Team Liquid and TSM will play in the 2019 LCS Spring Finals this Saturday afternoon at the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Missouri. Ahead of the series, Team Liquid Bot Laner Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng and Support Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in spoke with InvenGlobal about last week's semifinals series, break down Sona/Taric Bot Lane, and look ahead towards facing TSM.
Thanks for making the time to speak with me, gentlemen. How was your trip to St. Louis?
Doublelift: It was fine. I slept the whole way.
CoreJJ: Yeah, it was just three hours, so it was pretty easy and nice travel.
Good to hear. This upcoming Final will be Team Liquid's second appearance in the 2019 LCS Spring Playoffs following your Semifinals victory over FlyQuest. How did you feel about your play as a duo?
Doublelift: I guess I thought it was good, but I wouldn't say I really did anything. The first game I was probably the most impactful when playing Sona. The other two, I don't really think I did much other than push and take towers when my team got kills. That's pretty much it. I don't really remember being super impactful individually, but I think we were playing well as a duo.
CoreJJ: Similarly to Doublelift, I don't think we didn't do anything special as a duo. However, I was happy that we erased the enemy duo from the game.
Doublelift, is there a difference in approach to playing Sona Bot Lane when compared to conventional marksmen?
Doublelift: It's a bit different. We practiced it a good amount, and I think the basis of it is just the same as earlier on in the year when Viktor Bot would go Kleptomancy and Spellthief's Edge and let the Support farm until their item quest was finished.
This strategy is pretty similar in that Sona just farms Kleptomancy stacks and Spellthief's Edge stacks until you finish the item quest, and around that time, you'll have Frost Fang for even more gold income. Taric last hits, and you make a ton of money so you usually have more gold than the enemy duo, even if they are last hitting perfectly and you're not.
Sona/Taric also has a lot of synergy as the game goes on. It doesn't play that differently from normal duos, you just try to play around power spikes. You're not actually that weak early game, and you try to get in big fights like 3v3s or 5v5s after lane. The only difference is that you're not farming up until you finish your item quest.
Looking towards the LCS Finals, did either of you expect TSM to beat Cloud9?
Doublelift: I thought Cloud9 was going to win, personally. What about you, Core?
CoreJJ: Yeah, same here. I thought Cloud9 was going to win.
Doublelift, from your perspective, what did TSM improve on that made them better than C9
Doublelift: I think there was a pretty big Mid and Bot difference in the three games TSM won. Actually, in the last game, there was a big Top difference as well because the matchup was Vladimir vs. Ornn.
I thought C9 didn't draft well, and TSM played well around their win conditions. Bjergsen was playing a lot better than Nisqy the whole time, and C9's bot lane didn't play very well either. I don't know if it was anything TSM was doing well, I think it was just a lot of mistakes from the side of Cloud9. I feel like they don't usually pick like that and don't usually play that badly, but maybe they got tilted after losing the third and fourth games.
What do you think will be the main factor in the Finals this weekend?
Doublelift: Core can go first on this one.
CoreJJ: Hm.................................................................it's hard...what do you think, Peter
Doublelift: I'm not sure, I think it's really close, so it could be that a lane gets blown up and wins really hard or it could come down to a single teamfight. We could be super even for thirty and forty minutes and one Baron might decide the game. I don't think there's any specific thing that either team is going to focus on, it's mostly just about teamwork.
CoreJJ: Yeah, and we have Doublelift, and they don't!*laughs*
Doublelift: Oh my god...
CoreJJ, this is your first finals in North America, and you are also in the MVP conversation. How do you feel about your performance this split and your MVP candidacy?
CoreJJ: I didn't play that well, I was just playing the same way I did before in Korea. I'm really grateful that everyone is praising me and looking at me at the best Support NA or the MVP. My focus is not changing, I'm just playing how I used to play and focusing on that.
Thank you so much for your time. Any words for the TL fans ahead of the match?
Doublelift: Not much, just thanks for cheering for us. Think positive things, and hopefully we make you proud.
CoreJJ: See you at the Team Liquid afterparty.
Translation when necessary for CoreJJ was provided by Team Liquid Coach Kang "Dodo" Jun-hyeok.