The summer split has been all about Cloud9 and that continues with the NA LCS Finals. First it was about how bad they were, then it was about their incredible rise through the standings, then their extended roster and now the fact they reached the finals.

They’ll face off against Team Liquid and the best player in North America, Doublelift. Even though TL finished first in the split and breezed through playoffs, it hasn’t been smooth sailing all the way for them either. They had a rocky start to the season and suffered from some reported chemistry issues. But that looks to be all behind them now and they’re looking to defend their title against the surging C9 this weekend.

The road to victory for Team Liquid is rather straightforward. All they have to do is play through Doublelift and fend off whatever antics C9 throws their way. If they can do that, they’ll be able to take home their second title in as many splits.

Can Liquid repeat or will C9’s miracle run be completed?

C9 has several more win conditions at their disposal, but before they can consider any of them, they’ll need a plan for Doublelift. As good as C9 are, if they don’t control Doublelift, he’s likely to carry TL to victory regardless.

C9’s primary options are to keep the bot lane on an island or focus all the attention there. They can either starve both bot lanes of resources and trust the rest of their team to pick up the slack, or they can do the opposite and focus all their attention and hope that Liquid doesn’t outplay them in ganks. Both options come with inherent risks, but C9 is talented enough to pull either off.

The other option is to simply get one of their other lanes fed early on. If they can snowball the early game, they’ll keep Team Liquid and Doublelift from taking over the late game.

Of course, all these strategies are more easily said than done. And in a best of five, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to rely on just one.

Whatever happens, C9 vs Team Liquid is shaping up to be one of the most exciting NA LCS finals we’ve had in recent memory.

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