Team Liquid ended Cloud9's Cinderella run in style on Sunday with a 3-0 sweep to claim its second straight North American League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split title at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
Team Liquid, led by AD carry and summer split MVP Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng, has ruled the NA LCS for most of 2018. Against Cloud9, though, Liquid showed that Doublelift isn't the only star on this team, as all of Liquid rose to the occasion in a dominant showing.
Jungler Jake "Xmithie" Puchero put on a clinic, as he dismantled both of C9's junglers across multiple games by applying pressure around the map and freeing up his laners to get ahead. Top laner Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong was in his incredible postseason form, earning a 10.1 KDA (kills/deaths/assists), the highest of any top laner in NA playoff history, and playing Sion to near perfection during all three games as a nigh-unkillable initiator for Liquid.
Even mid laner Eugene "Pobelter" Park, who had been the subject of much criticism throughout the year, did a fantastic job against both of Cloud9's mid laners, with his 8/3/13 KDA score in Game 2 as Irelia leading the way for Liquid in the fastest game of the series.
At the end of the day, though, all eyes were on Doublelift, who showed why he deserves the accolades as one of the most successful NA players of all time. Doublelift's Kai'Sa in Games 1 and 2 was simply unstoppable, making Cloud9 look foolish, until the team finally banned the champion away from Doublelift. Even then, Cloud9 couldn't stop Doubelift's Ashe from landing Enchanted Crystal Arrows to find picks and masterfully kiting his way through teamfights as Liquid secured the No. 1 seed for the League of Legends Worlds Championship in South Korea with its second NA LCS title in a row.
With this victory, the bot laner also tied TSM mid lane ace Soren "Bjergsen" Bjerg with his fifth NA LCS championship.
Cloud9 seemed to have all the momentum in the world entering this match, but things came crashing down in a hurry. From top to bottom, Cloud9 systematically shut down, looking sheepish as Liquid bullied it around the map.
Liquid's stifling vision control and rotations kept Cloud9 from the driver's seat for nearly the entire match, regardless of which team composition it fielded. For all the hype around the seven-man roster of C9, neither of its junglers, Robert "Blaber" Huang and Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen, made much of an impact, save for a nice Lee Sin game from Svenskeren in Game 2.
Meanwhile, in the mid lane, Greyson "Goldenglue" Gilmer couldn't do much in his Game 2 appearance, while Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen got out pressured by Pobelter with impressive ease. Even breaking up the two-man sets that C9 has stuck with throughout the season by fielding Svenskeren and Jensen together didn't seem to accomplish anything, as the team could neither out-teamfight nor out-macro Liquid, and the team that surged from 10th in the league at one point to a finals appearance Sunday folded in disheartening fashion.
While 100 Thieves fans celebrate Liquid's win, as it secured 100 Thieves the No. 2 seed from North America at the world championships, Cloud9 still has time to try to get back in shape before it enters the North American regional qualifiers as the top seed to try to earn a trip to South Korea and continue what has been a resurgent summer campaign for the team.