The 2021 League of Legends Championship Series Mid-Season Showdown resumes this weekend with two lower bracket matches. After losing to 3rd seed Team Liquid in the first round of the upper bracket, 2nd seed TSM will face off in an elimination match against 6th Evil Geniuses. After losing to 1st seed Cloud9 in the first round of the upper bracket, 4th seed 100 Thieves will face off in an elimination match against 5th seed Dignitas.
Let's take a look at the teams' performances this season alongside their respective matchups in the 2021 LCS Spring Split and analyze why it will be TSM and Dignitas to survive the weekend while Evil Geniuses and 100 Thieves find themselves eliminated from the LCS Mid-Season Showdown.
TSM vs Evil Geniuses
After a loss against Team Liquid, TSM has dropped into the single elimination lower bracket against Evil Geniuses. In the 2021 LCS Spring Split, TSM won its first match against EG but lost its second in the final week leading up to the post-season.
Evil Geniuses looks at its best when it can capitalize on the advantages of top laner Jeong "Impact" Eon-young through aggressive plays involving mid laner Daniele "Jiizuke" di Mauro. This style not only allows both of EG's solo laners to get ahead, but unlocks the true power of support Lee "IgNar" Dong-geun to play the map with jungler Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen while AD carry Matthew "Deftly" Chen farms up to get to his peak power as an insurance policy for teamfights.
TSM and EG's match will prove to be a contentious bout. EG's early game is superior, but TSM's mid-game decision making is best-in-class when it comes to LCS teams and despite losing to TL last week, its late game had improved from the Spring Split as well. It will be up to EG to make enough of a difference in the early game to maintain the momentum and gold lead to supersede TSM's superior mid-game decision making and late game teamfighting.
However, despite EG's definitively higher highs when compared to TSM, its lows have been far lower than its opposition's. Look for TSM to defeat Evil Geniuses this weekend because of TSM's superior comprehension if its team identity. EG may have a few peaks that spike above TSM's best, but it won't happen frequently enough for a best-of-five series to not go in the favor of TSM.
100 Thieves vs Dignitas
TSM's match against Evil Geniuses is interesting because it features two teams with clear identities, but the strengths of one team's identity lends itself to consistency more than the other. The case of the face-off between 100 Thieves and Dignitas is far different.
On paper, whether it be individually or team-wise, 100 Thieves boasts superior individual talent and a higher ceiling from its roster. However, Dignitas will win this series due to being significantly more comfortable than 100 Thieves in its team identity as well as the individual flexibility of members of its roster triumphing that of 100 Thieves' team.
It's easy to look at the 2021 LCS Spring Split and assume 100 Thieves will triumph over Dignitas in clinical fashion. 100 and DIG finished tied for 11-7, there's a reason 100 held the 4th seed and DIG held the 5th seed — the head-to-head record.
It's worth mentioning that both 100 Thieves' victories against Dignitas featured mid laner Tanner "Damonte" Damonte, who has since been replaced in the starting roster by Tommy "ry0ma" Le. When looking at 100's victories over DIG, the first win featured Damonte playing to his strengths in a roam-heavy champion on Sett which resulted in a one-sided victory.
In the second meeting, Damonte's Orianna was bested by the Zoe of DIG mid laner Max "Soligo" Soong, but 100 Thieves ended up winning the game after a back and forth affair. The control mage play of ry0ma has proven superior to Damonte's from an individual perspective, but DIG's roster has been together all season long and has proven to be more than the sum of its parts due to impressive synergy throughout all phases of the game.
If 100 Thieves has synergized enough with ry0ma despite far less time together than Dignitas' full roster, it certainly has the advantage in the series. However, DIG's synergy will allow more comfort to experiment, particularly in the case of jungler Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett's champion ocean.
Despite a higher ceiling, the 100 Thieves' roster's lesser grasp on its identity will fall to the familiarity of DIG's identity within its roster. DIG's roster will allow further comfort and flexibility, and while 100 Thieves has many veteran presences on the roster, Dardoch and support Zaqueri "aphromoo" Black's experience in leadership has led to DIG to exceed external expectations, which it will continue to do against 100 Thieves.
The first round of the lower bracket of the 2021 LCS Mid-Season Showdown begins with the best-of-five series between TSM and Evil Geniuses. The loser will be eliminated from the post-season, while the winner will wait for the lower bracket best-of-five series between 100 Thieves and Dignitas to see which team it will face in the following round.