The LCS Spring Split Finals was an undeniable classic series to match a classic narrative. Most of the drama of the Finals surrounded Team Solo Mid’s (TSM) Bjergsen and Team Liquid’s (TL) Doublelift. They both had 5 LCS Split championships, they both were considered the best at their position in the history of the NA region, and both looking to lay claim to the winningest player in (NA)LCS history.
Another storyline was the rise of Broken Blade vs the veteran Jensen. Broken Blade was TSM’s young rookie phenom, and over the course of the Split proving he was worth every bit of the hype. Jensen, on the other hand, is a storied veteran. Last season, Jensen helped guide Cloud 9 to the semi-finals of the World Championships. However, Jensen had never won a Split championship. Jensen’s move to Team Liquid was seen as a major step in the defending champions march towards success on the international stage. But first they would have to close out a dominant Split against a team in the ascendancy in TSM.
These story lines along with the fact that TSM is the most prolific franchise in NA LCS history, these finals were primed to be exciting and dramatic. Here are some of our favorite moments from nail-biting series.
5. Heimer Pick in Game 1
Doublelift is one of the best bot laners and one of the best to ever play professional League of Legends. He is also no stranger to playing to the crowd. Understanding that sometimes the right play is the unexpected one. A Hemierdinger pick in game 1 was just that, unexpected and got a massive pop from the fans at the arena in St. Louis. Eventually it was TL’s midlaner, Jensen that would play the champion but to no avail. Game 1 didn’t bear any fruit for TL as TSM went on to win the first two matches.
4. Xmithie + Skarner = Victory
In a pick that has become more common in the latest patch, Xmithie’s pick of the champion, Skarner, was a major part of Team Liquid’s comeback in the Spring finals. Xmithie played critical roles in team fights with excellent utilization of Skarner’s spires which gives him massive boosts and with massive pulls using Skarner’s Impale ability which tethers opponents to Skarner, dragging them to their deaths. Through his play over the last three games of the Spring Finals, Xmithie solidified his place as the best Jungler the NA region has ever seen. While not really a “moment” and more of a strategy, it’s hard not to see that this single pick caused the entire series to shift.
3. TL Start the Comeback
Team Liquid’s game 3 represented everything that we want out of a League final. Imaginative picks, massive out plays, and a deep resiliency that allowed TL to start mounting the comeback. TL’s final push from bot lane into TSM’s base was on the back of a massive ACE (where ALL opposing players are eliminated). It was here that the energy of the series started shifting and TL began to take what was theirs.
2. TL’s Game 4
Just the whole thing. All of it. TL was so dominant in this match that by the end of it they had an 11k gold lead and finished the match in 25 minutes. The tide started to shift very early in the game where TSM’s Akaadian and Bjergsen committed to a fight with TL’s Jensen in mid lane only to be picked off TL’s Xmithie. A double kill so early in the game allowed TL to start building a large gold lead and approach team fights with less trepidation. With the early game all but locked up TL went on to secure the win and force a series clinching game 5.
- TL Complete the Reverse Sweep in Dramatic Fashion
It was clear that by game 5 the momentum had swayed completely in Team Liquid’s favor. Xmithie was in the zone with Skarner, Doublelift had gone to a Kai’sa which would allow even more aggression in the mid/late game and the Spring Split MVP Core JJ on Braun was playing out of his mind blocking attacks left and right. But TSM responded and played well in game 5 up to around the 34th minute. In a baffling move, TSM’s Sven was caught out trying to poke TL away from the Baron, he was leashed by Xmithie’s Skarner and burned down.
This allowed TL to secure the Baron and proceed to steamroll the rest of the match. They would move on to secure the Elder Dragon further increasing their stats and would reconvene around the Baron again for one final fight that would decide the Finals. TL’s Jensen would hide in the grass and ambush TSM’s Smoothie, Xmithie would tether Akaadian and secure that elimination. And in a poetic twist of fate one legend, Doublelift would take out another legend in Bjergsen ending the team fight. TL would go on to secure the Baron and eventually secure the Spring Split Championship.
Photos & Clips Courtesy of Riot Games