Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid face off again for the final round of the losers bracket to determine which team takes on 100 Thieves in the Grand Finals for the 2022 LCS Spring Split. Both teams have flaws and strengths, as indicated by their previous losses, and herein we’ll delve into how each team can win, or lose this fight in the pursuit of greatness.
EG Gameplay: Zoomers > Boomers
Evil Geniuses usually play through a two-step process. Play towards Jojopyun’s early pressure and have Inspired facilitate around him. As we saw in their series against Cloud9, Jojopyun’s forward aggression is constant, which forces Inspired to play more towards mid lane. The beauty of this style of play is that Vulcan also realizes this and therefore prioritizes roam timings to influence the mid lane. Impact is on his usual island top lane, but when going against a player like Summit, EG knew there was a weakness to exploit, with Inspired making multiple trips to top lane to take advantage of C9’s vulnerability. That’s a similar recipe that can happen when playing against Team Liquid, but of course to a lesser degree.
EG will want to focus mid lane, especially considering that Team Liquid look their best when Bjergsen is an enabler, facilitating opportunities for his teammates through roaming around the map with the likes of a Twisted Fate or Ahri pick. As long as EG follow this game plan, and with Vulcan being able to match CoreJJ in roaming potential (which is quite likely given Vulcan’s performance against C9), EG stand more than a fighting chance against the superteam.
TL Gameplay: Hit ‘Em With The Jumper Shot
Team Liquid have the most consistent identity out of all the LCS teams; scale for late and don’t do anything too crazy during lane phase. TL had shown just this same hand against Evil Geniuses in their fight in the upper bracket. In their 5 game series, TL clutched it out, with EG making the fatal draft mistake of Renekton Nidalee as their final picks. TL shouldn’t rely on draft blunders to win this series, because it’s unlikely they’ll get that same gift again. Instead, TL need to look to rely on Bjergsen’s roams which will enable the rest of TL.
Inside Team Liquid’s series against Evil Geniuses in the winner’s bracket, TL took advantage of mid lane roaming potential in their Ahri pick in order to help side lanes and get a team-wide advantage. In fact, all of their wins came on the Ahri pick, aside from Bjergsen’s (now-signature) Veigar pick in game 5. If TL want to win this series, they should look to enable Bjergsen for roams while having Bwipo play a more reserved state and CoreJJ and Hans Sama looking to create a lead in bot lane, as they have generally had a strong 2v2 the entire split when duty does not call CoreJJ to roam.
EG Draft: Ornn Ornn and More Ornn
It’s very clear that Ornn will be either permanently picked, or permanently banned this series. Ornn may even be first pick priority if Evil Geniuses’ last series against Cloud9 shows anything. Impact is a great weakside player, and more importantly, EG seem to function better as a whole with this style. Unless Bwipo has something cooking for a counterpick (which given Bwipo’s wide champion pool, he actually might have a counterpick), keep playing Ornn until proven otherwise.
Additionally, the mid lane pool needs to be pinched. Evil Geniuses cannot afford to allow Bjergsen to roam. A good first round ban of Ahri and Twisted Fate seem to be in order, as those are his biggest enablers. With that said, we then have to look to see if TL will then leave up Tahm Kench or force EG to decide between Ornn or Zeri. EG need to be very wary that Hans Sama is just as good as Danny during heavy teamfight phases, if not better given they’ll be playing on a bigger stage, more in the comfort zone of Hans Sama.
TL Draft: Don’t Get Too Cute
One of the biggest mistakes that Team Liquid made during their draft phase against 100 Thieves was the Soraka pick for CoreJJ. When he’s not on an engage support, TL look very lost. Now, this is not to say that TL can’t draft something innovative in another role, but drafting a different style of CoreJJ is straying too far away from TL’s main identity, which is for CoreJJ to roam and get other parts of the map ahead.
There may be a great surprise in the bag of Bwipo for top lane picks. Historically, Bwipo has played Urgot, which could be a decent pick into Ornn, as he often builds Titanic Hydra which gives %HP damage. Other picks such as Jax might also be worth a try for Team Liquid to see if they can crack the Ornn pick. Of course, if this fails in game 1, it’s probably worth just banning the Ornn pick altogether, but the good thing about Bo5s is that if you leave a power pick up and have a counter to it, you can let the enemy team fall into the honey pot trap while also snagging up two OP picks left open. If TL have a counter to Ornn, and they also have side selection (which I think they should given they beat EG already in the upper bracket), then expect TL to pick red side game 1 and leave the Ornn pick open.
Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid have clear strategies which they want to deploy going into this Bo5 matchup. EG need to look towards mid lane and prevent Bjergsen’s roams by simply locking him in lane. TL want to do the opposite, with enabling Bjergsen to roam, and also TL’s bot lane needs to try and press for an early 2v2 advantage, as that is an entirely possible angle given the lane discrepancy of Hans Sama against Danny in the early game. Also, TL are obviously kicking themselves for their atrocious level 1 play against EG in game 4
, so they should be on a more level playing field headed into this series.
Team Liquid 3-1 Evil Geniuses
Izento has been a writer for the LoL scene since Season 7, and has been playing the game since Season 1. Follow him on Twitter at @ggIzento for more League content.
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