100 Thieves are back in the LCS finals for the first time since their inaugural LCS split and are looking to avenge their loss to Team Liquid from earlier in the playoffs. Team Liquid have turned around their shaky summer split beating Cloud9, TSM, and 100 Thieves in the postseason and looking better than ever. The winner of Sunday’s match will take home the LCS Summer 2021 Championship and the number one seed for North America at the 2021 World Championship.
Here’s a core lineup of two players who underperformed in the first matchup but are primed for a better series for FanDuel on August 29
|UTILITY||Santorin||$12,500 FD, $9,600 DK|
|UTILITY||Abbedagge||$13,500 FD, $10,000 DK|
Team Liquid is a completely different team since Santorin ($12,500 FD, $9,600 DK) returned to the starting lineup. Team Liquid had a difficult summer regular season, struggling against all the top teams in the league (TSM, 100T, EG, and C9) with a record of 2-10 against those teams. Going into playoffs everyone was unsure of how Team Liquid was going to perform as they only played four games with their starting roster in the summer split. Santorin has come back in and dominated this postseason with a plethora of champions including a pocket pick Sejuani. Team Liquid has normally been a slow and methodical team who win through calculated teamfighting but these playoffs have been different with them winning through pure aggression.
Abbedagge ($13,500 FD, $10,000 DK) has quietly faded into the distance after having a very strong start to the summer split. At the start of the season 100 Thieves played solely through mid lane giving Abbedagge all the available resources. Now, Abbedagge plays a more supportive role playing for push in lane and assisting Closer and Huhi in the early game to protect and feed FBI those resources. Abbedagge is still a great player who is reliable in the late game but has shifted his focus in the early sacrificing for the good of the team. Getting Abbedagge on a safe pick with solid wave clear will yield him the best results.
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Despite all the drama surrounding Alphari ($9,500 FD, $12,600 [MVP] DK) and Team Liquid this summer split, Alphari reaffirmed that he is one of if not the best player in the LCS this postseason. He shutdown Fudge’s momentum in their first series, destroyed Huni to secure a spot at the 2021 World Championship, and dominated Ssumday from start to finish in the winners final. In Team Liquid’s first matchup against 100 Thieves, it was clear that Ssumday just wanted to play defensive. Allowing Alphari to play whatever champion he wanted and play super aggressive in lane. Unless 100 Thieves decide to play through Ssumday, which is very unlikely, Alphari should do more of the same in this rematch.
FBI ($14,500 FD, $15,900 [MVP] DK) definitively proved he is the best AD carry in the LCS after showing up Zven in their series against Cloud9. 100 Thieves has done a great job of playing around FBI’s pressure in lane to create large gold advantages in the early game through tower plates. 100 Thieves are the only team that consistently utilizes early rift heralds bot lane as opposed to top or mid lane. While most teams in the LCS have shifted their bot lanes to be more supportive, FBI has stuck with traditional hyper-carry champions like Aphelios, Tristana, Kalista, and Vayne. Unless Team Liquid can disrupt FBI in the early game, he will be a problem in the mid and late game.
Tier One Picks
Closer’s ($11,500 FD, $8,800 DK) heroics in game two against Cloud9 completely flipped their series on its head. After winning the first game against Cloud9, 100 Thieves was struggling to keep up with Cloud9’s pace in game two but a couple of fantastic flash kicks on Lee Sin turned the game around and put 100 Thieves up 2-0. After dropping game three, Closer came back with another great game on Viego to push 100 Thieves to the LCS finals once again. After a strong regular season Closer has had an even better playoffs. Although he’s played ten out of sixteen games on either Viego or Lee Sin, Closer has Olaf and Diana in his back pocket if jungle bans are thrown at him.
Jensen ($14,500 FD, $10,400 DK) has immensely benefitted from the change in mid lane meta towards the end of the season. He struggled on AD champions like Lucian, Viego, and Lee Sinn which were at the forefront of the meta. But the switch back to AP champions like Syndra, LeBlanc, and Ryze have push Jensen’s performances back up to the top. In Team Liquid’s first series against 100 Thieves, Jensen had complete freedom with counter pick in draft and dominated Abbedagge in lane on LeBlanc and Syndra. With 100 Thieves putting their entire focus on bot lane and jungle, it opens up the Team Liquid solo lanes to play with complete freedom.
Tier Two Picks
Huhi ($8,500 FD, $7,000 DK) has been FBI’s partner in crime keeping the carry of 100 Thieves safe in the early game and the protection he needs in teamfights to dish out massive damage. With half of his games in the playoffs on Leona, Huhi has found great success on Rell and Braum when there is a good spot to pick it. His low kill participation percentage and very low kill plus assists per minute is due to their slow early game in bot lane but is offset by the gold advantage they create in farm and tower plates. With CoreJJ going for a roam heavy style these playoffs, it will be interesting if 100 Thieves takes the same approach and plays through botlane or have Huhi match the early roams.
When Alphari and Santorin were missing from the starting lineup, Tactical ($15,500 FD, $11,000 DK) became the core player for Team Liquid. Now with both players back, Tactical has become a weakside player for Team Liquid with CoreJJ putting his attention elsewhere. During the playoffs Tactical has been drafted weakside champions like Ziggs, Jhin, and Varus to hold bot lane solo with CoreJJ permanently roaming top and mid to participate in skirmishes. Tactical still holds the power to be a carry for Team Liquid, however, their attention has been elsewhere the entire playoffs.
With the first series between Team Liquid and 100 Thieves a very close 3-2 in Team Liquid’s favor, it’s hard to say if either team will make any major changes ahead of the final. Team Liquid took a very topside focused approach with both Alphari and Jensen getting counter pick in draft and constantly pressing Ssumday. 100 Thieves took a botside focused approach giving FBI a late game carry and funneling him tower plates. Should the same gameplan come out from both teams, Ssumday and Tactical could struggle with all the attention in the early game.
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