After being introduced in 2021, the League of Legends Lock-In tournament was an instant success that many fans and teams viewed as invaluable moving into the upcoming season. Unsurprisingly, the 2021 Lock-In was secured by NA powerhouse Team Liquid, who only lost to one team in their entire 2021 Lock-In run: 100 Thieves.
Their dominance in the 2021 season secured their spot in the second group of this year’s tournament and allowed them to draft their opponents this time around.
Placed in Group B with the likes of Counter Logic Gaming (CLG), Dignitas, Immortals, and NA superteam Evil Geniuses (EG), Team Liquid had chosen a much more difficult group than their kryptonite in 2021, 100 Thieves.
Their group stage went just about as expected. EG and TL obliterated their opponents in record timing and easily led the entire tournament as the top contenders for the $150,000 cash prize.
It was not until their meetup early in the tournament that viewers were able to determine which of the two new superteam rosters would be able to trump the other.
EG vs. TL Round 1, Group Stage
After a lackluster 2021 season, EG opted to invest in NA talent, promoting star Academy players Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki and Joseph “Jojopyun” Pyun to the primary roster and signing Cloud9’s prolific support player Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme.
Alongside their prominent NA talent, EG enlisted the help of Rogue’s veteran Jungler Kacper “Inspired” Słoma to strengthen their presence in all lanes. Retaining Lee “IgNar” Don-geun and Jeong “Impact” Eon-young, EG introduced one of the most lethal rosters since Bjergsen with TSM.
Too bad Bjergsen retired in 2020. It was a shame to see that he would be leaving the LCS scene. Or it would have been, if Team Liquid did not bankroll their own NA superteam.
After a dominant season only hindered by 100 Thieves’ victory in the LCS Finals, TL decided they needed to resurrect the LCS’s greatest mid laner.
Coming out of retirement, Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg brought new life to TL alongside retained members Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-In and Lucas “Santorin” Larsen. Securing the remainder of the disheveled Rogue LEC team, TL signed infamous ADC Steven “Hans sama” Liv and fiendish top laner Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau to finalize what might be the most dangerous roster in LCS history.
In one of the longest Lock-In matches on record and a battle of superteams, EG narrowly edged out a 40:53 victory over TL with a score of 21 kills to TL’s 14. This electric matchup left fans eager for a potential rematch later in the playoffs and demonstrated just how powerful both teams’ latest roster changes were in the LCS scene.
EG vs. TL Round 2, the Finals
Boasting the only flawless record in the entire tournament, EG (9-0) was the definitive favorite for the finals matchup against TL through both groups and playoffs. With most casters and viewers anticipating a 3-0 EG sweep, TL was projected as the underdogs for the best of five finals meetup.
The problem is the LCS’s most prolific mid laner has never been an underdog. Bjergsen does not take kindly to being expected to lose.
In one of the most dramatic upsets in LCS history, Team Liquid defeated Evil Geniuses 3-0 with relative ease. TL dominated their opponents with a 20-11 victory in a mere 26:18, TL dominated their opponents, handing them their first loss and leaving a bad taste in their mouths.
Casters and fans were shocked, but hopes were high for an EG comeback. Those hopes were shot dead as TL secured yet another dominant victory, this time 15-5 in 33:58.
As chants for the reverse sweep lit up the chat, EG put on quite a show in the third and final match. With a narrow victory quite reminiscent of that of their group stage loss, TL edged out a final 10-8 victory in 30:46, closing the series and securing the $150,000 cash prize for the second year in a row.
With the practice rounds out of the way, the LCS will officially unfold starting on February 5th. Although the $150,000 prize was a nice bonus, the Lock-In matches do not affect the Spring Split records.
So keep your eyes open because the outcome means everything in these upcoming matches.
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