Are we looking at yet another disappointing year for Team Liquid?
The LCS wasted no time in coming up with a banger of a game—100 Thieves, in the opening match of the Spring Split, upset Team Liquid. While Team Liquid has been prone to throws over the past year, many did not have 100 Thieves coming out of the games swinging. Ahead of the 2024 LCS Spring Split, many had 100 Thieves ranked near the bottom of their power rankings. And rightfully so, there are many question marks surrounding the roster, with the only constant being the excellence of Kim “River” Dong-woo. Here is what happened when Team Liquid and 100 Thieves collided in the opening game of the 2024 LCS Spring Split.
100 Thieves Provides First Upset Of 2024 LCS Spring Split
Starting from the draft, LCS fans were promised more freedom in the draft thanks to the league now playing on the live patch, and that is precisely what we were given. Off the bat, both teams were looking to put their younger players on comfort picks. Starting with 100 Thieves, Rayan “Sniper” Shoura, in his LCS debut, pulled out Riven, a championship synonymous with the player. On the side of Team Liquid, Eain “APA” Stearns pulled out Ziggs, a champion he had yet to lose on since making his LCS debut in Summer 2023.
One of the praises sung last year about the Team Liquid bottom lane was how good they were during the laning phase. There was no doubt Sean “Yeon” Sung and Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in were the best laning bottom lane in the league. This was again displayed today as the TL marksmen duo secured first blood onto Bill “Eyla” Nguyen five minutes into the game without jungle intervention.
A couple of minutes later, the Team Liquid bottom lane would again get the jump on 100 Thieves with another clean 2v2 kill. The one saving grace for 100 Thieves in the early game was their mid-jungle duo, who picked off APA a couple of times, which helped stabilize the map and not allow the bottom lane to snowball out of control. For the next 10 minutes, both teams jockeyed for control of the map, with both TL and 100 Thieves scrapping over the neutral objectives.
The first big team fight did not occur until the 18th-minute mark. As Team Liquid was focused on forcing down the mid-lane tier-one tower, River saw APA too far forward and flash engaged onto him. APA immediately had to go into stasis, prompting him to flash the second he came out. River was disciplined enough to hold his Vi ultimate long enough to ensure APA would be taken down. Meanwhile, the rest of 100 Thieves could catch Umti out of position, which meant 100T would secure the third elemental dragon and stop the Team Liquid Dragon stacking.
The game started to get away from 100 Thieves down the stretch, with multiple members continuing to get caught out of position at pivotal times. This time, it would cost them dearly as River and Sniper fumble an engage down mid-lane, allowing Team Liquid to pick up the Baron uncontested. From this point, it should have been a routine win for Team Liquid; they had the dragons stacked for soul point, they had the gold advantage, which was over 3k, and they had Baron. Quid and the rest of 100 Thieves had different ideas. As TL marched down the bottom lane, Sniper did a long-lane teleport flank behind them, causing TL to scramble. This perfectly set Quid to hit a beautiful Yone ultimate onto Yeon, TL's arguably strongest player.
This team fight defeat was costly for Team Liquid, as 100 Thieves could crack open the base in the top lane, completely removing the gold lead that Team Liquid had built up. A few minutes later, 100 Thieves would secure the game-winning fight after forcing a Baron that Team Liquid could not give up. Umti was the first to die, followed by CoreJJ and Yeon. 100T would then march towards the base and take the nexus to secure their first win of the new season. This was a much-needed win for 100 Thieves and their young roster. Although they have two of the strongest teams in the opening week, a win eases the pressure they would have faced starting 0-2 and having to win their next game to ensure they did not fall too far behind with only six teams making playoffs.
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