Team Liquid has won its first match of the 2021 League Championship Series Championship against Cloud9. As a result of its 3-1 win, TL will move on in the upper bracket to face TSM, while Cloud9 will drop down to the lower bracket to fight for survival against Golden Guardians.
Despite consisting of the 4th and 5th seed in Cloud9 and Team Liquid respectively, the first round of the LCS Championship featured a rematch of the finals in the LCS Mid-Season Showdown earlier this year.
The only difference was that TL jungler Lucas "Santorin" Larsen was not sidelined with migraines, and his starting presence in place of Jonathan "Armao" Armao made a world of difference.
TL found its strengths against C9 in the early game, and at the heart of each one was Santorin. In game 1, Santorin's Sejuani was part of an innovative Ziggs comp by Team Liquid, and in game 2, his Lee Sin ran circles around the Diana of C9 jungler Robert "Blaber" Huang. The one game Cloud9 won was when TL drafted away from early game, opting for scaling champions. TL returned to an aggressive variant of its Ziggs/Sejuani comp and won the series off of a Santorin Baron Nashor steal.
TL's summer has been one of tumult between roster shuffling for medical reasons in the case of Santorin and far less clear reasons for top laner Barney "Alphari" Morris, as well as a mid-split resignation from head coach Joshua "Jatt" Leesman. The team did not look like it had to returned to its peak form shown in spring by the end of the LCS Summer Split, but looked transcendent against Cloud9 in the first round of the post-season.
If TL wins its next match against TSM, it will not only qualify for the finals of the LCS Mid-Season Showdown without losing a match, it will also guarantee a qualification for one of the three seeds representating North America at the 2021 League of Legends World Championship this fall in China.