The LCS has gone through a lot of changes for the 2021 season. The format is different, the league has rebranded and most of the teams have almost entirely new rosters. This should be a new era for the LCS for a lot of reasons and heading into the Spring portion of the season (no longer known as a Split), teams will be looking to show that they made the right moves. Here is a 2021 LCS Spring Preview for Team Liquid in light of all this change.
[Related: What is the 2021 LCS Start Date?]
Team Liquid Team Page
Don’t let the Worlds be deceiving; 2020 was a bit of a doozy for Team Liquid. Following the “back-to-back-to-back-to-back” LCS titles and back-to-back 3-3 Worlds Group Stages, everyone in North America was hot on TL. Broxah was flying over from Europe to replace Xmithie. The rest of the band was getting back together. Who would challenge them? Cloud9 with no Sneaky or Svenskeren? TSM with Dardoch and Kobbe? CLG with Crown?
Fast forward through Broxah’s visa issues, Doublelift’s “Spring Split doesn’t matter,” and the rest of the team losing patience, and Liquid actually finished ninth. What a fall from grace. Summer Split saw two key figures replaced–Doublelift and Cain. Tactical promoted to starter and Jatt came on as head coach. From there, the team rose to first place in the regular season and third place in playoffs, qualifying for Worlds 2020. TL rode the wave to dominate Play-Ins and another 3-3 Group Stage, concluding with 1-1 records against Machi Esports, G2 Esports (semifinalist) and Suning (finalist). The general consensus was Liquid outperformed TSM and FlyQuest at the event.
This is the definition of a superstar roster. From Summer 2020, take the LCS Honda MVP Support, LCS Rookie of the Year/2nd Team All-Pro Bottom, LCS 2nd Team All-Pro Mid, LCS 2nd Team All-Pro Jungler, LEC 1st Team All-Pro Top, and add in the LCS Coaching Staff of the Split and that’s the 2021 Team Liquid. These player acquisitions should not require much explanation. Alphari and Santorin should slot right into this lineup, no problem. Neither has a set playstyle or a history of personality issues. Both have shown steady performances, even on low-finishing teams. Although, Santorin’s visa has been delayed for at least week one of the Lock-In tournament, so fans are already having flashbacks to Spring 2020.
Surprise #1: pic.twitter.com/dewlZTFR33
— Team Liquid LoL (@TeamLiquidLoL) January 13, 2021
The full schedule is still not known. Only the Lock-In teams have been revealed along with the dates for when the team plays in the regular season. They do not include who they face or at what time.
Predicted Lock-In Placement: 2nd overall and 2-2 in Groups
So much is in the air for the start of 2021 that it’s impossible to predict how these teams will look. That being said, TL should at least place top four in their group. TSM or 100 Thieves will probably top the group. With only a single round-robin, ties are pretty likely. If Golden Guardians or CLG beat Liquid out for the bracket stage, then that could be a red flag. Armao (aka Grig) is subbing in for Santorin for part of the Lock-In, and the results have no bearing on the standings for the rest of the year. Therefore, TL should use this time to warm up for the real season and get a feel for the meta.
Predicted Spring Placement: 1st
Potential Range for the Team: 1st-2nd
Looking farther down the road, anything less than first should be considered a failure for Team Liquid. This lineup is obviously built to be a powerhouse–trophies or bust. They may have a slow start with the new top-side and Santorin’s late arrival, but by March 14 (the end of the Spring Season), Liquid should be a top title contender.
Cloud9 is realistically the only other perceived threat coming into 2021. They showcased the most dominant split in LCS history last Spring before going boom in Summer. C9’s roster should also overall be an upgrade from last year with Perkz and Fudge starting. While a TSM or 100 Thieves could reach high highs, it most likely will not happen in Spring Split, and they should not match Team Liquid’s ceiling.
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