In what ended up possibly being the most exciting Finals the NA LCS has ever seen, Team Solomid managed to defeat Cloud9.
The series started rather slow, as TSM dominated C9 in the first two games. They made it look easy. Game 2 in particular was a rough showing for C9. Nearly the entire team fed… And when I say fed, I’m talking about 0/5 scores all around. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it may have been one of the single worst games by any team in LCS playoff history.
At this point, most expected Team Solomid would go on to complete the sweep comfortably. But, much to TSM fans’ frustration, Game 3 ended up being quite close, with C9 always being one step ahead of their opponents. TSM appeared to have gotten too comfortable after their prior wins, as they had a number of careless deaths and looked less coordinated overall. Cloud9 managed to win Game 3, giving themselves and their fans a bit of hope, while making TSM just a bit nervous.
Game 4 was more of the same, and it was clear that the boys in blue had gained a good bit of confidence after the third game. Meanwhile, as the game progressed, TSM’s shakiness became more and more apparent. It was still a close game, but C9 pulled out the win, sending the series to what would become an incredible Game 5. (This was also the part when MarkZ did his terrible but hilarious Silver Scrapes singalong.)
The fifth and final game was one of the most ridiculous professional League of Legends games I personally have ever seen. It was a true ‘clown fiesta’, as both teams rampaged across the map, clashing in every lane and in each nook and cranny of the jungle. There were endless skirmishes, a lot of deaths, and, best of all, it was an incredibly close game throughout.
Both teams had individual players step up in Game 5. The two mid laners — Bjergsen and Jensen — each made several massive plays wherein they somehow picked up clean, clinical kills for their teams in a game that was anything but organized. The top laners — Hauntzer and Ray — absolutely dominated the hectic, frenzied team-fights. Ray in particular wreaked havoc on TSM, diving into their back-line time and time again, pressuring and scattering them. And the support players — Biofrost and Smoothie — each made clutch plays at key moments to help their teams along.
Biofrost in particular landed a key Nami knock-up that was essential in TSM’s closing out of the game. Just as the game’s final fight was about to unfold around the Dragon Pit, Jensen got caught, and, thanks to Biofrost’s knock-up, was deleted by TSM before he could do anything to save himself. While Jensen’s mistake certainly wasn’t the entire reason C9 lost, it was the turning point that gave TSM the opportunity they needed to end the game.
After a bit more skirmishing, TSM was up five players to C9’s three, and, knowing that TSM would immediately rush towards their base to end the game, C9 decided to run in the opposite direction in a desperate attempt to finish the game before TSM could. Everyone held their breath for a moment as it wasn’t necessarily clear what would happen. Fortunately for TSM fans, their team kept their cool and made the right call.
Two of TSM’s players returned to their base to defend against C9’s assault, while the remaining three pushed the bottom lane into C9’s base. In the end, Team Solomid easily reached Cloud 9’s nexus, while C9’s players had no hope of getting past the defense TSM had set up. Team Solomid ended both the game and the series, claiming the NA LCS Spring Split title.
A visibly dejected Cloud9 left the stage after suffering the same crushing defeat they had gone through in the previous split (Summer 2016). Jensen was especially devastated because of his aforementioned crucial mistake towards the end of the game. He tweeted the following after leaving the stage.
Jensen was wrong to say that C9’s loss in Game 5 was entirely his fault. No game is decided entirely by one play: it only seems that way as certain plays fall on key moments. A game is ultimately decided by hundreds of different plays, but, of course, there are always going to be certain key moments that are the most unforgettable, whether for good or bad reasons. In this case it was Jensen who became part of an unforgettable moment — and for all the wrong reasons, unfortunately.
Cloud9’s owner responded immediately to Jensen’s comments:
Jack’s response is the right one. Anybody blaming Jensen and putting him down ought to follow Jack’s example. He’s shown his class.
As C9 were walking off the stage, an overjoyed Team Solomid were hugging one another before walking over to the NA LCS trophy and hoisting it up, smiles on their faces. It was a moment they’d worked towards throughout the entire Spring Split, and the fact that they were lifting the trophy for the second consecutive time made the victory that much sweeter.
Thanks to their Spring Split victory, TSM will now be headed to MSI (The Mid-Season Invitational). The team discussed the upcoming tournament in a post-match interview and said that, while they’ll certainly be fighting to win against their top-tier international opponents, they’ll mostly be looking to improve as much as they can in preparation for both the NA LCS Summer Split and Worlds 2017. With teams like G2 Esports and world champions SK Telecom T1 attending MSI, it promises to be a thrilling tournament that you won’t want to miss.
We congratulate Team Solomid on their well deserved victory, and wish Cloud9 the best as they look to come back stronger than ever in the upcoming Summer Split. Cheers to both teams for a truly unforgettable series.
Images courtesy of Riot Games.