North America’s LCS has crowned a new champion, after a more than expected duel between the four-time regional champions, Team Liquid, and the squad founded by Matthew "Nadeshot" Haag, 100 Thieves.
On their road to this more-than-sought rematch after their 3-0 defeat in 2018, 100 Thieves arrived with great expectations showing good results for much of the year, and although they fell in the losers' bracket in a hard-fought Bo5, they were able to recover at the expense of a Cloud9 that failed to shine.
Meanwhile, Team Liquid had a more irregular pace throughout 2021, having a victorious start with their success at the LCS Lock In and their third place at the Mid-Season Showdown, but declining massively during the Summer Split.
Their passage through the LCS Championship served to redeem themselves, and generate expectations for the team's fans.
100 Thieves vs Team Liquid at LCS
While TL arrived as the big favourite, the first game showed 100T didn't care about that, having a flawless early phase with Closer having 100% target control. Santorin would open the kill counter by finishing off Ssumday in the top lane, but soon after, 100T would use a Rift Herald in the bot lane.
Several TL members showed up to defend it, but this only served to fuel the 100T’s war machine, getting four kills and the tower. From here on, 100T forged a massive gold lead that never waivered, while Closer kept collecting dragons and even the Baron, keeping 100T on the offensive for the entire 26 minutes of the game.
Following that momentum, 100T started the second game with a big ambush by Closer into the top lane, where he killed TL's star player Alphari. TL would manage to take the Herald, but their opponents responded by going down the bot lane to snag two more kills, in exchange for the top lane tower.
The game remained fairly even until the 15th minute, when 100T would secure the second Herald, in addition to capturing Santorin, breaking through the Rift and fully capitalizing on their advantage. A couple of fights after the 28th minute would catalyze the end of the game, putting 100T on matchpoint.
With their backs against the wall, it was all up to TL to rise again and stay alive in this series, however, Closer would be crucial in avoiding the multi-champion comeback, by playing aggressively and denying Santorin throughout the early phase.
Things would go from bad to worse at minute 12, when 100T rotated into the bot lane, using a Rift Herald and taking two towers at once. TL attempted the next Herald, losing three members and the target in the process. After a few minutes with little action, 100T rushed to finish the series, taking both the Dragon Soul and the Baron buff, and thus after 26 minutes, crowning themselves as the new kings of North America.
With this victory, 100 Thieves' path to glory has come to an end, completing a long-awaited redemption, joining the hall of LCS champions, and carrying the baton of an entire region heading into the World Championship in Europe.
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Header image via 100 Thieves.