Worlds 2021: Will Team Liquid finally perform as expected?

After being present in all three finals this season, Team Liquid has successfully secured their place as the LCS’... Fragster | 26. September 2021

After being present in all three finals this season, Team Liquid has successfully secured their place as the LCS’ second seed. The team still looks for international success that has eluded this organization despite the amount of talent it has. 

Following last year’s 3-3 finish in the World Championship in China, Team Liquid made some changes to its roster. Their trusted top laner of three years, Jeong “Impact” Eon-young left the team after his contract ended. Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen, after being met with visa issues and having a rather lukewarm season, signed with Counter Logic Gaming. The team then signed superstar top laner Barney “Alphari” Morris, who had a good season individually in Origen even though the results did not quite show it. Lucas Tao Kilmer “Santorin” Larsen was also signed to replace Broxah, who was in the FlyQuest team that made it to the finals twice in 2020. 

Team Liquid started the season with an impressive run in the LCS Lock-In tournament, looking as if they were unchallenged. Expectations of the squad coming into the spring were that they would simply dominate the rest of the competition, but things did not go as expected. After getting dropped into the lower bracket in the Mid-season showdown, Santorin was benched due to health issues, and Jonathan “Armao” Armao replaced him for the semifinal against TSM, who they dealt with easily despite the substitution. In the final, they had a highly-contested final against Cloud9, but eventually still lost the series 2-3. 

In the summer, the team had even more roster issues. Alphari was subbed out for Thomas “Jenkins” Tran due to some personal issues, a move that raised eyebrows as Alphari was the clear best top laner of the spring. Things did not appear to get better, and eventually coach Joshua “Jatt” Leesman left the team and Jonas “Kold” Andersen was promoted to interim head coach. Team Liquid appeared to have stagnated over the summer, rotating between Jenkins and Alphari, and not having Santorin for most of the summer, who only came back in the final week.

Coming into the summer playoffs, most analysts and experts thought that Team Liquid would lose in their first playoff match against Cloud9 and would miss out on the world championship despite having their intended roster together once again. TL had a commanding victory over C9 with a 3-1 scoreline, delivering a huge upset over the spring champions. They then had a back-and-forth series against 100 Thieves, where they prevailed 3-2. They had their rematch against 100 Thieves in the finals, where they were the favorites, but were swept 3-0. 

Team Liquid, with the caliber of players that they have in their intended roster, are expected to be ahead in the laning phase and cleanly play out the games they are in. A common criticism of this team has been that they have not been very proactive, an issue which they seem to have done something about as the summer playoffs came in. In addition, Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in has proven time and again that he is the best support in the league– he has been on point with his initiation, roams, and vision control. Edward “Tactical” Ra is usually left on an island, and Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen is expected to come with Santorin in helping Alphari get a lead, especially in the earlier parts of the game. 

The problem, however, is that the intended roster has not been together for as long as the others, which means that they could only get better from their 2nd place finish in the summer. With weeks of practice ahead of Worlds, and hopefully no new issues to arise, Team Liquid may just finally get into their peak form. 


(Header image via @TeamLiquidLol)