The League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) Mid-Season Showdown 2021 kicks off on Saturday, March 20, when TSM take on Team Liquid in the upper bracket bout. Having beaten Liquid in both of their regular-season matches, TSM are in a good spot to repeat their success this weekend, however, it remains to be seen how well will they do against the LCS Lock-In champions in a best-of-five series.
Team Liquid vs TSM
Saturday, March 20 – 13:00 PST
2021 Mid-Season Showdown will begin with an LCS classic, featuring two of the most successful North American LoL teams in Team Liquid and TSM. These sides will meet in the LCS playoffs for the second split in a row, after TSM beat Liquid 3-2 in the Summer semi-finals and eventually went on to win their seventh LCS title.
TSM enter LCS playoffs without Bjergsen for the first time
Things are a bit different now at TSM, with Yiliang “Peter” “Doublelift” Peng and Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg both retired from the LoL and while Bjergsen has remained with the team as a coach, this year will mark the first time in history TSM will appear in the LCS playoffs without the Danish veteran in the mid lane.
Regardless of the rather big roster changes ahead of the 2021 season, TSM have been doing fine – in fact, more than fine. TSM ended the regular season in second place with a 12-6 record, which includes two wins against Team Liquid, as well as a Week 5 win against the regular-season champions Cloud9. The only four teams that beat TSM this split were FlyQuest (twice), Cloud9, Dignitas (twice) and Evil Geniuses.
Results like that also show just how inconsistent TSM cam be. They can have very clean games, where they play out the laning phase near-perfectly, but then there were also games where TSM won although they shouldn’t have. In other words, TSM have committed robberies a couple of times.
This inconsistency makes it very difficult to trust TSM, especially considering TL have proven to be a more consistent squad. What’s more, we don’t know how much of a factor Bjergsen played in best-of series and whether the current roster can play as well in high-pressure games.
That is not to say his replacement Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage hasn’t been playing well, but he is not Bjergsen, and doesn’t possess the leadership quality of Bjergsen, which can be the difference-maker in games like this one. PowerOfEvil also doesn’t seem like a player who can carry his team like Bjergsen did (namely last season), which could be a problem in this series if TSM fall behind early.
The only player on this team that seems to have the “clutch” factor is top laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, who has proven throughout his career he can be the difference-maker, however, he seems to have lost that trait in the LCS, where he hasn’t really been as dominant as he was in the LEC and LCK.
Team Liquid “should win”
Team Liquid are the better team here and they should win games like this, but you have to take into account that TL haven’t beaten TSM once during the regular season. Being 2-0 up in the head-to-head should give TSM a mental edge heading into this bout, but knowing that winning best-of-five (Bo5) series is not the same as winning a Bo1 match, TSM should be careful to not be too comfortable facing what is in our book the strongest team in the league.
The biggest concern we have with Team Liquid is their ADC Edward “Tactical” Ra, who is generally a very reliable player, but he hasn’t looked too sharp of late. If we look at his recent games, Tactical seemed a bit off and while individual slumps like that are nothing too concerning in the greater picture, it did come at an unfortunate timing.
TSM vs Team Liquid Prediction
This match can prove to be much closer than initially expected, however, a lot will come down to the drafts. In that department, Liquid should have an edge, not only because they’ve proven they are generally more efficient in producing solid team compositions, but also due to the fact that they can take advantage of Alphari’s deep champions pool and perhaps look for to play around him with a more scaling comp.
On the other side, we have to take into account that PowerOfEvil has been a better mid laner than Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, largely due to his efficiency on control mages. The quality gap between these two midlanders, however, is non-existent, so while PowerOfEvil has been playing better, Jensen is still Jensen, who usually does much better in best-of series. Will that be enough, remains to be seen.
TSM’s main avenue to victory would be to play through the top lane, since likely won’t need to put too many resources in the bottom side of the map, because their bottom lane duo isn’t the kind to take over the lane and carry the game, while they don’t need to worry too much about getting stomped due to the way Tactical has been playing of late.
While Liquid come off as a better team here, the betting odds on TSM are way too high to pass on. TSM have beaten Liquid twice during the regular season and are individually up to par with Liquid, so you have to have hope in TSM to make something happen. I haven’t touched on the jungle match-up because it’s 50/50, meaning there is a world where either of the two junglers pop-off and carries the game, so you can’t really pick a side.
TSM seem to be slept on and while TL seem like the stronger team, you can’t really pass on the 2.67 offered on TSM.
Prediction: TSM to win – 2.67 Pinnacle