We finally have our last three teams poised to take the main stage in the Greek Theater for the Mid-Season Showdown Finals Weekend.
With three weeks of the Mid-Season Showdown (MSS) in the books, we get to see which of our last three teams will represent the LCS in the upcoming MSI, being held in Iceland. The past week might have given us more questions to get answered about our Lower Bracket Finalists, but it has also given us a clearer picture of who is most likely to be representing the region.
As for the final three teams, it might not really surprise anyone, regardless of how we did get here, as it does seem that these were the best three teams of North America. The clear favorite should be Cloud9, but more on them later. Team Liquid looked a little lost with the two-week break and TSM might be in the Finals weekend, but at times it feels like they could have also been the most likely to be eliminated earlier.
Lower Bracket Finals Preview: Team Liquid (3) vs TSM (2)
Our first match of the weekend is a rematch of our first match for the MSS, with Team Liquid taking on TSM. Now, even though TL was able to take the first series 3-1, it is hard to think that TSM will be just as poor this time around. Especially with two extra Bo5’s under their belt. The thing that makes this series a bit difficult to call convincingly was how outclassed TL looked against Cloud9. That is not to say that TSM should be giving you large amounts of confidence, even though they have won consecutive series by a score of 3-1, but it did feel entirely possible that they could have lost them. With that in mind, TSM does have a potential blueprint to prepare against TL.
This series does feel like it can go either way. Some might have more confidence in what we have seen from Team Liquid, while others believe strongly in the TSM Lower Bracket buff. If TSM does continue their trajectory, it feels like they will have a significantly closer series than in the first round of Playoffs. However, it didn’t really feel like it was the Team Liquid we know that was devastated by Cloud9. The series seems to hinge on what version we see of each team. With that being said, it feels difficult for the defending champions, TSM, to find a way into the Grand Finals. If TSM finds a way to replicate the success C9 had over Barney “Alphari” Morris and Lucas “Santorin” Larsen, then TSM could find themselves with an advantage. Especially considering how well Seung-hoon “Huni” Heo performed this past weekend.
Prediction: Team Liquid 3 – 2 TSM
Tournament Favorites: Cloud9
What is there left to say about Cloud9? They have played the least number of games and still look like the best team in the league. Sure, the one game C9 lost was an absolute sub-25 minute stomp at the hands of Team Liquid. But the team seemed to recover just fine and settled the series in the next two games. It has started to feel that if NA wants a real chance at international success in MSI, then C9 should be the team that takes the throne. Cloud9 seems to have found the balance of how it wants to properly play the games, plus has had remarkable improvement from Fudge the top-side of the map. It really feels like Cloud9 should be able to take either of its opponents in four games. This will also be the first time we see Cloud9 represent North America internationally since 2019 Worlds.
The only “if” we can possibly see is that we haven’t seen TSM play against C9 in a full five-game series. This can be just enough volatility in the matchups that it could swing one way or another. Considering we have predicted TL to make it to the Finals weekend, it does seem that C9 should be cruising to its first Mid-Season Showdown crown.
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