Evelynn's pre-10 minute stealth threat, which did give MAD an early gold lead, but Team Liquid evened things up in the mid game and began to take over the late game with successful teamfights due to its superior scaling composition and monstrous Mordekaiser.
TL's Lilia ban was peculiar, but Shad0w looked very uncomfortable on Evelynn with both Lilia and Lee Sin taken away, so it is a possibility that TL's entire approach was to limit Shad0w's ability and simultaneously get a comfort pick for Broxah. However, if TL continues to ban Lilia on blue side, that would imply a lack of team comfort on one of the premiere meta junglers, which could be a problem for the team throughout Worlds 2020.
MAD Lions only has one member who has played at Worlds before in mid laner Marek "Humanoid" Brázda, and he and his four rookie teammates must look to shake this loss off to continue maintaining its likely status to escape Group A and the play-in as a whole.
MAD Lions came into the match having already secured its first win of Worlds 2020 against INTZ earlier in the day, which puts the League of Legends European Championship #4 seed at 1-1 in Group A. Team Liquid, now 1-0, plays Legacy Esports in its next match at 7:00am PT.
For more LoL Esports news and content, head over to our dedicated League of Legends section!
Find full schedules, brackets, and more for your favorite esports on Juked.gg!