Team Liquid vs Cloud9
This is where things become increasingly more interesting, to say the least. A clash between the defending champions and a team you can never really adequately judge and value in Cloud9. Needless to say, this is the best and most promising match of the day. Both teams love to skirmish (Cloud9 especially) and are surely looking to make a statement after losing most of their hype and momentum at Rift Rivals.
They want to win, to adapt, and to overcome their recent fall from grace. Even though they didn't lose anything concrete, they were still beaten in such dramatic fashion that they simply have to make a statement now that the regular portion of the split resumed. Needless to say, both of these two teams are rightfully at the top of the standings. They're some of the best and most capable teams that North America has to offer.
That said, Cloud9 simply never showed as much prowess as Liquid any time they stepped foot on stage this split. They were always creative, highly flexible and capable, but they always missed the mark whenever they had to step up and actually transcend a certain level of play. They're the perennial gatekeepers, and it's a crushing sight. There simply aren't enough hard carries within their line-up in order to elevate them as a team, but they're consistently going to be a highly dangerous contender that's hard to read. That's the Cloud9 way.
Liquid, on the other hand, is one-dimensional. But when they play through that "one dimension" they're incredible across the board. Even Xmithie, the greatest North American jungler of all time, has hard carry performances on a fairly frequent basis. They have many threats within their line-up and, by proxy, many avenues towards success. You can never count them out, and their recent losses to the LEC champions should force them to diversify their arsenal and become an even stronger international contender. How they will adapt still remains to be seen, but they're a stellar team that has some of the best players in the world, and they still haven't reached their peak.
Both teams are entering tonight's match looking to dominate. Cloud9 are bound to start off strong, especially if they draft something a bit off meta. That said, Liquid will take control thanks to their incredible mid game and stellar team fighting prowess. They always find a way to win when it matters on home soil, and this game show be no exception.
Predicting the outcome of this game is incredibly hard. Most people will immediately jump and side with Team Liquid, and it's hard to blame them -- they are favored for a reason. That said, Cloud9 never go down without a fight, and they definitely have an extremely creative coaching staff making the calls. If they adapted over the last couple of days, they will probably come out with something new and try to surprise Liquid. They are currently just a single win behind Team Liquid, and their record tells the whole tale as well: both teams are fairly similar strength-wise right now, and the slimmest of margins will end up being the deciding factor.
That said, we have to side with the defending champions on this one. They're simply favored by default at this point, and their track record against Cloud9 is basically as good as it gets.