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Liquid podium shots from Summer Split
NEWS

Team Liquid: NA’s New Last Hope

Oct 082018

It’s been one hell of an historic year for Team Liquid. After winning back to back Spring and Summer NA LCS Championships the team’s League of Legends squad is currently wrapping up their practice for Worlds 2018. Their goal this Worlds? To finally put NA on the map. But Liquid’s Worlds journey did not start this year. Nor did start last year with arguably the greatest NA LCS roster grab of all time. Team Liquid’s journey started 8 years ago with one man’s dream to play League competitively. 

Humble Beginnings

 

It all started in 2010 when then player Steve “LiQuiD112” Arhancet’s application to play in the beta pro-league was accepted. After quickly scraping together a group of top tier players, what would come to be known as Team Curse was born. In contrast to the training facilities, flexible living arrangements, and lucrative sponsorships of today the old days of esports were like the wild west. Just a bunch of guys coming together for the sake of playing the game. Subsisting mostly on whatever prize money they earned and their love of League. Despite all of that Steve created this team to win. So this ragtag group of gamers moved into a 2 bedroom apartment, called it a team house, and set about making his dream come true.

 

To Lose is to Improve

 

With a new sponsor, a new name, and a new outlook, the newly minted Team Liquid looked to refresh their luck with a roster revamp. Grabbing up Korean world champion Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin to lead the charge, Liquid was looking to completely reinvent themselves. Cast off the ligering memes from Curse and start fresh. And start fresh they did. Team Liquid seized their opportunity and ended the 2015 Spring Split in 3rd place. Under their new name the team finished near the top of the league for the first time ever. Finally, the 4th meme was crushed. 

 

Or was it? Keeping the exact same roster from Spring Split Team Liquid demolished the competition in the 2015 Summer Split. Liquid ended the regular season with a record of 13-5 and in 1st place. Things were looking promising for Liquid. This new roster, new name, new everything was really paying off for the team in spades. That is, until playoffs. Losing their Semifinals match against TSM was the nail in the coffin for Liquid. Though they would go on to finish the season in 3rd place, their loss to C9 in the 2015 Worlds Regional Qualifier would result in their failure to qualify for Worlds. That was also the last time Team Liquid would come anywhere close to qualifying for Worlds until this year.

 

Winning the Offseason

 

Which brings us to this past offseason. The introduction of franchising into the NA LCS lead to some of the biggest roster shifts in the league’s history. With old teams out, new teams in, and some teams trying to avoid being the butt of the “NA at Worlds” meme for another year in a row, rosters exploded across the league. Seizing this chance Team Liquid looked to completely revamp their roster again. Starting from scratch and adding some of the most well known names in LoL esports history led the fan base, and the casters, to dub Team Liquid the official kings of the offseason roster swaps. The final roster of season 2 was world champion Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong, veteran NA jungler Jake “Xmithie” Puchero, 200 IQ incumbent mid laner Eugene “Pobelter” Park, world renowned ADC Peter “Doublelift” Peng, and the God Thresh incarnate Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung was set to lead Team Liquid to victory.

 

And Lead they did. This new coalition of veterans hit the ground running on their quest to be the best. Team Liquid’s 2018 Spring Split echoed their Team Curse days of the past. The team ended the regular season in 4th place. The playoffs? The playoffs were a different story. With their eyes on the prize in front of them Team Liquid went undefeated throughout the entirety of playoffs and finally attained the unattainable. Team Liquid became NA LCS champs for the first time. Becoming the 4th ever team to win an NA LCS Championship and breaking a 6-year, 3 team dynasty in the process. 

 

2018 Summer Split saw major meta changes completely annihilating the damage done by traditional ADC champions. While most teams opted into more unusual, mage and bruiser picks in the bot lane as a result, Team Liquid and Doublelift doubled down. He forwent the Swains and Donger bot picks of his peers. By instead opting for Kaisa, Xayah, and other more traditional ADC bot champions Team Liquid found their stride early. After attaining 1st place in the first week they would never relinquish control of it. Completely taking control of the region for the second split in a row enabled Team Liquid to secure a second consecutive Championship title. Finally qualifying for Worlds in the process. 

 

Liquid’s current squad has had their share of hardships, both public and private, but this team is undeniably the best team representing the NA LCS at Worlds this year. Despite a lackluster MSI performance, Team Liquid has improved their skillset, their mentality, and are looking to show just how good NA can be on the international stage.

 

A New Hope

 

There is a common feeling shared amongst NA LCS fans around Worlds time. Most of us have been burned in the past by believing in teams like TSM and CLG only to have them repeatedly never make it out of groups. We’re used to putting all of our chips into the NA basket and hoping that someone can at least make it to Quarterfinals. Cloud 9 has taken up that mantle in the past. They have been NA’s last hope more than once. But this year Cloud 9 is looking to seed into what the fanbase has dubbed “the death group.” A group where they will have to beat either the reigning World Champions and/or the favorites to win Worlds this year just to make it out of the group stage. Its looking like Cloud 9’s time as NA’s last hope is over. This year it is Team Liquid’s turn.

 

Liquid’s power comes from the players themselves. Boasting a staggering 18 individual regional championships, 16 individual NA LCS championships, 12 previous individual Worlds appearances, and 1 World Championship, this Team Liquid roster is no stranger to winning. Even under the pressure of Worlds. This team has shown an ability to handle meta change, different play styles, and can win by charging ahead early and turtling until late. The veteran status of every member will enable cool headed thinking in the stressful Worlds environment. And with a group draw just challenging enough to give them the chance to prove their moxie, Team Liquid is charging into Worlds 2018 with their eye on the prize.

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