| 24. November 2021

LoL – Roster Analysis: Team Liquid still seeks international success

Team Liquid have been a domestic powerhouse in the franchised LCS era, but save for the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational where they got cleanly swept 3-0 by G2 Esports, international success has eluded the organization. Their 2022 roster changes seek to remedy this.

After a fourth attempt to get out of the group stage at the world championship and narrowly missing out with a 3-3 record, Team Liquid gets ready for the 2022 season with some changes to its roster once again. The goal has never changed for them, and that is to get championships domestically, but also to finally break out of their 3-3 curse and finally get into the knockout stage of Worlds.

Alphari left to play in Europe

Barney “Alphari” Morris has departed the roster to go back to play on a European team, as reports claim, which meant that the team needed a new top laner anyway. For 2022, the team has decided to keep Lucas Tao Kilmer “Santorin” Larsen and superstar support Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in. This makes sense, as Santorin has shown that he is one of the best NA resident junglers despite his health issues throughout the years, and CoreJJ is without a doubt the best support player in the LCS in the last few years.

Stepping into the top lane is Gabriel “Bwipo” Rau, role swapping back into his original role. Bwipo is a player with a bit more variance than Alphari, but he surely knows how to help out his team even from behind. He is also an excellent voice for the team, and is always on the lookout for opportunities to secure advantages for his team.

Since Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng’s departure from Team Liquid in 2020, Edward “Tactical” Ra stepped in and was able to meet the demands of being Doublelift’s successor. He worked well with CoreJJ, and was, for the most part, reliable. Sometimes he would go for some rather questionable plays, and this was not ignored by fans and analysts.

Hans Sama replaces Doublelift

For 2022 he is departing TL to be a part of TSM, and he will be replaced by European superstar bot laner Steven “Hans Sama” Liv. Hans Sama has had a stellar 2021, capped by a monstrous Worlds performance, even though his team dropped out at groups. A phenomenal carry player, Hans Sama has always dominated his lane and has always been a reliable late game carry. He is a clear upgrade from what Tactical was for the team.

And while technically Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen is still signed with the team, the organization decided on another superstar mid laner– Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. This is technically a gamble of the TL squad as Bjergsen has not played professionally for a year– he was TSM’s head coach in 2020. A year is a long time to not play professionally, but if there is anyone in North America that is to be trusted to do this, it’s Bjergsen.

Roster’s looking strong

Overall, this seems like a well-balanced roster of immense veteran talent. With Andre Pereira “Guilhoto” Guilhoto at the helm, this is a roster that people will have high expectations for. This team has players that can be counted on to carry whichever way the draft goes. Possible weaknesses in this roster could be champion pools for specific players, like Bwipo and Santorin.

Bwipo is not known for his Kennen, a pick that has been common in the last three years or so. Santorin is not known for his carry junglers, and he excels more in a jungle meta where he is expected to empower lanes. In addition, Hans Sama has always been the win condition of the teams that he has been in. If the meta shifts into something that the bottom lane is not much of a factor, one has to wonder how this team might play.

Other than those questions, the expectation for this squad should at least be finals appearances throughout the season, and of course, the ever-elusive international knockouts berth. Fans should be excited about Team Liquid once again.