On April 3rd, 2016, Team Liquid defeated NRG Esports 3-0 in the 2016 NA LCS Spring Quarterfinals. With a clean sweep of the 5th seed, 4th seed TL had punched its ticket to a Semfinals showdown against Counter Logic Gaming.
NRG Esports came into the match as the new kids on the block. The organization made big moves by signing Korean solo laners Jeong "Impact" Eon-young and Lee "GBM" Chang-seok, along with North American AD Carry Johnny "Altec" Ru. After sticking the carry trio together with glue in the form of Jungler Galen "Moon" Holgate and Support Kevin "Kwon" Kwon [then known as "KonKwon"], NRG Esports qualified for playoffs in its inaugural split with a 9-9 record; good enough for 5th place.
Team Liquid's 4th place finish was highlighted by impressive rookie campaigns from Jungler Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett and Support Matt "Matt" Elento. The aggressive duo formed the core of TL's identity, and AD Carry Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin had quietly put together the best split of his NA LCS career. Team Liquid's stronger grasp on team strengths and the meteoric presence of Dardoch gave it the edge over NRG, but no one expected such a one-sided result.
Team Liquid steamrolled the first two games, putting together convincing wins in 28 and 31 minutes respectively. TL Mid Laner Kim "Fenix" Jae-hoon was given his signature Azir and neutralized GBM's starpower on the Emperor of Shurima. Even in game 3 when Azir was banned, Fenix moved towards more comfort on Zed to the tune of a 6/1/8 scoreline. Top Laner Samson "Lourlo" Jackson held his own against Impact and provided a springboard for Dardoch's early game aggression.
Dardoch bookended the series with two stellar Gragas performances, but saved the real show for game 2. Unleashed on his signature Lee Sin, Dardoch snowballed the game with a full damage build after securing a triple kill and a quadra kill. He finished the game with a score of 12/2/6.
Team Liquid would move on to the 2016 NA LCS Spring Semifinals, where they would narrowly drop a five game epic against CLG. In the three years since TL's Semifinal series against CLG, only Fenix and Dardoch have made another semifinals appearance with Echo Fox in the 2018 NA LCS Spring Playoffs.
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