The 2019 season has been full of action so far and it’s about to become even more competitive. Most North American teams are getting ready for the LCS Summer Split, but Team Liquid is coming off of a great run at MSI. Despite their unfortunate loss in the finals, they proved their worth on one of the world’s biggest stages. With that, here is a preview of what’s to come for Team Liquid in the Summer Split.
The Transition from MSI to the LCS
It seems obvious that Team Liquid have high hopes for this season, considering their dominant Spring Split and great run at MSI. Their third straight LCS championship in April gave them a lot of momentum heading into MSI, where they would ultimately lose to G2 Esports in the finals. Even though they didn’t come out on top, Team Liquid performed exceptionally well against top teams, such as Invictus Gaming. Invictus more notably won the world championship last season, but TL were able to take them down in four matches.
The experience gained from MSI can’t be taken lightly and Team Liquid will likely benefit because of it. While other North American teams were enjoying their time off, TL were working hard to represent their region. This extra practice has the potential to elevate Team Liquid above the rest of the competition come summer.
Overall, MSI can be seen as a learning experience more than anything for Team Liquid. Their performance didn’t effect anything in the LCS, so hopefully they’ll be able to take the high road and improve more. One thing is definitive though: Team Liquid are looking to roll through the competition and it starts in the top lane.
Impact has been a very steady presence in the top lane for Team Liquid. His experience, game knowledge and champion pool are all at much higher levels than most of his opponents. This usually allows him to dictate his own destiny and play more consistently.
Despite his K/D/A dropping at MSI, Impact was a massive force in their series win over Phong Vũ Buffalo. What separated him from the rest of his teammates was his ability to adapt to the match-up at hand. No matter the situation, Impact could pull out a number of champions and take over the top lane. Specifically, Impact’s play on Kennen has done wonders for Team Liquid. He’s made it clear that it’s his new favorite champion, considering his 13 games played this season. Kennen’s ability kit allows him to be very mobile with high damage output, making him lethal in the hands of an experienced player like Impact.
There’s a lot to be happy about with Impact’s performance in 2019 so far. It’s starting to feel like his experience from international tournaments is paying off, meaning he has the potential to put up some impressive numbers this summer.
Xmithie has been a household name in the LCS for quite some time. His loads of experience make him a perfect fit for Team Liquid, as every member is a polished veteran like himself. Nonetheless, Xmithie has played a crucial role in TL’s game plan this season. His positioning has been key in a lot of their fighting opportunities, mostly resulting in leads for his team. Unfortunately, the Xmithie that everybody is used to seeing didn’t seem to show up at MSI.
More often than not, Xmithie was caught playing reactive on the international stage. This isn’t routine for him, but it certainly messed with the flow of Team Liquid’s strategy. Normally, Team Liquid are able to ride early momentum into the late game, however there was no momentum to be had early on. Instead, most of Team Liquid were left on their own and Xmithie had to improvise.
If anything can be interpreted from Xmithie’s play at MSI, it’s that opponents are starting to figure him out. Despite his incredible play on champions like Skarner and Lee Sin, his teammates are too reliant on his pressure in the jungle. Since it’s becoming more clear that Xmithie can’t handle the load, Team Liquid should consider a more roam-heavy composition to make up for it. This will likely hurt Xmithie’s stats and impact during the Summer Split, but it would be best for the team.
After a stellar Spring Split, Jensen was looking to dominate at his first ever MSI. His hopes were cut short in a sense, however it’s becoming more evident that he can be a force for Team Liquid. Since joining TL, Jensen has gained a substantial amount of experience. In addition, his confidence seems higher than ever, much like his ceiling. This has translated in his champion selection, as it has expanded throughout the season.
To start off the year, there was a lot of talk that seemed to be questioning Jensen’s ability, but it’s clearly been silenced now. In fact, Jensen has shown that he has the potential to compete with the best. Whether it’s against Team SoloMid or Invictus Gaming, he’ll be one of the first to make an impact.
As most who watch the LCS know, Doublelift is an incredible talent to have. Overall, he has the best resume of any player from North America, but that’s not satisfying enough for him. Doublelift has notably struggled at international events and he’s been clear about his hunger to get a major tournament win under his belt.
At MSI, Doublelift was one of the few positive factors for Team Liquid. Like the rest of his teammates, his K/D/A dropped, however his presence was magnified. This is something Doublelift is used to, as he’s been called upon to carry games for years. Unfortunately, one player usually isn’t enough to bring down elite opponents and Team Liquid tripped at the last step.
If there’s one thing to know about Doublelift, it’s that he’s determined. Losing at MSI clearly struck a nerve with him, but it would be disrespectful to not expect him to bounce back. Doublelift will more than likely have a great Summer Split because of the experience and knowledge he recently gained. This could potentially make him even more terrifying to play against in the near future.
Jo ‘CoreJJ’ Yong-in | Spring K/D/A: 6.1 | MSI K/D/A: 2.7 | Most Played: Tahm Kench
When CoreJJ is being mentioned, it’s typically in the same sentence as the words ‘incredible’ or ‘talented’. At MSI, he was anything but. Whether it was a lack of communication or him simply feeling ‘off’, CoreJJ and Doublelift suffered in the bottom lane. This is normally a rare occurrence for one of the best duos in the world, however they lacked aggression and couldn’t find a rhythm.
CoreJJ is a play-making support, and when there isn’t a play to make, he can often be rendered useless. If opponents can control vision in the bottom lane and coordinate proper fights, there really isn’t much for CoreJJ to do except peel for Doublelift. More often than not, this was the case for Team Liquid at MSI.
Failure should never be an option for one of the best teams in North America and CoreJJ should know it. Hopefully, he can light a fire beneath himself and get back to the level at which he played during the spring. It seemed that he was easily figured out against tougher opponents, so he will have to adapt his play style to the situation. CoreJJ is at his best when controlling the bottom lane, something he couldn’t do at MSI. Their slip ups on the international stage should have a more positive impact than negative, meaning Team Liquid should dominate the LCS yet again.
Featured Image Courtesy of Riot Games.
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